Jodie Whittaker's Final Doctor Who Episode 'Celebrates Change' Ahead Of Ncuti Gatwa's Debut

It's time to say goodbye to Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor. With the approach of her final episode the BBC, the actress is getting fans hyped for the big farewell, and the new Doctor on the horizon. 

"Doctor Who" regenerations are generally overwhelming events. As Whittaker explained to Entertainment Weekly, the theme of change was a strong driver in tomorrow's special, "The Power of the Doctor," which will be her last adventure in the TARDIS:

"I think it's got something for everybody. It [is] a celebration of everything that makes the show what it is: Cybermen, Master, Daleks. But also, if you've never seen it before, it's the biggest advert of what the show is about. It celebrates change, the challenges the Doctor goes through, the darkness and the lightness. I think it certainly delves deep into the psyche of the Doctor. But then for me — as Jodie — it has the ending I knew was coming, but it still makes me sad to think about."

Thankfully, the melancholy of Whittaker's departure will be lessened as there is so much for fans to enjoy throughout the episode. As Whittaker explained, the special is feature-length but isn't a standalone adventure. We'll witness a continuation of the story that was built leading up to this: "From start to finish, you feel like you've gone on a massive roller coaster."

Featuring the return of some of our favorite baddies, as well as some "Doctor Who" alumni, fans will be kept on their toes until the very end.

Returning cast members

"Doctor Who" is no stranger to bringing back cast members from the past. In the "Power of the Doctor" episode, it had already been announced that Catherine Tate and former Doctor David Tennant would be returning along with former companions Tegan and Ace, played by Janet Fielding and Sophie Aldred respectfully.

Recalling the experience of shooting with Fielding and Aldred, Whittaker shared, "Jemma Redgrave [who plays the alien-battling Kate Stewart] is also in our very first scene with them. Weirdly, they were on set with us, but it felt like we wanted to be accepted by them," and went on to state that it was "brilliant" getting to work with the veterans and learn more about what their experiences were like shooting "Doctor Who" back in the day.

In addition to those "Doctor Who" veterans, we'll also see the return of Sacha Dhawan as the Master in this episode, which is a treat. But don't think he's just going to pop in, make an appearance, and disappear. "He also has loads to do," shared Whittaker.

Arrival of Ncuti Gatwa

With the leading theme of "The Power of the Doctor" being change, the most obvious change will be Whittaker's departure, with Ncuti Gatwa stepping into the role. Both Whittaker's and Gatwa's turns as the Doctor have made history. Whittaker's debut marked the first time we saw the Doctor regenerate as a woman (in the official canon, anyway), and Gatwa is the first Black actor to be cast in the show's central role (Jo Martin previously appeared as the "Fugitive Doctor").

Not even Whittaker has seen the footage of the moment when her Doctor regenerates into Gatwa's Doctor. "We haven't seen it because I think there's just too much risk sending it out," said Whittaker. "Can you imagine if it leaked, and it said 'Jodie Whittaker' across the [screen]?"

Given the most recent "House of the Dragon" episode leak, I don't think anyone can blame BBC for being secretive with the footage. So, it makes sense that Whittaker and other cast members have not seen it. I'm sure that the transformation sequence is going to be mindblowing and have all the faith in the world that Gatwa is going to easily become one of our favorite Doctors, based on his performance in "Sex Education."

It is bittersweet to see Whittaker leave us, but the role of the Doctor is in good hands.

"The Power of the Doctor" will premiere Sunday, October 23, on BBC One in the U.K. and BBC America in the U.S.