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|“||And so it came to pass, that the players took their final places. Making ready the events that were to come. The madman sat in his empire of dust and ashes. Little knowing of the glory he would achieve. While his savior looked upon the wilderness in the hope of changing his inevitable fate. Far away, the idiots and fools dreamt of a shining new future. A future now doomed to never happen. As Earth rolled onwards into night the people of that world did sleep. And shiver. Somehow knowing the dawn would bring only one thing: The Final Day.||„|
|“||And so it came to pass, on Christmas day, that the human race did cease to exist. But even then, the Master had no concept of his greater role in events, for this was far more than humanity's end. This day was the day the whole of creation would change forever. This was the day… the Time Lords return. FOR GALLIFREY! FOR VICTORY! FOR THE END OF TIME ITSELF!||„|
Rassilon is one of the three overarching antagonists (along with Omega and Tecteun) of the sci-fi series Doctor Who, serving as the overarching antagonist of the modern series. He serves as the main antagonist of the special The End of Time, the final episode to feature the Tenth Doctor, as well as the main antagonist of the Series 9 finale.
He is the founder of Time Lord civilization and perhaps the single greatest figure of Gallifreyan history. He was generally considered the first Time Lord, though some believed that distinction belonged to his compatriot Omega.
He was portrayed by Timothy Dalton - who also portrayed Neville Sinclair in The Rocketeer and Simon Skinner in Hot Fuzz in The End of Time, as well as James Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. In Big Finish's Main Range audio dramas, he was portrayed by Don Warrington. In the series 9 finale "Hell Bent", he was portrayed by Donald Sumpter, who previously played Erasmus Darkening in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode The Eternity Trap. In Big Finish's Gallifrey audio series he was initially voiced by Terrence Hardimann, and later voiced by Richard Armitage, who played Guy of Gisborne in the BBC's Robin Hood.
The Dark Times
During the Dark Times of Gallifrey, Rassilon worked with Omega as solar engineers. Unlike the majority of his people, content with space travel, Rassilon instead plotted to find immortality, before Omega turned his friend to work on discovering time travel. It was during these experiments that Rassilon released the Great Vampires onto the universe. However, according to one account the Vampires were nonviolent, peaceful, and quiet, only feeding on mindless animals they bred themselves until the subsequent war declared by Rassilon forced them to feed on sentient species.
In the war, according to Monstrous Beauty, Rassilon was a Commander during the war against the Vampires. while leading forces based on a shadow planetoid, Rassilon captured two beings from the future, the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler. She was intrigued by them, but they escaped during an attack from Cucurbites. The Doctor returned to the Gallifreyans and helped them stop the Curcurbites, after which Rassilon interrogated him at gunpoint. He conspired with Androkan to steal her ship however, jettisoning her and her guards. However, Rassilon had left a tracker aboard and called for reinforcements to pursue them to a coffin ship. The Doctor ejected her ship and the Coffin Ship fled, with the Gallifreyans now unable to trace it, leading Rassilon to swear revenge on him.
After beating back the Vampires, Rassilon purged Gallifrey of irrationality, and continued to make vast developments in Gallifrey's advancement, inventing many weapons and devices. Rassilon and his peers secretly gained the ability to regenerate around this time. Using a remote stellar manipulator known as the Hand of Omega, a star was made to go supernova, with the power source enabled mastery of time travel. However, Omega was lost in the explosion and sucked into the resulting black hole, though he survived, unbeknownst to the Time Lords. Rassilon publicly mourned for his friend, but rumours remained that he deliberately sabotaged Omega's experiments to ensure he did not have a potential rival.
Rassilon became the first Lord President of Gallifrey, and took the credit for creating Regeneration. Apparently, Rassilon was able to develop regeneration from the DNA of the Vampires, but intended it only for the Gallifreyan elite. He ensured that the regeneration cycle would have only thirteen lives, so that only he could have complete immortality. Rassilon finished the war against the Great Vampires, and the Record of Rassilon told Time Lords to destroy any remaining Vampires. Rassilon discovered that within 10,000 millennia a race would evolve called the Divergence that would eclipse the Time Lords. He imprisoned them in the Divergent Universe, which he held in the dungeons of his Foundry. The further history of Rassilon is ambivalent and dubious. In the official account, he was an authoritative and benevolent ruler, but there were stories he was a cruel and oppressive tyrant who was imprisoned by the Time Lords in the Dark Tower.
Within the Dark Tower
The Five Doctors shows that Rassilon is apparently still alive in the Tower. In the modern era, President Borusa vowed to discover the secret of Rassilon's, making himself "President Eternal". Borusa uses the Time Scoop to transport the first five Doctors and their companions to the Death Zone, using them to clear the way to the Tower. The First Doctor deduced from the riddle "This is the Game of Rassilon; to lose is to win and he who wins shall lose" that the Game was a trap to get rid of Time Lords who might be a danger to their race. Thus, when Borusa takes the ring of Rassilon to gain immortality, he is given it by becoming a statue. However, some stories indicate that Rassilon secretly manipulated Borusa into desiring immortality as a trap for him.
