Disney Planning to Give Doctor Who a "Hollywood Makeover" According to Report

Disney is reportedly planning on giving Doctor Who a Hollywood makeover when the upcoming 60th anniversary season comes to Disney+ outside of the United Kingdom. Disney made its deal with the BBC to stream upcoming episodes of Doctor Who on Disney+ starting with 2023's 60th anniversary season official last week, though details have been scarce. A report from The Telegraph suggests that it is no simple distribution deal. Disney is helping to finance Doctor Who's budget now, along with Bad Wolf, which has apparently gotten the company license to make creative decisions about the franchise, though the BBC supposedly maintains the final say on the franchise.

The report suggests that Disney wants to turn Doctor Who into an American-style Hollywood franchise. Given that they're the company that produces Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's safe to say they know all about that. Russell T. Davies, who is returning as Doctor Who showrunner next season, has held up Star Wars and the MCU previously as examples of what could and should be the future of Doctor Who.

"I was in the middle of running an empire," Davies told Radio Times in 2021 before his return had been announced, referencing his previous run as Doctor Who showrunner. At the time, he was also producing the spinoffs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Chronicles. "And my god I did that 10 years too soon, didn't I?" There should be a Doctor Who channel now, You look at those Disney announcements, of all those new Star Wars and Marvel shows, you think, we should be sitting here announcing The Nyssa Adventures or The Return of Donna Noble, and you should have the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors together in a 10-part series. Genuinely."

Davies is already making some of those ideas a reality. David Tennant is returning to Doctor Who, making his surprise return as not the Tenth but Fourteenth Doctor during Jodie Whittaker's final episode, the BBC Centenary Special "The Power of the Doctor.' Catherine Tate is joining Tennant, reprising Donna Noble. Comments made by outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall about why only certain past Doctors appeared in "The Power of the Doctor" have led to increased speculation that Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi and even Whittaker could return as their Doctors as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration (Christopher Eccleston's return to television remains a longshot, though he is involved in the 60th anniversary in other ways).

Doctor Who returns for its 60th-anniversary season in November 2023. You can get caught up with modern Doctor Who with our streaming binge guide.