Why Tom Hanks Never Appeared On Doctor Who, Despite Peter Capaldi's Best Efforts

The great thing about the Doctor on "Doctor Who" is the wayward Time Lord's ability to re-generate gives the long-running TV series a canon excuse to recast its titular role and soft-reboot every few years. That also means the possibilities are limitless when it comes to the Doctor's race and gender, which is why of the 13 iterations so far we've... only had one who wasn't played by a cis-male white actor and none played by a person of color.

Yeah, okay, I'm probably not blowing anyone's minds by pointing out a sci-fi TV show that aired from 1963 to 1989 and was later revived in 2005 has a long way to go to being more inclusive (though it is taking steps to get there). But aside from the racists and sexists of the world, "Doctor Who" fans seem to agree the Doctor can and should be brought to life by a far more diverse group of actors going forward. Far more controversial, however, is the matter of whether they can also be portrayed by an American.

America's Dad himself, Tom Hanks, is all-too-aware of this issue, which he discussed in an interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via ScreenRant). According to Hanks, Peter Capaldi pushed for the "Doctor Who" producers to cast him as one of the Doctor's previous incarnations back when Capaldi was starring on the show from 2014 to 2017. Hanks indicated it was ultimately a scheduling conflict that prevented this from happening, but admitted that might've been for the best.

'Can you imagine the outrage?'

"Doctor Who" could be described as a lot of things, but "American" most certainly isn't one of them. My friends and I have long joked the show's writers seem to think most of the U.S. is a place we've dubbed "Texas Land," a vaguely Western-y setting of empty roads and retro-style diners. Even when it visits specific locations, like the White House or New York City, the series tends to paint a portrait of these places in amusingly broad strokes.

In perhaps an example of turnabout being fair play, here's Hanks getting some basic "Doctor Who" details blatantly wrong while describing his near-miss casting on the show:

"That would've been a blast, but that's all, that's all scheduling I guess. Can't do every job. And honestly, me as Doctor Who — can you imagine? Can you imagine the outrage? I'm an American, and I'm gonna go over, and I'm gonna jump in that you know, red telephone box, and you know, and either wear a scarf and whatever it is."

None of this is to suggest American actors are banned from joining the Doctor's adventures. In fact, no less than Doctor Horrible himself, Neil Patrick Harris, will be suiting up for a role in the "Doctor Who" 60th anniversary celebration. Perhaps there's also room for Hanks to lend his voice to one of the Doctor's greatest enemies: the Daleks? He's open to the idea, anyway:

"I would've played one of the Daleks, maybe. I would've been inside one of those big salt and pepper shakers talking in that automated voice — with an English accent, by the way."

The "Doctor Who" 60th anniversary festivities will begin in 2023. Meanwhile, you can catch Hanks as Geppetto in the live-action "Pinocchio" remake now streaming on Disney+ (if you dare).