News Categories
Archives

The Master’s Moffat Plan

Gustaff Behr speculates on what might happen if the Master returns.

john-simm-master-utopia

Recent news and information have been pointing to Doctor Who literally going back to its roots: Older Doctor and a trio of companions from Coal Hill School just to name a few. This means that in a sense, the long way back to Gallifrey will translate into Doctor Who: “Where it all begins – again.”

Now obviously we aren’t getting four part twenty minute episodes with three cliffhangers or black and white picture (thank goodness for that last one), but you can say that in a sense Series 7 started the journey by featuring a large amount of callbacks to the classic era by having Daleks, UNIT, Silurians, Sontarans, Ice Warriors, Cybermen and the Great Intelligence in one season. Rumors that the Master will be showing up for Series 8 are also floating around. Their legitimacy is in question though! Or in the Daily Star’s case – non-existent. It seems that if it isn’t ‘Omega is coming back’, it’s the Master. Don’t worry Omega conspiracy theorists. You’re bound to be right about him coming back one of these years. And now back to the Master issue. The thing is – if he does return, what do we do with him?

The Master is a unique character in that unlike the Daleks and Cybermen who only possess one goal, the Master possesses three, which means there are three potential story routes available to writers: Steal the Doctor’s remaining lives, take over the universe or kill the Doctor.

master-mcgann-big-finishThink about it. All of his past appearances can now be attributed to having the ‘drumming’ in his head driving him insane. The End of Time sorted that mess out by showing the cause and resolving it. Bonus points to Russell T Davies for letting go of another popularly featured, but somewhat watered down storyline: The Master’s quest for new life. In Utopia, we see the Master regenerating into a new body after the Time Lords promised him a new set of regenerations way back in The Five Doctors. We know from the TV Movie that the Time Lords did not keep their word on this occasion, but Dark Eyes 2 reveals that the Time Lords eventually helped the Master out of a ‘predicament’ and gave him a ‘new lease on life’ or cart blanch as he puts it. He even suspects that they’re only ‘bringing him into the fold for something’, but he isn’t worried as he plays their game better than they do. Wink-wink!

This would make the Simm Master either the second or the third incarnation of his new regeneration set as we don’t know if the Jacobi incarnation is a separate iteration or a future version of the MacQueen Master. Similarly, Capaldi is the first regeneration and the second Doctor of the new regeneration set, the Twelfth Doctor and the fourteenth incarnation of the Time Lord over all. This means that now both the Doctor and the Master are more or less the same age (speaking from a regenerative POV and not from a biological one). Trying to steal the Doctor’s lives would make very little sense as he has plenty of those now and introducing the Master again at a point where he has already used up his new cycle would be too much of a repeat of last time and let’s be honest – terribly lazy. Regarding the second route, it remains unclear if the Master saved the Doctor from Rassilon to repent for his sins against him or because he just hated Rassilon more in that moment, but if the former is true, then killing the Doctor would also feel contradictory. In fact, if we ignore this argument and deduce that the only reason the Master wanted to kill the Doctor was because the ‘drumming’ had driven him insane, then that door remains locked.

That just leaves the total dominion of the universe route. This is also the most recognizable Master story in the series, but there comes a time when every ‘world domination’ baddie becomes either just another nut in a costume or a card-carrying villain. Since the Master doesn’t wear tights, this would mean that eventually he’ll become the latter. The latter is also a little boring as that is the most recognizable storyline in villain fiction. You can even argue that without the ‘drumming’, the Master is now sane enough to not care who owns the universe. So what now? The Master has always had a very unique relationship with the Doctor. Given that, doesn’t he deserve a better storyline than ‘I want to own everything’?

Roger-Delgado-masterIt does kind of feel like everybody wants the Master to return, but isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do once he’s back. Turn him into a good guy? Never! That is the one thing that will never permanently happen. As I said, my personal opinion of The End of Time: He was just angrier at Rassilon in that moment. Some fans have pondered that perhaps the Master might come back with a grudge against the Doctor for sending him into the Time War again. Thanks to The Day of the Doctor which takes place during and after The End of Time, holding a grudge for being locked away for like two hours seems really petty – even for the Master.

However, there is light ladies and gentlemen. What if the Master holds a grudge because after being locked in a pocket universe, the Time Lords try (as in a court of law) and imprison the Master for either running away from the war or the library of transgressions in his past? People also want darker, manipulative Time Lords reminiscent of their Classic appearances. How about torturing the Master while waiting for the Doctor to free them? Or breaking the Master out of the bubble universe to find a way to free them since the Doctor couldn’t? Just spit-balling here. Not supposed to make much sense rolling off the top of my head.

