With the recent departure of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) from Doctor Who and the announcement that showrunner Steven Moffat would be stepping away from the series after 2017, fans of the show have begun to speculate who might replace Clara and travel through space and time alongside the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi).
Here, we’ve looked at a few different actors and actresses we think could step into the TARDIS alongside him. One of Doctor Who's best qualities is they way it incorporates regeneration and reimagination into the fabric of the show itself, which helps it from ever feeling like a retread of itself.
Without further ado, here are 12 Actors Who Could Be The Next Doctor Who Companion.
12 Kelly Macdonald
Now known for her role as the voice of Merida in Disney’s Brave, Kelly Macdonald would be an ideal fit as the next Doctor Who companion. Macdonald has proved throughout her array of roles (from the acclaimed drama Boardwalk Empire to the fluffy romantic comedy The Decoy Bride) that she has not only the range, but also the charisma and energy that it would take to play a companion.
Since the departure of Amy Pond (Karen Gillan), there has yet to be a witty Scottish companion in the TARDIS. With Capaldi at the helm, Macdonald’s rapid-fire delivery and her subtle but powerful dramatic work would be an ideal fit for Doctor Who. She would complement Capaldi’s often dark Doctor with a little bit of optimism and perspective (and maybe even match his Scottish sass).
11 John Barrowman
John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness hasn’t been seen on Doctor Who in quite some time, though he held his own on the Who spinoff Torchwood for four seasons. With Malcolm Merlyn’s villainous trajectory resurfacing and intensifying these days on Arrow, perhaps an end is near for the Dark Archer. Barrowman’s character being killed off on Arrow could open up the possibility for him to return to the long-running sci-fi series.
Imagine the sassiness of Captain Jack playing off the gruffness of Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor. In addition to the potential for laughs and jokes, Barrowman is a seasoned Doctor Who veteran, so his integration as a companion would be welcomed by a majority of fans. Captain Jack’s reappearance would provide a much-needed tonal shift from the heaviness and moral dilemmas that Twelve faced in the previous year. A male companion might be non-traditional, but it's not unprecedented. Barrowman would fill this role nicely.
10 Lenora Crichlow
Recently featured as a supporting character in ABC’s canceled comedy Back in the Game, Lenora Crinchlow is the kind of actress who brings dry wit and humor to her roles. Apart from the fact that she is funny, Crichlow’s role on Being Human proved that she has what it takes to match Capaldi’s dramatic work.
Plus, if the Doctor Who writers wanted to become meta (yet again), Crinchlow – like Capaldi – has already appeared in a prior episode of the series as a one-off character in “Gridlock.” Doctor Who has made efforts within the past few years to become more diverse with its cast and characters, and Crinchlow’s inclusion as a companion would certainly be welcomed.
9 Matthew Lewis
Would Doctor Who really be what it is if there weren’t elements and actors that crossed over with the Harry Potter series? Integrating well-known and beloved faces would potentially help Doctor Who expand its already large audience. Since Harry Potter, Matthew Lewis has developed from his meek counterpart Neville into the beloved young actor he is today. Lewis has had recurring roles recently in television and would be a perfect fit for a full-time companion.
Though having a male Doctor and male companion might seem a bit odd, it would work if it was the right actor. If Lewis could bring the same kind of endearing and believable charm to the role of companion that he brought to Neville, audiences would respond well. The key component in a companion is that they are meant to be a counterpart for the Doctor, and not to steal the show. Lewis would be the perfect actor for this and his personality could help tether Twelve to humanity.
8 Eleanor Tomlinson
Eleanor Tomlinson is known for a variety of roles, most recently that of Georgiana Darcy in the BBC Miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley and currently as Demelza Poldark in Poldark. Still relatively young and establishing her place in the British acting world, a companion role on Doctor Who would serve not only to bring awareness to her talent, but also help guide her in refining her skills.
Tomlinson’s sweet, young and endearing nature would allow audiences to relate to her and set her up to become a fan favorite. But much like Rose Tyler (Billie Piper), youth would give younger Whovians a reason to connect with her and be impressed by the talent she brings to the role. Tomlinson would play off Capaldi’s Doctor extremely well.
7 Bonnie Wright
Continuing with the theme of Harry Potter actors assuming roles as companions, Bonnie Wright (best known for her role as Ginny Weasley in the film franchise) could assume the role as companion rather well. Ginny Weasley was sidelined quite a bit in the movie versions of Harry Potter, but Wright still managed to bring a quiet intensity and heroism to the youngest Weasley.
