SINCE THE NEWS THAT Peter Capaldi was going to regenerate this year, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the news of which actor would be filling the role as the 13th Doctor. With the advent of Missy and the Master, I half suspected that the new Doctor was going to be 1) Female and 2) probably a person of color, maybe black or Hispanic. I was prepared for this. Or at least, I thought I was.
I OPENED MY TWITTER FEED on the morning of July 16th, 2017 to post something along the lines of, “The new Doctor is going to be announced! I am so stoked, people!” And as I was about to post my excitement to the Twitterverse I looked at the trending topics and noticed #DoctorWho13? I clicked it to find that the Doctor had already been announced. Twitter was a flood of, “…and it’s a woman!”
I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT my first reaction was being really upset. Really, really upset. I mean, I had anticipated the change in direction, but I didn’t think they would do it? And the fact that they did surprised me? But not for the reason you may think. I have no issue with the Doctor being a woman. Or a person of color (eventually). I’m all for that! Hell, it gives me hope that I could be the first Filipino Doctor!
The 13th DOCTOR
MY REACTION isn’t because the Doctor is now a woman (and still not ginger). There’s a whole lot more involved than just a simple gender thing. I talk more about this in my article Why Do Girls Play Games? but I will try to speak a bit more about it here.
I’D LIKE TO TALK about the 13th Doctor, first. I have no idea who Jodie Whittaker is, but she was in Broad Church with David Tennant, which is a highly recommended show! Other than that I can’t say because I know nothing about the 13th Doctor. So I won’t know till next year and after Christmas. Although, I do wish she had a more iconic haircut?
EVERY DOCTOR HAS had a haircut that was a part of their charm, and it would be cool to see this 13th Doctor with a more iconic coif like Ashly Burch (actually I vote Ash for the 14th Doctor, yeah?) or Sombra from Overwatch! That’s just me though. Shorter is better, I always say! That and I’m digging her hood and coat, but I guess that’s a remnant of 12’s clothing? She would look cool if they brought back trench coats! I love trench coats. Anywho, my issue has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with…
NOW I’M NOT SAYING Doctor Who is being censored. I don’t know, but it’s what I’m afraid of. This comes at a time when a very vocal minority is speaking out against TV/movies/video games and changes are being made in an attempt to essentially censor anything this group deems offensive or against their beliefs. I mean like the ban on a game because it was too “sexual”. Or the push to have all-female casts. Things of that nature. All things that are not necessarily a bad thing. Not at all! However, their voice is changing things. As a writer and an artist, this type of thing scares me: the idea that artistic works can be changed or silenced because of outside voices.
I UNDERSTAND THE need to have strong female characters and people of color added to the multiverse of TV/movies/games. And what better character than the Doctor to be female? But, I believe…
DIVERSITY FOR DIVERSITY SAKE is the wrong way to do things. Diversity should be something that comes organically because it’s what the story calls for. Not because a group of people calls/complain/push for it. I think stories should be told with any characters that are necessary to tell the tale, whether they are straight, male, female, black, white, Asian, trans, gay, lesbian, all-male, all female, or what have you. And I hope that this change isn’t to quell the masses asking for the Doctor to be a woman. I hope it’s because Chris Chibnall truly has the passion to tell a story of the Doctor as a woman. Two totally different things that mean the world to me.
A SHOW THAT HANDLES this well is The Originals. There are black characters, white characters, people of color, a prominent gay character, a prominent lesbian couple, and it never seems forced since it all enforces the story. It’s amazing! I love The Originals. But I digress…
I WOULD BE EQUALLY upset if the show was about a female Time Lord and this change happened. If for the last 50 or so years, Doctor Who was about a woman, and there came a time when the showrunners decided that a man (or a crazy alien creature, cause the Master has been a monster before) should take the mantle, I would have been upset with that too. As I said, it isn’t that the Doctor is a woman. It’s about making a change to long-running continuity for the sake of “keeping up with the times”.
HELL, I THINK THEY SHOULD have created a whole new show about a rogue Time Lord (maybe the Doctor’s daughter or freaking Susan Foreman) and I would have been all for that! I guess that’s the other thing? When creators feel the need to make major changes to a show/movie when they could have started another show based on (insert name here). In this case, a new series based on Doctor Who, like the Sarah Jane Chronicles or Torchwood, instead of adding changes to the main show.
FOR ME, I’M WRITING A STORY about a Spanish girl named Rel Rel. If I ever had it adapted to TV or Film (given I ever finish it) I would be royally pissed if they changed Rel Rel to a guy or changed her ethnicity, for any reason! The story is about a young Spanish girl, and any change to that idea would not be a welcome one.
FEMALE CHARACTERS and I mean strong female characters, should be something created with a story and a purpose, not just because we need strong female characters. I believe that any character created to cater to anyone, whatever their race, gender, religion, heritage, nationality, or what have you, is a terrible way to write characters. Characters should be written with passion by those that have the passion to bring those characters to life. Not to jump on some bandwagon that is trying to cater to everyone. I believe this about any character. Characters that have a life of their own. That isn’t a gimmick. That are strong because they’re interesting and unique. Those are the characters I want to see.
THIS MAY NOT BE THE CASE
YES, I CAN’T SAY that is what truly is happening to Doctor Who. It may not be. I have no idea. And it probably isn’t. These are just the thoughts and fears I had when I first heard the announcement. And it comes at a time when a lot is happening, and I am jaded with everything going on. I really am. But I will reiterate…
I DON’T FEEL LIKE things should be changed because outside people influenced the change. It should be a storytelling decision based on the writer/creator’s intent. No group, whatever their thoughts and beliefs, should EVER interfere with a story that’s trying to be told, no matter what it is.
