Doctor Who: Weighing the Odds on the Internet's Favorite Potential Successors to Matt Smith

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The Whoniverse was rocked this weekend when the BBC announced that Matt Smith, after four years of playing the Doctor, will be leaving Doctor Who. Despite the fact that four years is standard tenure for an actor playing the Doctor, despite the fact that we kinda felt this coming on, and despite the fact that it might be the kick in the arse that the series needs, it somehow still feels a bit sudden. We'll only get two more episodes with Smith—the 50th Anniversary Special that's scheduled for November, and the annual Christmas Special. 

From his statement:

It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the TARDIS for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose, and the impossible one.' But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt.

But before we even finished reading the news, the internet was already aflutter with gossip about who the next Doctor should be. So we've decided to throw in on some of our favorite guesses so far. Let's hear your own in the comments!


IDRIS ELBA

He's British, he's incredibly talented, and it would be great to have a Doctor who isn't white and/or male. However: Elba seems too badass, too hulking to play a guy who lives and dies by his wits alone. I have no doubts he could act the part admirably, but it'd be tough to convince anyone that Elba's Doctor would need to run from Daleks. Can his shoulders even fit through the TARDIS door? 

Chance of being the next Doctor: 20 percent



SIMON PEGG / TOM HIDDLESTON / BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH


These are all fantastic actors who seem Doctor-y, but all three of them feel too big to star in a television series (or in Cumberbatch's case, a second television series). Hiddleston is too busy playing Loki, Cumberbatch will have his pick of American movies post Star Trek, and as much as I'd love seeing Pegg's version of the Doctor, he shut down that idea last night:

Chance of being the next Doctor: A very chilly 5 percent 



GILLIAN ANDERSON

I would absolutely love to see a female Doctor, and I would love for that female Doctor to be Dana Scully. She's been killing it on Hannibal, so she's clearly open to doing TV again, and she was partially raised in the U.K. so she can do a flawless British accent.  may not want to cast an older actress as the Doctor, Anderson is not exactly known for her comic timing, and she may be too well-known to play The Doctor, but I think she'd be a fantastic and ballsy choice. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: An optimistic 50 percent



RICHARD AYOADE

This guy! Well-loved for his work on Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, The IT Crowd, and the movie The Watch, Ayoade is a perfect choice to play the Doctor. He's got an adorably nerdy look, he's a great actor, and I can easily picture him in a trench coat. I would put the odds fairly high on this one, except for the fact that Ayoade seems to be moving more toward directing these days; recently, he's helmed an episode of Community and a movie that's coming out this year called The Double, among others.

Chance of being the next Doctor: 75 percent if he wants the role



NATALIE DORMER


The actress who plays Margery Tyrell on Game of Thrones is simply fantastic. She's gorgeous, spunky, smart... and also incredibly complex. There's some interesting darkness in there that could take the Doctor in a very fun direction, and her smirk just feels so River Song-ish I can't stand it! (I hear she's also been great on Elementary, a show I don't watch.) Plus there's already so much fraternizing between the Game of Thrones and Doctor Who cast. I'm going to put this one in the "maybe?" category—all they'd have to do is work out the shooting schedules, or set a lot of Doctor Who episodes in Malta.

Chance of being the next Doctor: 75 percent, but I'm being hopeful



NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

I love this guy more than anything, and sure, he would lend some credibility to the Doctor's space travel, but he's a astrophysicist, not an actor. Though I'd totally get on board with a guest-starring role. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: Zero percent unless Moffat goes nuts.



BEN WHISHAW

This guy has popped up in the BBC series The Hour (so he wouldn't have to fill out another application!), as well as the movies I'm Not There and Cloud Atlas, among others, but it was his turn as Q in Skyfall that got people's attention. He's a bit of a chameleon, he's quirky and quick, he's got acting chops, and let's face it, he's a dreamboat. He's a known actor but not so well known that he's too big for the role, and he doesn't seem to have anything in the works as far as I can tell...

Chance of being the next Doctor: 80 percent



RUPERT GRINT

Ronald Weasley seems to be the main name people are talking about when discussing the new Doctor, and I get it. He's a bit younger, but he's a well-loved actor, a familiar face, and a ginger. He can play befuddled, he can play tough and menacing, but I don't know if I would buy him as an ancient alien. Plus he's a bit built—not Idris Elba built, but quite muscular. However, I would certainly love to see what he could do in the role; he's shown time and time again that he chooses fun roles for himself and then does fun things with them. Now that CBS has passed on his sitcom pilot Super Clyde, he's looking for a job. 

Chance of being the next Doctor: 70 percent and ginger


We can speculate all we want, but seeing as Doctor Who has traditionally picked unknown or little-known actors to play the double-hearted madman in a box, we're probably all wrong. But the speculation is fun, and I'd love to hear who you want to be the next Doctor!!


Psst... If you'd like to vote for someone you don't see listed, speak up in the comments and we'll try to keep the poll choices updated accordingly!

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