“I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” Whittaker said in a BBC interview after her casting was revealed. “Because this is a really exciting time, and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change.”
Immediately following the announcement, the news of Whittaker’s Doctor Who was met with similar skepticism and uproar as the all-female Ghostbusters faced. However, Whittaker defended showrunner Chris Chibnall’s decision to break the glass TARDIS ceiling.
“It feels completely overwhelming, as a feminist, as a woman, as an actor, as a human, as someone who wants to continually push themselves and challenge themselves, and not be boxed in by what you’re told you can and can’t be,” Whittaker said. “It feels incredible.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Whittaker – who worked with Chibnall and “10th Doctor” David Tennant on Broadchurch – beat out actresses like Tilda Swinton and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who will appear in the upcoming Han Solo standalone film, for the Who role.
“The fans have lived through so many changes, and this is only a new, different one, not a fearful one,” Whittaker added.
“To be asked to play the ultimate character, to get to play pretend in the truest form: this is why I wanted to be an actor in the first place. To be able to play someone who is literally reinvented on screen, with all the freedoms that brings: what an unbelievable opportunity. And added to that, to be the first woman in that role.”