Unfortunately, the ‘I want to own everything’ route seems like the easiest to pull off from now on. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be allowed a more intimate insight into the childhood relationship between the two Time Lords. Stories like The End of Time and Master features extraordinary acumens into this complicated friendship/enemy-ship. There is also the most recognizable route available: Since the resolution in Day, the Doctor has made it clear that he wants to reunite with his people. If his feelings in The End of Time are anything to go by, the Master would like nothing more than to destroy the people who ruined his first cycle of regenerations. That attitude seems like a more interesting way to spend your second set of regenerations over the next fifty years. Plus, it doubles as irony!

Step back in time...

COMMENT GUIDELINES

Please be civil and keep article comments relevant and on topic. Flag and report any offensive/trolling behavior, or contact us with details.
Please do not post SPOILERS including anything from leaked episodes! Your account could be banned. For complete details on our comment policy please read.
141 comments
conallmc2013
conallmc2013

Does the master even have any regenerations left? Technically he died at the last of the timelords and was resurrected in the end of time. If he does regenerate it could be by the time lords will to shape his image, not the master's. Since he wouldn't have any regenerations left he may yet again be looking for regenerative abilities 

ShameOnSM
ShameOnSM

No offence for fans that want an older master, the master can choose his next incarnation, logically he would choose a younger incarnation more energy, much more strength than an older person obviously. So for the Master to choose an older incarnation is weird, that is why the Jacobi master choose to be younger as the Simm master. 

ThatGuywiththeBowTie
ThatGuywiththeBowTie

If he does come back, we all know eggs Benedict Cumberbatch will play him.

conallmc2013
conallmc2013

What if the master tried to pass himself off as the doctor due to his new regeneration

AlexandraShepiro
AlexandraShepiro

What if Somehow the Doctor turns evil, and the Master Turns good, or sorta good, and has to save the Doctor and the Universe and Gallifrey.

conallmc2013
conallmc2013

lets look at what old enemies have been represented so far...                                                                

Cybermen- complete joke now! Even in RTD reign they failed-largely- to carry weaponry only electrocution from their hands- although that is a minor grievance. But in Moffat's reign we have cybermen that can upgrade on queue! that makes them literally impossible to kill they are now totally overpowered enemies.


Daleks- Amazing new design in my opinion but were did they go? All Ive seen since "Victory of the daleks" is the same bronze daleks. Besides that they have been overused now after the success of RTD era- its now repetitive all episodes since have been poor so a return of davros i would see as being equally as bad a decision as a return of the master.                                                                          

Silurians- good job! I couldn't see future potential though so far all silurian and sea devil episodes have been the same so rules both species out.    

Sontarans- Had a two parter but have now become a walking joke under moffat especially noted in the time of the doctor and strax who although is somewhat amusing has stereotyped the race for the worse. That being said they should return to reaffirm themselves as a serious threat.

Ice warriors- Loads of potential upon their mysterious nature should definitely return.                          

I would then class the master as an enemy who should be saved for a special occasion later. I would like to see Omega return, Possibly when Gallifrey returns his antimatter universe could enter alongside or some kind of antimatter ship of description- good cliffhanger for end of series. Autons also as they haven't had a major role since "ROSE" yet need a better objective. 

Finally i would like to see the return of our unierse cybermen from mondas as an origin story like "genesis of the daleks", and/or have a war between the parallel universe cybermen as both believe they are superior to the other breaking an alliance they originally shared. Mondas could return the same way as gallifrey because maybe they fell through the cracks in time into their pocket universe before being hit by hailey's comet. Or maybe they could expand on the sontaran/rutan war? My point is the master doesn't need to return- so he shouldn't- there are better enemies just now who could make better stories. I would appreciate comments on my views/ ideas.


















Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

Either the Master being an agent of the Time Lords to enable his return, with every appearence of his being a step closer to achieving it and the Doctor wanting to prevent it until something chages/the time is right, or the Master looking to destroy Gallifrey forever would make for perfect stories and dynamics between the character, and the would justify the Master appearing every now and then. 

CyberSmith
CyberSmith

Not going to happen!!! Moffatt is not going to listen to the fans.

ilyootha is back in home Universe
ilyootha is back in home Universe

Top article as usual! Some great ideas here, as well as in the comments. If the Time Lords are coming back, they'll have to do their best to convince the rest of the universe that they're coming in peace - and perhaps the Master can try to prevent it?


gunslinger19
gunslinger19

i imagine that the master will want the time lords to return. he is as thematically related to the quest for home as the doctor really

VictorWong1
VictorWong1

I think I get the idea: there is no point in bringing back the Master if you don't have a good enough story to justify it.

