It certainly feels like Series 11 of Doctor Who–which is expected in the fall of 2018–will have almost no connective tissue at all, with all signs pointing to a Series 5-esque clean reboot. While there’s been nothing official about whether Pearl Mackie’s Bill will return after the current series (boy, I hope she sticks around; she’s tremendous), the showrunner is changing over from Steven Moffat to Chis Chibnall and the Doctor is changing over from Peter Capaldi to [Enter Rumored Casting of Choice]. And now, it would appear, the Doctor’s best frenemy will change as well, as Michelle Gomez says she’ll leave when Capaldi does.
In an interview with the UK’s TV Choice Magazine regarding this week’s upcoming episode, “Extremis,” Gomez explained that the dynamic between herself and Capaldi this series is even more fraught then before. “It makes it interesting,” she said. “It’s always evolving. So that has to happen with whoever goes on to play the Master next – and whoever goes on to play the Doctor.” This prompted the interviewer to ask if that meant she was going to be stepping down when Capaldi does, and she responded in the affirmative.
Now, she did go on to say she might change her mind in a year, but as of now, that’s where she stands. “I feel very loyal,” she continued. “I’ve only just finished filming this last series, so I’m kind of charged up about the fact we go out together. I just don’t want to be anybody else’s Master. Peter was my Doctor, and that dynamic worked so well. You’ve got to know when to stop. You’ve got to quit while you’re ahead. Besides, somebody else can have a go now!”
The precedent is certainly in place for a Master to be directly tied to a single Doctor. The very first Master, Roger Delgado, tragically died in a car accident in 1973 and therefore only could work with the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, but it’s that relationship and dynamic that feels so integral to Capaldi and Gomez. And let us not forget that John Simm and David Tennant were the Master/Doctor pair of the previous showrunner’s tenure, though of course we already know Simm will be returning alongside Gomez at some point during Series 10.
Of working with Simm, Gomez explained in that same interview, “obviously, you’re going to relate to somebody who’s been through the same thing as you. So, immediately there’s a shorthand between those two people. But, he still doesn’t know what it’s like to play the Master as a female. That’s just never going to happen for John.” And while she wouldn’t give any spoilers, she did say about their meeting, “It’s all a bit odd.”
So, we’ll bid a fond farewell to Michelle Gomez following Series 10. While her unhinged, Joker-esque take on the character isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, I really took to her in the role and her offbeat approach to every single line of dialogue. She’s the perfect foil to Capaldi’s variety of Doctor.
The next time the Master shows up, I think it would be excellent to have someone like Bill Nighy or Michael Palin in the role, some older dude who can be comedic and sinister. Especially if the Doctor is–oh, I don’t know–Hayley Atwell! I mean, come on, if we say it enough, it’s got to happen, right?
Are you sad to see Michelle Gomez leave? Who would you like to see take on the role of the Master? Let us know in the comments below!
Kyle Anderson is the Associate Editor and the resident Whovian for Nerdist. Follow him on Twitter!