The “woke” reboot of long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who has fans rolling their eyes once again after casting an actor of Indian heritage to play English polymath Sir Isaac Newton. In the second episode of the latest season, the titular character travels to 1666 where Newton, played by “queer actor” Nathanial Curtis, formulates gravitational theory after an apple falls on his head.
Despite some fans defending the decision to suspend reality by casting an Indian actor to play a caucasian man, others were outraged by the direction the show has taken since the 60th Anniversary Special premiered on November 25.
In one scene, Doctor Who, played by David Tennant, and his companion Donna Noble, land in the tree where Newton discovered gravity. After catching a glimpse of Newton, the time-traveling Doctor admits he finds him attractive.
“Wasn’t Isaac Newton hot?” asks Donna.
“He was so hot…oh! Is that who I am now?” replied the Doctor, surprised by his change in sexuality.
“Well it was never far from the surface,” answered Donna, deadpan.
Clips from the episode quickly gained traction on social media, where many users questioned the purpose of reimagining the race of an actual historical figure.
“Isaac Newton played by [an] Indian actor in new Doctor Who, despite the English physicist being caucasian with pale skin,” wrote commentator Oli London. “The new Doctor Who series has also introduced ‘preferred pronouns’ for characters as well as the Doctors female sidekick being played by a transgender actor.”
Others, like one X user who goes by the handle @iamyesyouareno, accused the show of trying to rewrite history by deliberately brown-washing ahistorical figure like Newton. Sharing a side-by-side photo of Newton and the actor playing him, the user wrote:
“Sir Isaac Newton then vs. now. They are intentionally perverting our history and try to rewrite it.”
“Queen Charlotte. King Richard. Sir Isaac Newton. Viking warrior Jarl Haakon,” wrote another X user who goes by the moniker End Wokeness. “This is deliberate erasure.”
The upset surrounding Newton’s casting comes days after fans decried the decision for the show to cast a trans-identified man to play the role of a teenage girl.
As previously reported by The Publica, Doctor Who is scolded in the first episode of the series for failing to address an alien by its preferred pronouns. In one scene, Rose, a 15-year-old girl played by an adult male, reprimands the Doctor for assuming an alien character called Beep The Meep has masculine pronouns.
“You’re assuming ‘he’ as a pronoun?” asks Rose.
Apologizing, the Doctor then asks The Meep its preferred pronouns: “True. Yes. Sorry, good point. Are you he, or she, or they?”
“My chosen pronoun is the definite article. I am always The Meep,” responds the alien.
In addition to debuting Rose as the show’s first-ever transgender character, the show also includes scenes of Rose’s mother, Donna, coming to his defense after being “dead-named” by bullies and another scene where Rose’s grandmother apologizes for accidentally misgendering him.