The Doctor isn’t often the type to throw a punch, but we know Hayley Atwell can, thanks to the way she brought Agent Peggy Carter to film and TV screens. Her opening scene in “Captain America” was more than enough of an indication that she has the will and wit necessary to pull off the part of the lone survivor of Gallifrey. (A part, by the way, Atwell very much wants.)
While known best for comedy, Richard Ayoade always looks like he has a secret — a perfect quality for someone known as the Last Time Lord. His nerdy cred is well-established after several seasons of ITV’s “The IT Crowd” (one of the 20th century’s all-time great sitcoms). That — plus his clear intelligence and wit as seen constantly on British panel shows — would make him more than perfect for this regeneration.
You gotta have confidence if you’re going to galavant about through history, and the “Mr. Selfridge” star has plenty of that to go around. His impressive resume also includes appearances in the most recent season of “Sherlock” as well as “24: Live Another Day,” demonstrating the kind of range and versatility necessary to take on the role.
American fans may only recognize Emmanuel as Ramsey from the “Fast & Furious” franchise or Harriet from “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” but the Essex-born actress is a theatre kid through-and-through. She was in a West End production of “The Lion King” at age 10, for Pete’s sake. Throw in significant time on the long-running Channel 4 soap “Hollyoaks” and Emmanuel is well-equipped for anything the good “Doctor” writers throw her way.
Behind Romola Garai’s smile is the implication that she knows more than you do; a key Doctor-y quality, and one that’s served her well during a rich career of work in both film and television. Her starring work in “The Hour” has made that show one we’ll always cherish, playing a woman working for BBC News in the 1950s. The way in which she refused to let her gender keep her from doing the best job possible, against all odds, brings to mind the kind of fighting spirit we like to see in our Doctors.
A Brit trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Harewood knows how to maximize his authority in a very short amount of time. He can walk into a room, and you know he’s in charge. Plus, he’s got crossover appeal for American fans of “Homeland,” “The Night Manager,” and “Supergirl”… and sex appeal in droves. Just ask Olivia Coleman.
The “Call the Midwife” veteran can do it all, as evidenced by her wide-ranging work in everything from Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy” to Hart’s own BBC series, “Miranda.” Most importantly, she knows how to play empathetic with an edge, which would be quite a combo for the new doctor.
Soon to be seen in the new season of Starz’s “The Missing,” Keeley Hawes has a legendary resume filled with a range of roles, from period dramas to crime procedurals. Her badass side was perhaps most evident during her run on “MI-5″/”Spooks,” but she also has a kind and generous side which would be beautiful to see explored. She would be the kind of Doctor whose lies you’d always want to believe.
For proof that Daniel Kaluuya could totally own the role, look no further than the “Black Mirror” episode “One Million Merits.” There, Kaluuya experiences an incredible array of ups and downs, mostly just with the expression on his face, and the rage he brings to the screen in the episode’s climax was beyond magnetic. Hopefully, he doesn’t become too famous after starring in Jordan Peele’s upcoming “Get Out” — the TARDIS needs him.
She can bend time and space like Beckham! (Sorry, had to be done.) Seriously though, what makes Nagra so intriguing is that she herself is TARDIS-like: smaller on the outside, but containing endless fortitude and charisma inside. Her strength is the depth of emotion that she can convey, and as a universe-weary Time Lord who’s seen too much, who’s said goodbye too much, she would be heartbreaking. And let’s face it: “Doctor Who” is a show that at its best can make you blubber like a baby. That said, she would also be able to bring the steel with just a glance. We’d also love to see how having a brown woman traipse across our centuries would play out. Nagra already has the sci-fi and action cred from working on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Why not give her the role of a lifetime? We’ll even throw Keira Knightley in as a guest Companion!
Ben Whishaw might not look terribly dangerous, but that could make him one of the best candidates for the role: someone who’d be perennially catching you off guard. The star of “The Hour” and “London Spy” has a sharp wit, plenty of charm, and just the right air of mystery to make the TARDIS feel both as magical and scary as it should be.
When asked to, Olivia Williams brings an incredible intensity to her roles (notably as Adelle on Joss Whedon’s short-lived drama “Dollhouse”), and she’d bring the same dignified grace — and capacity for both cruelty and humor — to the TARDIS. We’ll never forget the scene in “Rushmore” where sweet schoolteacher Rosemary tore down Jason Schwartzman’s expectations that they might one day have sex; we expect that she’d bring similar grit and humor to the role.
The beauty of Wong is that he’s a chameleon. He can bring the pathos and despair needed to play The Doctor, but he’s also comfortable in historical garb (his Kublai Khan was the best thing about Neflix’s “Marco Polo”) as well as mixing it up in space/sci-fi/adventure projects like “The Martian,” “Prometheus,” and “Doctor Strange.” This show has all of that. But what we would really love to see him bring is his comedic bluster to the table. Not many people can go head-to-head with Moss on “The IT Crowd” and make him sweat in the nerdiest challenge ever. We can certainly see some intergalactic shenanigans go down with Wong at the helm of the TARDIS.