Doctor Who 12th Wishlist - 13 Probable, Plausible And Impossible Replacements For Matt Smith

matt-smith_doctor_who11 Heartbroken. I remember, as a young boy, watching Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor fall from the top of a radio tower in Logopolis and start to change. I was heartbroken. He may have been the Fourth Doctor, but he was my first. At that point, my only. He was The Doctor. How could anyone replace him? I feel now like I felt then. I was ecstatic in 2005 when Doctor Who was resurrected, and when I finally got my hands on the DVD's in the U.S., Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor instantly became an all-time favorite. Of course, by then, the news had already made it across the pond that he had quit and the Ninth Doctor was no more. I hadn't even started watching and he was already gone. For some reason, that softened the blow. But I was not prepared for this. David Tennant was brilliant, but when he left, it felt like the right time. In fact, Journey's End has been such a note perfect finale, the specials that followed kind of made it feel like he was overstaying his welcome. And then came Matt Smith... I admit I was skeptical, at first. But, in the last four years, Smith has won me over completely. The Moffat/Smith era of Doctor Who has been my absolute favorite of any era in the entire series history, from 1963 to the present, and believe me when I say I have seen them all. As far as I'm concerned, during these last few seasons, Doctor Who has been the best it has ever been. And Matt Smith has become The Doctor. Not A Doctor. But THE Doctor. The genuine article, you might say... And then, a few days ago, he announced his departure... And I am heartbroken. How could anyone replace him? And more to the point, WHO...? So, to console myself, I have made my Wishlist of worthy successors. Not anyone can play the Doctor, of course. But each of the candidates listed below possess a certain quality or qualities in their screen presence and performances that are essential to the Doctor's character. You will recognize some as fan favorites. Some I have never heard mentioned before. Some are popular choices. Some will raise outraged objections. And some are just outright ridiculous and impossible. Regardless, I am well aware that, in all likelihood, none of the candidates below will be named as the Twelfth Doctor come July. It will be probably be some actor I barely know, or don't know at all. That's how it usually is. And eventually they'll win me over. In Moffat we trust, after all... But if it were up to me to find someone to pick up the pieces after the Fall of the Eleventh and carry on, these would be my 13 nominees... One for each potential incarnation of the Doctor (though they've probably thrown out that bit of Doctor Who mythos)... And it's 2013, after all, so 13 seems appropriate... And, the truth is, I just happened to run out of ideas at 13, so it seemed as good a number as any, really... Anyway...

13. Chiwetel Ejiofor -->


Chiwetel Ejiofor

You probably know Chiwetel Ejiofor as the actor who singlehandedly upstaged the entire Firefly cast with his charismatic turn as the remorseless, yet congenial Operative in Joss Whedon€™s Serenity. He was first mentioned as a potential Doctor after David Tennant announced his departure in 2009, and his name has come up repeatedly since (rumor has it his odds are currently 7 to 1). A sublimely gifted character actor who has received accolades for playing seductive villains and quirky supporting characters on stage, in film, and in television, Ejiofor brings a distinctive, yet recognizable emotional depth and intellectual complexity to every character he plays, standing out even in otherwise mundane roles.

WHY HIM: His deep, soulful eyes give him the perfect face to carry the weight of the Doctor€™s ever-more-burdensome past, and his ability to run hot and cold - to be stern and authoritative one moment and compassionate and vulnerable the next €“ make him an ideal choice to capture the Doctor€™s inner €“ and sometimes outer - conflicts and contradictions. Possessing a cosmopolitan confidence, you€™d never doubt that he knew his way around time and space. And, finally, though I see no need for a token black Doctor, casting him might silence some of those pesky, hypersensitive academics and their ludicrous accusations.

SEE HIM IN: The aforementioned Serenity. Though the Operative is the film€™s primary antagonist, Ejiofor never plays him as fearsome or threatening, instead imbuing the character with a remarkable balance of smooth charm, quiet authority and tragic self-awareness. Though not at all a Doctor-y character, his moments of detached, almost alien, amusement at human behavior, his near-tenderness with his victims as he carries out assassinations, and his wistful description of saving a world in which he has no place give some indication of what characteristics he might bring to the Twelfth Doctor given the chance.


Matt J. Popham is an erratic, unreliable writer, an unapologetic intellectual snob, an opinionated political loudmouth, a passionate cinephile, and a near obsessive fan of Doctor Who and punk rock. I also tend to overuse commas and ellipses... If you're on Facebook and a fan of Doctor Who, go here: This is my blog that I almost never keep up with: