When it was announced that Jodie Whittaker would be playing the Doctor the other week, it felt like exactly the right time for Doctor Who to introduce a female lead. Over Steven Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, there have been so many hints and teases that a woman Doctor was on the way and as it turns out, at least some of these were deliberate, as Moffat has now revealed that he knew the Thirteenth Doctor would be a female all along.
Speaking with a room full of press at this weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con, the writer/director revealed that his successor Chris Chibnall let him know that the next Doctor would be female months ago. While he’s known that throughout the production of season 10, he didn’t know Jodie Whittaker would be the actress to nab the part.
“I’ve known for the entire series I’ve been working on that the next Doctor was going to be a woman. I didn’t know that it would be Jodie. I didn’t know that until the Friday before the announcement. I didn’t want to know until Peter knew. That was my rule.”
With this revelation, certain lines Moffat wrote in the last season take on more meaning now. In the two-part finale story, for instance, the Doctor has a conversation about how he doesn’t care if he regenerates into a woman as the Time Lords have risen above our “petty human obsession with gender and its associated stereotypes.” Likewise, the Master asks the Doctor at one point if the “future is all-girl,” to which he replies, “we can only hope.”
Moffat also made clear his position on the matter of the Doctor changing gender, explaining that “it makes absolutely no difference”:
“It’s a pronoun. This man/woman doesn’t have any masculine qualities and probably won’t have any feminine qualities, either. He’s an alien in the form of a human male, now an alien in the form of a human female and that’s it.”
We’ll get our first taste of Jodie Whittaker in the role when she takes over from Peter Capaldi in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.