Here's who should play the 13th Doctor in Doctor Who

The time has come once again for the internet to toss names about like insane monkeys in a zoo flinging poo at people passing by. Another actor playing the Doctor on BBC's Doctor Who has announced his retirement, so the list of familiar names for his replacement, along with some new ones, are making the rounds. For this list, we are looking at people who are unlike any actor who played the Doctor before — so they're not just a bunch of white, British dudes. Everyone on this list could easily take on the role of the Doctor, but only one person will get it, and we hope it's any of the following …

David Wenham

Fans of the series already know the Doctor's preference is to one day regenerate with beautiful, red locks, and we certainly think it's about time. Australian David Wenham is no stranger to the world of science fiction, having starred in numerous films in the genre. You probably know him best as Faramir from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but he has had roles in both 300 films, Van Helsing, Dark City, Iron Fist, and will be playing a major role in this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Besides a resume that clearly makes him eligible for the role, and his glorious hair, Wenham has an acting style and personality that would fit him right into the TARDIS. Each new incarnation of the Doctor is essentially a new character, with different mannerisms and goals. While the character is fundamentally the same person, this allows any actor or actress who plays him to make the role their own. Wenham's ability to mix humor, style, and action into a new Doctor would hearken back to the days of Paul McGann's turn as the 8th Doctor, but still have the same rugged personality of Tenant's 10th to play around with. He's an excellent choice, and did we mention he's a ginger?

Hayley Atwell

Haley Atwell has been blowing up Hollywood since she played Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth. Not only did she absolutely kill it in Captain America: The First Avenger as Agent Peggy Carter, she continued the role in almost every Marvel film after, and even starred in her own show on ABC based on the character. Atwell is versatile, and could bring an entirely new dimension to the character … and no, we aren't saying that just because she's a woman. Thanks to platforms like Twitter, fans have brought up playing the Doctor to Atwell. She has even replied, "I'd like to BE Doctor Who," so we already know she's game for the role … even if she incorrectly called the character by the show's title. Every Whovian who just read that probably cringed, but let's forgive and forget — this is one talented actress.

Atwell's personality when she is being interviewed, and the way she interacts with fans, suggests she could easily slip into the role. She's a fan-favorite at conventions and signings, which is great, because interaction with the fans is incredibly important for anyone willing to take on the mantle of the Doctor. Atwell was cast in the ABC show, Conviction, which hit the airwaves in 2016, but is being cancelled after the 2017 season ends. This would leave her schedule open to take on a new television role, should some executives over at the BBC happen to read this, and about 100,000 other mentions of her name online as a potential candidate to pilot the TARDIS.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba's name was circulating the internet's speculation/rumor mill about who should play the next Doctor even before Peter Capaldi was cast as the 12th Doctor, and we still think he would kick the crap out of the role, should he get it. The BBC has taken fire over the years for not casting enough minorities in lead roles, which spurned showrunner Steven Moffat to reveal they had, indeed, offered the role to a black actor at one time, but for an unstated reason, it didn't work out. Of the many talented leading men who could have been offered the role, most fans speculated that it was none other than Elba. There's even a precedent for Time Lords casting off their genders and races when they regenerate, thanks to an episode at the end of Capaldi's second season as the Doctor, so there really isn't an excuse to limit the role any longer.

Elba long ago solidified his status as a leading man, and has had roles in American Gangster, Takers, Thor, Pacific Rim, Zootopia, and Star Trek Beyond, among many more. If you thought Elba wouldn't take on a television role with such a successful career in film, you're wrong. Even after making the jump to the silver screen after The Wire, Elba continued working on the small screen in shows such as Luther, The Big C, and Guerilla, which he will be headlining this year. It's not clear whether or not Elba would take the role, if it were offered to him, since he once said, "I'd look silly in a bow tie," referring to Matt Smith sporting a bow tie for his rendition of the Doctor. He may need some convincing, but if it could happen, the show would certainly reap the rewards. He's already proven he can play a god (Thor), an alien (Star Trek Beyond), and a pilot (Pacific Rim), so if you combine those roles into one, boom: you've got yourself a Doctor.

