There have been 11 incarnations of the shapeshifting alien from Doctor Who but none have been female. That could change according Executive Producer Steven Moffat.
“Can I just ask, how many people would continue watching quite happily and believe it was the same person if the Doctor turned into a woman?” Moffat asked a largely skeptical audience at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
“It is a part of Time Lord law that it can happen,” he assured them. “I put the reference in the episode The Doctor’s Wife to the fact that a Time Lord could potentially turn into a woman. Who knows, the more often it is talked about the more likely it is to happen some day, I suppose.”
Matt Smith, the current Doctor, weighed in on the idea at The Mary Sue:
I think there are many actresses that could play it because there are so many wonderful actresses. I mean, it would change the role because she would be a woman so when you put her in a room full of men, it’s a different scenario than if you put a man in a room full of men, because she’s a different sex. Would it change the fundamentals of the character? No. But it’s an interesting idea, if the Doctor’s a woman, does she have a Doctor baby? Is there a mini-Doctor? I don’t know, who knows? What actresses could play her? Oh gosh, so many, so many could play her. It depends on what age you would want. [He was really thinking hard here] It could be…Charlize Theron is pretty kick ass, isn’t she? They just have to find a brilliant actress. I never see that happening any time soon to be honest. I don’t think it will happen. [Because you’re not leaving us?] No. And I’m not turning into a woman.
While fanboys may dismiss the idea, fangirls aren’t waiting for Doctor Who to get with the times. At Gallifrey One, the premiere Doctor Who convention, women have been lording it over their male counterparts since 2005. The girls of Gallifrey refuse to be regulated to the role of sidekick so they reinvent the Doctor’s iconic costumes to suit them, known as femme cosplay.
In an interview with io9 Courtney Stoker, a panel moderator, explained:
So some of the femme Doctor cosplayers I interviewed were clear about their motivations, but even the ones who were less conscious were clearly making up for what they saw as a lack of female protagonists. While there are plenty of awesome companions, there are no female heroes in Doctor Who. The companions are, definitionally, sidekicks. And femme Doctor cosplayers are very aware of this. They want to be heroes, not followers and sidekicks, however badass. And Doctor Who does not offer them a hero that matches their experience, who looks anything like them. So they invent her.
In the past, I half-jokingly suggested the 11th Doctor should be a sassy black woman but a gender change could be just what the Doctor ordered.
Moffat says the decision is up to fans so vote or die and regenerate! (see adjacent poll)