This week has marked the end of an era for Doctor Who, as the upcoming Christmas special has now wrapped filming. That means Peter Capaldi has shot his last scenes as the Doctor, a role he’ll be vacating after three seasons at the helm of the TARDIS. As sad as that is, there’s something else on our minds now that the special has finished shooting. That being, has the next Doctor already been cast?
Usually, the following incumbent of the role features in a small capacity in the previous Doctor’s final episode. Essentially, it’s become tradition for the new guy to get a few minutes to introduce themselves to the audience at the end. This time around, though, we’ve had no announcement, nor even a rumour, of who the next Doctor may be, which suggests that they won’t feature in the special.
The latest bit of evidence that supports this is a Tweet from Rachel Talalay, who directed the Christmas episode. Having no doubt been bombarded with questions from news-hungry fans, Talalay cleared up a few things in one go:
To answer general q's: No trip to SDCC for me this year. No knowledge of 13. No idea about S11. Reading some books. Any recommendations?
— Rachel Talalay (@rtalalay) July 11, 2017
If the new Doctor had already been cast and has a role in this episode, Talalay would surely know who they were, which leads us to believe that the important decision hasn’t been made yet. Then again, she could be fibbing here. It’s not like Doctor Who cast and crew haven’t been above lying in the past to keep the show’s secrets hidden.
Assuming that she isn’t, though, we’re now left wondering how the episode will work without introducing the next Doctor. Maybe it’ll end on a cliffhanger with the Twelfth Doctor in mid-regeneration, leaving us even longer to wait to find out who he’ll change into?
Alternatively, the scenes with Doctor number thirteen could be shot at a later date, with a different director. After all, the show has done something similar in the past, as the shots of Peter Capaldi beginning to regenerate that bookend the final two episodes of season 10 were filmed just days before it went on air.
We’ll just have to see how things play out when Doctor Who returns at Christmas, but until then, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on any further developments that might arise.