The imminent replacement of Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi affords the franchise yet another opportunity to shake things up with a female Doctor, or man of another race. The rumor mill is predictably rife with speculation, but a BBC news segment curiously hints at a woman commanding the TARDIS, if not Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Bear in mind that The BBC is reasonably good at keeping its Doctor Who castings under wraps, as well that they’d never accidentally post details of a character not meant to be introduced until December. Still, in the process of BBC Newsnight tellingly hinting at Fleabag and Han Solo star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the program brought up several finale clips that make a strong case for our first (or second) female Doctor.

Mind you, the interview in question is edited with regeneration effects to subvert Waller-Bridge’s coy insinuation she shouldn’t talk about Doctor Who casting, which itself seems like intentional misdirection on the network’s part. There’s also the fact that Waller-Bridge is likely filming Ron Howard’s Han Solo reshoots for the foreseeable future (the Doctor Who Christmas special is already in production), to say nothing of supposed Fleabag Season 2 production in November, denial from her own theatre company, or the in-demand writer-actress’ other projects.

Waller-Bridge is likely off the table, but is The BBC setting itself up for backlash, to tease a female Doctor before regenerating another male? Stay tuned for the latest on Doctor Who’s Christmas special and Season 11 as it arrives.

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