Recently, former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat shed some light on what would have happened if David Tennant had stayed for one more season back in 2010. Now, he’s revealed more about another “what if?” moment for the show – what would have happened if Jenna Coleman left back in 2014, as initially planned?
It turned out that Moffat had a vague idea for a new companion to follow Coleman’s Clara Oswald at that point. While they likely would have had “elements in common” with her eventual successor Bill Potts, as played by Pearl Mackie, the character would have been different in other ways.
“I vaguely had a set of thoughts about what the new companion should be like. There would have been elements in common [with Bill] – but your mind moves on in the interim. So maybe some of where we ended up with Bill has obscured what I was thinking about for Clara’s replacement, or the original version of Clara’s replacement, so I couldn’t really say now. Bill ended up being very much her own thing, I think. And very much Pearl Mackie.”
In case you don’t know, Jenna Coleman first planned to exit Doctor Who in 2014’s “Last Christmas.” However, extremely late in the process, the actress decided to stay on for one more season. Though it came as a bit of a surprise to him, Moffat says he didn’t truly believe Coleman was going to leave the show.
“I didn’t feel as though we were quite finished with Jenna and Clara. And I wasn’t convinced, looking in Jenna’s eye, that she was really ready to leave. And I don’t think anyone should leave Doctor Who until they’re really ready to leave. So it wasn’t a massive surprise to me that she stayed. It was a bit of a surprise – I mean, we went to the Christmas read-through, “Last Christmas”, with her leaving at the end, and it was in the conversation after the read-through that she stayed. But you know, if you’ve got a star like that, you keep a star like that. Of course you do.”
Of course, it all turned out alright in the end. Coleman remained with Peter Capaldi for season 9, which was received warmly by fans, before passing the torch to Mackie’s aforementioned Bill in season 10. When Doctor Who returns for its eleventh season, Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker will be joined by three new companions: Graham (Bradley Walsh), Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yasmin (Mandip Gill). Whether any of them will be as well loved by fans as Bill and Clara were remains to be seen, but we’re certainly excited to get to know them.