Clara Oswald and The Doctor have been adventuring together in time and space for almost two and a half seasons of Doctor Who, but that time is coming to an end, as it was announced in September that Jenna Coleman will leave the series at the end of Season 9. Companions have come and gone over Doctor Who’s 50+ year history, but Clara has cemented herself not just as a treasured figure in the Doctor's life, but arguably the one that had the biggest impact on his lives (yes, plural). Losing someone like that is obviously going to hurt, and actor Peter Capaldi believes The Doctor will have trouble coming to terms with her absence.
Noting how the Twelfth Doctor doesn’t relate to humans in the same way as his predecessors, Capaldi explained to Digital Spy that Clara departing will force his character to reevaluate his life. Capaldi said:
Well, I think it makes him have to think again about how he’s been dealing with his life and his relationships with the cosmos. Because Jenna’s been in a sense a common and temporary influence on him. He’s clearly rather impatient with human beings and wants to go on with the glorious things that were available to him in his existence. So, I think it’s thrown him.
Although Coleman made her official Doctor Who debut in the Season 7 episode “Asylum of the Daleks” as Oswin Oswald, it wasn’t until the end of “The Snowmen” that the main version of Clara Oswald was introduced. The latter half of Season 7 was primarily dedicated to figuring out why there were different versions of her popping up throughout time, and it wasn’t until Season 8 that she was explored more deeply as an individual. After The Doctor regenerated into his “Twelfth” form (it’s really his thirteenth), Clara helped him (and the audience) deal with this transition and continued to have a meaningful influence on him. Despite his adventurous life, The Doctor has always had issues with change in his personal life, and considering all the years he’s spent with Clara, it’s definitely going to throw him for a loop when she’s gone, be it a deliberate choice or accidental.
After the Season 9 finale and Clara’s exit, The Doctor will reunite with his old flame River Song in this year’s Christmas special, and while Doctor Who Season 10 has already been confirmed, there’s been no word on when it will officially premiere. As for The Doctor’s next companion, showrunner Steven Moffat says they’re formulating this new character as we speak, and while they don’t have a name yet, they’ll play a big part in changing the tone of the series.
U.S. viewers can catch new episodes of Doctor Who Saturdays at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America.