The latest trailer for the upcoming season 11 of BBC's Doctor Who features Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) literally breaking a glass ceiling. While many fans are excited about the new series, some of the negative response has stemmed from objections to a female actor taking on the traditionally male role. With today's teaser, the show and Whittaker have issued a clear response.
Since the show began in 1963, the Doctor has been portrayed by 13 different men, making Whittaker the first women to take over, following Peter Capaldi's departure in last year's Christmas special. Doctor Who fans have since been preparing for big changes, as Steven Moffat, the showrunner since Matt Smith took the lead in 2010, will be replaced by Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall. Previous trailers have also revealed that three regular companions will be joining the Doctor aboard the TARDIS, instead of one. The new series is set to premiere next month.
BBC America published the 20-second teaser to its official Twitter this morning with caption: "The Doctor’s ready. Are you?" As a broken stained-glass ceiling rains down on Whittaker in the middle of a massive cathedral, she nonchalantly utters, "Whoops." Check out the full trailer below:
The glib smile Whittaker cracks at the end, combined with the soundtrack use of Macklemore's "Glorious," affirms that the show is going to actively celebrate, rather than shy away from its casting decision. BBC America also released the trailer to YouTube under the title "It's About Time," and Whittaker herself was very vocal about taking on the role in a recent interview with Marie Claire, stating: "I recently had someone ask me, ‘Are you playing it [the Doctor] as a girl or a boy?’ I replied, ‘I’m just playing it.’ This is the most freeing role because there are no rules."
Whittaker may be referring to the fact that objecting to the Doctor's gender-swap as bending the rules isn't warranted. Doctor Who canon has pre-established that this occurs in Time Lord regenerations. Season 10 of the show brought on Michelle Gomez as Missy (aka the Master) as the adversarial Time Lord, who up until then had been played by a male actor. Whittaker isn't the only women to be received poorly by some sci-fi fans for taking a lead role. Star Wars actress Kelly Marie Tran reportedly left social media due to harassment, following the release of The Last Jedi. She has since discussed the importance of standing against online bullying.
As the Doctor returns this Fall, a lot of opportunities to explore complex character dynamics are in view. With a cast of three companions potentially making a new sort of family, fans may see a lighthearted tone that's been absent from the series for some time. The adventures may lead to a destination that the TARDIS has never travelled to before.
Doctor Who season 11 premieres Sunday, October 7th on BBC One and BBC America.
Source: BBC America