There’s been a lot of action on the Doctor Who front lately, and a lot of it has to do with the fate of current companion Clara Oswald. Actress Jenna Coleman recently announced she would be leaving the role behind after three seasons, confirming rumors and yet raising a whole slew of new questions. One of the biggest questions has been if Clara’s exit from the series in Season 9 will be permanent. Coleman recently addressed the question by giving a resounding… maybe. Here's what she had to say:
Yeah, I would always be happy [to return] if there was a good story. But I think we’ll have to see what happens. How many times have I said that during this interview. “We’ll have to see what happens! We’ll have to see what happens!
Her unsurprisingly vague response to EW is undoubtedly slightly frustrating for fans looking for spoilers about Clara’s exit, but Doctor Who tends to keep a pretty tight lid on the circumstances of Doctor regenerations and companion departures.
This particular companion’s departure will likely be an emotional one. Following Billie Piper’s Rose with Nine and Ten in the first and second seasons, Jenna Coleman with Eleven and Twelve over the past three seasons has been the only companion to travel with two incarnations of the Doctor and the first of the era of current showrunner Steven Moffat.
There haven’t been too many companions since the 2005 reboot that have made their ultimate exits from the show with an opening to make a return. Although Rose was a bit of a cheat by jumping universe to universe in Season 4 and then popping up (sort-of) in the 50th Anniversary Special after her heartbreaking departure in Season 2, all of the major companions except for Martha have been off limits for the Doctor after the actors made their departures as regular cast members from the show.
If Steven Moffat continues the trend of heartbreaking exits begun by Russell T. Davies in his tenure as showrunner from Seasons 1 – 4 and continued with Moffat's decision to lock Amy and Rory away in the past, Clara may not get the happiest of endings.
Of course, Moffat may decide that it is time to break tradition and leave Clara off with the possibility of a return to the TARDIS. Already known as the “Impossible Girl,” there’s no reason why Clara might not be yet another companion to devastate viewers with the circumstances of her departure. After all, a show about a time-traveling alien who regenerates into a different identity every time he suffers a mortal wound is nothing if not fundamentally fluid.
We can never count on almost anything being permanent in Doctor Who – especially in the era of Moffat, who seems to love bringing characters back from the dead – and Clara’s departure as chief companion to Twelve may be the cheeriest that we’ve seen yet. Jenna Coleman remains coy on the matter, but her willingness to return to the role is a good sign.