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Doctor Who Season 13 - What We Know So Far

There are few shows with as extensive and rich of a history as the beloved British series "Doctor Who," and it appears that its future looks just as promising. Since Jodie Whittaker became the first-ever female Doctor in the history of the show and Chris Chibnall took over as head writer in 2018, the series has taken on a new tone and trajectory that went in some bold new directions in Season 12.

Now, fans are left wondering when and where the Doctor and her companions will go next, and, even more importantly, when we can expect to view these adventures on the air. Let's take a look at everything we know about the legacy sci-fi show's upcoming release date, cast, and plot for Season 13.

When's the release date for Doctor Who Season 13?

To the shock and surprise of nobody, we got confirmation that Season 13 was happening well before Season 12 was even on the air, as confirmed by Chibnall in an interview with Radio Times. Like clockwork, "Doctor Who" has been on the air for over half a century (with a few extended breaks here and there), and it doesn't appear to be anywhere near finished anytime soon.

Unfortunately, not even the Doctor was immune to the effects of COVID-19, which as you may recall, forced the planet into a lockdown in March 2020. Season 12's finale aired on March 1. Although filming was delayed, Chibnall and his team of writers kept working on the new season's script throughout the lockdown, and filming has now commenced its 10-month schedule as of November 2020.

Luckily, the 2021 New Year's special had already been filmed before lockdown, so it was able to air on time. With filming — reduced from the usual 10 episodes down to eight — expected to wrap around August or September, the BBC told Radio Times they're planning for a 2021 premiere, although that would leave only about three to four months for editing and promotion. With the reduced workload, however, it's possible we could see the first episode premiere sometime in December, carrying the season into January or February of 2022 if they stick to a weekly schedule.

Who's in the cast for Doctor Who Season 13?

Jodie Whittaker is returning as the time-traveling Doctor, along with one of her companions, but not the other two. As revealed at the end of this year's New Year's special, Graham (Bradley Walsh) and his grandson Ryan (Tosin Cole) decided they'd had enough adventure for a lifetime and decided to return to present-day Earth, whereas Yaz (Mandip Gill) is still up for at least one more season of excitement.

But the Doctor and Yaz won't be alone, because comedian and presenter John Bishop is debuting as Dan, the Doctor's newest companion for Season 13. Three could often be a crowd on the TARDIS, so hopefully having one new and one old friend aboard will give both characters more room to breathe.

As far as recurring characters, there's no official word on whether anyone's back or not, but we hope we'll get to see Jo Martin again in her shocking reveal as the Doctor herself — from before who we believed was the first Doctor back in 1964 with William Hartnell. As explained in the Season 12 finale, there could be any number of old Doctors from before they lost their memories, so any new characters are under suspicion of being the titular Time Lord themselves.

The same goes for the new Master, the Doctor's arch-nemesis currently played by Sacha Dhawan, who may have had to regenerate after being caught in the destruction of Gallifrey at the season's conclusion. Or maybe they really died? (Oh, who are we kidding? Of course they somehow made it!)

What's the plot of Doctor Who Season 13?

The big thing on everyone's mind is the rumor flying around that this season may be Jodie Whittaker's last as the Doctor. If so, this would stay consistent with the "three-season" type of term limit Doctors have stuck to since David Tennant left as the 10th Doctor in 2010, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise. The real question is whether Whittaker would stay on for another special before leaving, or if we could actually get our first glimpse of the 14th Doctor at the season's end? Only time will tell.

Whether this is Whittaker's final season in the Doctor's shoes or not, it's set up to be a fascinating one. The 13th Doctor's first season was pretty light on overarching stories, but Season 12 really picked up on the mystery of her unknown past, as well as building on the complex relationship between her and the Master. Some leaked set photos also seem to confirm the return of the terrifying Weeping Angels (via Twitter). Now that we know a bit more about the Doctor's origins, hopefully, we can get some answers as to who exactly the Doctor is, was, and will be.