The introduction of a new actor in the role of the Doctor is always an exciting time for Who fans, introducing a new take on the centuries-old time lord. After a pair of younger actors in David Tennant and Matt Smith, the Doctor is showing his years a bit more with the newest incarnation, played by Peter Capaldi. The new Doctor is said to be a darker take on the character, and we here at GFR are really excited to see what he brings to the role. But could his tenure inside the TARDIS be shorter than anyone imagined?
That’s the crazy Who rumor of the day, as reported by The Mirror. Granted, the fact that it’s coming from The Mirror suggests we should take this all with a Gallifrey-sized grain of salt, but the story does at least include an alleged reason as to why Capaldi will supposedly only be sticking around for one season of the show. The Mirror’s Richard Beech says he’s hearing that Capaldi’s Twelve was specifically intended as a transitional Doctor “in order to steer the show in a new direction and pave the way for an even more radical (and possibly more controversial) choice for the role.”
So what does that mean? Well, anytime the discussion turns to a new Doctor, speculation about the time lord regenerating as a woman or a non-white dude inevitably comes up, so perhaps executive producer Steven Moffat intends to finally steer the show in that direction? Either choice would indeed stir up plenty of controversy and debate — whether it should or not — but I’m not sure how having Capaldi in between Smith and whoever comes next would lessen that blow any.
On the other hand, perhaps that new direction is, as the Mirror suggests, Moffat wrapping up his stewardship of the series and handing it off to whomever becomes his successor. (Mark Gatiss, who wrote episodes such as “The Wedding of River Song” and “A Good Man Goes to War,” is one of the names being bandied about.) If Moffat is ready to leave, taking on one last season with a short-lived Doctor would Moffat to make his announcement without having overshadowed Smith’s exit, and would presumably let Moffat finish up any narrative bucket-list items he hadn’t gotten around to during the Smith years, or which didn’t lend themselves to Smith’s type of Doctor. After all, Moffat just figured out a way to get around the regeneration limit and set the show up for decades to come. It’s not hard to imagine that he might think it’s time for a brief victory lap before moving on.
If the rumor is true, it raises one other question: do they already have the next, post-Capaldi Doctor cast? That’s the sort of big twist that Moffat has excelled at during his Who tenure, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him pull another one on us on his way out the door. And since everybody would generally assume that Capaldi will be around for a few seasons, that might help distract people from the fact that the stage is being set to meet the Thirteenth Doctor far sooner than anybody expected.
Of course, it could all be hogwash. And honestly, I’d be a little disappointed to only get one season’s worth of adventures from Capaldi’s Doctor. What do you think?