David Tennant as the 10th Doctor

Wait, WHO is ‘Doctor Who’s’ 14th Doctor? The Big Reveal, Explained

With Jodie Whittaker’s tenure as the 13th Doctor wrapping up, Whovians spent months waiting to hear who the 14th Doctor would be. Thanks to the 13th Doctor’s regeneration in Whittaker’s final episode on October 23, we now have our answer—and it’s a doozy!

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Doctor Who, following the adventures of an errant Time Lord and their series of companions, has been airing for a whopping 60 years (albeit with a break between 1989 and 2005). The reason the show has been able to air so long, of course, is that the Doctor periodically regenerates into a new form, allowing different actors to step into the role. Until 2017, the Doctor was always played by a man, but Jodie Whittaker made history by becoming the first female Doctor. Now the show has demonstrated that, when the Doctor regenerates, anything can happen—opening up the possibility that non-white, non-male actors can play the role.

Ncuti Gatwa is the next Doctor! …Sort of.

Last May, the BBC announced that Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric Effiong on Sex Education, will be playing the Doctor after Whittaker’s run. Of his casting, Gatwa said that “This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my utmost to do the same.”

Showrunner Russell T. Davies echoed Gatwa’s excitement, saying, “The future is here and it’s Ncuti! Sometimes talent walks through the door and it’s so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds.

However, Gatwa will be playing the 15th Doctor, not the 14th. So who will take up the mantle between Whittaker and Gatwa?

The 13th Doctor regenerates into … wait, what!?

After the episode aired on October 23, Whittaker’s regeneration scene appeared online, showing a surprising reveal.

In the scene, the 13th Doctor starts her regeneration, with energy streaming out of her hands and face. When the regeneration completes, though, we see that Whittaker has transformed into … David Tennant!?

The reveal was exciting for fans. David Tennant played the 10th doctor from 2005-2008 and earned a gargantuan fanbase, bringing a unique charm and quirkiness to the character that viewers loved. His relationship with his companion Rose (Billie Piper) was also immensely popular, as the pair grew closer and Rose evolved from a sidekick to a full-fledged partner. The relationship was so beloved by fans that Tennant’s Doctor eventually split himself in two: his original self, and a “meta” doctor who was human, and thus could have a romantic “happily ever after” with Rose while the original Doctor continued his adventures.

In an interview with the BBC, Tennant said, “What a lovely, lovely thing to get to revisit something that was such a wonderful, happy, significant time in my life.”

Although it was announced earlier this year that Tennant would be appearing in the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary Special, it wasn’t clear how exactly he would be involved. Now it’s clear that Tennant is officially taking on the role of the 14th Doctor for the special, with Gatwa stepping in to become the 15th Doctor in 2023.

(image: BBC, HBO Max, Channel 4)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>