When Sacha Dhawan was unveiled as the new incarnation of the Master, one of Doctor Who’s most iconic and well-loved villains, fans were excited – but they also had a few questions.
After all, the last time we saw the Master (as played by Michelle Gomez as ‘Missy’) she was apparently killed permanently, her ability to regenerate into a new body removed by her former self (John Simm) – so how did she survive to become Dhawan’s version?
Well according to Dhawan himself we’re unlikely to find out – and when we spoke to former series showrunner Steven Moffat (who created Missy and wrote her final exit) he also thought that it should be up to fans to fill in the plot hole.
“I didn’t question it too much,” Dhawan told RadioTimes.com.
“I was more focussed on, as soon as the Master appeared, it’s like right – let’s get back to business. He doesn’t quite dwell on the past.”
Meanwhile, former series boss Moffat said he had no interest in Doctor Who trying to explain what happened to Missy, noting that he thought it was better for fans to try and fill in the gaps themselves.
“I don’t necessarily want all the gaps to be plugged,” Moffat told us at the Radio Times Covers Party.
“Kids out there are making up their own stories about how Missy escaped that place and regenerated into Sacha. They’re doing their own version of it. And that’s much more exciting to me than actually filling all those gaps.”
Dhawan, meanwhile, noted that the Master has historically escaped death regularly, with the character apparently trapped forever in another dimension just a few episodes ago before making another grand return.
“Like at the end of [Spyfall Part 2] you kind of think… Oh, the Master’s gone,” Dhawan said.
“But he always makes a surprise appearance. And I think the character will always do that in some form or other.”
“I think it is absolutely fine with the Master not to know,” Moffat continued.
“I like that. Even with the Doctor there’s whole sections you don’t know about. I don’t necessarily want to know every detail.
“I thought the same with River Song,” he added, noting that Alex Kingston’s time-travelling heroine still had vast swathes of her story left a mystery.
“You don’t have to join everything up, you get glimpses. That’s so much more exciting.”
In other words, then, fans shouldn’t get too hopeful about finding out what turned Missy into the Master anytime soon. For now, that story’s better left to our imaginations.
Doctor Who: The Timeless Children airs on BBC One at 6:50pm on Sunday 1st March