Cock your eyebrows, reverse the polarity, and run—the Doctor is regenerating. Even though it feels as though we're still getting to know the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi has decided to hang up his frock and hand his very-new sonic screwdriver over to somebody else (however, we imagine he'll want to hang onto his shades). So, as we welcome a new companion into the TARDIS in the upcoming 10th season of the show, we'll have to wave goodbye to our dear Doctor.
However, any Whovian is well aware that once any version of the Doctor regenerates (sad as it may be), goodbyes are quickly met with hellos. The thing is, as of now, no one's entirely sure who exactly we'll be addressing when we say hello. Yes, it'll be the 13th Doctor (that much is obvious), but there has since been no reveal from BBC as to which actor will be piloting the TARDIS from here on out. So, while we'll naturally accept the casting with open arms, there's no harm in putting on our speculation hats for the time being. Keep reading to discover 15 actors who could totally replace Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who.
15 Harry Lloyd
Before you write this fellow off simply because you hated him in Game of Thrones and couldn't stand him in, well, Doctor Who, of all shows, Harry Lloyd really isn't such a poor choice to consider as Peter Capaldi's successor. Not only has the BBC been known to cast actors who have previously shown up on Doctor Who as the Doctor himself, this is an actor who's proven considerable range, even though he's still a bit on the younger spectrum.
Whether you like it or not, you better believe that BBC is going to look for a younger Doctor this go around (what with coaxing in a larger crowd with some visual confection). So, really, someone around Lloyd's age doesn't seem so far off. Can he finally redeem himself in the Whoniverse? That remains to be seen, but there's no reason why he shouldn't at least deserve a shot.
14 Anthony Head
There are two unequivocal facts in this world: everyone wanted Mr. Feeny as their teacher and everyone wanted Giles as their librarian. Sadly, seeing as they're both fictional characters, neither of these were possible. However, if we're lucky, there's a solid chance we could potentially land one of them as our primary physician...
Anthony Head has already proven that he not only works well with others, but is proficient in monster lore. So we're already in safe hands in terms of hitting things off with a companion and battling Daleks and the like. Also, he was missing from the Entertainment Weekly Buffy the Vampire Slayer photo shoot—so, could he have been preparing for season 11 of Doctor Who? Probably not, but there's no harm in dreaming.
13 Richard Ayoade
A new showrunner means new blood, and new blood means a radical shift in tone. Yes, it'll still be Doctor Who as we know and love it, but with Steven Moffat handing over the reins to Chris Chibnall, expect some new flavors (as in, the possibility of some heightened comedic flair). Okay, so Chibnall's Broadchurch is hardly a lesson in comedy, but still, he's going to be shaking things up all the same. What better way to ring in a new era of Doctor Who than with the comedic ingenuity unique only to someone like Richard Ayoade?
You might say that Ayoade's career has been naturally leading up to a role like this. He's proven he's got the acting chops, everyone who knows and works with him explains their love for him, and he's shown to be as equally quirky as he is relatable. When it comes to Time Lords, that's a recipe for perfection if there ever was one.
12 Eddie Marsan
When you're casting an eclectically mad, but also lovable alien time traveler, you need one thing above all others: range. So, really, why look any further than Eddie Marsan? He may not seem like your typical leading man, but neither is the Doctor. With someone like Marsan helming the TARDIS, you're certainly not getting what'd be expected, but that's the beauty in casting him. He's an exceptional sort of dark horse.
Marsan balances a wonderful mix of sensitivity and intensity, and if you want someone trying to depict a wandering alien with two hearts and a penchant for adventure, then it's him. Not only could he act like the Doctor, he kind of looks like a legitimate doctor. Like, the kind you go to when you need a checkup. There's something sort of comforting about that.
11 Andrew Buchan
When it comes to telling stories, the common knowledge is to write what you know. And as it just so happens, this is no different when you’re the upcoming showrunner on a show like Doctor Who. So, with Chris Chibnall coming aboard, we shouldn’t put it past him to bring along the likes of people he’s already worked with. Had David Tennant never played the Doctor, then we'd certainly be referring to him as well, but seeing as that's not the case, that leaves us with yet another strapping fellow in the form of Andrew Buchan.
