For some “Doctor Who” fans (also called Whovians), Season 8 will be the first time they have dealt with a new Doctor. Peter Capaldi is taking over the role after Matt Smith stepped down last year. Smith had playing the role since 2010, and although the regeneration wasn’t a surprise, it will definitely be a challenge for some Whovians to get used to a new Doctor. Luckily, we’re here to help you through this tumultuous time. There are four stages that a Whovian goes through when adjusting to a new Doctor:
Plenty of fans claim that they won’t watch any Doctor who isn’t “their Doctor,” but most Whovians still stick with the show through regenerations. Smith’s Doctor regenerated in last year’s Christmas special, so most fans have had eight months to get through this stage. By now, they have accepted the fact that Capaldi is the new Doctor, but they might not like it.
The anger usually comes when fans discover how the new Doctor will change the show. Capaldi discussed the differences at a recent press conference. “Although he’s the same character, he’s also brand new. He’s also unfamiliar with his own personality, I think, so he’s discovering things about his own personality that are not necessarily welcome,” Capaldi said. Aside from a Scottish accent and new clothes, the Twelfth Doctor will be darker and not quite as joyful and optimistic. It’s going to be a big change from Smith’s happy and lovable 11th Doctor.
Fans will want their old Doctors back, and they might think bargaining with showrunner Steven Moffat will help. David Tennant fans will say, “We’ll accept Martha if 10 can come back!” Matt Smith fans will say, “We can forget about the awful ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ episode if Smith can be the Doctor!” Fans typically latch onto the Doctor that they started watching the show with, and they’ll always want to see their favorite Doctor come back.
“I think for me, when you’ve got a new Doctor, you really want the actor to lead the way, actually,” Moffat said. “So in a way you’re stripping it – unconscious – the most conscious thing you do is to call in this case the Matt Smith-isms out and see what is gonna start moving in in place. I knew certain things we wanted to do with the character were already there and what we wanted to do with the show, but really, it’s a question of – lead actors have to lead.”
It might take a few episodes, but Whovians adjust to a new Doctor with time. The good news is that Capaldi knows exactly what fans are going through. He grew up watching the show and was influenced by all the previous Doctors.
“I don’t consciously try to emulate any of the previous doctors but I would say that I’ve been watching the show since I was 5. I absolutely grew up with it,” Capaldi said. “So all of those Doctors probably made me, even if I hadn’t been cast as the Doctor, my acting would probably have been influenced by William Hartnell or Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and all of the other guys.”
“Doctor Who” Season 8 will premiere Saturday, Aug. 23, at 8:15 p.m. EDT on BBC America after a 15-minute preshow at 8 p.m. Are you excited for the Capaldi’s Doctor? Let us know in the comments section below!