One possibility: it's been established that the Whoniverse is actually a multiverse. If the Master has survived his battle with Rassilon, it's possible that he escaped into the multiverse, but is limited in how he can travel. Capturing the Doctor's Tardis and using it to "reset" the multiverse might be a big enough storyline and motive for him.

Grizzlybread
Grizzlybread

Actually, Peter Capaldi is the FIRST Doctor of the new regeneration set, not the second. But anyway, I do hope the Master returns. One day.






gamingprophet
gamingprophet

I actually believe that, another idea is that the Master wants to save his people. That he doesn't want the Doctor to get that glory of bringing back the Time Lords, but when he does, the Daleks somehow find out and the Time War begins again.

HeyProfessor
HeyProfessor

John Simm still should be the Master, there is no reason why he should be recast, they didn't recast for the sake of recasting in the classic series, they only recast if they had to.

OttoVonBismarck
OttoVonBismarck

I want the Master to return, but I'm afraid Moffat will screw him up. Anyway, I still hope that Charles Dance will play him. Now that he's done with Game of Thrones, he might be available.


JolomontheCube
JolomontheCube

If the master regenerates, I'd love Jason Isaacs to play him.

Mercy Reborn2
Mercy Reborn2

I would like the master to return it would be nice even if we dont see john Simm, and hopefully get a new Master maybe with a different type of story for once and not the same old thing

CallumSimmons
CallumSimmons

If they do bring the master back I want an unhinged but not End Of Time insane. The sound of drums was perfect level of insanity and manipulation and wit and john played it beautifully. End of time it became ridiculously nonsensical with all the head spinning and skeleton changing and eating humans? Just seemed really out of character for the master and a bit too over the top even for him. I hope if he returns its a new actor and he has a decent motivation perhaps he could be trying to destroy galifrey as it should have been in the time war in vengeance for the drum beat and his treatment by the time lords. Maybe he wants to free galifrey so he can rule it and Capaldi doesn't want the time lords back in the universe after the events on trenzalore as he doesn't feel they can be trusted not to start another war. If capaldi got in his way somebody close to the doctor would have to die as it would add more credibility to the master's threat and motivation if he would kill someone the doctor cares about in cold blood to discourage his advance. This could happen in the first part of the finale with the master bring galifrey back somehow the doctor powerless and devastated at the loss of a companion. Not sure who he would kill. I really like Clara she is my favourite companion but if we had a proper definitive companion death it would steer this series in a darker direction. If not then maybe one of the paternoster gang or someone else close to the doctor. If river wasn't dead already I'd say her as that would be the master executing the doctor's wife which would strike an emotional chord. Either way if he kills someone in cold blood shockingly then it will cement his credibility as a villain.

Shadestryke
Shadestryke

What if everything the Master has ever done has all been due to Rassilon's manipulation, and we have not seen all of his adventures in a chronological order from his point of view?



If Rassilon's instructions gave the Master some awareness of the coming Time War, it is entirely possible that his desire to conquer the universe was an attempt to alter the outcome and gain the Time Lords some new allies.


Once the Doctor had thwarted his attempts a few times, it would be logical for the Master to want to kill the greatest threat to his plans leading directly into the 'Kill the Doctor' stories.


After failing in both those goals (and regenerating many times in the process), the Master is then forced to follow Rassilon's final imperative - to survive at all costs. This leads to the Master's attempts to gain the Doctor's remaining regenerations.


What would this version of the Master do next? Logically (if this speculation were to be true) his next goal would be the return of Gallifrey at any cost - including another Time War. He would track down (or create) another crack in the unverse and pull Gallifrey through it, no matter what the cost. After all, that would be the only way he could finally be free of Rassilon's commands.

This would have one major downside in my opinion - it would transform the Master from a true villain into a flawed anti-hero. In his eyes everything the Master has done was to save his home,  while the Doctor has tried to stop him at every opportunity.




PaulMann
PaulMann

The Master enlisting the Darleks by traveling back to Skaro before the "Genesis of the Darleks" events to prevent the Time Wars (honest mate) with all kinds of unintended consequences throughout the history of the universe would be a good arc if he's to become a Big Bad, especially if he gets his hands on a new TARDIS.

