With the first batch of series seven Who episodes aired and the Ponds having met their fate, now fans’ speculative eyes turn toward the episodes to come, and with them, the Doctor’s mysterious new companion. Actress Jenna-Louise Coleman is set to be introduced as “Clara,” the Doctor’s latest TARDIS-mate. But here’s the thing: Coleman also appeared in the season premiere, playing a character named “Oswin Oswald.” That left fans scratching their heads to try and figure out what was up. Is Oswin the same character as Clara? Was her casting just intended to befuddle us? Or could the truth be even weirder? Well, now some news has leaked from the production that could answer those questions.
We’ll get to the really juicy stuff down below the spoiler warning, but first we’ve also got some new set photos taken during the show’s filming in Cardiff earlier this week. You can check out the pics in the gallery below. While there may technically be some spoilers in the pictures, without context you should be fine even if you’re trying to remain unspoiled.
If you do want to remain pristine and unspoiled, now is the time to FLEE!
SERIOUSLY, THERE ARE MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW.
DON’T SAY WE DIDN’T WARN YOU.
Okay, so let’s get on with this. First off, according to Doctor Who TV, the episode being filmed takes place in modern day, with the Doctor investigating “something living in the wifi.” The Doctor apparently refers to this menace as “sentient Twitter,” and explains that it has the power to feed on human minds and even project images from your subconscious. #OhCrap
But here’s where things get interesting. The pictures show Clara wearing modern clothing, as opposed to the Victorian getup she’s been shown wearing in pictures from the Christmas special. One might naturally assume that this is after the Christmas special, and thus after the Doctor’s recruiting of Clara, so she probably just raided the TARDIS wardrobe for something more modern. That makes perfect sense, but it is also, apparently, not the case. The truth is much stranger.
Doctor Who TV claims that the character Jenna-Louise Coleman is playing in these photographs is not the same character as Oswin, nor the same character as Victorian Clara. How the hell does that work? I’ll let the DWTV folks explain:
The other major implication of the scene suggests that the Doctor is bumping into different versions of the new companion throughout time. The Clara he meets here in on modern day Earth does not appear to be the same Clara he meets in Victorian times in the Xmas special. This Clara doesn’t even know what the TARDIS is!
If true, that scenario is just packed with potential. The Doctor’s relationship between the various incarnations of Clara/Oswin could be sort of the next step up from River Song, whom he encounters at various points on her personal timeline. Will the many different “Claras” ultimately prove to be the same person reborn or recurring in time somehow? Or are they all copies of the same person thrown into different times and scenarios? Either way, I’m intrigued to find out.
Finally, Doctor Who TV contributor Gareth Bundy (who also took the pictures) provided a transcript of one of the scenes being filmed, which you can read below.
Doctor: I like your house!
Clara: It’s not mine — I just work there.
Doctor: Oh, yes! You look after the children, you’re a governess! Just like — Um. Just like…
Clara: Just like what?
Doctor: Just like I thought you would be … ! But this isn’t exactly a career choice, why here?
Clara: Well, my Mum died, I had no ties, no plans, so why not?
Doctor: People always have plans.
Clara: What’s your plan?
Doctor: It’s the internet. Wifi. There’s wifi everywhere around us. We are living in a wifi soup. But, imagine. If there was something in it. Something living in the wifi. Harvesting human minds, copying them, editing them. A million souls, trapped like flies in the World Wide Web, all crying out.
Clara: Isn’t that basically Twitter?
Doctor: Yes. Sentient Twitter! Hold on… (inaudible) … And you just made a joke about Twitter?!
[Something happens behind them]
Clara: Is it the wifi? Is the wifi switching the lights on?
Doctor: No, the people are switching on the lights. The wifi is switching on the people!
Doctor: You and me — in the box! Now!
Clara: What? Together? Why?
Doctor: You’ll understand once we’re inside.
Clara: I bet I will!
Doctor: [shocked] Clara! Please!
Clara: Why do you have a box anyway? What’s in there?
Doctor: Clara! … [whispers] Clara, look… behind you! BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. [Director shouts this, as The Doctor and Clara look to different areas. A shadowed man is standing in the distance.]
Clara: What are they?
Doctor: A walking base station. You saw it earlier.
Clara: I saw a little girl.
Doctor: Of course! Active camouflage! They drew an image from your subconscious and bounced it right back at you! … In the box, now!