While he sort of comes across like typical everyday man, Buchan packs a punch to the gut. Honestly, if you’ve seen him in Broadchurch and weren’t brought to tears by his performance, you'll want to search the local lost-and-found for your soul. Buchan would bring an interesting sort of depth to the Doctor, giving audiences a level of pathos we fans have come to expect; only in this case, it might be some of the best we’ve ever seen.
10 Kris Marshall
Whenever an actor is casted as the Doctor, the general response from fans is usually, “Well, yeah, of course he’s the Doctor,” because it just seems like such a natural fit. Somehow, BBC just understands the Doctor formula with such ridiculous precision—and this is very much the case for Kris Marshall. He’s a familiar enough face for fans outside of the UK, (we all love/hated him in Love Actually), and his filmography has consisted of a series of roles that have more or less led him to Gallifrey.
With every Doctor, we need a unique energy brought into the mix, and Marshall has energy to spare. He would certainly embody a zanier, somewhat sillier version of the Doctor, but maybe that’s what we need to contrast the foreboding qualities that Peter Capaldi brought to the character. Paired with Pearl Mackie’s, Bill (assuming she lasts her first season), the TARDIS would be an eccentric madhouse in the absolute best way possible.
9 Amanda Abbington
Assuming that Amanda Abbington isn’t solely a Steven Moffat loyalist, we could very well have a firecracker of a Doctor in the 11th season. In Sherlock, she played a supporting role to our heroes, but in a role like the Doctor, she could seriously lead.
Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, yes, we’re all aware that she’s got two X chromosomes. That being said, though, for the sake of the fact that it’s 2017, let’s just make this a non-issue and move on, shall we? Okay. Now. Back to why she’d make a spectacular Doctor…
From what we’ve seen in Sherlock alone, Abbington has proven that she’s got some solid control of her balancing between humor, drama, and the ability to act like a total, freaking badass. For the Doctor, these are perfect ingredients. She’s proven that she’s absolutely capable of standing out, even when she’s only taking up a short amount of time on screen. So just imagine what she could do in the title role.
8 Alfie Allen
What we'd all love to see is Alfie Allen get a break for once in a British television show. If you're a Game of Thrones fan, then you know perfectly well why. He's had a rough time in Westeros, but in the TARDIS? We'd no doubt see a side of him that, at the very least, brings out a genuine smile. Alfie Allen has this quirky, borderline awkward build to him, and that quirkiness applies just as much to his physique as it does to his personality. With a sonic screwdriver in hand and a more encouraging direction to take a character, Allen may very well be the perfect sort of actor to fill the Doctor's shoes. If nothing else, it'd certainly be a much "meatier" role by comparison (okay, enough of that).
What could be great about casting someone like Allen in the role of the Doctor, is what his presence could do for the show's ratings. While Doctor Who should never give in to selling out, the show can't survive on high hopes alone. Introducing a new audience to the show (we're looking at you, GoT fans) could do wonders for the future of Who.
7 John Hannah
We're just going to come right out and say it: yes, this is the guy from The Mummy, and no, we don't think we've seen him in anything else, either. That being said, that's not to say he hasn't been keeping busy. John Hannah had this sort of under-the-radar maturation in the entertainment industry. He's one of those "Oh, that guy" actors. But whether you've been following him or not, Hannah's hardly been taking it easy over the years, and it's at this point in his humble career that a go at the TARDIS might be the best thing that's ever happened to him—or to the Whovians, really.
We've seen him run. We've seen him crack jokes. We've seen the guy balance silliness with horror and emotional fatigue, and shifting his attention to Cybermen could very well be the best choice he's ever made in his career. Maybe we'll finally be at a point where he'll no longer be "the guy from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" or "the guy from Spartacus" or again, "the guy from The Mummy," but simply as the Doctor. And there's something sort of fitting about that.
6 Daniel Kaluuya
Okay, so out of all the actors on this list, Daniel Kaluuya is definitely the wild card. A few months ago, this wouldn't have been the case, but ever since Get Out broke records, raking in over $160,000,000 at the U.S. box office, chances are the only screen we'll be seeing him on is the silver one. Kaluuya's going to be the next big box office star—just you watch. However, there's still a chance that this former Skins star might be inclined to travel back to his roots, to don a second heart as the Gallifreyan madman to really show audiences that Doctor Who certainly isn't just a role any actor could say no to.
