The 13th doctor is about to say goodbye.
Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who after three seasons, along with showrunner Chris Chibnall. Whittaker made headlines in 2017 when she was cast as the first ever female star of the long-running BBC sci-fi series, and has been traveling through time and space for two seasons since then. She'll appear in one last run of episodes this fall, and then close out her run with two specials and a feature-length movie in 2022. Then, she'll regenerate, and a new doctor will take her place.
This news has been a long time coming, as Chibnall explained in his statement on the exit.
"Jodie and I made a 'three series and out' pact with each other at the start of this once-in-a-lifetime blast. So now our shift is done, and we're handing back the TARDIS keys," he said. "Jodie's magnificent, iconic Doctor has exceeded all our high expectations. She's been the gold standard leading actor, shouldering the responsibility of being the first female Doctor with style, strength, warmth, generosity and humour. She captured the public imagination and continues to inspire adoration around the world, as well as from everyone on the production. I can't imagine working with a more inspiring Doctor—so I'm not going to!"
Whittaker and Chibnall's final special will coincide with the BBC's Centenary celebrations, marking the broadcasting company's 100th birthday.
"For me, leading this exceptional team has been unrivaled creative fun, and one of the great joys of my career. I'm so proud of the people we've worked with and the stories we've told. To finish our time on the show with an additional Special, after the pandemic changed and challenged our production plans, is a lovely bonus," Chibnall continued. "It's great that the climax of the Thirteenth Doctor's story will be at the heart(s) of the BBC's centenary celebrations. I wish our successors—whoever the BBC and BBC Studios choose—as much fun as we've had. They're in for a treat!"
Whittaker also released her own statement about the end of her time as the Doctor.
"In 2017 I opened my glorious gift box of size 13 shoes. I could not have guessed the brilliant adventures, worlds and wonders I was to see in them," she said. "My heart is so full of love for this show, for the team who make it, for the fans who watch it and for what it has brought to my life. And I cannot thank Chris enough for entrusting me with his incredible stories. We knew that we wanted to ride this wave side by side, and pass on the baton together. So here we are, weeks away from wrapping on the best job I have ever had. I don't think I'll ever be able to express what this role has given me. I will carry the Doctor and the lessons I've learnt forever."
"I know change can be scary and none of us know what's out there," she continued. "That's why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly."
Whittaker took the reins from Peter Capaldi, who served as the 12th doctor from 2013 to 2017. Matt Smith, David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston previously starred in the iconic role.
Whittaker's third and final season will premiere this fall on BBC America.