Doctor Who defied many fans' expectations earlier this year with the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. The actress has already garnered support from those in the show's orbit, including the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith.
During a recent panel at Fan Expo Canada, Smith argued that Whittaker's casting, as the first woman to play the role, is an incredibly beneficial thing for Doctor Who - as it allows the series to further evolve.
"I think it’s absolutely what we should do." Smith explained. "Doctor Who as an idea is at its best when it’s inventing things and being brave with the forum. Having a woman come in and play the Doctor suddenly makes me go 'Wow! What’s she gonna do?'"
Smith then complimented Whitaker herself, and revealed that he is eagerly anticipating her Doctor Who debut.
"She’s a brilliant actress, she’s a great person, and I think she’s going to be a rocket. I’m really excited."
While Whitaker's casting was met with praise by many fans, some decided to respond negatively to the initial announcement. Those responses have been shut down on several occasions, with everyone from outgoing Who showrunner Steven Moffat, to Merriam-Webster's dictionary weighing in. Smith revealed that he understands a version of what Whitaker is going through, seeing as he was met with quite a bit of pessimistic fan reaction as well.
"There was a great deal of pressure from the outside." Smith revealed. "The thing with Doctor Who is that I’d walk down the street and people would be like, ‘Don’t break Doctor Who!’ And I’d be like ‘Please love me.’'"
Judging by early comments, it seems like plenty will be loving Whitaker's adaptation of the Doctor. Smith's former onscreen companion, Karen Gillan, as well as outgoing Who star Peter Capaldi have been just some of the many Who alums to praise the actress.
The Doctor Who Christmas Special will air on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2017.