Doctor Who fans have had to endure quite an emotional roller coaster ride over these last two years. First, we saw Rory and Amy Pond’s emotional exit, then the rise of Clara (Jenna Louise Coleman) as the Doctor’s new companion, the return of the 10th Doctor (and sort of Rose), the revelation that was The War Doctor, a bit of The Time War, Matt Smith’s exit (after months of rumors) and then, almost nine months ago, our first real glimpse of Peter Capaldi as The Doctor.
With Doctor Who returning to our TV sets (and film screens) in one week’s time, no one would blame Whovians if they cried out for a little stability as this new era begins, but those cries may go unnoticed if a recent rumor is to be believed.
Take this with a grain of salt, but The Daily Mirror is reporting that Jenna Louise Coleman will exit the globally popular time travel and space adventure series at Christmas – meaning that, for the second year in a row, Steven Moffat will seemingly try to ruin Christmas by sending off a popular character.
This isn’t entirely on Moffat, though. According to the same report, the decision about Coleman’s allegedly waning future with Doctor Who is a mutual one. But if this is true, we have to wonder why – even if that means that we’re about to address rumor with speculation.
At just 28, could Coleman have an itch to try and leverage her work as the Doctor’s companion into a stateside career in the way that Karen Gillan has with Guardians of the Galaxy, Oculus, and Selfie, her upcoming sitcom on ABC? Perhaps, but if Gillan’s career is her spirit animal, Coleman might be jumping off the Who train too soon.
Karen Gillan established herself on Doctor Who over the course of 34 episodes as Amy Pond, displaying a color wheel of emotions beside Matt Smith, with whom she had excellent chemistry. Right now, Coleman has played Clara (or some version of her) in just 12 episodes. By season’s end, that will jump up into the twenties.
But while she did a good job next to Smith, has she really stood out so much that there are other opportunities knocking down her door?
How we view Coleman could, of course, change drastically over the course of this season. For one thing, Capaldi has shot down the possible continuation of the flirty business that went on between his predecessor’s version of The Doctor and Clara last season (though we assume there will be romance between Clara and upcoming male companion Danny Pink) and Moffat has weighed in with regard to this version of the Doctor’s personality, saying that he might be considered “the rude Doctor.“
Because we don’t know how this will all play out, it’s a bit unfair to expect people to have an opinion about these rumors regarding Coleman’s exit before we see how her character and Capaldi’s Doctor get along. Maybe this mismatched dynamic will work – a throwback to a time with the companion didn’t always moon over the Doctor.
There’s also the possibility that Coleman’s character could fit poorly beside the new Doctor. We just don’t know yet.
What we do know is, this is just a rumor, but if it turns into a fact, Doctor Who fans will have to remember that cast exits are a part of what has helped keep this show fresh and relevant for more than 50 years, even though those exits are almost never on the fan’s timetable.
Doctor Who season 8 will premiere August 23rd on BBC and BBC America.