CAUTION: SPOILERS for the most recent episode of Doctor Who.
Here’s our first look at Ncuti Gatwa as the new Doctor in Doctor Who!
On Sunday, October 23, the BBC’s long-running Doctor Who series saw a major change with a familiar face. Jodie Whittaker, playing the 13th Doctor, regenerated into… David Tennant?!?! And not Ncuti Gatwa!?! But what about our, reportedly, first gay Doctor?
But first, here’s a little catch-up for those who haven’t watched the show before. Doctor Who is a sci-fi series that started off as a kids’ program in 1963. The show, however, has evolved into a series for all ages and now mostly has adult fans.
The series follows an alien with a human appearance titled the Doctor. The Doctor travels through time and space in their ship called the Tardis. When the Doctor is gravely wounded, or their actor decides to move onto other projects, the Doctor regenerates and gains a new face and personality.
But, again, when Whittaker’s Doctor took their last breath on screen, she was replaced with an actor of the past. David Tennant, who played the 10th iteration of the character, has reappeared to be the 14th Doctor.
Part of this was a surprise, but Tennant’s return wasn’t. It’d been reported months ago that he and his former co-star Catherine Tate would reprise their roles for the show’s 60th anniversary. The BBC later confirmed that the two will only appear for three special episodes. From there, Gatwa will take on the role of the 15th Doctor.
Doctor Who showrunner Russell T. Davies also confirmed this by saying recently, according to BBC:
“If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way. The path to Ncuti’s 15th Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun. And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble? How, what, why? We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose.”
So this Tennant reveal is mostly that… a reveal and good tv. By the end of those three special episodes, we’ll probably be introduced to Gatwa in the role. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t get to see him. First look pictures of Ncuti Gatwa, David Tennant, Catherine Tate, and Neil Patrick Harris, who’s playing the villain, were dropped.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) October 23, 2022
Speaking of Neil Patrick Harris, it was him that started the rumor that Gatwa would be the first gay Doctor.
His full quote from August goes as follows:
“Ncuti, who’s becoming the new Doctor, I got to meet and interact with him a bit and he’s glorious,” Harris said. “He’ll be the first gay Doctor, which is going to be super cool, a sexier Doctor. And I’m excited.”
But, Harris never clarified the comment. So, we don’t know if he meant the character or the actor. He could have meant the character. After all, previous seasons have seen the Doctor show interest in his female traveling companions. Why not his male ones too? And the show has had several queer characters before.
But, Harris might have assumed something about Ncuti Gatwa’s sexuality. Gatwa, however, has never publicly commented on his sexual orientation.
— Doctor Who (@bbcdoctorwho) October 25, 2022
No matter what, though, the new season will have queer representation. Heartstopper star Yasmin Finney has been cast in the show as a trans character named Rose.
But we still have some time before we will get to see Gatwa’s Doctor and Finney’s Rose. Tennant and Tate will have the reigns, however, during the special episodes this November. The show will then return sometime, on BBC in the UK and Disney+ everywhere else, next year to fully introduce us to our new Doctor and his companion.