NumberNine
NumberNine

I think the Master should return, find out the Doctor is searching for Gallifrey, and try to stop him because he fears what the time lords will do to him when they return. That would make for a GREAT story

Gallifreyfalls1
Gallifreyfalls1

I'm thinking parts of the arc will be similar to the silence arc,the master will know of an event in the future which the doctor has freed gallifrey and the master himself has escaped and decided to travel back in time to stop the doctor realising the timelords upon the universe

dewyjns
dewyjns

Just like the War Doctor, would there be any other version of Master, possibly the one before  Roger Delgado ?

Andrew_Swallow
Andrew_Swallow

The alternative to being given a Tardis is for the Master to steal one to escape.  More in character.

YouveBeenDuplicated
YouveBeenDuplicated

The only way i'd want The Master to come back is if he were to kill all the Ice Warriors and Sea devils so they could never come back!

GrannyMumantoog
GrannyMumantoog

Having a 1 or two episode Master story would be fun. I think he's still a little crazy in spite of the absence of the drumming..wasn't he always just a bit crazy? I thought so. Aren't all super baddies, villains, evil doers a bit crazy? I think yes, so bring him back still a bit crazy, still jealous of the Doctor & out to get him or show him up or put him in his place...with maybe just a touch of world domination ideas lurking in his head. It could be fun as long as the story is well written. Plus I'd love to see Capaldi's Doctor have a go at him!

Huknar
Huknar

The Master against the Doctor in regards to Gallifrey is a really beautiful idea. 

MacduMela
MacduMela

When he died in Last of the Time Lords, he "refused" to regenerate as his way of beating the Doctor. That implies he had further regenerations available to him.

A Friend of the Ood
A Friend of the Ood

@conallmc2013 Onscreen, we've seen four incarnations. There are a couple more from Big Finish. Then there are almost 20 incarnations we haven't seen. There's no reason to make up a complicated plot to explain why he got more regenerations when there's so much of his life we haven't seen.

measkren
measkren

@conallmc2013 In the classic series, the Master had reached the end of his regeneration cycle.  He then stole the body of Tremas (Anthony Ainley), which, it was assumed, could not regenerate.  He was briefly offered by the Time Lords a whole new regeneration cycle in "The Five Doctors, " but it isn't clear that the offer was ever honored.  The Master apparently was killed in "Planet of Fire," but he showed up again without explanation in "Mark of the Rani."  In "Survival," he was apparently infected with the Cheetah virus, but this idea was scrapped by the time of the 8th Doctor movie.  In that movie, he is reduced first to a snake-like worm, only to take over the body of another human (Eric Roberts).  He is destroyed yet again in the Eye of Harmony at the end of that movie before he shows up again as Professor Yana in the new series.  The long and the short of all this is to say that the Master's history has been so screwed up that it is difficult to say whether anyone can trace any satisfactory history of his appearances since the days of Roger Delgado.  He just seems to show up when some writer thinks it would be good to have the Master as the villain.  Logically, he should be gone for good.


Gustaff
Gustaff

@Grizzlybread no. My math is correct. After being afforded a new cycle, the Eleventh Doctor can now regenerate 12 more times, not 13. He is the last incarnation of the old cycle and the first of the new.


Capaldi is the first regeneration, thus the second Doctor. The new cycle can only go up to the 23rd Doctor (12 regenerations after the Eleventh Doctor)


1st Doctor - 11th Doctor (12 regenerations)

12th Doctor (1st regen)

13th Doctor (2nd regen)

14th Doctor (3rd regen)

15th Doctor (4th regen)

16th Doctor (5th regen)

17th Doctor (6th regen)

18th Doctor (7th regen)

19th Doctor (8th regen)

20th Doctor (9th regen)

21st Doctor (10th regen)

22nd Doctor (11th regen)

23rd Doctor (12th regen)...end of second cycle

JamesCresswell
JamesCresswell

@OttoVonBismarck I agree. The Daleks, Cybermen and the Silurians are a pale imitation of what they used to be under Moffats reign. Even the Icewarriors, he messed about with too much.

If he wants to bring The Master back, then all well and good. But if it aint broke, don't fix it. You're not being clever or imaginative. All you are doing is ruining well established characters.

mczolly
mczolly

To be honest, I think his Master will be better and more traditional, not this recent crazy jumpy idiot type of Master.

Gallifreyfalls1
Gallifreyfalls1

That's a good idea,but the master may change his mind and make it that he will now try to stop gallifrey returning at all costs,you know moffat could even reveal that the master gave instructions to madame kovarian to break away from the papal mainframe and kill the doctor to prevent gallifrey returning

11th's Sonic
11th's Sonic

@NumberNine  That's true. Maybe that could be the story arc for series 9, the master and the search for Gallifrey and the master trying to stop him. Hopefully, Clara will still be there until the series 9 finale.

