It was a major topic last series, and with the September 19th premiere of the BBC sci-fi’s ninth series just around the corner, the subject has reemerged with fury: Will Jenna Coleman depart as the Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald?
“I hope not,” said Peter Capaldi, the actor currently portraying the show’s titular character. “Jenna continues to deliver a beautifully nuanced, complex, and funny performance that marks her out as one of the best companions ever,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
The eighth series, Coleman’s second year on the show, was set to be her last, but after Coleman requested one last hurrah for her character in the show’s 2014 Christmas special, “Last Christmas,” she changed her mind and decided to stay on for another year. “Frankly, I didn’t want to lose her,” showrunner Steven Moffat remarked to Doctor Who Magazine. “She’s an amazing actress, and she never stops working to make Clara better. I was very happy to go the extra mile to make sure we could keep her.”
Despite the fierce love from her colleagues, neither the actress nor her co-star have so far confirmed returning to their respective roles in future series. In fact, much speculation has risen that Capaldi recently hinted at his companion’s departure in an interview with Doctor Who News. “Christopher Eccleston says in his first episode ‘I can see…everything. All there has ever been and all there ever will be…’ So in a way, the Doctor knows the fate of all of his companions. That makes it…difficult. But in this instance he is deliberately enjoying the relationship and this great toy box of time and space that they can explore together. But of course, as it’s Doctor Who, there is an ever deepening shadow pursuing them.” Meanwhile, Coleman’s response to an interview question about Clara’s presence for the full ninth series was simply “Watch it.”
Whether Coleman finishes her tenure as Clara or flies in the TARDIS once more, the ninth series will make Clara the longest serving companion of the rebooted series, surpassing Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond, who travelled alongside Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith, Capaldi’s predecessor. The upcoming ninth series will mark three years for Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor.