Matt Smith, the former Doctor Who actor who played the Eleventh 11th regeneration of the Time Lord, might become the first actor to return to the role. Besides the question of whether this will even happen or not, another consideration is in what capacity would he come back? Would he be part of a regular season or simply a special episode? Rumors of a return to the role are circulating as Whovians wait for Season 10 to debut in 2017.
As fans of Doctor Who know, after a regeneration, the Doctor gets a new face and a new personality; however, an actor who has previously played the Time Lord has never returned to the role as part of a regular season. There is a slim possibility Smith, who played the 11th Doctor from 2009 to 2013, could make history and become the first actor to do just that.
In an interview with the Mirror, Smith was very open about the fact that he regrets leaving the show and would return in a heartbeat if he was asked.
“They will ask me back one day, won’t they?” Smith said.
Smith still has much love for the character he played, as he told Time Out earlier this week.
“I’m proud of it, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was a wonderful experience for me and my family. I still do all the conventions and stuff. I don’t think I’ll be as famous for anything [else] because it’s got so much cultural relevance.”
Though Smith definitely wants to come back, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will as part of the regular season. He would be more likely return as a special guest as part of a different timeline. Returning as the same Doctor would throw off the current timeline of the show, although as the Doctor himself has said many times before, time is “wibbly wobbly.”
The Independent reports it’s “absolute standard for an actor to ensure their continuing support for past projects by stating their openness to a future return.” Not all actors, however, have looked back over their past roles in such a positive way, so “absolute standard” doesn’t always qualify.
Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat said it was a terrible time when Smith left the show, and although he said that, he hasn’t offered any information about the current Time Lord, Peter Capaldi, regenerating back into Smith’s Doctor.
“Matt, who was a friend and ally, was leaving. I couldn’t get him to stay. It felt like everything was blowing up around me.”
At the same time, Moffat hasn’t discounted Smith’s return. Moffat will be leaving the show next year after spending six seasons as showrunner. It’s also thought that Peter Capaldi will be leaving in 2017.
One thing Smith has going for him is that his incarnation as the Doctor was loved by many fans of the show, and he was given some great stories. Regeneration has always been a process that changes to suit the needs of the writers. If the writers are on board with bringing Smith back on a regular basis, technically it could be done.
Post-Doctor Who, Smith has starred in Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, Terminator Genisys, with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, as well as several theater productions. Next up for Smith is his role as Prince Phillip in Netflix’s drama The Crown, coming in November.
In a recent poll by Metro, readers were asked if they want Matt Smith to return as the Doctor on Doctor Who. Seventy percent said “Yes, he was the best!” while 30 percent said “No, time for fresh blood.”
Readers, what do you think? Do you want Matt Smith back as Doctor Who?
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]