A new confirmation about a returning character in this year’s Doctor Who Christmas Special points to clues about where in the Doctor’s timeline the story might take place.

Doctor Who Magazine recently announced that the Doctor won’t be alone in this year’s annual Christmas adventure. Instead, he’ll be joined by a familiar face from the 2015 Who special: Nardole, played by the comedic fan-favorite Matt Lucas. After a Who-less existence since December 2015, there’s a lot riding on this Christmas episode. Does showrunner and writer Steven Moffat really want to seemingly pick up where he left off in last year’s special?

Sure, Nardole was there for a good laugh if nothing else in last year’s “The Husbands of River Song,” but if Nardole’s head was removed from his body by King Hydroflax and he’s sharing a body with Ramone (which is all bullshit, by the way), then how is he going to appear in this year’s special? It doesn’t really make sense.

So, we’re not totally sure if Nardole will be the Doctor’s companion for a day in the episode, or if he’ll be more of a background character. Doctor Who Magazine did reveal, though, that Lucas’s Nardole will not only be in the special, but also in the first episode of Doctor Who’s tenth season. If he’s hanging out with Nardole in this episode though, it does seem like the events of “The Husbands of River Song” will have happened immediately before. Still, with all the time travel in this show, even that’s not totally clear.

All this Nardole stuff could point to a promise for character work that goes on much longer than the usual one-and-done Christmas special vibe. Perhaps Nardole’s ridiculousness will result in the Doctor meeting his new companion, Bill. Or maybe he’ll just be there once again as a good background laugh while the real story takes place.

The yet as-untitled Doctor Who Christmas special will air on the BBC and BBC America on December 25.

Photos via Digital Spy UK, Zap2it