If there’s one television show that has gotten away with more cast changes than any other, it’s hard to argue that the award would go to the long-running BBC show Doctor Who. Of course, narratively it’s always made sense because main character the Doctor possesses the unique ability to regenerate to a new form when close to death. As fans recently learned, current Doctor Peter Capaldi announced that the upcoming tenth season would be his final outing as the character. Naturally, this means a regeneration is in order to bring in a new actor, which will mark the 13th incarnation of the character (fourteen if the late John Hurt’s War Doctor is included) since the show’s premiere in 1963.
There’s been a ton of speculation as to who could replace Capaldi in Doctor Who, ranging from calls for the show to finally break tradition and cast a female in the role to Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint. And while there’s still no news as of now, new information suggests that Ben Whishaw is at the top of the list of considerations to take up the role of the Doctor.
According to EW, Whishaw has topped U.K. bookmakers William Hill’s list of favorites to replace Capaldi on Doctor Who, coming in at 6/1 odds. Others on the list include the aforementioned Grint – who sits at 8/1 odds – as well as Billie Piper (20/1), who starred as the Doctor’s companion back when the show relaunched in 2005 after a near 10-year hiatus.
Naturally, this is in no way a declaration that Whishaw has been officially cast in the role, but his name has certainly been brought up before when talking about potential actors for the Doctor role. The actor, who’s become well-known as Q in the Daniel Craig-era Bond films, certainly has all of the defining traits to be successful on Doctor Who. Not only that, but at 36-years-old, Whishaw is youthful enough to hopefully stick around for a while assuming he gets the role.
Capaldi himself has endorsed a female replacement, however, and many fans have been clamoring to see a woman Doctor for quite some time. With Chris Chibnall taking over showrunning duties from Steven Moffat after season 10, he may indeed want to shake things up and make his mark early by doing something unexpected like casting a woman in the lead for Doctor Who. The likelihood of that happening, however, seems rather remote and more than likely Whishaw or even Grint will end up as the next Doctor. More than anything, BBC will probably want the transition of power between Moffat and Chibnall to go smoothly, so casting Whishaw or someone comparable seems like the safest bet at the moment.
Doctor Who returns with its season 10 starting April 15, 2017 on BBC.