The end of Season 8 of Doctor Who has already wrapped up, leaving us with nothing to fill the cold, dark, Time Lord-less void in our hearts until next season. EXCEPT! - that it's a tradition beloved by Whovians all over the world to tune in for the annual [Doctor Who](series:200668) Christmas special, which helps to tide us over for at least a short while until the next season begins.
In a gift to us all, BBC has released the first promo image for the Christmas special:
They also revealed the title in the caption to the image, and the title is a telling one.
Ho ho ho! We can reveal that this year's #DoctorWho Christmas special will be called 'Last Christmas'.
Now, we can read that title one of three ways, it seems to me.
One, because of reasons wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey, the Eleventh Doctor and Clara travel back in time to a Christmas past, or even the previous one, hence 'Last Christmas'.
Two, the Doctor and Clara, for whatever reason (say, oh, the planet is going to be wiped out by a hostile alien invasion, just a guess), they find themselves celebrating the very last Christmas on Earth ever. If they don't find a way to stop the bad thing from happening, that is.
THREE — and here's the interpretation I think is most likely — this confirms those long-standing rumors that it will be Clara's last episode as the Doctor's companion. With the rumors swirling shortly before Series 8 began, and the recent news that Peter Capaldi had signed a contract for next season but Jenna Louise Coleman hadn't yet, it seems likely that it will be Clara's exit.
It's what the story has been slowly working toward all season. Just as the allure of having a real, human life eventually leads to the companion realizing that their time with the Doctor is finite, so we've seen Clara being torn by her love and obligation to Danny Pink and her desire to keep traveling with the Doctor. So it goes, because that's the reality of things when an immortal being is involved. As Ten once said, "You can spend the rest of your life with me, but I can't spend the rest of mine with you. I have to live on. Alone. That's the curse of the Time Lords."
And that's okay. Clara's story has been told, her narrative arc has run its course. She was great while she lasted, but it's time for a new companion (hopefully not a young, white girl this time?) to change things up and inject new meaning into the Doctor's life. Clara helped him transition; the next companion can help him grow.