The 12th Doctor in “Doctor Who’s” 50-year history still hasn’t been selected, but if the search keeps going, it’s always possible Matt Smith may change his mind.
Smith, who plays the 11th Doctor on the long-running fantasy series, arrived alongside current companion Jenna Coleman and producer Marcus Wilson at BBC America’s TCA panel on Thursday morning. And lots of questions revolved around Smith’s decision earlier this year to step down from the role after four years.
“I have pondered [the decision to leave] on several occasions and thought I’ve made a huge mistake,” Smith said. “What am I doing? Don’t leave!”
But he's definitely leaving. And though the announcement has been made, the reality of Smith’s departure still hasn’t hit his co-star.
“I’m slightly in denial about Matt leaving,” Coleman said. “But we have quite a lot to do yet.”
The 50th anniversary special, which airs Nov. 23, is notable for the return of the 10th Doctor, played by David Tennant and his companion, Rose Tyler, played by Billie Piper. It promises to be the culmination of the current iteration of “Doctor Who,” which relaunched in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor. After that, Smith and Coleman have one final Christmas special, which they begin shooting in September, that will see Smith regenerated into the as-yet unannounced 12th Doctor.
The current “Doctor Who” leadership, headed by showrunner Steven Moffat, is already working overtime to give Smith a proper sendoff.
“It’s important we give Matt the sendoff he deserves,” Wilson said. “The 50th anniversary is our most ambitious episode yet, then we need to top that to give Matt a proper sendoff.”
As a performer, Smith seems to be taking the showbusiness advice of “Always leave them wanting more” to heart.
“I’ve done it four years,” Smith said. “I think the show has come to a natural tipping point. It’s at the top of a cycle, it’s a good time for me and the show… It was a hard choice.”
While Smith has expressed some fear for his future career prospects, he already has plenty happening. He’s already filmed a role in Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, “How to Catch a Monster,” and made his own directorial debut with the short TV film “Cargese,” which aired in the UK as part of Sky Arts 1’s Playhouse Presents series.
But for those who just want to see Smith as the Doctor, have no fear. He hasn’t said goodbye to the character quite yet. One more adventure, despite the fact that he’s completely shorn his full head of hair.
“The coif will be there in some shape or form,” Smith reassured the assembled press.