How did Michelle Gomez’s Missy regenerate into Sacha Dhawan’s Master? A new Doctor Who spin-off audio may hold a vital clue…
When it comes to Big Finish’s many audio releases, particularly their Doctor Who stories, we tend to avoid discussing spoilers too soon. Due to how much a single audio release can cost, not everyone’s going to listen to the same story on the day of its release, and it seems unfair to Big Finish to give away major spoilers for free so soon.
However, since Radio Times is already discussing this major spoiler regarding Missy, we thought we might as well get in on the action at Doctor Who Watch.
In this case, the spoiler concerns the opening episode of Missy: Series 2, The Lumiat. During the course of the story, Missy (Michelle Gomez) keeps bumping into a constant do-gooder, known as the Lumiat (Gina McKee), who keeps foiling her plans. At first, Missy assumes this hero to be the Doctor. But then she finds out who the Lumiat really is – and, for Missy at least, the answer is far more horrifying… (Spoilers follow.)
The Lumiat reveals herself to be Missy’s next incarnation…sort of. The Lumiat tells Missy that, in the future, she would be killed in a way that’s “poetic”. Unable to regenerate, Missy will use an Elysium Field – technology that’s forbidden by the Time Lords – to survive.
It grants her a new regeneration cycle, but it also destroys almost everything that Missy is. The only thing that survives of her is goodness. Essentially, she describes herself as Missy’s own version of the Valeyard – just as the Valeyard represents the Doctor’s darker side given form, the Lumiat represents everything good in the Master, too.
Now, it’s not hard to see where writer Lisa McMullin was going with this. While it’s understandably kept deliberately vague, the clear implication is that this story reveals how Missy survived after the events of Series 10 finale The Doctor Falls, after being murdered by her previous incarnation (John Simm). In fact, McMullin confirms as much herself on Big Finish’s website.
I wanted to create a story that could – possibly – fill in the gap between Missy’s last telly appearance and the Master’s spectacular TV return. The Lumiat is canon. I say so. The Lumiat is the tale of what happens to the Time Lord known as Missy/the Master between Gomez and [Sacha] Dhawan (caveat – I wrote this before I knew there WAS a Master in Dhawan form).
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A possible explanation
So does The Lumiat work as an explanation for Dhawan’s Master? It’s certainly possible. It’s interesting that this story was made while they would have been heavily working on Series 12, too. Everything Big Finish does has to be approved by those working on the TV series. The fact that they were more than ok with letting an audio drama explain how Missy survived is certainly interesting.
Of course, the fact that the Lumiat is from Missy’s future – at least in the perspective of the story – is possibly telling. As mentioned, the Lumiat kept things very vague regarding the exact circumstances of her death. So it could be that she’s one possible future – one that Missy perhaps avoids by the time she meets her end in The Doctor Falls.
Not that I’m against this explanation, in fact, it works extremely well. But it’s possible that, at some point in the distant future, either Chibnall or even a later showrunner would want to depict their own version of Missy’s survival on-screen.
After all, Steven Moffat decided to bring back John Simm’s Master seven years after his last appearance and depict his regeneration, or at least, the beginning of it. So it wouldn’t be too much work to ignore the events of this story completely.
Still, for the moment, The Lumiat does work extremely well at bridging the gap between Gomez and Dhawan. Particularly with how the story ends. Not only is it strongly hinted that the evil of the Master is resurfacing in the Lumiat herself. But the episode’s final moments depict her starting to regenerate – and it wouldn’t be too hard to imagine who she regenerates into…
Do you think The Lumiat works as an explanation for how the Master survived after The Doctor Falls? Or do you think the TV series should depict its own version of those events? Let us know in the comments below.