[Warning: This article discusses spoilers for the upcoming episodes of Doctor Who.]

Big changes are in store for the upcoming episodes of Doctor Who. The TARDIS will sport a fresh, shiny interior; the opening sequence has updated with an eye for the retro; and, most importantly, the Doctor will be recruiting a new traveling companion in Clara Oswald.

Played by Jenna-Louise Coleman (aka Connie in Captain America: The First Avenger), Clara represents both a new beginning for the Doctor and the source of an era-spanning mystery. Fans have speculated just how long the somewhat death-prone woman will last. This mystery gained a tentative answer during a recent interview with British Radio 5.

During this interview, (collected by Doctor Who TV), Coleman confirmed that she will be returning for the eighth season of the Doctor Who revival series. Coleman speaks on Who casting, the production process, and avoiding spoilers during interviews. You can listen to the entirety of the exchange above.

Coleman also commented on Who star Matt Smith’s commitment to Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, How to Catch a Monster. Apparently, Smith will depart England during the summer of 2013 to film his scenes in the upcoming movie, leaving the overall Who production machine to prepare for further filming in the fall. Coleman asserts that she will next step on the set of Who when Smith returns in September.

Taken on its own, the news that Coleman will stay on as the Doctor’s companion past the second half of season seven isn’t very surprising. If Clara were to depart after the end of the upcoming episodes, that would make her the shortest-lived of all the major companions since the show’s revival in 2005. Considering the extensive set-up the series has devoted to the overall mystery of her character, at least another season seems reasonable, if not mandatory.

Though Coleman will indeed reappear in the eighth season of Doctor Who, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the contemporary version of Clara will. After all, two versions/incarnations of Coleman’s character have died already this season, leaving the stage open for even further iterations to be snuffed out. Given Steven Moffat’s love of temporal trickery, we may end up seeing a companion who’s actually multiple different characters.

Of course, the real metric of how long Clara will stay at the Doctor’s side may end up being her overall popularity once Coleman joins the show as a regular. Will she prove as charming and versatile as Amy Pond, or will the questions behind her true identity override Coleman’s ability to fully inhabit the character?

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Doctor Who will return from the stars to BBC and BBC America on March 30th, 2013.

Source: Doctor Who TV