Is 'Doctor Who' Setting Up For A Multi-Master Special?
We might be up for a bit of extra insanity on our screens.
Welcome back Doctor Who! After a year-long hiatus from our screens, the sci-fi staple has returned with an episode that silenced many critics of the Thirteenth Doctor's first season with a game-changing twist that left fans floored.
Early in 'Spyfall', we were introduced to lovable MI6 Agent 'O', supposedly an old friend of The Doctor's. A very old friend, as in the episode's final minutes, it was revealed that 'O' was actually The Master, The Doctor's worst enemy/best friend.
While not onscreen for long, Dhawan's Master is already winning over fans, and has them excited for the future of the character, including the increasing potential for a Multiple-Master special.
Here's why it might be a good time for such a special to happen.
2021 will mark the 50th Anniversary of The Master's first appearance.
Interestingly, Sacha Dhawan's debut as The Master came just one day before the forty-ninth anniversary of the very first appearance of The Master, then played by the late Roger Delgado, in the 1971 serial 'Terror Of The Autons'. While no official sources have commented on this, it is unlikely to be a coincidence.
If the current pattern continues, with Doctor Who having a festive special for the New Year rather than Christmas, then the 2021 special will arrive just in time for the 50th anniversary of 'Terror Of The Autons'. To still be appearing on TV after fifty years is a great achievement for any fictional character, so the 2021 special could be a perfect opportunity to celebrate the history of The Master, particularly the rivalry between The Master and The Doctor that has now been raging for half a century.
Doctors Vs Masters
After such a long history, it may be surprising to remember that the first televised Doctor Who story to feature multiple incarnations of The Master aired only three years ago. 'World Enough And Time/The Doctor Falls' featured one incarnation of The Doctor, Peter Capaldi's Twelve, facing off against two Masters: The version played by John Simm, often referred to as the Saxon Master, and Missy, played by Michelle Gomez.
With the introduction of Dhawan's Master, three of NuWho's five Doctor's now have a corresponding Master. David Tennant has John Simm, Peter Capaldi has Michelle, and now Jodie Whittaker has Sacha Dhawan. This too seems like an opportunity too good to waste, and could make for a fairer fight if the Masters unite again for a special episode. We haven't had a multi-Doctor episode for a while. What better reason could The Doctor have to call upon her past selves than a team-up of their Best Enemy's insane incarnations?
It's unlikely that Christopher Eccleston will ever return to his role as the Ninth Doctor, so his Doctor's lack of a Master is unlikely to pose a problem for any potential special. While Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor never faced The Master himself, it would be relatively easy to temporarily assign him one if he chose to participate. Possibly Derek Jacobi's War Master, who appeared only briefly onscreen before regenerating into the Saxon Master, but has been wonderfully fleshed out in a series of Big Finish Audio stories.
Otherwise, Eleven could simply serve to give 'Team Doctor' a numbers advantage.
Doctor Who needs a boost.
It's no secret that many Whovians struggled to get into Series 11 of Doctor Who, the first for both the Thirteenth Doctor, Jodie Whittaker, and new showrunner Chris Chibnall. While Whittaker's performance was praised, the writing of the show was not quite up to scratch, aside from a few standout episodes.
'Spyfall' seems to be a step back in the right direction, but one good episode is not enough. As a show hurtling towards another significant milestone in just three years time, Doctor Who needs to become Event Television again if it wants its sixtieth anniversary to make as big of a splash as the fiftieth did.
A special highlighting the rich history of The Doctor's greatest rival could be just what the show needs to get back on top for good.