Doctor Who's Chris Chibnall Reveals A Major Flux Storyline Almost Didn't Happen, And I Can't Believe This Was A Possibility

Jodie Whittaker as The Doctor
(Image credit: BBC)

Doctor Who: Flux was a season unlike any fans had previously seen in the reboot era of the franchise. The six episode run revolves around one story to better ease the process of making the show with COVID precautions and protocols. But what fans might not know is that there was actually a time when it wasn't going to happen at all. Former showrunner Chris Chibnall recalled the story and the reality that Jodie Whittaker's final full season as The Doctor almost never happened. 

Chris Chibnall was a guest on the Radio Free Skaro podcast and talked about his time as Doctor Who showrunner alongside Thirteenth Doctor actor Jodie Whittaker. Chibnall and Whittaker both worked on Doctor Who: Flux during the pandemic, but the showrunner confessed that the season almost didn't happen. Said the filmmaker,

There was a week where it was not going to be made. There was a week where I was... I’d been offered another job. And because the BBC was just like — the BBC studios, and it’s like, 'Where’s the money coming from? How are we going to do this? Is it too difficult?' And it literally went down to the wire of like, yeah, there was an hour on one day when it’s like, it was done. And yeah, we had to do... there are certain things I had to do to get that season made because they couldn’t find a way to do it.

Chris Chibnall allowed Doctor Who fans a peek behind the curtain at a time when it seemed there was a lot of doubt about whether Jodie Whittaker's final season would happen. The showrunner even considered taking another job, but he ultimately stuck it out and figured out a way to make the season happen. 

The showrunner added that he wasn't the only person who had to make some concessions and reject jobs to make Doctor Who: Flux happen. Chris Chibnall shared that moving the season and its production resulted in Jodie Whittaker being on the line for the role longer than she expected, and she had to give up some future roles as a result. Chibnall added,

Jodie [Whittaker] had a thousand job offers, and then everything was changing, you know, obviously, she had a contract, an option, but also, you know, I know what jobs she gave up to do the third season, which, obviously because it had moved in the schedule, you know, she had stuff lined up for when we were supposed to finish shooting, but then was delayed by the pandemic. And you know, she’s in demand, and so she sacrificed a lot. Everybody sacrificed a lot. But again, see now it’s like, we’re into that – everybody’s sacrifice and painful, but it’s not that at all! But yeah, we did have those moments.

It's so wild to hear how Doctor Who: Flux wasn't guaranteed and imagine how that could've impacted the end of Jodie Whittaker's run. Additionally, one has to wonder if Whittaker would've taken a job and gone on to film elsewhere if she had been available down the stretch for the three episodes that ultimately ushered in her regeneration and the return of David Tennant's Doctor

Thankfully, things worked out the way they did, and while I'm still somewhat confused by all that transpires in Doctor Who: Flux, I'm glad it happened. I can't imagine a reality in which we only had two full seasons of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, especially given how groundbreaking her role was for the franchise

Chris Chibnall's latest thoughts on Doctor Who come at a big time for the franchise, as the series prepares for the 60th anniversary special and a big move in the United States to Disney+. The future is looking bright, with future Doctor actor Ncuti Gatwa on deck to take over the role for Season 14, and it seems likely more seasons and even some spinoffs may happen as a result of the Disney deal. I assume that's the case, but maybe I'll be blindsided by another podcast in a few years should Russell T. Davies have some secrets to spill following his return. 

Those with an HBO Max subscription can binge Doctor Who while we wait for the arrival of the 60th-anniversary specials in the fall. We've learned quite a bit about the specials so far, but there no doubt are still some secrets being kept under wraps for what should be an exciting return for the show. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

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.