Moffat explains why Doctor Who 'doesn't really need' The Master anymore

Contributed by
Aug 11, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT

At least one of the Doctor's most famous enemies probably won't be making another appearance anytime soon. 

Along with the Daleks and the Cybermen, the Master ranks as one of the most iconic of all Doctor Who villains. He's been around for more than 40 years, menacing Doctors from Jon Pertwee to Sylvester McCoy, and he even returned to battle Paul McGann in the 1996 TV movie that attempted to revive the dormant series. Most recently, the Master made a triumphant return to battle David Tennant's Tenth Doctor in "The Sound of Drums" and "The End of Time," and many fans were quickly drawn in by John Simm's portrayal of the character.

At this point, though, we haven't seen the character since 2010. The Eleventh Doctor never battled him onscreen, and though some classic Who villains like the Daleks will be coming back to meet Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi in his upcoming first season in the TARDIS, it sounds like the Master won't be among them. What's more, it sounds like the Master won't be around at all as long as Steven Moffat is showrunner.

Speaking at the premiere of season eight's first episode, "Deep Breath," last week, Moffat responded to questions about the Master's return and noted that he was actually surprised that his predecessor, Russell T Davies, managed to pull off a good Master story in the first place. 

"[Abruptly] No. [Laughter] I accidentally just said the truth! No, not really. I think the story’s sort of done," Moffat said. "I thought what Russell did with that was so brilliant, because I did think it was over."

So, why doesn't Moffat want The Master back? Well, it seems to boil down to what he sees as an inherent predictability in the character.

"Once you’d lost Roger Delgado [the first Master, who played the character from 1971 until his death in 1973], who was so brilliant, it was tough to keep it … it’s like Moriarty in Sherlock -- yes, I know -- you think, 'you’re a great master villain, you know what you do a lot, you lose! You’re always tremendously confident and then you’re humiliatingly defeated and you don’t remember that the next time you pop up with your ridiculous plan'. So no, the Doctor doesn’t really need an archenemy, so we’ll go for new ones. So, sorry, John Simm."

Yes, the Master does always end up losing to the Doctor eventually, but to be fair, so do all of the Doctor's major nemeses. That's kind of what happens on Doctor Who. It's also funny that Moffat made the Moriarty comparison, given how the last season of Sherlock ended. In any case, maybe it's for the best that the Doctor gets some new enemies to fight. Moffat's already given us, among other things, the Weeping Angels and the Silence, so maybe he's got a few other memorable foes still tucked up his sleeve. Then again, maybe he's just lying to us. It's happened before. 

Doctor Who returns (Master-less) Aug. 23.

(Via Den of Geek)