Matt Smith has declared himself open to a Doctor Who return in the future, albeit not for a few years. Smith portrayed the eleventh incarnation of the titular renegade Time Lord, taking over from the immensely popular David Tennant, and was accompanied by companions Amy Pond and Clara Oswald during his tenure. Despite entering the TARDIS as a largely unknown actor, Matt Smith quickly won over Who fans and helped grow the iconic TV show's worldwide profile. He was replaced by Peter Capaldi in 2013 who, in turn, is set to regenerate into Jodie Whittaker this Christmas.
Although losing a Doctor is never an easy experience, Doctor Who has a long and rich tradition of bringing former incarnations of its hero back to the show thanks to timey-wimey meddling. Stories such as The Three Doctors and The Five Doctors assembled multiple versions of the character to fight a single enemy and this format was given a modern update with the 50th anniversary special episode The Day of the Doctor which featured Smith and Tennant alongside the newly revealed War Doctor, played by the legendary John Hurt.
Interestingly, it appears that Matt Smith is very much open to being a returning face himself one day. Speaking with MTV whilst on promotional duty for The Crown, Smith was asked about a potential return to the TARDIS, to which the actor replied:
“Why not? I’d come back. Yeah, you know, if the timing was right. I think we’ve got to give a few years to Miss Whittaker to sort of get the TARDIS under her belt, as it were, and then yeah, one day. Look, I'll be back one day when I'm old and gray...which isn't far off.”
Smith's comments will come as welcome news to fans of his Eleventh Doctor, as not every actor associated with the role has been willing to reprise it. Tom Baker chose not to appear in 1983's The Five Doctors, forcing unused stock footage of his Doctor to be included in the episode. In more modern times, Christopher Eccleston reportedly turned down the chance to appear in The Day of the Doctor as the Ninth version of the Time Lord due to issues with the BBC. As such, Smith's definitive response perhaps smooths the way for a potential multi-Doctor story further down the line.
With that said, it's possible that Matt Smith could return to Doctor Who in a somewhat less significant role. For example, The Day of the Doctor also included a fan-pleasing cameo from Tom Baker in the mysterious guise of "The Curator." The appearance was a fantastic nod to Doctor Who's prestigious history but was essentially just a cameo and made little sense in terms of the actual story. Although Smith sounds reasonably certain that he'll be appearing in Doctor Who again, only time will tell whether it'll be a full reprisal of his character or merely a brief reference to the show's past.
The Doctor Who Christmas special airs December 25th on BBC.