The Comic-Con panel for “Doctor Who” was always going to be a bit bittersweet since this was the last one for Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. Sadly, Pearl Mackie, who plays new companion Bill Potts, also confirmed that she will be leaving the series after the Christmas special.
Mackie has become an instant fan-favorite from her very first episode. Bill Potts had the honor of being the first openly gay companion in the series. While her sexuality wasn’t the main focus for her character, it wasn’t ignored either. In scenes throughout the season, various characters were seen accepting the fact that she is gay with no real issues. In the season finale, she was seen joining her love interest from the first episode to explore space aboard an alien ship.
Bill was also particularly a positive and bright light in the series. Her optimism and enthusiasm knew no bounds, which is what made it all the more heartbreaking when she was temporarily imprisoned inside a Cyberman’s cyborg husk.
At the Comic-Con panel on Sunday, Mackie told the fans gathered in Hall H, “This fandom is wicked. Thanks for having me!” Here’s a fan video of the confirmation below:
— plɹoʍoɟǝᴉɥʇ (@thiefoworld) July 23, 2017
While Mackie’s announcement isn’t a complete surprise, her status on the show has been overshadowed by Capaldi’s impending exit and the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the first woman to ever play the Doctor. Although Bill is jaunting across the universe with her girlfriend, she will still appear, however briefly, to see the Doctor that she knows one more time. In the trailer for the Christmas episode, we can see her hugging him. It remains to be seen if she will get to see him regenerate into Thirteen.
Since Capaldi’s departure has been more officially known, BBC America was able to put together a farewell clip package to honor him. Take a look:
— Doctor Who BBCA (@DoctorWho_BBCA) July 23, 2017
During the panel, Capaldi acknowledged one signature thing about his Doctor: “He’s the most handsome with the biggest hair,” he said. “His hair had the biggest arc. It got bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Besides being a lifelong fan of the series, Capaldi had history with the franchise even before his tenure. In 2008, H played Lobus Caecilius in the episode “The Fires of Pompeii” alongside the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate). A year later he starred as John Frobisher on the “Who” spinoff “Torchwood: Children of Earth.”
In 2013, he came on as the regenerated Twelve, the new incarnation of the Doctor to companion Clara (Jenna Coleman). When she left, he paired up with Bill Potts.
This means it’s a clean slate for Season 11. Showrunner Chris Chibnall will take over for the exiting Steven Moffat, Whittaker will come in for Capaldi, and a new companion has yet to be announced. With all the attention on the Doctor’s new gender, it will be interesting to see if the show’s producers maintain their streak of female companions or try to balance the ledgers with a man. Dual companions might be a nice touch.
In the meantime, Mackie and Capaldi will return for one last spin in the TARDIS in the “Doctor Who” Christmas special.