Tomorrow is set to be a huge event for Whovians around the globe. According to a recent press release from the BBC, the channel will air a special live-event whereby they will reveal the identity of the actor (or actress) set to take on the mantle of The Doctor from current actor Matt Smith, who will depart the series following this year’s Christmas episode.
Inevitably, Matt Smith’s departure from Doctor Who last month produced instant speculation on who should play the 12th incarnation of the all-powerful Timelord. While actors Rory Kinnear and Ben Whishaw have been widely reported as likely candidates, both men have played down the speculation in recent weeks.
So who truly deserves to take on the mantle of everyone’s favorite time-traveling, two-hearted alien? More than likely, the candidate will be a relatively unknown actor. Still, it’s certainly fun to have a dream list of actors. Here’s a list of some of our favorites.
One of the most extraordinary British actors to emerge in the past decade, Idris Elba helped to create one of the greatest TV characters of all time in the form of The Wire’s Stringer Bell. Despite Elba’s talents, however, his suave demeanor and commanding presence would seem to make him a better fit for a James Bond than a Doctor. That being said, I’m all for him making a possible appearance as a new version of The Master.
Few had heard of British thespian Tom Hiddleston prior to his casting as the devious Loki in Thor. After his performance at the Marvel Comic Con panel this year, however, it now seems as though there’s no one in the geek community not in love with him. If that weren’t enough, the man is a dynamite impressionist. Yet, while Loki may have made Hiddleston a fan favorite, it also burst open his career in a major way. As such, it’s unlikely Hiddleston will tie himself down to a single role just yet.
Malcolm f**king Tucker as The Doctor. That is all.
In the three years since Benedict Cumberbatch took on the titular role in the BBC’s Sherlock, he has amassed the kind of hardcore fanbase that most actors only dream of. Naturally, many are demanding that Cumberbatch be made the new Doctor. Ultimately, while the actor is certainly not one to pass up bouts of goofiness, he tends to take roles that highlight his icy demeanor. And while I’d love more than anything to hear Cumberbatch’s lovely baritone deliver The Doctor’s rapid-fast dialogue, his persona seems a bit out-of-sync with how The Doctor is traditionally portrayed. Not that it wouldn’t be an interesting choice, of course. As a compromise, I believe he should also be given the chance to play The Master, particularly if a certain co-star happens to be named The Doctor.
Best known to general audiences as Lucius Malfoy, the long-haired father of Draco from the Harry Potter series, Jason Isaacs has excelled at playing great baddies over the years, including in the Mel Gibson film The Patriot and the animated DC film Batman: Under the Red Hood, where he voiced Ra’s al Ghul. That being said, the sadly short-lived NBC show Awake showed that he could play a likable protagonist just as well as an evil bastard. While Isaacs’ Doctor might prove to be a darker one, it’d be one for the history books.
Prior to Matt Smith being cast as the 11th Doctor, Robert Carlyle was widely reported as a front runner to take over the role from David Tennant. Carlyle certainly has the pedigree, having played roles in light-hearted comedies (The Full Monty), devastating horror films (28 Weeks Later) and pitch black comedies that fall somewhere in the middle (the foul-tempered Begbie in Trainspotting). Could it finally be his turn to step into the TARDIS? Many Who fans are certainly petitioning for this to happen. The one downside? Carlyle also played Adolf Hitler in a 2003 television movie. Though he did a fantastic job, the idea of linking The Doctor to Hitler may be a bit much for some (series six episode “Let’s Kill Hitler” aside).
A hilarious presence on the British sitcom The IT Crowd, O’Dowd has achieved the significant feat of actually breaking into the mainstream American market with roles in Bridesmaids and a running arc on the HBO show Girls. Boasting a natural, affable charm and an endearing Irish brogue, few can deny that O’Dowd would make a great Doctor. That being said, his burgeoning career and ongoing role in the Christopher Guest series Family Tree would likely be a hindrance to accepting the role.
12. Rupert Grint
Where You Know Him From: The Harry Potter series, Cherrybomb
Pros: Plucked from obscurity at the age of 11 to play Ron Weasley, the loveably yet clumsy comic relief of the Harry Potter fillm series, Grint spent most of his adolescence developing his skills in front of a camera. Displaying a natural aptitude for comedy early on, it soon became apparent that Grint had more to offer than simply pratfalls and zingers, particularly in the series’ final installments where he was able to flex some dramatic muscles. While some may object to this choice, it would give Grint a great opportunity to break free of the Weasley shadow and show us what he’s really got. Plus, The Doctor can finally be a ginger.
Cons: Despite the international exposure that Harry Potter granted him, Grint has yet to find a major breakthrough outside of the Wizarding World. Thus, he has yet to prove whether or not he can carry a huge project on his own. And the Doctor Who name is nothing to be trifled with. At 24, he would be the youngest actor to ever play the character. After the success of Matt Smith, however, the show’s runners may very well want to keep the trend going by hiring a young actor with minimal previous exposure.
11. Helena Bonham Carter
Where You Know Her From: The Harry Potter series, Fight Club, The King’s Speech
Pros: Since taking on the role of drug addict Marla Singer in the 1999 cult film Fight Club, Helena Bonham Carter has seen a massive shift in her public persona, to say the least. Whereas she previously starred in more traditional British costume fare such as The Wings of the Dove and the Shakespeare adaptation Twelfth Night, recent years has seen her playing characters defined by their extreme look and even more extreme personalities, including the murderous Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films, a petty thief in Les Misérables and the ill-tempered Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland. For her part, Carter has seemed to embrace this new phase with great relish. Her effortless mix of sexy and eccentric would appear to make her a highly viable choice for a female Doctor.
Cons: With two Oscar nominations under her belt—one for The Wings of the Dove and the other for 2011’s Best Picture winner The King’s Speech—Carter might have a bit too much feature film clout to abruptly move into a television role—no matter how iconic.