The last year or so has certainly been a turbulent time for Doctor Who; the current show runner Stephen Moffat announced that he is leaving at the end of 2017, along with the current Time Lord, played by Peter Capaldi. So in this bittersweet time, a development has emerged that is sure to have Doctor Who fans giddy with glee: a massively popular character is set to return in the next series.
This Fan-Favorite Character is Returning to Doctor Who
"Nothing stays secret for long on Doctor Who,” Stephen Moffat admitted, and he couldn’t be more correct. The internet is now abuzz with speculation after the BBC confirmed that John Simm’s particularly maniacal version of the Master will return to Doctor Who later this year.
In the BBC’s report, the award-winning Simm enthused that:
“...it’s true…It’s always a pleasure to work with this great team of people and I can’t wait for you all to see what the Master gets up to in the next series.“
This is news that’s sure to please fans everywhere; Simm is a brilliant actor, and his Master is widely seen as one of the highlights of Who since its reboot twelve years ago. The show’s more ardent audiences have long speculated that he could return, and now their wish is fulfilled.
However, if your memory is getting as unreliable as the TARDIS’s internal workings and you’re wondering who the Master is, then here’s a little refresher. Like the Doctor, the Master is a long-living, renegade Time Lord, but one who is far more conniving, and — in contrast with the Doctor’s pacifism — is bent on achieving power over all other lifeforms through violent means.
Michelle Gomez is presently playing the Master in her current female form, which means that her ‘Missy’ will no doubt share a fun scene or two with Simm’s Master.
Indeed, #StephenMoffat stated that:
“It’s been a huge pleasure to have fan favorites John Simm and Michelle Gomez face to face in the same role!”
Sparks are surely set to fly when such big personalities meet, and so Simm’s reappearance on the show is set to be quite a momentous occasion — although that's not the only reason to get excited. Simm's appearance is set to break new ground, as there have been multiple versions of the Master through the show’s run, but in its fifty-four year history none of them have ever met onscreen before.
And, given the histories of each incarnation, it’s going to be very interesting to see how this play out in Doctor Who Season 10.
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Just How is John Simm’s Master Returning to Doctor Who?
“Wibbly wobbly timey wimey” is an expression that both the Doctor and his fans have used to explain away the intricacies of time travel and lapses in continuity, but it’s still fun to ask the question everyone will be asking: how will we see Simm’s Master again?
Simm himself may have given us the first clue:
“…thanks to the power of time travel I’m back.”
Certainly, this has previously explained why several versions of the Doctor have been able to meet, since each incarnation is both from, and represents, different parts of his life. Yet with the Master and Missy’s situation, it’s a bit of trickier than that.
You see, as popular as he is, Simm's Master has only appeared in five episodes, and unlike each of the Doctor’s tenures, there’s very little leeway in his personal timeline. He regenerated into his John Simm version during the Series Three episode 'Utopia', but he was shot and killed in 'The Last of the Time Lords', only two episodes later.
Some have speculated that Moffat and co. may bring back Simm’s Master from his six months as Prime Minister Harold Saxon to extricate the character from his temporal entanglements. However, the Radio Times has stated that Simm recently appeared with blonde locks that obviously hark back to the character’s look in 'The End of Time'. This information confuses things a bit.
Prior to his reappearance as Missy in 2014's 'Deep Breath', Simm’s Master was last seen in the Tenth Doctor's (#DavidTennant) swansong, whereby he attacked #TimthoyDalton’s version of Rassilon as their home planet Gallifrey was sucked back into the time-locked Time War. Only relatively recently in the show’s history has it transpired that Gallifrey, the Council and Rassilon himself — albeit in a regenerated form — survived this climactic confrontation.
Therefore, it stands to reason that we’ll probably pick up with Simm’s version of the Master somewhere in between 'The End of Time' and the first appearance of Missy back in Series Eight's 'Deep Breath.' The new episodes may fill in the gap and show how Simm’s Master, and possibly even Rassilon, came to appear in their regenerated forms in a similar way to that which we saw John Hurt’s War Doctor become Christopher Eccleston’s incarnation in the 'The Day of the Doctor' 50th Anniversary special.
Will the Master still retain his powers from last time? What will he be planning with Michelle Gomez’s Missy? And if he shows up, how will Rassilon influence the proceedings? After all, the Twelfth Doctor staged a coup and banished Rassilon in 2015’s 'Hell Bent', and the Master tried to electrocute him back in 'The End of Time'. I doubt the legendary founder of Time Lord society will be too forgiving towards either of them.
John Simm’s reappearance as the Master is not Season 10's only throwback to the show’s history. The Ice Warriors are returning, as are the Mondasian Cybermen for the first time in over 50 years. With fresh foes to face and old enemies to confront, this series of Doctor Who is surely shaping up to be something special – don’t we only wish we had TARDISes to take us forward so we can binge watch it all in one go!
With all of these homages to Doctor Who's past, the new series should be… well, as the Master says above, spectacular!