For more than 50 years, Doctor Who‘s titular character has been portrayed by a white dude.That may change in 2018 when new showrunner Chris Chibnall reports to duty with the Thirteenth Doctor.Since Peter Capaldi early this year announced his departure from the long-running BBC program, fans have speculated about his successor: Kris Marshall, Tilda Swinton, Olivia Colman, and David Harewood remain odds-on favorites.But most big-name actors aren’t likely to give up a Hollywood career just to run around Cardiff six months a year, wielding a light-up screwdriver and fighting green-screen aliens.The BBC, however, has at least one very willing candidate.Sacha Dhawan (left) and Mark Gatiss (right) (@sacha_dhawan via Twitter)Sacha Dhawan—who, along with Gwendoline Christie, Hayley Atwell, Andrew Scott, Alex Kingston, and Danny Dyer, boasts 25-to-1 odds among UK bookmakers—is keen to take the TARDIS controls.“Oh my God, I’d absolutely love to,” the Manchester-born actor told RadioTimes. “I SO would love to.”Only 33 years old, Dhawan has been acting nearly half his life, starting with small-screen appearances in City Central, Out of Sight, The Last Train, and Weirdsister College.American viewers may recognize him from M. Night Shyamalan’s forgotten After Earth, Jack Bauer reboot 24: Live Another Day, Jeremy Piven vehicle Mr. Selfridge, or as Ajay in the latest season of Sherlock.He also snagged a recurring role as Davos/Steel Serpent in the new Marvel TV series Iron Fist (now streaming on Netflix).“I’ve worked with [frequent Doctor Who collaborator Mark Gatiss] quite a lot, and I think I’d bring something really exciting to it,” Dhawan said of the part of the Thirteenth Doctor. “It’d be incredibly nerve-wracking to do, to be honest. It’s quite a lot of pressure.”“When the list came out,” he said, referencing the novelty betting records, “I was so honored really that I was even considered. And that alone was kind of good enough. But who wouldn’t want to do it? It’s Doctor Who.”Dhawan is already part of the Whoniverse: In 2013’s An Adventure in Space and Time (penned by Gatiss), he played Waris Hussein, the British-Indian director known for his work on the first Doctor Who serial, “An Unearthly Child,” in 1963.“We were on set, and Peter Capaldi came on, and he was making some notes and stuff,” Dhawan recalled to Radio Times. “And I was like, ‘Oh, he’s the guy from… What’s he doing on set?’“And Mark [Gatiss] said, ‘Oh no, he’s a huge Doctor Who fan, he just kind of wanted to come and have a look.’ I didn’t know then, but he obviously ended up being the next Doctor.”Chibnall, still in the throes of the final season of Broadchurch, has promised himself a vacation before diving into the new job. Which means you can stop holding your breath for news of the next Doctor.Still, fans can hope that the show’s five-decade trend will get a modern update next year. After all, Missy the gender-bending Master is one of the best new characters in recent history.“I think it’s time that we celebrate that it should maybe be something different. I don’t know what the answer is—I guess it’s the right person for the job,” Dhawan said. “But I think it’s time to flip the character on its head slightly—and I feel that’ll very much happen this year, whether or not it’ll be someone of race or gender.“I’m keen to see what the [BBC] do,” he added.
The misunderstood traditions of ninjutsu have become pop culture fodder since the 1970s, as Japan’s feudal masters of stealth and assassination inspired dozens of martial arts flicks, a quartet of mutated turtles and lots more. During the 80s, “ninja” became a type of fantasy play previously reserved for cowboys and Indians, and their mental market share has only increased over the last few decades. And with play there must be toys, and we’ve seen some seriously bad-ass ninja figures and accessories over the years. Here are our picks for the best ninja toys on the market.Kaiyodo Revoltech Cyborg NinjaOne of the coolest supporting characters in video game history, the cyborg ninja Gray Fox shows up in Metal Gear Solid to jump off of walls and cut off limbs with his high-frequency blade before saving Solid Snake’s bacon in the final confrontation. This gorgeous Japanese figure stands just barely over four inches tall but is wildly detailed and precisely painted, with sixteen points of articulation and multiple exchangeable parts. Small but dangerous, this is a ninja figure with an eye towards the future and a thirst for blood.Get it at Amazon.comCute Ninja PlushIf you’re in the market for something a little less deadly, why not snuggle up with this cute and charming little plush ninja figure. Standing a mere six inches tall, this isn’t the kind of stuffed animal that you’ll want around for intense cuddling, but it’s very charmingly designed and made from high-quality material. The thing to do here would be to recruit a couple dozen of them and build the cutest little army of assassins you’ve ever seen.Get it at Amazon.comNinja Slayer FigmaThe pedigree of Ninja Slayer is fascinating — it’s a story set in a cyberpunk Japanese city of Neo-Saitama, developed by a pair of American authors as a science fiction novel series. It was then translated to Japanese and became a huge success over there, eventually being adapted into an anime of its own. This is a really cool action figure of the protagonist Naraku that comes with three different faceplates, ten hands, and a bevy of shuriken and other weaponry. The color scheme is a little brighter than the ninja norm, but it works with this fun and funky design.Get it at Amazon.comNinja Hattori-Kun Diecast Action FigureLegendary manga duo Fujiko Fujio are probably best known for coming up with blue time-traveling cat Doraemon, but they have literally dozens of successful franchises under their belts. One popular one is Ninja Hattori-kun, which chronicles the friendship between an 11-year-old boy and his masked ninja chum. This gorgeous die-cast metal action figure of the titular character is beefy and solid, with clever joints for posing and a bunch of accessories including a a parachute cloth, a scroll of ninja wisdom and a bunch of shurikens for throwing at suckers.Get it at Amazon.comOverwatch Genji Figma SeriesAnother futuristic ninja, Genji is a scrub’s favorite choice in Overwatch, but we don’t hold that against