She would be able to bring the same to her role on Doctor Who as an unassuming companion who impresses the Twelfth Doctor. Though Jenna Coleman was young, Bonnie Wright is a few years younger and it might work nice to have a companion on the series who is treated more by the writers as a daughter-figure for the Doctor rather than a love interest. With Wright’s sweetness, charisma, and charm, she and Peter Capaldi could be a great match.
6 Elle Fanning
Elle Fanning is not a British actress, but with more and more American actors transitioning into British television and miniseries (and vice versa, for that matter), it seems plausible that the right American actor could play a Doctor Who companion. The emphasis, of course, is on the word “right.” And Fanning has begun to gain popularity and acclaim in recent years, stepping out of her older sister Dakota’s shadows and earning her place in Hollywood (most recently with her role as Aurora in Maleficent).
Fanning’s still quite young and developing her niche, but a role as companion alongside someone as experienced as Capaldi would be a great way for her to boost her recognition and explore her talent.
5 Tom Mison
Given the fact that his FOX show Sleepy Hollow has moved to Fridays and probably won’t be renewed for another season, Tom Mison could be the perfect counterpart to Peter Capaldi’s snarky, rapid-fire Doctor. Though companions are supposed to be the ones bringing out the humanity of the Doctor, Mison would have the ability to match Capaldi in wit and trade barbs. In a way, it could be more interesting to see Twelve struggle with the assimilation of a partner who matches him in intellect, rather than someone he can order around.
Mison’s inherent likability and charm would draw in Sleepy Hollow’s fans – especially Americans – who might not have seen the show otherwise. Even though Clara Oswald was a teacher, perhaps Mison’s companion would be an English professor with snark and sass aplenty. Imagine the fun!
4 Lily James
Lily James already has ties to one Doctor – boyfriend Matt Smith – and introducing her as a companion seems like the next best step. Moreover, James has begun to rise in fame and popularity within the last few years, nabbing lead roles in the film adaptations of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as a prominent role on Downton Abbey.
With more and more people becoming aware of her talent, a companion role in this sci-fi series could help her even more. Apart from the fact that James is beautiful and talented, she has also proven that she is versatile – playing both a princess and a zombie-slaying lead female with ease. James would be a natural fit in the world of Doctor Who, where the role as companion requires an actor or actress to navigate many different time periods and plots within the course of a season.
3 Rose Leslie
Best known for her role as Ygritte on Game of Thrones, Rose Leslie brought a fiery passion to her character and would be able to do so as well on Doctor Who. But Leslie’s best quality is her ability to transition between playing fierce, abrasive, domineering characters in one television show and then portraying quiet and sweet roles, like her character Gwen Dawson on Downton Abbey, in others shows.
Leslie’s ability to easily navigate the layers and complexities of her character would be ideal in her role as a companion where the show would likely necessitate such dramatic shifts. Leslie’s passion for her craft and the characters she plays would allow her the chance to shine on Doctor Who.
2 Mathew Baynton
It might seem odd for someone as known for comedy as Matthew Baynton to be listed here, but with the tone of the past few seasons of Doctor Who skewing heavily into drama (and complex drama, at that), it would be interesting to integrate a companion who doesn’t necessarily take time-travel as seriously as Twelve has lately.
Though Capaldi excels at dramatic moments and brings the kind of deep intensity needed for this series, it is also clear that Capaldi takes a great deal of joy in playing the humorous side of Twelve. Prior to Who, Capaldi was also known for playing the filthy-mouthed Malcolm Tucker in The Thick Of It, so perhaps he needs someone to help bring that side out of him.
1 Rupert Grint
Honestly, we should just ask why anyone wouldn't want Rupert Grint to play the next Doctor Who companion. He’s proven throughout his variety of roles, including both Harry Potter and what came after, that he can excel at the kind of self-deprecating and deadpanned humor that would pair well with Capaldi’s Doctor. Furthermore, Grint is a master of portraying exasperated and disbelieving characters.
Not only does Grint have a passionate fanbase, but his charm and likability would draw in non-Harry Potter fans as well. Should Capaldi’s Twelve be introduced to a younger, more exuberant male companion, it might provide an interesting story and purpose for the Doctor – to become a mentor and protector. It’s been a long time since the Doctor has had a male aboard the TARDIS as a companion, and the Eleventh Doctor's (Matt Smith) bond with Rory Williams was one of the highlights of the series. Should a younger male return to the TARDIS once more, it could easily be someone like Rupert Grint.
Who do you think could (or should) step into the TARDIS alongside Peter Capaldi?