Jodie Whittaker is officially leaving Doctor Who along with showrunner Chris Chibnall in 2022. After taking on the role of the Thirteenth Doctor in 2017, Whittaker has now confirmed her intent to soon leave the show following recent rumors that her exit was imminent. Chibnall and executive producer Matt Stevens are also leaving with Whittaker with all three concluding their runs with the series with a feature-length special next year.
"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," Jodie Whittaker said, per Games Radar. "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."
She added: "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. That's why we keep looking. Travel Hopefully. The Universe will surprise you. Constantly."
The plan is for Whittaker to return as the Thirteenth Doctor in a six-part event serial this year. This will be followed by three specials in 2022. The third special will be feature length, serving as the Thirteenth Doctor's final adventure before Whittaker says goodbye to the role. Per Games Radar, Chibnall says this has in fact been the plan along for himself and Whittaker.
"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," Chris Chibnall says. "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!"
Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, also said: "Over the last four years Chris and Jodie have made Doctor Who history and their time on the show is indelibly marked on our memories. From Rosa Parks to Ascension of the Cybermen, Chris and Jodie have given Doctor Who some of its most life-affirming and tear-jerking moments to date and we are beyond excited to see what they have in store for us in the new series this Autumn. Jodie's final adventure to mark the BBC's Centenary in 2022 is set to be a Doctor Who special to remember. I'd like to thank them both for their incredible work on the show."
There's no word yet on who might be replacing Whittaker as the next Doctor on Doctor Who. Because there's still some time to go before Whittaker's final special airs, there could be a bit of a wait before we hear about potential casting information. Fan reception to Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor was largely positive, as she was neck-and-neck with David Tennant in an online poll asking fans to name their favorite Doctor, just narrowly falling into second place.
Doctor Who will return for season 13 later this year with the first special debuting on New Year's Day 2022. That will be followed by the second special in Spring 2022 and the final special with the introduction of the Fourteenth Doctor arriving in Fall 2022. This news comes to us from Games Radar.