him. This super slick Figma series action figure stands a little over six inches with tons of different movable parts for action poses. The casting and paint job is top of the line, and Genji comes with his katana and wakizashi to fend off any foes, along with tiny shuriken for throwing. One of the most interesting aspects of this figure is the unique soft plastic used around some of the leg joints for increased articulation and poseability.Get it at Amazon.comRyu Hayabusa Vinyl StatueSince the days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, the Ninja Gaiden games have been the go-to titles for intensely difficult ninja action. Protagonist Ryu Hayabusa has battled through hordes of disposable foes over the last thirty years, and this gorgeous statue is one of the slickest interpretations of him ever. Standing over a foot tall, there’s tons of intense detail on every side of this figure, with a super tough pose.Get it at Amazon.comFunko Pop Storm ShadowThe stroke of genius to add ninjas to the G.I. Joe franchise to play off the military heroes and terrorist villains definitely helped it prosper in the 1980s and beyond. We always thought Storm Shadow’s all-white look was the hotness, but this more realistic black look for the Funko Pop is very solid. While having an enormously oversized cranium probably isn’t the best choice for stealth, he looks cute and will be a great addition to your Pop collection.Get it at Amazon.comGood Smile Ninja Batman PVC FigureDC’s dark knight detective lends himself well to ninja-style reinvention – he’s already a black-clad creature of the shadows who strikes without warning or mercy, all you need is to throw a few shuriken in the utility belt and you’re halfway there. This insanely cool PVC statue designed by Takashi Okazaki is inspired by the 2018 anime film and depicts a time-displaced Bruce Wayne sent to feudal Japan, who discovers that all of his rogues’ gallery have set themselves up as lords with armies of samurai under their sway. Not a good look!Get it at Amazon.comLEGO Ninjago CityIf there’s a pop culture trend, LEGO will find a way to make a brick construction kit out of it. They introduced the Ninjago line in 2011 after previously experimenting with a ninja-themed Castle set in the early part of the century, and it rapidly became a hot property with a tie-in TV series and movie. The City set is the biggest and baddest Ninjago offering, with a three-level main structure linked by a sliding elevator, twelve minifigures and a ton of accessories and other cool stuff.Get it at Amazon.com12 Inch Sub-Zero FigureIf you believe the soundtrack to the Mortal Kombat movie, Sub-Zero is a “Chinese ninja warrior with a heart so cold.” Ignoring the geographical inaccuracies, this is one seriously bad-ass action figure. Standing a full foot tall, Sub-Zero is crafted from the actual digital assets used in Mortal Kombat X, so every polygon is replicated in plastic. Sporting a dozen points of articulation and exchangeable hands, he’s ready to perform fatalities — or friendships — on the rest of your action figure lineup.Get it at Amazon.comGauntlet Hand ClawOne thing about ninjas is that they have the absolute coolest weapons, full stop. Shurikens are all-time great distance tools that look badass, and their close combat options are equally badass. If you’re looking to really intimidate your coworkers, shell out for this gauntlet-style hand claw that features three nine-inch stainless steel blades connected to a rubber grip for maximum wall climbing or face-slashing. Note: please do not slash anybody’s face with this. Find the peace inside you, young ninja.Get it at Amazon.comMore on Geek.com:11 Best Nintendo ToysMost Radioactive Fallout ToysMost Magical Harry Potter Toys Stay on target Toy Tuesday: The Best ‘South Park’ ToysThe New Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer Is Nearly Four Feet Long
This is one for the books. Researchers at University of Tennessee (UT) have made a record-breaking discovery — a 9.3-inch-long Berry Cave salamander, the largest individual of any cave salamander in North America.Description of the specimen, which was located in Berry Cave, a system of undergrounds chambers located in Roane County, about 45 miles west of Knoxville, Tenn., was recently published in the journal Subterranean Biology.“The record represents the largest individual within the genus Gyrinophilus, the largest body size of any cave-obligate salamander and the largest salamander within the Plethodontidae family in the United States,” said Nicholas Gladstone, a graduate student in UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, who made the discovery.What’s even more remarkable is the newly discovered salamander may have even once been longer. The record-breaking specimen had some damage to the tail, leading researchers to believe that it was once nearly 10 inches long.The Berry Cave salamander can be found in Berry Cave, 45 miles west of Knoxville, in East Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Matthew L. Niemiller)The find is especially significant as it is making scientists reexamine the growth limits of these animals in harsh environments and how hospitable underground environments really are, according to the University of Tennessee.Salamanders can be found in a variety of habitats across Tennessee. Some species have adapted to live in cave environments, which are thought of as extreme and inhospitable ecosystems due to the absence of light and limited resources.In 2003, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) placed the Berry Cave salamander on its Candidate Species List for federal protection. It is found in only nine caves in eastern Tennessee, and is unusual among other salamanders in that they normally do not mature into the adult form. They reach reproductive maturity in their larval form, still keeping their gills, according to the USFWS.“This research will hopefully motivate additional conservation efforts for this rare and vulnerable species,” said Gladstone.More on Geek.com:Scientists Discover Bizarre, New Eel-Like Creature in FloridaNew Treefrog Species With Weird Thumb-Claw in EcuadorBlind, Burrowing Amphibian Named After Donald Trump Extremely Rare, Two-Colored Lobster Found in MaineNew Species of Giant Flying Reptile Identified By Scientists Stay on target