Doctor Who is a show that thrives on change, specifically with its rotating cast of actors playing the eponymous protagonist. It's the only reason the series has lasted for over 50 years, minus some breaks here and there. Alas, we once again upon another one of these changes, as it's been announced that Peter Capaldi will step down as the Twelfth Doctor by the time 2017 is finished.
The official Doctor Who Twitter page made the news official, with Season 10 being Peter Capaldi's last full season as time traveling madman in a box. However, in another tweet, it was stated that Capaldi will be sticking with the show through the Doctor Who 2017 Christmas special, so we'll have another holiday regeneration in store before the year is over.
As for why he's leaving, Peter Capaldi provided an explanation in an interview with BBC Radio 2's Jo Whiley, saying that he felt now was the time to move on to other projects. He said:
I've always been someone who did a lot of different things. I've never done one job for three years. This is the first time I've done this, and I feel it's sort of time of time for me to move on to different challenges.
Peter Capaldi added that his Doctor Who contract was running out, but the folks at the show had asked him to stay. However, he thought that while he loved playing the character, he didn't know how much longer he could keep doing while giving it his best. Because of that, he decided to depart, and by the time his last Christmas special airs, he'll have been on Doctor Who for four years.
Excluding his brief cameo in the 50th anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor," Peter Capaldi made his full Doctor Who debut in the 2013 Christmas special "The Night of the Doctor," succeeding Matt Smith, a.k.a. the Eleventh Doctor. The Twelfth Doctor's first full season, i.e. Season 8 of the Doctor Who revival, kicked off in August 2014, and he's been traveling in the TARDIS ever since. During his first two seasons, Capaldi's Doctor traveled around with Jenna Coleman's Clara Oswald, but starting with Season 10, his new companion will be Bill, played by Pearl Mackie. They'll also be accompanied by Nardole, played by Matt Lucas, who has appeared in the past two Christmas specials.
Peter Capaldi's departure isn't the only major change coming up for Doctor Who. Showrunner Steven Moffat, who has been part of Doctor Who in some form or fashion since the show was revived in 2005, will also leave at the end of the year. He'll be succeeded by Broadchurch's Chris Chibnall in 2018, meaning that the Thirteenth Doctor (whoever that may be) will have his adventures in time and space will be overseen by a new creative mind.
Doctor Who Season 10 drops April 15 at 9 p.m. EST/PST on BBC America. Let us know what you think of Peter Capaldi departing the series in the comments below.