While the big news from HBO’s Max’s Tuesday presentation is a prestige Green Lantern series, the event also yielded an unexpected boon for Doctor Who fans: two additional seasons of the program beyond 2020.
As part of the BBC’s deal with HBO Max to stream its content in the US, the service will make 11 seasons of the revived will be available at launch with “an additional three seasons to come.” Now, one of these seasons will be the one already produced and due to air sometime in 2020. But the mention of two additional season means the program is guaranteed to continue through 2022. Although, with the way the program is currently produced, the third of these seasons due to stream on HBO Max may not materialize until 2024.
Of course, it is unclear if current star Jodie Whittaker and showrunner Chris Chibnall will remain for those seasons. Traditionally, the Doctor regenerates after three or four seasons. And Chibnall’s pace as a writer and producer may not be conducive to the Beeb’s deal with HBO Max. Then again, he may rise to the occasion.
But the marquee thing here is the confirmation that the BBC is committed to at least two more seasons of Doctor Who after 2020. Generally, the Corporation commissions the series on a season-to-season basis (even as the cast and production are under holding contracts). This system is part of the reason Doctor Who takes long hiatuses or suffers through abbreviated seasons. It is also why tabloid make a lot of ink about the show’s future, but it seems the fretting will subside for until the mid 2020s.
Doctor Who returns in 2020.