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This one should make all the Doctor Who fans sad.
Fri Oct 6, 2017 9:46am

I realised today that John Hurt's death back in January deprived us of the chance of seeing the most amazing Doctor Who film ever: a Time War movie starring him, Derek Jacobi as the Master, and Timothy Dalton as Rassilon.

So I decided to make all of you miserable by imagining what might have been:

The film starts with the War Doctor (John Hurt) hunting for the War Master (Derek Jacobi). The High Council of the Time Lords wants to resurrect Rassilon; Lady President Romana (Lalla Ward if she's interested; Juliet Landau is also a possibility) thinks that's dumb, and has tasked the Doctor with finding another plan. The Doctor wants to resurrect Davros instead (it's a Time War, no-one stays dead), and needs the Master's help.

It doesn't work. Instead, the Master imbues himself with energy from the Eye of Harmony, at the same time claiming the mantle of Omega, the other legendary founder of the Time Lords. And having Omega stomping around again is enough to shake Rassilon from his tomb. He takes the body the current Castellan (Timothy Dalton) and returns to the Citadel of the Time Lords.

Romana refuses to hand over the Sash, Crown, and Rod of Rassilon. It's unclear at this point whether Rassilon is truly returned, or whether the Castellan just has his power (like the Master does Omega's), but the Council don't particularly care - they see his power, and want him to rule.

As the debate rages, the Master descends on the Citadel. He greets Rassilon as if he was Omega, and the Council are delighted - but neither of them trusts the other. At the first opportunity, they betray one another - and as it happens, that opportunity is the Doctor breaking into the Citadel and trying to shoot Rassilon in the face.

As the Time War continues to rage (appearances by the War Council, yes please!), civil war breaks out in the Citadel. Romana, Rassilon, and the Master each end up with their own factions, each seeking their own goals. As the war goes on, Rassilon creates the De-mat gun and uses it to create his gauntlet; the Master deploys all manner of horrors from the depths of the Time Lord vaults; and the Doctor hunts for the third founder of Gallifrey - the mysterious Other, whose name isn't even know. Is (s)he still alive? Did (s)he even exist?

The outcome is actually the least exciting part of the film, because we already know it: the Master flees to the end of time, wiping the Doctor's memory of his face along the way. Rassilon secures his rule of Gallifrey. And the Doctor finds that the Other's power has been bound up in a tool, or a weapon, a small, simple box... something known as the Moment.

Part of the fun is that this is a Time War. The timeline of the film twists and turns: we see Rassilon, the Master, and the Doctor facing off before we ever see Rassilon resurrected. The designers get to let their imaginations run wild when coming up with temporal weapons for both sides to use.

Along the way, we make use of the threefold nature of our primary cast. The three Founders correlate directly to the three protagonists (the Doctor is said in non-TV stories to be the reincarnation of the Other), but there are also three ancient Gallifreyan gods at play: Pain, Death, and Time line up nicely with the Master (who's crazy), Rassilon (who will just straight-up kill you), and the Doctor (who wants to change history). They also fit the stories of the Founders, at least as depicted here.

Obviously this isn't a perfect outline - it probably needs a twist somewhere in the third act, to avoid the inevitable march towards Utopia/The End of Time/The Day of the Doctor. But it's enough to make me sad that we can never see it.

And hopefully you too. ;)


(PS: I know I'm only doing Friday Forum every other week or so. Maybe if the news would stop being so depressing I'd do it every week.)

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