Time Lords are supposed to have thirteen lives…but The Master has never been one to follow the rules.
The Doctor’s best friend/arch nemesis has gone through great lengths to stay alive since the character first arrived on screen in 1971. They’ve snatched bodies and cheated death more times than anyone can count.
In the series 10 finale, two incarnations of the Master turned up and ultimately betrayed one another. While John Simm’s Master escaped in his TARDIS as he began to regenerate, Missy (Michelle Gomez) was left abandoned on a doomed ship. The encounter led fans to believe Missy’s injuries were so severe she would not be able to regenerate.
Of course, the Master always survives somehow. When Sacha Dhawan later appeared as the character in “Spyfall,” fans began to speculate not about how the Master had returned, but when. Many fans believed Dhawan Master’s characterization suggested his regeneration came from sometime before Missy’s, while others felt he most logically came directly after her.
In true Doctor Who fashion, this timey-wimey debate has been both cleared up and expanded with a new story.
**The following contains major spoilers for Missy 2.01 “The Lumiat.”**
Big Finish Productions began developing Doctor Who audio content in the 90’s. Since then the company created a number of series featuring former Doctors, as well as quite a few spinoffs for other characters.
One of the most recent spinoffs follows the (mis)adventures of Gomez’s Master. The first volume of Missy released in February 2019. Missy volume 2 released last week, and it offered fans a surprising take on the Master’s recent timeline.
The first episode of Missy volume 2 finds the Time Lady’s evil schemes being foiled by an annoying do-gooder. The annoying do-gooder is also a Time Lady – one who seems to know all about Missy – so naturally Missy assumes she’s the Doctor.
She’s not the Doctor.
It turns out the mysterious goody-two-shoes is…also the Master.
Yup, that’s right. A future version of the Master. Evil no more, and now going by the moniker the Lumiat.
In the original Doctor Who series, the Doctor had a future incarnation known as the Valeyard, an evil regeneration comprised of all the Doctor’s darkest traits. The Lumiat is basically the reverse for the Master: a regeneration comprised solely of their inner good qualities.
If that wasn’t crazy enough, “The Lumiat” drops another bombshell. This regeneration immediately follows Missy.
In order to cheat certain death once again after shooting herself on the Mondasian colony ship, Missy opted to use an Elysian field device. The powerful technology – forbidden by the Time Lords – restored Missy’s regenerations and resulted in her becoming the Lumiat.
What does this mean for The Master?
Well, we now have (extended canon) confirmation that Dhawan’s Master is not the incarnation immediately after Missy.
I’m personally a big fan of this development. Besides the fact that I just think the Lumiat is a cool idea, I never liked Dhawan being the followup to Missy. While I think Dhawan does well in the role, I don’t like the way his character has swung back so hard to the angry, evil version so soon after Missy’s immense character development. (In her final moments she chose to stand with the Doctor! That should mean something for her next self!)
Of course, Dhawan could still be the regeneration immediately after the Lumiat. (Missy ends up shooting her and sparking a regeneration. That means the Master has brought about their own end at least three times.)
And this new story doesn’t have any indication either way if Dhawan could be before Missy, though this theory seems less popular now.
What do you think about the Lumiat reveal? Let us know in the comments.
Check back to That Hashtag Show for more Doctor Who news.