During Comic-Con International in San Diego, the cast of Doctor Who took a well-deserved victory lap at a rousing panel, where cheers and tears flowed freely as fans celebrated Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Michelle Gomez, and Matt Lucas. But with their exit, comes the promise of a new era and a Thirteenth Doctor, played by the first woman to win the iconic role, Jodie Whittaker.
Before the big panel, CBR sat down for a series of round table interviews with the whole lot, and had them weigh in on Whittaker’s casting, and the coming of the first female Doctor.
First up was Capaldi, who sported dark Ray Bans, a black suit, and big grey curls, seeming every bit the beloved Twelfth Doctor as he took to our table. After talking the upcoming Christmas special and his personal highlights of starring in Doctor Who, he told us what he said to Whittaker once her casting had been announced. “Congratulations! What a wonderful choice, and how brilliant. You’ll have a great time.”
Capaldi went on to share that he and Whittaker are neighbors, making for some complicated could-have-been run-ins. “Actually, she lives very close to me,” he explained. “I didn’t know that, because I’d never met her before. She said she’d been to numerous cafes and restaurants in our area while I was in there, and hadn’t come to say hello because she couldn’t, because she knew she was going to be the new Doctor Who.” And Time Lord forbid that top-secret news got tipped by a friendly chat at a cafe!
As for Capaldi’s onscreen companion, Mackie was enthusiastic and succinct, saying, “I’m excited man, yeah. I think Jodie’s going to be amazing.”
Paired for their interview, Lucas and Gomez were asked if the latter’s fiercely feminine take on The Master might have paved the way for Whittaker. Ever the funnyman, Lucas joked, “I think she set it back.”
For her part, Gomez, who became a fast fan favorite as the malicious Mary Poppins-like Missy, was humble, saying, “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to answer that. I think Matt has answered that for us.”
Addressing the controversy over gender-swapping the extraterrestrial, shape-shifting hero, Lucas added, “It’s an odd thing. As soon as you hear there’s a female Doctor, you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah. Why is that the first time?'”
Gomez scoffed at the slight backlash, saying, “Why can’t you have a female Doctor?” Speaking to her thoughts on Whittaker specifically, she offered, “I’m really excited for Jodie, because I know first hand how amazing she is and what an incredible actress she is. I think it’s going to be a brilliant shake up. I’m happy for her.”
Lucas lampooned the outraged reactions by joking, “I was a bit disappointed. I don’t know why they have to cast a human as The Doctor. It’s tokenism.”
But he got serious as a long-time fan of the show, saying “Everyone who has played the Doctor has been brilliant. So there’s never been a Doctor where you think, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t have been the Doctor.’ And I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will be the same. They’ve always gotten it right, haven’t they? There’s never been a bad Doctor.”
Whittaker will take the mantle of Doctor Who in the holiday special, “Twice Upon A Time.”
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