UPDATE: It's official! Peter Capaldi has been revealed as the Twelfth Doctor!
Ever since that fateful day in June when Matt Smith broke our hearts and announced that he'd be departing Doctor Who after this year's Christmas special, fans have been hotly debating the topic of who has the talent and presence to fill his shoes. The waiting has come to an end. During a live special on BBC America today, the show's creative team announced that Peter Capaldi has been cast as the Twelfth Doctor.
Though not necessarily instantly recognizable to Americans, Capaldi should be familiar to Doctor Who fans, as he guest-starred in "The Fires of Pompeii" (as did Karen Gillan, who later went on to star as Smith's first companion Amy Pond) and also appeared in Torchwood: Children of Earth. More recently, he starred in the BBC's The Hour alongside Ben Whishaw, whom many had hoped would be cast in the coveted Doctor role. Capaldi is notably older than his predecessors at age 55, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not really all that weird. In fact, Smith's casting at age 26 was the exception, not the norm.
Now, before we jump to conclusions about whether or not Capaldi will ever be able to fill the voids in our hearts left by those who came before him, let's all step inside my homemade TARDIS and journey back into time and space for a bit.
It's October of 2008 and David Tennant has just announced he's stepping down as the Tenth Doctor after three seasons full of wonderful adventures. Fans everywhere cry rivers of tears for months and months while declaring that no one can ever replace Tennant as their Doctor. When Matt Smith is announced as the unlucky man who must follow in Tennant's Chuck Taylor-ed footsteps, the internet again erupts into chaos. "He's too young!" they shout. "He looks funny!" they say (also I might be remembering things incorrectly?). Legions of fans take to Tumblr to dissect every single nugget they can dig up about this new guy. And then Season 5 premieres and the world falls in love with the quirky, spastic, fez-wearing, fish-fingers-and-custard-eating Eleven.
Fast forward a few years and we've come a long way since then. There's been a lot of waiting, a lot of remarking that certain things are cool now, The Silence, the mystery of River Song, and plenty of running. Yes, our hearts broke when Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) were touched by an angel and transported back in time to the middle of the seventh season, but their time had come and we tearfully said goodbye. And now we must do the same with Matt Smith's version of the Doctor.
Just like all those who came before him, Smith wormed his way into our hearts, and Eleven now resides comfortably next to Tennant's angry Ten. And though it's perfectly fine to remain cautious about Capaldi, we have to remember that all this has happened before and will happen again—oops, wrong science-fiction series. Regardless, the notion still stands: Until we have reason to believe otherwise, let's accept that Steven Moffat and the producers of Doctor Who know what's best for the show. Yes, it will be different. Yes, it will be a completely new incarnation. But that's kind of what makes Doctor Who so great, right? Who's to say we won't be writing depressing Tumblr posts about Capaldi's Doctor's departure in a few years' time?
What do YOU think of Peter Capaldi's casting?