I remember seeing the Master die in the 8th Doctor movie. I also remember him dying when he attempted to take over the whole world in the final episode of season three of the new Doctor Who. I also remember him vanishing in the final 10th Doctor episode The End of Time, where the Time Lords on Gallifrey were trying to get out of a Temporal Loop.

I know the Master was destabilizing when he was reborn for The End of Time. What's become of the Master? Is he dead? Or living on with the Time Lords on Gallifrey in the Temporal Loop?

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    Still living, if required in a future story (likely). Mar 28, 2012 at 6:48
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    In a universe where time travel is possible, the Master can technically be alive and dead. For instance, the Doctor can always run into an earlier version of the Master that predates whenever he is supposed to have died. Sep 22, 2013 at 23:57
  • @MarkRogers: You're entirely correct. In fact, that's the key point to my answer, below.
    – Jeff
    Sep 23, 2013 at 12:45
  • @Jeff - True, yeah, sorry I made the comment and then read your answer. Sep 23, 2013 at 13:51
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    I think the general consensus is that the Master is always alive. He's like Murdoc. As Moffat himself said: "I can't imagine anyone who's ever watched this genre being convinced that she's dead. The Master is never dead, no matter what happens to him or her. She's entirely unzappable!"
    – user44330
    Apr 28, 2015 at 0:21

13 Answers 13


In the Tenth Doctor's final story,

the master did simply disappear with no explanation.

I believe this was deliberately ambiguous, to allow future writers to bring back the character without too much retconning. In the "Whoniverse" it's safe to assume that even if you see someone die, he can come back again; especially a popular recurring villain like the master.

With the Master, after Roger Delgado (the actor who played him originally) died, the writers introduced plot-lines basically saying that the Master was at the end of his 13th and final life, and was constantly seeking ways to continue his life. In the 1996 movie you reference, he did appear to die at the end. However in the new 2005 series, it was stated that during the Time War, the Time Lords brought the Master back, essentially giving him a new cycle of regenerations (although this is not explained in detail). Thus the potential life of the character is still long, and he's such a popular villain that if they were going to kill him off permanently, viewers would know about it.

Edit: In the wake of Twelfth Doctor's Season 8 finale, this answer is now out of date, but I will leave it as-is.

  • So the Master is one of those vilians, I kind of thought so. Apr 26, 2011 at 13:17
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    @Justin The Who writers do it a lot with popular villains, most notably the daleks. They were originally written for just the one story, then brought back with an expanded back-story. Then during a second doctor story they were intended to be written off permanently. Before being brought back in a third doctor story. And then having their origin story retconned in a fourth doctor story. Main reason for this is that in a show running for ~50 years, the writers change every few years, and new writers want to write about their favourite villains again!
    – Nellius
    Apr 26, 2011 at 13:25
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    So the master just disappeared at the end of the final story, but the Time Lords returned to the vortex. If I'm correct... I wonder if since the drums that drove the Master mad (and predominantly evil) were just a ploy from an evil and stark crazy mad Time Lord race, the Master might have a change of heart... just for one episode. I'd love to see the 2 Time Lords work together to fight off a more terrible enemy. Apr 26, 2011 at 14:01
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    I don't know, ask somebody. Dec 17, 2011 at 21:36
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    If you look sideways at pretty much ALL of Dr Who you find narrative tricks and loopholes and trapdoors that the writers left themselves. Regeneration lets you have the show survive a particular actor. Inability cross time-streams prevents you from cheaping out and using the tardis to just go change a problem's preconditions. All those things became canon, but they started out as a setting for how to make a long-lived show with the constraints the early BBC was working under.
    – Dan Ray
    Mar 28, 2012 at 14:48

It depends.

How do you determine 'still' in a universe where so much time travel happens?

The Master is alive near the very end of the universe, and I'm sure he visited the very start of the universe (or close to it) at some point.

Even if his last incarnation is deceased, and he will make no further actions, his past incarnations still exist at every point in time they visited.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen all the new series (I didn't see the end of Tennant's run) so I can't comment on the Temporal Loop.

That said, unless this has done something to prevent the Doctor from travelling in time, he could always run into a past version of the Master, interact with him, and potentially change the Master's future... which would potentially change the Doctor's past.

And now I've gone cross-eyed.

EDIT: Now that I have watched through the end of Tennant's run, I can safely say: The Master is dead and so are all the others, including the planet of Gallifrey. They all died at the end of the Time War. The Time Lord's actions on that episode almost brought them all back from the dead, but didn't. They're dead, and never coming back.

