Matt Smith at the "Doctor Who" panel of the TCA Press Tour. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
As fans grieve over the impending end of Matt Smith's reign as the Doctor on the popular British series "Doctor Who," the folks behind the scenes at the BBC show are keeping the search for the 12th Doctor tightly under wraps.
Today, as BBC America began its panels at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour, "Doctor Who" stars Smith and Jenna Coleman (who plays his current companion, Clara Oswald), as well as Producer Marcus Wilson, provided a bit of insight on the forthcoming regeneration of the 11th Doctor.
Echoing his previous remarks from Comic-Con, Smith expressed his feelings about leaving his role as the Gallifreyan hero behind. "The thing about 'Doctor Who' is it always looks forward," he said. "That's the key. It will carry on, and people will forget about me."
Still, he expressed some anxiety about departing from the role. "I've been wondering if I've made a huge mistake," the actor admitted. Unlike Smith, Coleman has barely come to terms with the transition to a new Doctor. "I'm still slightly in denial that Matt is leaving," she said. Smith played opposite Coleman's Clara Oswald for only one season, prior to which he'd formed a close bond with his previous companions, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) and Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), who have both moved onto new projects (Gillan has several movies slated and Darvill is currently starring in the musical "Once" on Broadway) since the two left "Doctor Who" last year.
As for the search for a replacement Doctor, there were no huge announcements at the TCA panel. Smith is about to film his final episode of "Doctor Who," and, according to Wilson, the crew wants "to give Matt the sendoff he deserves."
When David Tennant left "Doctor Who" in October 2008, it wasn't until several months later, in January 2009, that Smith was revealed as the next regeneration of the famous Time Lord. Smith's exit from "Doctor Who" was only officially announced on June 1, and his final episode will not be airing until Christmas, so the wait for an answer may be a bit longer.
Wilson, however, promises that "the search is ongoing."
"You just cast the net wide and hope you find someone brilliant," he said.
So speculation continues on who will be the next titular character on the long-lived series "Doctor Who," but with a few more episodes of the 11th Doctor yet to be aired, trusting the writers and producers to wish a worthy farewell to Matt Smith, we wait ever patiently to see what comes next in this classic sci-fi show.
Take a look at our Who's Who gallery of potential candidates for the 12th Doctor:
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- Clara Oswald