Just over a month ago, it was officially announced that both current Doctor Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall would be exiting Doctor Who in 2022, following its upcoming 13th season and a series of specials. Though speculation over who could replace Whittaker in the TARDIS rages on, the greater mystery surrounds Chibnall’s successor as the show’s next EP. But though nothing is confirmed as yet, a legendary sci-fi writer has just revealed they are in contact with the BBC for the job.
J. Michael Straczynski is a name that genre fans who know their stuff will be familiar with. He served as creator and showrunner of cult favorite ’90s series Babylon 5, as well as writing for various iconic characters for both Marvel and DC Comics—such as his celebrated runs on The Amazing Spider-Man and The Mighty Thor. More recently, he partnered with the Wachowski sisters to co-create Netflix’s acclaimed Sense8. But could his next gig be helming Doctor Who?
Straczynski was asked by a fan on Twitter if he had reached out to the BBC to express his interest in running the next iteration of the TV institution. The writer confirmed that he had. The BBC apparently informed him that they have their own hiring process to go through first but they will be in touch if their options fall through.
“Contact with the BBC has been made,” Straczynski tweeted. “They’re going through their own process, which began before my tweet, and that has to run its course, but if those don’t pan out and there’s a discussion to be had, they will reach out. Very courteous, so we’ll see where their process leads.”
If Straczynski did get the gig, he would be the very first American Who showrunner. As it happens, though, his comments heavily suggest the BBC has some other in-house talent they’re in discussions with for the post before Straczynski is in with a shot. That only makes sense, as the job typically goes to someone with experience working on the series. For instance, both Chibnall and predecessor Steven Moffat wrote for Russel T. Davies during the first years of the revival. And Davies himself had penned a Doctor Who novel in the ’90s.
So while the double-edged question of who’s going to be the next Doctor and showrunner continues to hang over the show, Doctor Who is due to return to our screens for season 13 later this year.