‘Doctor Who’ fans are already fired up about who will replace Jodie Whittaker

Two men and two women stand and look into the distance.
Mandip Gill, left, Bradley Walsh, Jodie Whittaker and Tosin Cole in “Doctor Who” on BBC America.
(BBC America)

With Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall departing the long-running BBC series “Doctor Who” in 2022, fans are already lobbying for which actor they want to take the lead.

Their exits were announced Thursday, sending fans into overdrive online about what the show will look like with a new star. Whittaker had become a fan favorite since anchoring “Doctor Who” as the 13th Doctor starting in 2017 — and made history as the first woman in the role.

“Doctor Who” tells the story of many Time Lords, also known as Doctors, who use time travel to help those in need while defeating foes along the way. The sci-fi series, which debuted in 1963, has cycled through various actors as the titular character.


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Chris Hewitt, host of the “Empire Podcast,” tweeted Thursday, “I think we all know who the next Doctor Who should be,” accompanied by a GIF of John C. Reilly winking.

“Only half-joking. Imagine it. Imagine John C. Reilly starring in Doctor Who, but entirely in character as Dr Steve Brule. He does interviews as Steve Brule. It’s Steve Brule on the call sheet and promo material. That’s a double doctor situation and it needs to happen,” Hewitt wrote.

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Others are hoping British musician Olly Alexander will be the new Doctor after his standout performance in the recent HBO Max drama “It’s a Sin.” His agent, however, refuted the rumors in a cheeky statement earlier this week: “Even though Olly is often contacted by Cybermen, I’m afraid I have to exterminate this speculation.”

The other name gaining traction within the Whovian community is Michaela Coel from “I May Destroy You.” While widely predicted for the role, there’s been no formal announcement regarding her interest in joining the franchise. (She’ll also likely be busy filming “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”)


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Fans also are rooting for British actor Richard Ellef Ayoade, who portrayed the awkward IT tech Maurice Moss in “The IT Crowd.” They believe his sense of humor could add some comedic elements to the show.

Other fan picks include Idris Elba, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jo Martin, Natalie Dormer, Maxine Peake, Rose Matafeo, Lydia West, Riz Ahmed and Paul McGann.

With so many possibilities and no way of accessing a TARDIS to time travel to the future, fans will have to wait for more definitive answers yet to come.

In the meantime, many are paying homage to Whittaker (as the first female Time Lord) and showrunner Chibnall.

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A fan tweeted, “Nooooo. I love her as the doctor so much. I love what she brought to the role. Gonna miss Jodie and Chibnall.”

“Wanted her (Whittaker) to have another series. It’s what she deserves,” another fan tweeted.

Another commenter tweeted, “Jodie is a fabulous Doctor and ambassador for the show. I imagine she has inspired a generation of young girls and that can’t be a bad thing. #DoctorWho”