Jodie Whittaker Ignores the Trolls and Talks About Inclusion at Her First Comic-Con Doctor Who Panel

Jodie Whittaker. Photo: Karl Walter/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

We can’t say whether or not Jodie Whittaker reads Vulture, but she did answer one of our Burning Questions about this year’s Comic-Con. Will the new Doctor in Doctor Who address the trolls who negatively reacted to her being cast as the first woman in the role? The answer is no, with Whittaker and the rest of the Who panelists (and the moderator) keeping the conversation framed in the positive. Mandip Gill, who pays the new companion Yaz, showrunner Chris Chibnall, and Whittaker herself spoke explicitly about the Doctor Who as a show about inclusion and hope, which effectively put Whittaker’s early naysayers in the corner of People Who Don’t Like Nice Things without explicitly bringing them up.

“I knew obviously being the first female it was going to have some extra responsibility thrown it,” said Whittaker. “But it’s incredibly inclusive, and knowing the fans are all over the world, it’s immediately felt like this huge Whovian family.” And Chibnall added that he wants the new season, his first as well, to pull in fans who might have previously viewed the show’s long history as alienating. “This year is the perfect jumping-on point,” he told the crowd in Hall H. “That person in your life who has never watched Doctor Who, I want you to go out and recruit them. Sit them down for Jodie’s first episode so you can go, ‘See?!’ There is no barrier to entry this year! It’s a big, inclusive, mainstream, accessible series.”

Whittaker was asked during a fan question if she ever had to correct anyone on set for misused pronouns, and admitted that when she auditioned for the role she was actually the one gendering the Doctor as male in her head, telling the crowd, “We are indoctrinated to not ever put ourselves a little bit higher.” But Chibnall assured her and everyone in the Hall that when he saw Whittaker read and when the crew saw her perform, everyone had the same reaction: “Oh, she’s the Doctor,” and he thinks she arrived just in time, saying, “We need a pillar of hope in these times, and that pillar is Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor.”

And at a panel that had more than one tear-inducing moment involving little girls screaming on film about how happy they are to see a lady Time Lord, Whittaker sent the room out on an inspiring note, telling the crowd, “I hope we as friends are what young kids can now look up to and go, ‘Oh, man! I want to do that!’ Well, you can. Because we are, and we want you all on our journey with us.”

Comic-Con: Jodie Whittaker Talks Inclusivity in Doctor Who