As Doctor Who’s brilliant tenth series rattles along at a quick, joyful pace, it is still tinged by the bittersweet fact that this is the last hurrah for show runner Stephen Moffat and resident Time Lord Peter Capaldi. But that sense of finality and sadness is sure to get a little bit stronger for Whovians, since it’s just been revealed that another major cast member will be leaving the hit show.
Michelle Gomez Is Leaving Doctor Who
Beginnings and endings are part and parcel of Doctor Who; on more than one occasion, the show reminded us that “everything has it’s time,” but we’re still going to be saddened by this particular parting. Michelle Gomez has wowed fans since her debut in 2014’s 'Deep Breath', but she’s now set to hang up her Marry Poppins-esque costume at the end of 2017’s series.
But why is she leaving? Well, it seems all of the other departures from Doctor Who were a deciding factor for Gomez:
“It’s the end of a chapter...Everybody’s leaving, so I’m going too. I mean, what would I do without Peter and Steven? Who would I be?”
It's safe to say that after this year, every installment of Doctor Who thereafter will sorely lack the kind of witty — and downright bananas — mayhem that Missy brought to the show. Fans have taken to every comment section available to bemoan the news, and in her leaving interview, Gomez took a moment to reflect on this love for Missy, as well as the show itself:
"I am actually humbled by them...It’s very inspiring and energizing...Yeah, I’m gonna miss a lot about that job...it was probably one of the best jobs I’ve ever had...”
Though the show will be suffering a loss, her departure does make sense in light of previous transitions. After all, when previous show-runner Russell T Davies left Doctor Who, the cast and producers changed, along with the show’s theme tune, logo and TARDIS! Like the Doctor himself, the show will no doubt undergo a marked regeneration when Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall takes over from #StephenMoffat. And speaking of regenerations, Gomez seems very attached to the current Doctor, and isn’t keen on seeing him go:
“...I don't know how I'd feel about being The Master to any other Doctor, because I [really] feel like I'm part of Peter's time...I think [he] is one of the best Doctors we’ve ever had."
Gomez’s withdrawal from Who on these grounds is certainly a touching move, but by coincidence or not, it’s also in keeping with an unofficial tradition of the show. Aside from the impending return of John Simm’s incarnation, few — if any — Masters have ever returned to hassle different Doctors onscreen. Therefore, in true enigmatic fashion for Who, it’s very interesting that both the current Doctor and Master are leaving in the same series that a previous Master is returning. There are so many questions!
We’ll Miss You Missy!
Series 10 has already sewn plenty of seeds of speculation, namely around the central mystery of the Vault (does it contain Missy, John Simm’s Master, or perhaps even the vengeful Rassilon?), but now Whovians have even more to consider.
Missy is set to reappear in three episodes of Series 10, two of which (very tellingly) form the two-part series finale. So in these crucial episodes, might we see golden tendrils of regenerative light emerge from her hands? What could cause it? And will the regeneration occur alongside the Doctor’s, or could the Doctor himself have instigated her change during their latest battle?
It will be very interesting to see whether Missy/the Master does or doesn’t regenerate this series, because it’s rare that we do see the villain’s transformations occur onscreen. However, if the recent comments about Peter Capaldis’ regeneration are anything to go by, the end of his run will exceed all our expectations, so it seems that anything is possible!
We suspect that, like the demise of the Twelfth Doctor, the departure of Missy will linked to the Time Lords, along with one other discovery. Indeed, it seems almost certain that we may finally discover how John Simm’s incarnation perished following the events of 'The End of Time,' after which Missy appeared some five years later. However, another possibility reveals itself: could the Master revisit his Simm incarnation as the Curator/Doctor did in ‘The Day of the Doctor’? Does that explain why John Simm has returned to the show?
Don’t rule out a return for Missy, since the ever present “wibbly wobbly timey wimey” laws of Who can allow almost anything to happen. Whilst this series sadly marks the end of Michelle Gomez’s run as the Master, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is over forever. After all, in the words of Ood Sigma, “this song is ending but the story never ends.”