Barbie’s Simu Liu Talks How Long Castmate Ncuti Gatwa Kept His Doctor Who Casting Secret From The Other Actors

Simu Liu and Ncuti Gatwa
(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Netflix)

Doctor Who announced its newest Doctor not too long ago and, while there are still a lot of questions surrounding the development, we know that Ncuti Gatwa will step into the role. The casting seemingly caught many by surprise, but that's largely a product of the secrecy the franchise demands from those in the know. Simu Liu, who's worked with Gatwa on Barbie, revealed that the star couldn’t even tell his co-stars about his casting and had to keep that secret for a long time. 

Simu Liu is currently in the midst of a book tour and, during his travels, he stopped in London to chat with The Matrix Ressurections' Jessica Henwick. During the discussion, Ncuti Gatwa was mentioned, and Liu explained (via Variety) that the star more than succeeded in holding things in. As a matter of fact, Gatwa managed to keep the secret from the lengthy list of Barbie actors for months, according to Liu:

[He] didn’t tell anyone a thing. And then all of a sudden, over the weekend, he was announced. We came to work on Monday. We were like, ‘Dude, how long have you been holding this in for?’ And he’s like, ‘Two months.'

Two months is a long time to keep a big secret from anyone, as Simu Liu can attest to. In fact, the Shang-Chi actor also revealed during the event that despite repeated warnings from Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige not to even tell his family in the four days before the official reveal of his casting at San Diego Comic-Con, he almost immediately called up his best friend to tell him the news. 

Major news like a Marvel Cinematic Universe hero's casting can send fandoms into a frenzy, and the same is true whenever Doctor Who casts a new lead. While confirming that he wouldn’t have been able to hold the secret as long as Ncuti Gatwa, Simu Liu talked about the lengths his co-star has gone to protect himself and his family since landing the role on the sci-fi series:

I would have combusted. He had to get security in and around not only his place of residence but the places of residence of his entire family.

Ncuti Gatwa’s casing is indeed a big deal and is only one of the things Doctor Who fans can be excited about regarding the future. Russell T. Davies is returning as showrunner, David Tennant and Catherine Tate returning for the anniversary, and there's even more. With that in mind, some fans may be eager to get more details So one can understand Gatwa's decision to beef up security, as it could be useful during this wild and unpredictable time. Though he could always change plans after the hype surrounding the situation dies down a bit. But all in all, kudos to the actor for being able to keep the secret and ensure that franchise devotees were surprised when it finally did drop.

While Doctor Who will soon bring Ncuti Gatwa (who I'm already loving) into the franchise, there's still the matter of the farewell episode for its current Doctor actress, Jodie Whittaker, which is set to air in the fall. Now is as good a time as any to get an HBO Max subscription and binge her best moments while also revisiting the past in preparation for the 60th anniversary.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

I like good television but also reality television. His day largely consists of balancing his workload between reporting on the latest and greatest news in Star Trek and other sci-fi, as well as 90 Day Fiancé, WWE, Big Brother, and more.