HeyProfessor
HeyProfessor

@dewyjns Roger Delgado's incarnation is the 13th Master, so yes, there are 11 incarnations we've yet to see (We saw the Masters first incarnation)

conallmc2013
conallmc2013

@MacduMela yes but by doing s he DIED. He was "reincarnated" and very unstable. Therefore is it not implied he HAS NO REGENERATIONS LEFT. The time lord's could give him some as an envoy to the doctor or he could be up to his usual antics stealing the doctor's regeneration's.

measkren
measkren

@A Friend of the Ood @conallmc2013 Roger Delgado, Peter Pratt, Geoffrey Beavers, Anthony Ainley, Gordon Tipple, Eric Roberts, Derek Jacobi, the boy who looks into the Matrix, John Simm, and Alex MacQueen.  

conallmc2013
conallmc2013

@Gustaff @Grizzlybread Do we even know that he is limited to just another cycle, its not as if the time lords told him! I'm sure that if they want to free gallifrey which may take thousands of years that they would protect the doctor as much as possible so he can allow their return. B that logic therefore is it not theoretical that he has tens of, if not hundreds of re generations? In terms of what is speculated you are indeed correct.

measkren
measkren

@Gustaff @Grizzlybread You are assuming that the eleventh Doctor used his regenerative powers to become the twelfth Doctor, but the Time Lords gave him a whole new regeneration cycle as a "Christmas" gift.  So Capaldi starts from scratch, not as the first regeneration.  I think that is how Moffat saw it, so it could very well be that the Doctor will have another thirteen lives.  As for the Master, I hope he doesn't come back unless there is a really good story to come back to.  I always have thought the drumming and the madness angle were played to death.  If Moffat is going to bring back an old villain, I'd rather see Davros.

ilyootha is back in home Universe
ilyootha is back in home Universe

@GustaffI think it's more accurate to say that Capaldi is the first Doctor of the new cycle, but because this cycle is not the original one that started naturally, he is also the first regeneration of the cycle. So this cycle (and all the consequent ones, given that there are any) will be one Doctor shorter.

OttoVonBismarck
OttoVonBismarck

@mczolly Yes, I miss the old Master played by Roger Delgado...I think Capaldi vs Dance would be like Pertwee vs Delgado. Older and more serious Doctor and Master.

A Friend of the Ood
A Friend of the Ood

@measkren @A Friend of the Ood @conallmc2013 We don't know if the dead looking Masters were the same incarnation as Delgado. If they are, that's only one incarnation. But even if we count them all as separate incarnations, that's 10. There should still be 13 left before we have to worry about giving him more regenerations.

Angie Whodini
Angie Whodini

@measkren @Gustaff @Grizzlybread Davros has also been done to death. Every time I've seen him he has the same motivation, no real depth. both need good stories to come back, but I would argue the Master has more potential as a character.

ClaireAbraham
ClaireAbraham

@ilyootha @Gustaff I'm with you on this. Smith was the last Doctor of the old regeneration cycle. Since he used one regeneration to become Capaldi, he's got eleven regenerations left. Capaldi is the first Doctor of the new cycle; with him, we have the first Doctor to be born from the new life given to him by the Time Lords. What was lost was the status the Hartnell Doctor had; a life given by natural birth rather than by regeneration.

GrannyMumantoog
GrannyMumantoog

@OttoVonBismarck @mczolly Don't really want Simm back. I agree that Capaldi vs Dance would be a great combo. I don't think it's likely to happen but wishful thinking is fun :)

mczolly
mczolly

I agree completely, the Master needs gravitas!

measkren
measkren

@A Friend of the Ood @measkren @conallmc2013 My understanding is that by the time of the Peter Pratt Master, he had used up all his regenerations, so he was technically at 13.  This is why the Geoffrey Beevers Master (who was basically playing the same role as Peter Pratt) stole the body of Tremas (Anthony Ainley).  But Ainley couldn't regenerate, which is why he was willing to make a deal with the Time Lords in "The Five Doctors."  After that, the Master's story becomes muddled.  It gets even more complicated with the 8th Doctor movie and then the New Adventure books and now the new series and Big Finish.  I actually don't think regenerations were ever the primary motivation of the Master.  He wanted to rule the universe, beginning with the Earth, and he wanted to see the destruction of the Doctor, with whom he has a strange affection (Some say they are brothers, though that's never been made clear).  But I just can't see Simm's Master coming back.  RTD pretty much put a nail in his coffin, and if Moffat or some other writer tries to resurrect him, it better be a good story.  Otherwise, it's "Victory of the Daleks" all over again... :)