It's been a rough month or so for actor John Barrowman, as the Doctor Who franchise seemingly continues to distance itself from the actor. The BBC series has dropped Barrowman and his character Captain Jack Harkness from a handful of projects since the resurfaced reports of past flashing allegations during his early tenure on the show, and the bleeding on that front hasn't stopped yet. Captain Jack was removed from yet another Who-related work, and this one feels a bit more substantial than the past few.
Captain Jack Harkness was originally slated to appear in a graphic novel made by Titan Comics and published by Penguin Random House. Radio Times has since learned that plans for that series have been shelved and that there are no plans to publish the series at this time. The series was supposed to transport Jack to 19th century Cardiff and involved him taking on the Victorian-era Torchwood institute.
What's most substantial about the news, however, is that the graphic novel was advertised to be a tie-in novel to the second episode of Doctor Who Season 13. When we first reported on the leaked synopsis for the story, it seemed like a major clue that John Barrowman's character, who had only returned in recent years after nearly a decade away from the franchise, would possibly return for Season 13.
Prior to now, John Barrowman had only been removed from projects tangentially connected to the Doctor Who television series. With this latest project being something that's a direct tie-in, it certainly feels as though the writing may be on the wall that The BBC could potentially rework storylines and other previous plans to ensure Captain Jack Harkness isn't involved in Season 13. Of course, this is only speculation but, as Barrowman is continually scratched from any new projects planned for Doctor Who, things seem to be getting clearer.
As mentioned, Doctor Who distancing itself from Jack Harkness is tied to resurfaced claims that John Barrowman frequently exposed his genitals on the set of the show during its early years. Those interviewed about the matter have stressed that the exposures were never explicitly sexual in nature but a joke in poor taste. At that time during the series' run, higher-ups with Torchwood directly confronted Barrowman about the issue, and it was confirmed that his behavior stopped shortly after.
John Barrowman apologized to fans when the news first went public in 2008 and has issued another apology in light of the resurfaced allegations. Barrowman's public reckoning came alongside a series of allegations about another past Doctor Who actor, Noel Clarke, which has called into question the level of discipline and professionalism the show's set had in its earlier seasons since the reboot. The BBC could respond by severing future ties with Barrowman, meaning his Captain Jack would disappear from future Doctor Who episodes for good.
Until The BBC makes an official statement on the matter, we can only wait and see what John Barrowman's future is with the franchise. Doctor Who Season 13 is still in the process of filming, so it could still be a while before American audiences see it on BBC America. For more on the series in the meantime, be sure to read up on former Doctor Peter Capaldi's upcoming appearance in The Suicide Squad and why fans will be excited about it.