God, in the TARDIS, Kaluuya would be a force to be reckoned with. He'd certainly be a young Doctor, but that's hardly been a sign of failure in the past (hello, Matt Smith and David Tennant). He would absolutely channel a modern sort of energy to the Doctor, with exactly the sort of punch-packing enthusiasm one would hope for in the 13th version of the Doctor (and yes, we understand that there are technically more than thirteen, but let's not get into semantics).
5 Rhys Ifans
Honestly, Xenophilius Lovegood may as well have been playing the Doctor in the Deathly Hallow films. Well, if the Doctor had a history with psychedelics, at least. He was bizarre, colorful, clever, a bit mad, but lovable—and that's only in that one role. Throughout his filmography, Ifans has played his fair share of mad, but lovable characters, so it almost seems natural that he'd of course play the Doctor at least some point in his career.
In the TARDIS, we need someone who seems seasoned in their eccentricities. We don't want someone stepping into the role without feeling as though they've truly explored the absolute limits of their charismatic madness. Ifans is absolutely someone who can pull that off. We've seen him prove himself time and time again. So, really, it feels like it's only a matter of time before we see his take on the Doctor.
4 Olivia Colman
Here's a name that's been dropping around the regeneration water cooler for quite a bit of time now. Like Buchan, she's also one of the leads on Chris Chibnall's Broadchurch, so he'll certainly know what he's getting with someone like Colman. But, apart from the Chibnall connection, Colman's an actress who more or less deserves this role. She's got grip and dignity, with a sprinkle of quirk and a solid hint of "more where that came from." Right now, when it comes to people talking about who should take over for Capaldi, it's Colman, and for good reason.
First appearing on Doctor Who in Matt Smith's first full episode, Colman's already got her foot in the door. She's got a commanding presence, softened slightly by a deep vulnerability. For the Doctor, that's perfect. She's got a matter-of-factness in her delivery and presentation, so in a role that requires full authority of any given life or death situation, that's more than just a little vital.
3 Kenneth Branagh
Going from film to television seems like a step down for an actor, but only on paper. However, that's hardly the case. These days, film is kind of standing in the shadow of television, and the same kind of effort that's put into cinema is being put into television. Which, really, is a gift to everyone agreeing that movie theaters are more or less thieves nowadays. With that being said, is it really so odd that someone like Kenneth Branagh would laugh at the idea of playing the Doctor?
If anything, playing the Doctor at this point in his career couldn't be a better move for Branagh. Having focused more on his directorial career than acting (he's directed Thor, Cinderella, and more than a handful of Shakespeare adaptations), it's entirely possible he might sneak in a couple of seasons. Then again, he's got some solid pictures in the works, like Murder on the Orient Express and Artemis Fowl, so maybe this is nothing more than a pipe dream. But still...is there any harm in high hopes?
2 Sacha Dhawan
What's exciting about regenerations on Doctor Who is the broad contrast we get between predecessors and successors. Even though we're still getting the same Doctor, a new actor gives us a new vantage point into his personality. From Peter Capaldi to Sacha Dhawan, that contrast would be just as jarring as it would be refreshing. And seeing as continuity is hardly the same thing as repetition, which a show like Doctor Who always has the potential of falling victim to, bringing in an actor who can bring something excitingly familiar to the role, without making it feel exhausted, is key.
When it comes to playing the Doctor, "new" is necessary.
Whovians will know Dhawan as Waris Hussein in the Doctor Who making-of TV movie An Adventure in Space and Time. So, this energetic, earnest-seeming actor is certainly familiar with the formula. We could definitely see him portraying the Doctor as a slightly more cuddly version of Matt Smith (if that's even possible), and what could possibly be wrong with that? Dhawan, you have our approval—and our vote.
1 Phoebe Waller-Bridge
The clear choice for the 13th Doctor by many is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She's a newcomer, but the kind of newcomer that isn't likely to suffer the curse of so many one-hit-wonders before her. Starring in the Amazon original series Fleabag (which she created and writes for), she's been picking up momentum like a professional avalanche. Honestly, this woman is where it's at, and Doctor Who would be lucky to have her. When she talked about taming a horse-sized duck and flying off on it during an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, that should have been proof enough that she absolutely needs to be the new Doctor.
She'll certainly have her hands full taking on the role of the Doctor, along with everything else she's juggling, but something tells us she can handle it just fine. She would give the show a jolt of manic hilarity, a dose of natural cleverness, and the sort of dialogue delivery so solid you can trip over it. Chris Chibnall, give Phoebe Waller-Bridge the role. We beg you!