'Doctor Who' fans well know that the structure and longevity of the series dictates that its leading actors and characters are replaced every few years. The nearest upcoming season debuting March 31 will see Jenna Louise-Coleman joining the series full time as the Doctor's new companion Clara Oswin Oswald, but will series lead Matt Smith himself soon depart? New reports suggest that Smith will vacate the role by the end of the year, but is there any truth to them?

Though new rumors surrounding 'Doctor Who' exits seem to crop up every week, the latest might prove valid. Shortly before the long-running BBC time travel series debuts the second half of its seventh season, The Sun is reporting that eleventh Doctor and current star Matt Smith will depart the series after the expiration of his contract in November, making his final appearance the 2013 Christmas Special.

“I am very happy doing it," Smith said on Jonathan Ross’ show last week. "I go and I do the anniversary special, then I go away for a bit. Then I come back and I do the Christmas special. It's sort of one of those jobs that you have to take year by year really because it's 10 months a year. It's all-consuming so I don't think you can plan five, six years ahead or even two years ahead. At the moment, it’s 2013 and we will see what 2014 holds.”

Thus far, the BBC has only commented saying, “Sorry folks but even we don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas. It’s not been written yet! But Matt loves the show and is to start filming the unmissable 50th anniversary, and the new series starting on Easter Saturday.” Others say that Smith plans to focus on his future career prospects, soon to star in Ryan Gosling's directorial debut 'How to Catch a Monster.'

We'll wait to see if the report proves true, but in the meantime what say you? Has Matt Smith put in his dues as 'Doctor Who'? Who would you like to see take up the Time Lord's role next?