Until another episode gives them a way back, that is.

UPDATE: Just a bit of an update on this: the episode that gives them a way back is "The Time of the Doctor", which is Matt Smith's last episode. The Master him (her)self also comes back in the season 8 finale, "Dark Water/Death in Heaven"

  • So Master (life 1) could come back if the Doctor traveled through time where that life of the master resided. Same with everyone including President Saxon (The most recent incarnation of the Masters.). P.S. Go Get Netflix and watch all the 4 or so seasons you missed and their specials. You won't regret it. Apr 26, 2011 at 13:20
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    Yes. It's entirely possible that the Doctor could encounter a previous version of the Master and foil a scheme that the earlier versions of the Doctor never knew about because their future version took care of it before it came to their attention. I think my eyes have now crossed so far they've gone back to normal.
    – Jeff
    Apr 26, 2011 at 13:25
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    I think it's strongly implied that Time Lords always meet each other in the same order, somehow. Apr 26, 2011 at 18:38
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    @Daniel: I think it's strongly implied that the Doctor plays fast and loose with continuity whenever the mood strikes :)
    – Jeff
    Apr 26, 2011 at 19:57
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    @Daniel - I suspect that's mainly to preserve show continuity and writer sanity. Jun 20, 2011 at 14:58

The answer is really, unknown. In a 2008 episode of the tenth doctor david tennant, the master dies and refuses to regenerate, causing him to (supposedly) DIE, leaving the doctor as the last time lord left

(until Amy and Rory Pond conceive their child, Melody Pond (River Song) in the TARDIS when the TARDIS' time vortex was active (they were traveling through time)),

but he is apparently alive in the 2010 episode of the tenth doctor david tennant, when he dies again. SO, nobody knows. Just like nobody knows the Doctors name

except himself and his love, River Song.


There's a good chance that the Master is still alive. Even stuck in the Temporal Loop, he's a crafty character, and everyone loves the archenemy. He's died permanently so many times now it isn't even funny-more than the Daleks even-and with the fiftieth anniversary showing up.... Let's just say I'm hoping for my favorite villain to come back.


Basically, the master would not have died from the events of the episode but he would have to suffer some consequences for condemning his people but, as he is so skilled in battle; it is likely that he would have been given back his cycle to help with the war effort. we know from this episode that the doctor has already stolen the moment but we know from the day of the doctor that he won't use it. so the master is currently (and i use that term losely) wherever they are. after seeing the events of the time of the doctor, we know that this is through the cracks in the universe. so he is probably alive, but this hasn't been openly stated so that writers aren't obligated to bring back the master if they let gallifrey back through the crack.


Using season 10 knowledge, we know that The Master (spoilers in link)

survived the events of this question and returned for seasons 8, 9, and 10. Was not shown escaping from the temporal loop.

Serious season 10 spoiler:

Then died again. Supposedly really truly dead this time. But, who knows?

So make of that what you will. You can read all the gory details on wikia, but that answers the question as of the end of season 10.

For those who don't know what a season is, it's the United States word for what would be called series in the United Kingdom. In the US, Doctor Who is a series and one year's worth of episodes is a season.


Currently (and I stress the word "currently") Yes, the master is dead. However, it wouldn't be the first time, and I doubt it will be the last.

The Master has "died" properly three times:

In the TV movie, he fell into the Eye of Harmony, after opening it to steal the Doctor's body. He was later resurrected to fight in the Time War, but, to put not too fine a point on it, he freaked out and legged it to the end of the universe, and hid using a chameleon arch.

John Simm's Master died after being shot by his wife at the end of "Last of the Time Lords", and refusing to regenerate. However, in the 2 part Christmas special "The End of Time", he returns using a potion of life, created by his followers.

At some point after this, it would seem that his "condition" following using the potion of life was cured, stabilising his body. Following his regeneration into Missy, she was then killed by her previous incarnation as punishment for siding with the Doctor.

And this brings us to the present.

As the precedent has previously been set, if it suits the Time Lord's, or even the Doctor's interests, then the Master will be resurrected again, mainly because he/she is a great villain.


At the end of The Doctor Falls

two different incarnations of The Master kill each other.

I'm sure that when they need The Master again, he/she will return, but until then The Master is like Schrödinger's cat.


In the day of The Doctor

The Doctor goes back in time in a time vortex and see's his past regenerations and freezes Gallifrey into a picture.

So that means that you can make The Master see his past self, and his past self could help his future of being stuck on Gallifrey to never happen. That would put The Master back in the End of Time Movie, and he would need to slip away and leave it to The Doctor to close the portal from Gallifrey.


