Doctor Who's Anniversary Special Trailer May Have Answered Two Big Questions About Ncuti Gatwa's Doctor

Ncuti Gatwa as the Doctor in Doctor Who
(Image credit: The BBC)

Warning! The following contains spoilers from the Doctor Who special “The Power of the Doctor.” Read at your own risk!

Doctor Who said goodbye to Jodie Whittaker’s Time Lord in “The Power of the Doctor,” and immediately threw fans for a loop when former star David Tennant appeared as her successor (at least the fans who haven't read online theories). After that shocking moment, the BBC threw another curveball by revealing a trailer of what’s ahead for the beloved series in 2023. The trailer, while short, may have offered answers to some big questions fans have had about the 60th anniversary specials, as well as Ncuti Gatwa’s official debut. 

The trailer is indeed criminally short, perhaps understandably, but there are still key elements to pull from it. Before we dive into all that, take a look below to catch our first exciting look at Doctor Who’s 60th-anniversary specials:

To the untrained eye, it may not seem like there’s much to pull from that, but there are indeed two key takeaways that might answer a couple of big questions we’ve had regarding Ncuti Gatwa's eventual debut in Doctor Who

Ncuti Gatwa Will Seemingly Arrive During The 60th Anniversary Specials

The trailer featured David Tennant’s Doctor running around, a quick flash of Neil Patrick Harris’ mysterious villain, and a disgruntled Ncuti Gatwa. As it's titled “Doctor Who Returns In 2023…” it already stood to reason that the footage therein will be seen across all three of the upcoming specials. That notion was seemingly confirmed by Rachel Talalay, who helmed one of the specials, as she explained to a fan on Twitter that the clip contains footage from all three specials, and not just the one installment she directed. 

To be fair, some Doctor Who fans were likely already under the assumption that Ncuti Gatwa would be involved in the 60th anniversary celebrations, but he hadn’t been spotted during the public filming of the specials, and wasn't reported on in any such was. Additionally, a credible report surfaced some months back that suggested his Doctor wouldn’t debut until Season 14 began. This trailer essentially confirms he’ll have at least some presence in the between-season specials, though I’m not sure it’ll be a lasting appearance, considering our second point.

The Clothes Indicate David Tennant’s Doctor Will Regenerate Into Ncuti Gatwa’s Incarnation

When Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor regenerated into David Tennant’s, fans noticed that his clothes changed during the process, switching over to a white button-up shirt and a gray tie, which looks to be exactly what Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor is wearing for his brief clip in the Doctor Who trailer. This would suggest that Tennant will either eventually regenerate into Gatwa’s Doctor, which could mean a few things, or he'll leave those clothes stashed away for the next Doctor to find, which seems a bit ludicrous, so let's stick to the other idea. 

The first thing it may mean is a potential debunking of theories suggesting multiple Doctors appearing in the show via a multiverse, or that Tennant’s Doctor will remain in the franchise permanently after this point. David Tennant is making a grand return for the 60th anniversary for his old pal and former showrunner Russell T. Davies, but it looks like he’ll be bowing out upon its conclusion to give Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor time to shine. 

Another question the Tennant-to-Gatwa switch seemingly answers, assuming David Tennant’s Doctor is around for the bulk of the three-episode special, is that Ncuti Gatwa’s Doctor may not actually appear until the tail-end of the three specials. New Doctors being introduced in the final episode of the previous star's run isn’t uncommon, but it's also never guaranteed. Not all regenerations are the same, as anyone who knows the show well can confirm. Hopefully, we’ll see Gatwa’s Doctor showing up first there in 2023, because it’s getting harder to wait and see what he’s bringing to the table. 

Doctor Who is on a brief hiatus following Jodie Whittaker’s final episode, but will return to BBC and BBC American in 2023 to celebrate its 60th anniversary. There’s an impressive cast confirmed to appear for it, so get yourself prepared by bingeing the series with an HBO Max subscription.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.