With the announcement that showrunner Chris Chibnall is stepping down and Jodie Whittaker will pass on the mantle of the titular character next year, the BBC has also announced the official episode count of the upcoming thirteenth season of Doctor Who along with the specials that’ll mark the current incarnation’s final outing.
Even as early as last year’s finale, fans had been wondering whether season 13 would be Whittaker’s last. Indeed, over the past few months, Whovian communities around the globe have been going crazy with anticipation about the Doctor’s replacement. But the reality of the situation is a little more tricky than we’d imagined.
As things stand now, it seems clear that the executive producer has got something special planned for the last story arc. Season 13 will consist of only six episodes, as opposed to the initially announced eight, which was already reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only that, the upcoming run is not your typical modern Who season, incorporating standalone episodes with an overarching narrative. Rather, the lead writer has opted for a traditional approach and the six chapters will focus on a linear narrative.
As for how the Thirteenth Doctor will bow out, there’ll be a trilogy of feature-length specials after season 13, the first of which will premiere on New Year’s Day 2022. The next two will release in Spring and Fall, respectively, as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations.
It goes without saying that Jodie’s iteration will regenerate in the third planned Doctor Who special, which will be hers and Chibnall’s final episode. Beyond that, though, it’ll no doubt be a while before the BBC is ready to announce the actor who’ll replace the Thirteenth or even the showrunner that’ll take on the monstrous task of helming the show from now on.