Last fall, questions swirled about whether or not Jenna Louise Coleman, who plays the latest companion on BBC’s long-running Doctor Who, was going to remain on board the TARDIS with Peter Capaldi’s Time Lord or branch out and explore other career options. She ultimately signed on for another season of adventures through time and space, but now showrunner Stephen Moffat reveals that she was originally going to leave.
Before last season’s Christmas special, there were reports that Coleman was moving on afterwards. There was, of course, contradictory information that said she was staying, and the actress herself played coy, not saying one way or another. As it turns out, Moffat says she was supposed to leave, but not when people necessarily thought.
Talking to Doctor Who Magazine, Moffat revealed that Coleman was originally written out of “Death in Heaven,” the series 8 finale, and wasn’t even initially slated to show up in the Christmas special at all. He said:
That was her last episode. And then she asked me if she could be in Christmas? So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll write you out in Christmas.’ She came to the read through and did the ‘write out’ version—and again changed her mind.
But the truth is I never wanted her to go. I didn’t really want “Death in Heaven” to be her last episode. And with “Last Christmas,” I’d already written the alternative version where she stayed, and I preferred that version. For Christmas Day it’s a bit nicer. Frankly, I didn’t want to lose her. She’s an amazing actress, and she never stops working to make Clara better. I was very happy to go the extra mile to make sure we could keep her.
Clara is now the longest tenured companion in the modern era of Doctor Who. She’s also definitely still very much kicking on the pages of the accompanying comic books, having just endured a short bout as Kali, the Indian goddess of death and destruction, among other things. It’s a long story.
Originally, she wanted to leave in order to look for more opportunities in her career, but she’s also only 28-years-old, and will have plenty of time to chase roles in the future. Her reasoning for sticking around is because she thinks Clara and the Doctor have reached a new level in their relationship and she wants to explore it, and she “couldn’t walk away with the story being unresolved.”
Are you glad Coleman, and Clara, are sticking around for season 9, or do you think it was time for her to move on and make way for some new blood?