The DOCTOR WHO crew (including cast and producers) are in San Diego for Comic-Con, and at a panel called “Brave New Warriors,” Matt Smith addressed his reasons for leaving the role of the 11th Doctor:
“When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go…. It’s sad I’m going to miss you and I’m going to miss Comic-Con too…. It wasn’t an easy choice; it wasn’t an easy decision to come to. But, I don’t know; you can’t play it forever. And, look, they’ll get someone amazing, they’ll get someone brilliant; they really will. And that’s the great thing about the show: It continues, and the strength of it survives. It will get better and bigger and keep it up, and you’ll forget about me.”
Earlier, it was revealed that Matt very nearly stayed on for another year — or three! Executive Producer Steven Moffat to Entertainment Weekly:
“We discussed ages ago that [Matt] would do three series and then he would do the 50th and then he’d do Christmas. That was Plan A for a very, very long while. That may sound cold that it was so far in advance, but you’ve got to plan a career. The question was, ‘Will I be able to talk him out of it?’ We went out for lunch and he said that he’d come very close to doing another series but it was the same argument: ‘If I do another series, I think I might do two more series, or three more series. I think I might never leave.’”
Honestly, I think is was uncool of him to play into the “Will the 12th Doctor Be Female?” controversy; what began as a PR joke by then-producer John Nathan-Turner decades ago has taken on a life of its own, and so many fans — so many good-hearted, well-intentioned, sincere fans — really want it to happen, but it won’t.* The Doctor will not regenerate into a woman. And for Matt and the Moff to wink and nod and allow speculation to swell when asked about it feels like being mean to me. It feels like they are now baiting the fans. I know it’s free publicity and generates buzz and yadda, yadda, yadda, but it just seems disingenuous to me now. Enough is enough.
Don’t tease the fans.
*Unless it does. But it won’t. Really.