We know that Peter Capaldi will be back as the lead in Doctor Who through season 9, but as a show about continual rebirth and reinvention, there is always an eye on the future. And like it or not, love the idea or hate it, there is still talk that a future incarnation of the venerable Time Lord may be a woman. That’s not going to go away anytime soon, as Capaldi, Steven Moffat, and Michelle Gomez have all recently chimed in on the subject.
Just a head’s up, there may be some minor spoilers beyond this point if you’re not current on Doctor Who.
The idea of a female Doctor is not new by any means, as it comes up, much to the chagrin of many fans, whenever the protagonist is reborn and the role recast. This time, however, the topic isn’t even waiting for that, and the latest round of discussion comes hot on the heels of a notable gender swap in the Doctor Who universe. The Master is one of the Doctor’s long-standing enemies (at least as far as I understand it), but recently made the transition from male to female, and is now known as the Mistress (Gomez), or Missy for short.
This sets a precedent for a possible female Doctor. The Master was a renegade Time Lord, and if he can be resurrected as a she, it certainly makes it plausible that the same could happen to the Doctor. Moffat says, “No-one says you can’t [have a female Doctor]. It’s actually only since I took over the show that we have said it’s actually possible within the logic of the show.”
The Missy situation isn’t even the first time this has come up within the show, as Moffat has planted the idea before. He continues, “The very first lines I wrote were Matt Smith checking if he had become a girl and then I put some dialogue in ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ about it and in ‘Night of the Doctor.’”
As surprised as many were by the Master becoming Missy, one key player definitely wasn’t, the Doctor. Moffat says, “And now of course we have had the female Master, with the Doctor not reacting to that fact at all. He doesn’t seem to register the fact that his old friend is now a woman. So obviously, he doesn’t think it’s a remarkable thing to happen. We must assume that gender is quite fluid on Gallifrey.”
For his part, Capaldi throws in his two cents, saying:
There easily could be a female Doctor. I think the next time might be a female Doctor. I don’t see why not. I think it’s good to do that. I think with Missy that was just a great idea. You wanted to keep it a surprise and that was the best way to do it, but yes, it does suggest all kinds of interesting stuff. They have a total love/hate relationship anyway but they were both men for a long time, and still have that love-hate relationship, and we will see more of that probably. It’s interesting, being able to swap like that. I think it’s good.
While she helped spark this latest round of debates, Gomez would rather not talk about the matter at this time, thinking it’s a bit disrespectful to the current regime. She says, “I don’t think now is the time to talk about it. I think it’s in poor taste to discuss having any new Doctor, when we have just been delivered one of the finest performances by Peter Capaldi.”