Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker Turn In The Keys To The TARDIS
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Doctor Who Star Jodie Whittaker and Showrunner Chris Chibnall Will Depart The TARDIS In 2022

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BY August 9, 2021

Fresh off the teaser trailer for the upcoming season of Doctor Who, we have news that this will be the last season for star Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall. According to Chibnall, this may have been the plan all along. Chibnall and Whittaker will depart Doctor Who next year, after a trio of special episodes. Their three seasons together on air have drastically altered the landscape of the long-running sci-fi series for the BBC. According to Chibnall:  “Jodie and I made a ‘three series and out’ pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we’re handing back the TARDIS keys.”

Chris Chibnall and Jodie Whittaker Turn In The Keys To The TARDIS

doctor who new year's day special Chibnall Whittaker Depart Image via BBC

Chris Chibnall took over as showrunner for Doctor Who in 2017, after the departure of long-time showrunner Steven Moffat. He made the groundbreaking decision to cast Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor. She was the first woman to assume the mantle of the Doctor in the history of the series. Throughout her run as the Doctor, Whittaker has brought humor, sensitivity, warmth, and savvy to the role. The Doctor grew in emotional depths as she learned a great deal about her own identity, origins, and how to be part of a family. She was a great Doctor, and we’ll be sorry to see her go

“Jodie’s magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations.” Chibnall said in a statement. “She’s been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can’t imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor – so I’m not going to!

Jodie Whittaker Will Carry The Doctor With Her “Forever”

Doctor Who Chibnall Whittaker Depart Jodie Whitaker as the Doctor | Image via BBC

Whittaker also added a statement about what she learned from her time as the Doctor. The actress has been extremely vocal about her love of the role over the years. She definitely did not have the easiest time as the Doctor, with “fans” critiquing her every move. But it is clear that she was always excited to be part of the show, and her incarnation opened up a new world for Doctor.

“In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them. My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories.

We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express what this role has given me, I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I’ve learnt forever. I know change can be scary and none of us know what’s out there. That’s why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly.”

Chibnall Added Much To Doctor Who Lore During His Tenure

Doctor Who / The Master Image via BBC

Chibnall also made several notable changes to Doctor Who lore as his time heading the series. Not only did he bring in the first female Doctor, but he also introduced another variant of the Doctor with the mysterious character of Ruth, a forgotten incarnation of the Time Lord. That character still has yet to be fully explained or explored, and we hope that this mystery can be resolved before the end of Chibnall’s run. The showrunner also introduced some new mythology for the Time Lords with the introduction of the ‘Timeless Child’ that culminated in last season’s dramatic finale. Of course we cannot forget the memorable new incarnation of The Master that appeared during Chibnall’s run, as portrayed by Sacha Dhawan. We can only hope that Dhawan will stick around for future Doctor Who seasons after Chibnall and Whittaker depart the show.

“For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivalled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career.” Chris Chibnall says. “I’m so proud of the people we’ve worked with and the stories we’ve told. To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus. It’s great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor’s story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC’s centenary celebrations. I wish our successors – whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose – as much fun as we’ve had. They’re in for a treat!”

The Next Season of Doctor Who Will Feel A Bit Different

Gallifrey Gallifrey Pre-Destruction | Image via BBC

The upcoming season of Doctor Who will be truncated due to pandemic restrictions. The six-episode series is tentatively scheduled to air in the Fall, probably leading up to a New Year’s Day special. We also know that Chibnall is trying something different for his final full season. Instead of standalone episodes, the upcoming season of Doctor Who will be one long story with episodic chapters. We have a new companion joining the TARDIS in John Bishop’s character of Dan.  Of course we will also see the return of Yaz (Mandip Gill) who is the last of Whittaker’s original companion fam. And all three will be joined by a new character next season, with GOT alum Jacob Anderson playing a character named Vinder.

Next season’s story will likely transition into the final episodes of the Whittaker and Chibnall run before they depart Doctor Who. According to the BBC, there are two Doctor Who specials planned for 2022. And it will all culminate in one final feature-length episode where the Doctor will regenerate once more. This final episode will be part of the BBC’s

After the first female Doctor, we can only speculate on what direction the show will take next, and who the next incarnation of the Doctor will be.  A new showrunner must of course be hired first. And you know we’ll be keeping an eye on who will enter the TARDIS next.

To  stay up to date on all of the latest news, be sure to follow Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today!


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Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.

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