'Doctor Who': Watch Matt Smith Bow Out in His Final Episode

Peter Capaldi snaps into existence as the 12th Doctor at the end of the show's Christmas Special

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Matt Smith took his final bow as the 11th Doctor on yesterday's Doctor Who Christmas special, capping off a three-series run. After saving the universe once again, Smith's Doctor returned to his trusty TARDIS to bid farewell to his companion, Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), pondering the arrival of the new Doctor: "Times change, and so must I," he says, as people from his past suddenly appear, including his first companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan).

In an instant, the Peter Capaldi era began, as the 12th Doctor snapped into existence with the frazzled proclamation, "I've got new kidneys!" While gathering his faculties, he frantically asks Clara, "Do you know how to fly this thing?"

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Capaldi will take over on Doctor Who for real when the show returns in the summer. While many are excited for the Scottish actor's turn on the show, there was some criticism leveled against the casting, specifically regarding why a woman – not to mention a person of color or LGBT – has yet to play the Doctor.

While critics and fans seem quite ready for a female Doctor – Smith even brought up the possibility, to loud applause, at Comic-Con International this year – Doctor Who's current head writer and executive producer, Steven Moffat, may not be the right person to usher in that change. Moffat drew strong reaction when he compared making the Doctor a woman to hiring a man to play the Queen of England. And as Doctor Who expert Dave Maass told Rolling Stone, "There's been a lot of criticism of Steven Moffat's treatment of female characters, and even accusations of misogyny . . . his females tend to fit a standard template: gorgeous, stubborn and in need of a savior."

Doctor Who celebrated its 50th anniversary this year with a monumental special that aired simultaneously in 75 countries and select movie theaters in 3D back in November. The "Day of the Doctor" special brought together Smith's 11th Doctor with David Tennant's beloved 10th Doctor, as well as John Hurt as a "forgotten" incarnation of the title character.