Rassilon's mind also existed within the Matrix, acting as the leader of the Matrix Lords, and thus observed and manipulated the Time Lords from beyond death. In The Eight Doctors, and later recontexualised in Unnatural History, Rassilon aided the Eighth Doctor in recovering his memories by travelling across his timeline, making "improvements to the pattern of history". However, Rassilon's real goal was to prevent Gallifrey from becoming too progressive under President Romana's rule. Thus, he made a deal with Faction Paradox to fold the Doctor's timeline back on itself and return Gallifreyan history to passionless sterility.
As revealed in the audio dramas Neverland and Zagreus, Rassilon created the Oubliette of Eternity, a device which removed people from the Web of Time. In the process he created Anti-Time. The people erased became Neverpeople, who inhabited the Antiverse, a Universe of Anti-Time. Within the Matrix, Rassilon acted as an adviser for the Eighth Doctor and Romana during the Anti-Time crisis, when the Neverpeople began to retaliate against the universe. Rassilon presented himself as a wise and benevolent figure to the two of them.
In reality, Rassilon was manipulating events to ensure his return to power, and the destruction of the Divergence. He ensured the Doctor was infected by Anti-Time, becoming the monstrous Zagreus, and thus a worthy weapon against Gallifrey's enemies. Rassilon formed an alliance with the TARDIS, which had also been infected by Anti-Time. The TARDIS was taken to his Foundry and its outer shell melted down. Zagreus used this to create an anti-time sword. Rassilon planned to send Zagreus to cut the Divergence from time. However Zagreus refused to do Rassilon's bidding and hurled him into the Divergent Universe.
However the Anti-Time infection was removed from the Doctor when he entered. The Kro'ka, an inhabitant of the Divergent Universe who managed border control on the planet Bortresoye, directed the Doctor, his companion Charlotte Pollard and an inhabitant of a zone taken from the planet Eutermes, C'rizz, through the zones for speculative experimentation by the Divergents. However, he ended up working for Rassilon, who planned to use the TARDIS to escape the Divergent Universe. Rassilon created the Church of the Foundation to manipulate events to that the key to the Foundry so that he could escape. However Daqar Keep, an entity created from the Doctor, Charley and the Divergence, caused Rassilon and the Kro'ka to be left trapped.
The Time War
Gallifrey: Time War
During the Last Great Time War against the Daleks, Rassilon was revived to continue his work as the Lord President of the Time Lords. To resurrect him, the High Council used the body of Admiral Valerian and imprinted Rassilon's Matrix projection onto him, killing Valerian in the process. to be added
After regenerating from an assasination attempt, Rassilon's next incarnation proved to be even more unstable than his previous one, initially leaving the responsiblities of ruling to others. It was at this point Rassilon began concieving "The Final Sanction", a plan that have the Time Lords ascend into higher dimensions as creatures of pure consciousness at the cost of the rest of creation.
Engines of War
Now completely amoral and determined to avoid death at any cost, Rassilon retro evolved several Time Lords to create a possibility engine, and succeeded with Borusa.400 years into the War, Rassilon discovered from the War Doctor that the Daleks within the Tantulas Eye planned to wipe Gallifrey and the Time Lords from existence. Rassilon, in response, planned to detonate the Tear of Isha in the Tantalus Eye, wiping billions of lives in collateral damage in the process. He consulted Borusa on his plan, who told him it would succeed. Rassilon's plan was foiled by the Doctor, who stole Borusa and the Tear of Isha, using Borusa to wipe the Daleks from the Tantalus Eye without killing all life around it. Rassilon condemned the Doctor's actions and made him an enemy of the Time Lords because of it.
The End of Time
On the Last Day of the Time War, Rassilon planned to enact his Final Sanction to ensure Time Lord victory. Knowing that the Doctor intended to destroy both Time Lords and Daleks by using the Moment, Rassilon contrived to break Gallifrey out of the time-lock that blocked the Last Great Time War from temporal manipulation, and then follow through on his plan. This was achieved by implanting a signal in the Master's childhood mind, as he was fortold to survive the Time War, and by sending a White-Point Star diamond to act as a more physical link.
For a brief time, Gallifrey broke free of the time lock and appeared in the skies above Earth, and Rassilon humiliated the Master by undoing his achievements. However, Rassilon was opposed by the Tenth Doctor, one of only two Time Lord survivors of the war. Rassilon was badly hurt by a last attack by the Master, the other survivor, out of vengeance once he realized that Rassilon had deliberately driven him mad and destroyed his life. The time-lock resumed and Rassilon, the Time Lords, and Gallifrey itself were all flung back to the War to face destruction.