Emily Mortimer

Doctor Who has always struck a nice balance between drama and comedy. People tune in because of the compelling stories, but appreciate the humor that's spread throughout. Most episodes have endearing characters it's easy to become attached to — they usually get killed, of course — and some, like Strax, are just fun to watch, spouting off lines like, "I suggest a full-frontal assault with automated laser monkeys, scalpel mines and acid." The cheap sets are also usually worth a few laughs.

Emily Mortimer is one of those actresses who does comedy and drama very well. You may have seen her run on 30 Rock, or as Mackenzie McHale in the hit HBO show, The Newsroom, but she has also had an extensive film career, showing off her many talents.

Mortimer's name has been popping up as yet another actress who could nail the role of the Doctor, if she were given the opportunity. Her ability to combine comedic performances with drama, as well as her experience giving long-winded speeches in The Newsroom, indicates she could bring a whimsical personality to the role. It would likely be a return to some of Matt Smith's character traits, which helped bring in millions of new Who fans. Her take on the Doctor would be antithetical to Peter Capaldi's, who could best be described as stoic and determined. A whimsical take on the character might just be what the series needs, following Capaldi's commanding performance.

Neil Patrick Harris

When it comes to acting chops on television, you don't need to look much further than Neil Patrick Harris. Not only did he play a juvenile doctor for years on Doogie Howser, M.D., he also played a beloved, narcissistic, misogynistic, womanizing, degenerate for almost a decade as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother. Harris hasn't had much experience in science fiction, though he did have a major role in 1997's Starship Troopers. Ultimately, this doesn't really matter, since the guy could make any role his own. His personality and range fits perfectly in the TARDIS.

It's unlikely the BBC would approve casting an American in the role, but it's something they should certainly consider. It's time to look at the talent across the pond, and see what an American can do as the Doctor. Not only does Harris look good in a suit, he would also bring about the whimsical nature of the Doctor. He comes off as intelligent, caring, and determined — traits that are very important in any depiction of the Doctor. Let's just hope he wouldn't try to do some sort of British accent to fit in. Nobody needs that, Neil. Nobody.

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton has easily demonstrated her ability to take any role and recreate it to suit her incredible talents as an actress. Recently, she killed it as the Ancient One in 2016's Doctor Strange, which is a role that many think should have gone to a man, since the character in the comic happens to be a dude. In Constantine, she played the archangel Gabriel, so there isn't much this lady can't do. She has the chops to pull of the Doctor — there really isn't a question about that. The real question is, does she want the role? That's the harder bit to answer, because Swinton is not known for her work in television … at least not in the last 15 or so years.

It isn't just fans on the internet who want to see Swinton fly the TARDIS. Former 8th Doctor himself, Paul McGann, has Tweeted his support for putting Swinton into the role. It's anyone's guess, at this point, whether or not she would take it, but if the producers settle on casting a lady Time Lord for the 13th Doctor, the role is hers to accept or decline. Fingers crossed she might entertain the prospect of slumming it on the small screen for a few years.

Paterson Joseph

Paterson Joseph is already something of a Doctor Who contender. He auditioned for and was considered favorably for the part, but ultimately lost it to Matt Smith. That clearly shows that the man is interested in becoming the next mad man in a box, so his name is popping up all over again, and fans are hopeful. Joseph certainly has what it takes to pull off the Doctor. He has been acting in television series such as Neverwhere, Law & Order: UK, Timeless, oh, and did we mention he had a role on a couple of episodes of a little-known BBC sci-fi show called Doctor Who? That's right, he's already been on the show as Rodrick in "The Parting of the Ways" and "Bad Wolf" during the David Tennant era. If you think this disqualifies him from becoming the Doctor, you probably haven't been following the show for very long.

Several actors who have played minor roles in the series have returned to take on major ones. Freema Agyeman first played Adeola in "Army of Ghosts," before she returned to become Martha Jones, the 10th Doctor's newest companion. Oh, and of course, there's 12th Doctor Peter Capaldi, who first showed up in the series in the episode "The Fires of Pompeii" as Caecilius. His was a memorable role, but that didn't stop Steven Moffat from casting him as the leading man, so there really is no excuse to pass on Paterson Joseph this time around.