In the final episodes of Season 10 World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls we find out that after the events of The End of Time, John Simm's The Master was pulled back into Gallifrey with Rassilon the other Time Lords.

Following this the Timelords fixed The Master's decaying body as thanks for helping stop Rassilon's plans as according to the Wikia

Upon getting back to Gallifrey, the Time Lords, grateful for the Master's help in preventing Rassilon from executing The Final Sanction, properly restored his body. With that done, the Time Lords kicked him off Gallifrey. However, the Master stole a TARDIS to go back into the universe; so he considers it a mutual being kicked out.

Source: The Doctor Falls (TV Story) > Plot (3rd Paragraph)

given the mention of "back into the universe" this would indicate that The Master's recovery was after the events of The Day of the Doctor after Gallifrey was removed from the universe rather than being destroyed by The Moment.

after this The Master arrived on the Mondasian colony ship and lived like a king until he was overthrown

After that, the Master landed on the colony ship, lived like a king and killed people at his leisure. However, the colonists eventually overthrew him and the Master attempted to flee. However, as his TARDIS was on the last level, too close to the event horizon, it burned out his dematerialisation circuit and left him stranded. "You never could drive could you?" the Doctor asks.

Source: The Doctor Falls (TV Story) > Plot (3rd Paragraph)

this is when time become wibbly wobbly as after some time Michelle Gomez's The Master (here-by referred to as Missy), who is the next form on John Simm's The Master, showed up. in The Doctor Falls Missy remembers when she was The Master on the colony ship being yelled at by "an angry woman" and carries a replacement dematerialisation circuit.

following this and the apparent betrayal of The Doctor Missy stabs The Master thus showing that this was the start of his Regeneration into Missy however as Missy leave The Master shoots her in a back and prevents her generation. as such The Master, now wounded and will begin regenerating, descend back down to his Tardis while Missy is dead.

Does this mean The Master is dead with Missy being the last? while it's unknown if The Master will return with the new writer for the series after Steven Moffat, but we do know that despite being fully dead The Master has been resurrected multiple times, the most recent resurrection was what lead to The Master's decaying state in The End of Time

so even if Missy never regenerated The Master could return for any reason and considering The Doctor said in Hell Bent

death is Time Lord for man flu

The Master's current status (as of 02/03/2018) would be sick with man flu until further notice


I like to think that because the Master wasn't trapped in the Time Lock with the Timelords he can escape it. It was also said that if the Doctor killed the Timelord President he became President, so it's fair to say that by killing Rassilon the Master became the President, so he returned to Gallifrey on the brink of its destruction as President. He would then be given a new set of regenerations and a new body as the one he had was dying, and take whatever tools he wished -- such as the Hand of Omega -- and leave the Time Lock just as he sees Gallifrey burn and all his people die at the hands of the Doctor. This would renew his hatred of the Doctor and set him off to avenge his people.

  • Where is it stated that to kill the President you become the next one? Also the Doctor placed the time lock on Gallifrey from the outside, which would have locked the Master there if he was there, regardless of if he had the Hand of Omega or any other such device.
    – Monty129
    Sep 22, 2013 at 17:42

The master is stuck in the termporal loop. The timelords promised the master an extra regeneration cycle in the five doctors. The movie master survived and died. He was revived by the time lords, during the time war, to fulfil their promise. The master used a Chameleon Arch to turn him into a human during the Utopia episode. The master was reminded of timelords and died due to his wife (From the Tennant episode) Then the master was brought back to life. He was sucked back into the time war. Due to the events in Day of the Doctor, it is revealed he is alive. He is supposed to be on Gallifrey. Gallifrey is in the pocket universe. Therefore, Stephen Moffet created a way that he could bring back the time lords (including the master) and Gallifrey.


As it was is how I remember it as I remember all of the doctor who's what happened was the master tried to make all humans himself and rassilon (time Lord president) snapped the template with is metal glove and the doctor broke the link to send the time lords back to the time war to their certain death and when doctor broke it he shouted back into the time war rassilon back into hell was his exact words master got in his way and got sent with them by accident so as it seems it looks like he's dead but the villains always survive and make the good suffer occasionally they die but he could be living his live happily on gallifrey but he could be under the ground in trenzalore dead but who knows only you can think your ways

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    Hello. I don't understand your first sentence, can you please edit your post to give sources and explain what you are saying ?
    – Kalissar
    Jul 1, 2013 at 14:25

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