However Rassilon along with Gallifrey got locked into another dimension by all thirteen incarnations of the Doctor. He remained President, and regenerated into an older looking man, with Missy boasting in the short story Lords and Masters that he was finished off by having White Point Stars shoved down his throat.
Billions of years into the future Gallifrey escaped its time lock. Rassilon grew concerned about a legend known on Gallifrey, a creature made up of two warrior races mixed together called "The Hybrd" destined to conquer Gallifrey and stand in its ruins. He devised a plan to trap The Twelfth Doctor with assistance of Ashildr from Trap street on Earth. The Doctor's Companion: Clara Oswald's life was lost in the process. The Doctor was teleported inside his own confession dial reconfigured to torture him to reveal what the Hybrid is. After billions of years, The Doctor escaped his imprisonment and arrived on Gallifrey. Rassilion confronted the Doctor and ordered his soldiers to kill him. However they all dropped their guns and went to the Doctor's side. The Doctor then ordered Rassilion to leave the planet, regardless of the fact there were no other planets left.
Supremacy of the Cybermen
Rassilon found the last of the Cybermen. Rassilon gave the Cybermen leadership and direction, and joined with their Cyberiad. Rassilon returned to Gallifrey and conquered the planet with the aid of his new allies. He welcomed the Doctor when he returned to Gallifrey. Rassilon intended to use the accumulated energy of the captured Time Lords to literally regenerate the universe to fit his vision, only to be betrayed by the Cybermen. Rassilon realised his mistake and formulated a plan with the Doctor to use regeneration energy to undo what the Cybermen did to the universe. Rassilon helped the Doctor to realise his plans, and the universe was regenerated, setting things to how they were before Rassilon had met the Cybermen. The Doctor wondered if Rassilon remembered these events.
At first, Rassilon hated corruption and was good at detecting it. He is intimidating, materialistic, contumelious, and unforgiving, but was a hero to many Gallifreyans. Indeed, he may have even created the Time Lords in the first place, and therefore was considered a deity among them. Rassilon is a charismatic leader who is capable of inspiring his people. However, he is also a sanctimonious and fraudulent hypocrite, becoming corrupted by power (despite his supposed opposition to such corruption) and increasingly obsessed with avoiding death.
After the loss of Omega, Rassilon wept for him. The other muses that Rassilon's actions were born out of love, albeit short-sighted love. However, some believed Rassilon to actually be behind the plot to murder Omega.
By the end of the Time War, Rassilon had become ruthless, miscreant, blasphemous, power-hungry, conniving, and insane, being willing to destroy the whole of creation rather than accept that it might be best for the Time Lords to die in order for the universe to live. He dreams of changing himself and his fellow Time Lords into beings of pure consciousness, free of physical bodies and the ravages of time. He discovers how to become immortal without having to use regenerations to survive. However, he believes that the secret was too dangerous to share.
Rassilon is also extremely remorseless, traitorous, and manipulative, using the Master as a link between Gallifrey and the rest of the Universe which allowed him to temporarily free Gallifrey from the Time Lock. He tries to manipulate the Doctor into destroying the Divergence in the belief that they were too different to live, only to crucially underestimate the Doctor's strength as the Doctor refused to kill even for Rassilon. Just before his return to the Time War, he taunts the Doctor, saying that the final act of his life would be murder, after a failed attempt to fool the Doctor into an alliance with him, and into killing the Master. As he was dragged back into the war, he makes one last hateful attempt to force the Doctor to suffer death as well, before being interrupted by the vengeful and impatient Master.
|“||For this was far more than humanity's end. This day was the day upon which the whole of creation would change forever. This was the day the Time Lords returned.||„|
|“||Now the High Council of Time Lords must vote. Whether we die here today or return to the waking world to complete the Ultimate Sanction. For this is the hour, when either Gallifrey falls or Gallifrey RISES!||„|
|~ Rassilon's speech.|
|“||We will ascend to become creatures of consciousness alone. Free of these bodies, free of time, and cause and effect, while creation itself ceases to be!||„|
|~ Rassilon explaining the Ultimate Sanction to the Doctor.|
|“||You will die with me, Doctor!||„|
|~ Rassilon preparing to kill the Doctor.|
- While Rassilon was initially presented as heroic in the classic series, in The Five Doctors, Rassilon's motivations are left ambiguous, which is explored first in the Expanded Universe of the Wilderness Years, and later in the revival itself.
- Rassilon historically is depicted as the one who invented regeneration, The Timeless Children, instead proposes that regeneration was found and stolen by another, Tecteun, with the unspoken implication that Rassilon wrote them out of the official history books.
- Rassilon is generally portrayed as having male incarnations until the comic Monstrous Beauty, set before the Time Lords gained regeneration, which depicted the first Rassilon as being female.