Change is nothing new to Doctor Who. The show has been running since 1963, and not only have creative teams necessarily changed in that time, but the lead role changing hands when the titular Doctor needs to “regenerate”—changing the character’s personality in ways big and small along with it—is a mainstay that helps keep things fresh. Now, it’s Jodie Whittaker’s turn to take things in a new direction.
And for all the Doctor Who staples in this most recent trailer—ever-more fantastical locales, an awful lot of running (especially in some corridors), waving around a Sonic Screwdriver, and the Doctor putting what she’s all about into mysteriously understated terms—it definitely feels like “a chance to start again.” The tone of the whole thing is set by the same music from the literally glass ceiling-breaking teaser video that arrived about two weeks ago, and that alone feels like a bigger departure from the status quo than we’ve seen in the modern age of Doctor Who.
That’s no surprise considering that the modern era of the show, which kicked off in 2005, has only seen two showrunners so far, and one of them was already working on the show before taking over showrunning duties. There was still a shift when Russell T. Davies handed things off to Steven Moffat for the modern series’ fifth season, but this one feels more seismic for a variety of reasons.
New showrunner Chris Chibnall definitely wants to do new things that the series has never been done before, apparently starting by making it a condition of his hiring that he would be able to cast a woman in the lead role, who of course wound up being Whittaker, who he’d worked with before on Broadchurch. It’s still hard to tell from the brief looks we’ve gotten so far, including this one, what exactly this new start will be like, but Whittaker’s Doctor already feels like a new character all her own, and we can’t wait to see more when the show returns for its 11th modern-era season.
The premiere crashes to Earth on a new night on Sunday, October 7.
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