Just over a month from now, Doctor Who fans will snuggle up together on Christmas Day to open presents watch a new Doctor Who holiday special. The 2012 Christmas Special will include the return of Doctor compatriots Vastra, Jenny and Strax, as well as the official introduction of new companion Clara, all wrapped-in a holiday-themed story full of bah humbug and seasonal cheer.

It’s an ambitious marriage of story beats (even for fan-favorite showrunner Steven Moffat) but, if the recently released Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special trailer and prequel minisode are any indication, the episode (officially titled “The Snowmen”) could stand to deliver one of the more emotionally impactful holiday installments yet.

Both the trailer (which you can view above) and the prequel minisode (included below) hint at The Doctor’s fragile post-Pond departure mental state. The prequel in particular is surprisingly somber, revealing that after Amy and Rory exited the series, The Doctor went into self-imposed retirement, no longer marveling at the mysteries (and potential threats) in the world around him. As a result, that dark-toned photo of a grumpy looking Matt Smith in the episode is starting to make a lot more sense. If Doctor Who hadn’t already explored Ebenezer Scrooge in the 2010 special, “A Christmas Carol (Doctor Who),” fans might have expected a similar approach to the newly disheartened Doctor.

Check out the Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special prequel minisode “The Great Detective” below:

It’s clear that The Doctor is in a funk when he doesn’t jump into action at the first mention of suspicious meteor showers, Earth-splitting drill bits, a threat against moonites, or even a pleasant looking tea room.

On it’s own, the prequel is a downer (especially considering it aired during the BBC’s Children in Need charity telethon); fortunately, the trailer teases a much more light-hearted full length Christmas Special as the official debut of Clara (played by Jenna-Louise Coleman) looks to shake The Doctor back into his normal spirited travels through time and space.

Clara may not have made an appearance in the actual prequel episode but, in the trailer, Coleman and Smith directly reference the mysterious first Doctor Who appearance by the actress in the season 7 premiere. While the performers “claim” companion Clara is a different character from Dalek prison Oswin, there’s plenty of tongue-in-cheek allusions to the possibility that the characters are, as we’ve speculated before, the same person (or, at the very least, share some connection). Clara wouldn’t be the first character to have a mixed up chronology, relative to The Doctor’s experience, with the River Song love story serving as a prime example. For now, we can only speculate but, with a narrative as complicated as Doctor Who, it’s hard to imagine that Coleman and Smith would leave any uncertainty hanging in the air if the Clara and Oswin characters were not actually one in the same.

We’ll certainly know more when the Doctor Who 2012 Christmas Special, “The Snowmen,” premieres on December 25th at 9pm ET. In the meantime, check out our Doctor Who Viewing Guide: Tips, Suggestions & Complete Episode List!

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for future updates on Doctor Who as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.

Doctor Who returns Tuesday, December 25, 9:00pm ET for the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Source: BBC