Doctor Who is now a couple of seasons into Jodie Whittaker's tenure, and while some minds have been changed on her time on The BBC's series, other fans still aren't convinced. For some, Whittaker, and the overall idea of a female incarnation of The Doctor is unacceptable, and it's looking like nothing will change their views on that.
We're all well aware that the first female Doctor has been a subject of controversy within the Doctor Who fandom, but why do so many people hate Whittaker's take on the character? Beyond the fact that The Doctor is now a woman, here are some of the main points those who aren't on board with Season 11 and 12 of Doctor Who tend to bring up when discussing where the series (in their eyes) went wrong.
She Represents "Wokeness"
Doctor Who fans who disagree with the show's casting of Jodie Whittaker have expressed their feelings that the gender swap wasn't a move made out of necessity to the show's story, but rather one made in response to the current political climate. That is to say, some believe that the decision to cast Whittaker in the role wasn't made because there were any special plans in place for the change, but rather because the show wished to be more politically correct with an unprecedented and progressive casting. The casting would appeal to the current Hollywood trend of being more inclusive, and signal to potential fans that Doctor Who has gotten with the times.
Doctor Who has never been a show to shy away from progressive stories, and even went so far as to suggest The Doctor's sexual preference was fluid in its first rebooted season. Fans hung on for that, but the female lead paired with Season 11's constant touching on prominent social issues pushed some away from the series. It's hard to say if any of this crowd would return if The Doctor went back to being male, though there's always a crowd that hops out with the casting of any new Doctor. Fan dropout is more or less inevitable when there's a change in a lead actor across all franchises, even with a show where it happens as frequently as Doctor Who.
It's Too Big A Change For The Franchise
Doctor Who is a show where the story and situations are always changing, but some things have remained solid in the show's 50-year history. The Doctor's change may not have had the same response from everybody, but there was a universal acknowledgment that this was a big change for the franchise. For some, the change was just too much and made them rethink their following of the show in a major way. For others, they straight up said they were out from the moment it was announced, and have not looked back since.
To be quite honest, this is a problem that's been fairly common with Doctor Who for some time. There's always a section of the fandom that has written off Doctor Who when a new Doctor comes aboard, some even before seeing that Doctor in action. Sometimes it's tied to a deep love to the previous Doctor, or maybe general exhaustion from that Doctor's run and not wishing to hop along on the ride with another. In either case, this issue was amplified when gender was brought into the announcement, but it's not necessarily unique to other Doctor castings.
The Doctor Has Historically Been A White Male
It would be foolish to assume that past precedent played no role in the backlash and that Jodie Whittaker's casting had nothing to do with the bucking of the status quo of Doctor Who. Since the beginning of the series, The Doctor has always been a white male, and while the show has changed in numerous ways since then, that has remained a constant.
And while The Doctor being played by a male wasn't a factor in several adventures in the modern reboot, it has in a few key storylines. Various love interests like Rose Tyler and River Song were established as a heterosexual relationship, and the gender switch of the Doctor resulted in a can of worms that some viewers may not have been comfortable in addressing. Some merely thought the change was unrealistic given The Doctor had never mentioned being a woman or was it revealed as a possibility in the 50+ years of being on television, so the change may have felt like disrespect to the show's history.
Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Is A Product Of A Soft Reboot
Some fans have stuck around and watched Jodie Whittaker's Doctor in action, then announced they were done soon after. A lot of this happened during Season 11 of the series, in what was acknowledged as a soft reboot. I believe Whittaker's Doctor took some unfair flak for that, as fans were turned off more by the fact Season 11 ignored much of the show's past than they were about there being a female Doctor.
That being said, it can be hard to disassociate Jodie Whittaker from the situation when she represented the biggest change in Season 11. The common fan may not be up on the whole changes with the showrunner, theme, visual effects, and the general concept of a soft reboot to try and invite a new audience into the show. They just know the show wasn't the same, and the most obvious evidence of that was the female Doctor running around on the screen and calling her companions "fam." For that reason, I feel that some backlash directed at Whittaker isn't so much about her performance or portrayal, but rather the overall change in the franchise she came to be the face of.
What are your thoughts on Jodie Whittaker's Doctor? Share them in the comments, and if you have a hankering to watch Doctor Who, check out the episodes streaming on HBO Max. As always, be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in the world of television and movies.
Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.
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