Helena Bonham Carter

It's hard to come up with a list of notable actors and actresses who could easily play the role of the Doctor and not throw Helena Bonham Carter into the mix. Carter is an amazing character actor, who has taken on some of the most iconic roles in science fiction and fantasy. She played the Red Queen in the recent Alice in Wonderland adaptations by Tim Burton, as well as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films.

Carter could certainly bring a sense of the weird into the role. She has a tendency to take on darker roles that bring out elements of her id on screen. This could work very well as a transition from Capaldi's 12th Doctor, because the transition wouldn't be too intense. Yes, she's a woman, and they would have to alter a few things here and there to make that work, but if any actress could follow Capaldi as the 13th Doctor, Carter certainly finds her place on the list. She hasn't come out publicly stating an interest in the role, but given her character choices over the years, it would be unlikely that she would turn down a chance to play the Time Lord … er, Time Lady. Now the real question is whether or not she could talk her ex, Tim Burton, into directing an episode or two.

David Harewood

You've seen him most recently playing J'onn J'onzz on Supergirl, and may even remember him from Homeland, but true Whovians recognize David Harewood as Joshua Naismith from a two-part episode on Doctor Who called "The End of Time." Actors who previously made appearances on the show have, historically, still been eligible for the role of a companion, or even the Doctor, so we know Harewood is a possibility. Of course, it's not his presence in a past episode that makes him a contender, it's his ability to play a wide range of characters and maintain a commanding presence on screen.

As the Martian Manhunter on Supergirl, that's exactly what he does. He commands an elite team of intelligence operatives that fight to — get this — tackle any alien menace that may threaten the Earth. Does that sound familiar? If it does, you might have watched Doctor Who once in your life. Harewood is another in a long list of minority actors out of merry old England who could kill in the role of the Doctor, and we would love to see him battle a Dalek with little more than his brooding stare.

Gemma Chan

You may recognize Gemma Chan as one of the main characters from the Channel Four show Humans, where she plays a sentient android trying to survive in a world where humans see her as disposable and a threat to their way of life. She is absolutely incredible in the role, and has shown her ability to play a multitude of characters in shows like Sherlock and The Diary of a Call Girl, which starred Billie Piper, the former companion to the 9th and 10th Doctors. Speaking of the 10th Doctor, Chan has, like so many other British actors, already had a role on Doctor Who. She was one of the humans in the first colony on Mars in "The Waters of Mars," back in 2009, during Tennant's run.

Chan's work in television has dwarfed her time on the silver screen, but as her popularity increases with roles like Mia/Anita on Humans, the offers are flowing in. With any luck, she can be scooped up and put in the TARDIS before her celebrity gets too out of hand, and she no longer has time to work in television. She is already set to release three films in 2017, while still working on Humans, so her schedule may become a problem, but with fingers crossed and a blue box on the table, she might juggle things around to take on the role of a lifetime.

John Cho

American actor John Cho has recently taken on the role of Hikaru Sulu in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, which suggests he could easily play the Doctor. Why, you ask? If the man can pilot the Starship Enterprise, the TARDIS shouldn't be any problem whatsoever. Cho has the acting chops to nail the role, and casting him would be an amazing opportunity for the BBC to not only cast an American in the role, but an Asian-American, as well.

Cho has even shared the screen with one of the Doctor's former companions when he starred alongside Karen Gillan in the 2014 sitcom Selfie, which at least helps him get his foot in the door when the casting call goes out — it's all about networking, people!

Cho's acting credits consist mostly of comedies, but he has played serious roles, as well, and is now a mainstay in science fiction, thanks to his casting as Sulu. He has also appeared in numerous television shows, and doesn't show any sign of stopping, either, as his schedule is pretty packed through the year. With any luck, it will ease up about the time Capaldi departs at the end of series 10, and we might just get to see Sulu transported into the TARDIS.