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With every regeneration comes a flurry of discussion amongst the Doctor Who community about the new Doctor, and this year got a little more verbally heated than most. For Season 11, the long-running series is prepping for its first female Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, and while we've heard thoughts on the topic from the BBC and exiting showrunner Steven Moffat, now we know what Doctor Who favorite John Barrowman thinks. He shared this take with fans at an SDCC panel that CinemaBlend's own Conner Schwerdtfeger took a TARDIS to:
We did the first regeneration from Christopher into David, so to speak. People weren't happy about it. Seriously, there was a lot of upset and there was a lot of 'This is ridiculous blah blah blah.' Because David at that time was younger, and we all had to accept everybody loving it and everybody hating it. However, when I was asked about it, [it was] my same exact answer to this. Okay? My sister and I talked about this on the drive down. And the thing is, we buy into the world of Doctor Who. Those of us who love it, we buy into it. We go where that TARDIS takes us. Therefore, it doesn't say that he will be a "he" all the time. We don't know who he'll regenerate into, so it could conceivably happen. Right? It's not just a decision. If we forget the producers who are making the decision, if we believe it as that world -- I'm getting really geeky here -- if we believe it as that world, it could possibly happen. It could be a girl, right? It just so happens that the times have changed and the producers made the decision.
The first statement John Barrowman shared really speaks volumes, as it reminds us that there will always be a community of pop culture fans that will complain when something changes. In hindsight, it's silly to think anyone was worried that David Tennant would be a lesser Doctor Who force than Christopher Eccleston simply due to his age. Whatever one's preference there, Tennant went on to be one of the most beloved Doctors of all time, and while that's no guarantee Jodie Whittaker is lined up for the same legacy, Barrowman's comparative story is worth taking into consideration.
Another thing John Barrowman talks about is just being along for the ride as someone fully invested in the Who-niverse. With show canon offering no explicit rule that the Doctor cannot be a woman, it's not as if the showrunners are committing some grievous timey-wimey atrocity.
Ultimately, Barrowman wrapped up the topic encouraging fans on both sides of the coin to "wait and see,' even throwing a Captain Jack tease right at the end to bring things back to himself:
I love Doctor Who, I have since I was 4 or 5 and can remember my first experience with Doctor Who. However, we have to wait and see what happens, right? So, the people who are critics at the moment, they have a right to be critical, but let's all give it a chance. How about that? When she took that hood off, I thought, 'Huh, Captain Jack might like you.'
It would be a dream for Doctor Who fans to see Captain Jack again for Season 11, as it's been quite a while since John Barrowman made an appearance on the series. Barrowman stated two years ago he'd be happy to return, but said the invitation has never come from the Doctor Who staff. Hopefully, Season 11 is the perfect time for a return from Jack Harkness, who has been known to make passes at the Doctor in the past, ones that the Gallifreyan was fine with. Who knows how a female Doctor would respond to Jack's flirtatious ways? We can all be assured, however, that he'd be down for whatever response he got.
We're still waiting for a start date for Season 11 of Doctor Who but it is known that Peter Capaldi's final episode as the Doctor will be the Christmas special, airing December 25th on The BBC and BBC America. For more about that, check out the interesting news about the return of someone who only recently left, and another who left long ago. For more on shows in the here and now, visit our summer premiere guide.