Doctor Who: Ncuti Gatwa Reflects on Meaning of Series for Marginalized People

A new era of Doctor Who is officially upon us, following the exit of Jodie Whittaker in Sunday's Centenary holiday special. The episode surprised fans with the reintroduction of Tenth Doctor actor David Tennant, who will be returning back into the fold of the show as the Fourteenth Doctor for a series of specials. Following that, Ncuti Gatwa will be making history as the first person of color to play the series' titular role, debuting as the Fifteenth Doctor in 2023. 

"My mouth gets paralyzed by the concept of playing this role," Gatwa said during a lunch hosted by the BBC and Disney (via Deadline). "[The show's roots] are so deep in British culture and the fabric of British-ness that as a Rwandan immigrant to the country, it feels just really powerful." Beyond the significance for himself and his family, the actor also said it matters "for people of color, for marginalized people who really gravitate towards the show because it's about friendship and it's about adventure and it's about union and unity. And also Doctor Who is able to turn into anything or anyone, so the possibilities are endless. So the fact that that mission is going out to lots of people, that the possibilities are endless, is extremely cool."

When will Ncuti Gatwa join Doctor Who?

Gatwa is set to play the Fifteenth Doctor in the upcoming 60th anniversary season of Doctor Who, which will be showrun by returning series alum Russell T. Davies. 

"There aren't quite the words to describe how I'm feeling," Gatwa said in a press release when his casting was first announced. "A mix of deeply honoured, beyond excited and of course a little bit scared. This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavour my upmost to do the same.  Russell T Davies is almost as iconic as the Doctor himself and being able to work with him is a dream come true. His writing is dynamic, exciting, incredibly intelligent and fizzing with danger. An actor's metaphorical playground. The entire team have been so welcoming and truly give their hearts to the show. And so as much as it's daunting, I'm aware I'm joining a really supportive family. Unlike the Doctor, I may only have one heart but I am giving it all to this show."

"The future is here and it's Ncuti!" Davies added. "Sometimes talent walks through the door and it's so bright and bold and brilliant, I just stand back in awe and thank my lucky stars. Ncuti dazzled us, seized hold of the Doctor and owned those TARDIS keys in seconds. It's an honour to work with him, and a hoot, I can't wait to get started. I'm sure you're dying to know more, but we're rationing ourselves for now, with the wonderful Jodie's epic finale yet to come. But I promise you, 2023 will be spectacular!"

Gatwa's Doctor Who debut is set to occur in 2023.