Clara Oswald seems to be getting her due this season on Doctor Who, with more agency, her own personal storyline outside her orbit of the Doctor, and a far clearer picture of her character. And it would seem that Steven Moffat is ready to admit that she wasn’t done right by in the previous season, if a recent interview in Doctor Who Magazine is anything to go by…
Here is what Moffat had to say to the magazine regarding Clara’s given moniker and original plotline:
“One of the difficulties with her ‘impossible girl’ story was that she wasn’t actually a participant in it, because she didn’t actually know about the mystery.”
Yup. Characters as plot devices generally don’t go over well in the long run. In addition, Moffat states that it was difficult for Clara to step into the companion role after Amy because fans had “The Girl Who Waited” so tied up with the Eleventh Doctor:
“Peter and Jenna absolutely belong together in Doctor Who. To be absolutely honest, there’s also the problem of … you look at Matt Smith in a bow tie and you’re looking for Karen Gillan. You just are. So it was tough for Jenna.”
That seems fair; Eleven was definitely Amy’s Doctor, much in the same way that Ten was Rose’s Doctor. There is a question of chemistry when the Doctor transitions, and it’s fair to say that Clara is a better match for Capaldi’s version of the character—she was always so sharp and quippy against Smith’s relative softness. Moffat compared it to Sarah Jane Smith’s tenure on the show:
“Do you remember back in the day … Sarah Jane Smith seemed like a rather dull replacement for Jo Grant, til Tom Baker’s Doctor came along? Sarah Jane was quite boring for that first year, then Tom Baker came along and – fazoom – she was brilliant.”
Now, I don’t know that I would ever call Sarah Jane Smith “boring,” but she certainly did light up when Tom Baker became the Doctor. On the other hand, that has a lot to do with writing the characters to be compatible to begin with, so it doesn’t seem fair to say that they just don’t match up. Other companions were capable of making the transition, after all. But at least Moffat has one assurance to make for this season:
“Clara has her own Doctor now, and she becomes the main character – which of course the companion always should be, really…”
They really should be, yes. Let’s just hope that no one forgets that the companion is the main character all over again down the line. And that Clara will continue to expand into a multi-faceted human being, which she deserved right from the beginning. At the very least, Moffat seems to realize (one hopes) that not treating her as such was a mistake.
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