I UNDERSTAND THOSE UPSET
I KNOW A LOT of people are upset. And I can relate. In a way. I mean for those truly upset that the Doctor is now a woman? I can’t get behind that. I just can’t. But I understand being upset that major changes have happened to a show that they love.
I GUESS, FOR ME it’s like if Supernatural changed long-running continuity because religious groups were upset about their depiction of angels and demons. Or Batman stopped fighting crime with his gadgets because a group thought it was too violent or an unrealistic depiction of how justice should be served. Again, this may not be the case for Doctor Who, but this is what scares me.
AND I GET THAT FOR 50 YEARS the Doctor has been a white male. If this never changed, and he was a white male till the show finally ended, would it have been bad? It has been beloved for 50 years, and has gone on strong and created billions of devoted fans, both male and female, of every race and nationality. Does it need to change with the times? And if it was time for a change, why not have the Doctor die during his 13th regeneration (as he was supposed to) and reboot the show with a new female Time Lord? Like the same vein as Wolverine and X-23 or Ironman passing his legacy to Ironheart?
I MEAN GAMES like Zelda and Mario have essentially had the same protagonist, same formula, and same weapons since their inception. And despite a few changes here and there, it’s been the same since the beginning. And people still love it. What if there was a major change, that changed the game’s mythos, would fans be happy about that? If Mario was no longer Italian, or they upgraded his profession because a hero can’t be a lowly plumber, or they got rid of his hat and suspenders for a business suit, or a casual hoodie because he had to, “get with the times”? Would that not cause a stir?
I KNOW I CAN’T SPEAK for everyone, but I know some people, myself included, are upset because it’s changing. And I know for me, I’m not good with change. I’m the kind of person that reads the same types of books (fantasy) and plays the same kind of games (fantasy) and doesn’t like it when a franchise changes things up too much. I love certain books and shows because of what they bring to the table. I mean that’s why I’m not a fan of the new Beyond Good and Evil 2. It isn’t about the Doctor being female, it’s about change. And that can be scary.
THE COMMENT SH** SHOW
I AM TRULY DISGUSTED and upset by the vile comments that have cropped up since the reveal. I mean, like come on people, are you serious? And I don’t just mean the terrible sexist, misogynist comments, I mean from both sides, all around. People telling those upset to just shut up and grow up. Calling men “manbabies” for hating this change. Lumping everyone upset with the sexists and the misogynist. Some people can be upset about the change, and not because the Doctor is a woman, can’t they? I mean, like I said about Mario and Zelda…
FANS HAVE TRIED to kill for Beyonce. Have tried to goad someone into suicide for drawing Steven Universe characters off-model! Fans have gone at people violently for changing race and gender in FanArt. And while I don’t condone or agree, people fall in love with shows and then defend them to the death! It’s crazy. It’s utterly freakin’ redonk. But is it any wonder that some of these crazy people are upset with Doctor Who?
THERE’S JUST SO MUCH HATE revolving around this from fans and non-fans of Doctor Who. I understand people being upset, and I understand people being happy about this change! And yes, “Welcome to the internet.” But my goodness people, this was just horrible to watch and read. And this was the highest trending thing across all social media. It was really bad.
JODIE WHITTAKER COULD BE amazing. We won’t know until we see her in action. Only time will tell, and I am willing to give this a chance. I really am. I hope this is a genuine change by Chris Chibnall. If it’s to satisfy the outcry for a female Doctor from the masses, that upsets me and I’m not on board. However, if Chris Chibnall intends to create a strong, female version of the Doctor because that’s the story he truly wants to tell? I am all for that.
It all just disappears, doesn’t it? Everything you are, gone in a moment like breath on a mirror.
Any moment now, he’s a coming, The Doctor and I always will be. But times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it.
We are all different people all through our lives and that’s okay, that’s good you’ve got to keep moving so long as you remember all the people that you used to be.
I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me…
-11th Doctor’s Regeneration Speech (Matt Smith)
IF SHE STILLS ACTS like the Doctor, has the quirkiness, and the crazy sense of justice that has been a mainstay of Doctors before her, I’ll be happy. I don’t mind the appearance change, but if she doesn’t act like a Doctor, that will upset me. I’m hoping against hope that this new direction doesn’t change what has made the Doctor, as a character, great. And to me, that’s the quirky dialogue, the oddball mannerisms, and the untempered genius that gets the Doctor out of any situation without the need for weapons or violence. Please, BBC, never change that!
IN CLOSING I would like to say that I had my reservations about David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi when they were first announced as their respective Doctors. Heck, when I first got into Doctor Who I wasn’t a big fan of Christopher Eccleston’s portrayal of the Doctor because I thought they had changed the scarfed 4th Doctor into a leather jacket-wearing Doctor to cater to a younger, hipper demographic! So my first instincts have been wrong before. I wish Jodie the best of luck as the 13th Doctor! I’m hesitant but interested to see what kind of Doctor she will be. Here’s to Christmas and the new season of Doctor Who in 2018!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading. Are you a fan of Doctor Who? What do you think of the 13th Doctor’s announcement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! As always, keep that imagination kicking! Please take care, you all rock. Cheers!