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In his original incarnation, Lord President Morbius attempted to overturn Gallifrey's non-interference policy in favour of military conquest, a controversial move which sparked the Time Lords' first and greatest Civil War. He failed and was exiled. Forming a new army of non-Gallifreyans, he began calling himself the General and attempted to resume his conquest of the universe, but was defeated and executed.


Early life[]

Morbius was born to the Patrex Chapter. (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) Like all Time Lords, Morbius was taken from his family at the age of eight for the selection process in the Drylands. Staring into the Untempered Schism as part of a Time Lord initiation rite, Morbius was said by one Time Lord historian to have been driven mad by what he saw in the Schism. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)

Political career[]

Following Rassilon's abdication from the head of the Presidency, the nature of the High Council's membership was refined and codified with Rassilon's former Cardinal and fellow Prydonian, Pandad, as the first regular Lord President. The Council would now include four Councillors, and the charismatic Morbius was one of those four.

However, unlike his fellow members of the High Council, Morbius disapproved of much of Rassilon's new order, wanting a more equalitarian Gallifreyan society. He argued that all Chapters should be represented on the Council equally, and also that the Eye of Harmony should be unlocked so that all remaining Gallifreyans could be given the ability to regenerate, rather than it remaining a privilege of the bloodlines which Rassilon had personally favoured. Almost despite himself, Morbius became a sort of populist cult-leader as he continued defending these policies, (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) a dogma to which, over time, a belief that Time Lords should take advantage of their power to conquer the universe was appended. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)

Though he might have considered granting Morbius his earliest demands for better Chapter representation and the spreading of regeneration, Lord President Pandad could not condone Morbius's eventual demand for the Presidency itself. Pandad ordered him exiled, alongside some of his more vocal supporters, hoping that this show of force would quench the brewing rebellion. According to one account, Pandad was successful, (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) but in another account, Morbius succeeded in becoming head of the High Council, with one Saran as his Vice President. (PROSE: Warmonger)

The Fourth Doctor sits next to a clay bust of Morbius. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)

While based on Gallifrey, Morbius formed a personal army of mercenaries, bought by his promises of time travel and immortality. His following came to be known as the Cult of Morbius. (TV: The Brain of Morbius, PROSE: Warmonger)

Gallifreyan society struggled to deal with these inconceivable events. The long-term cultural changes brought about included the increased influence of the Celestial Intervention Agency. (PROSE: Warmonger)

The Civil War[]

According to one account, President Morbius's own High Council, disapproving of the path he had taken, decided to betray him and attempted to have him exiled. In return, he and his followers abandoned Gallifrey and attacked the cultures of the outside universe with renewed fervour. Taking on the alias of "the General", Morbius recruited an army of space pirates with which he ransacked more and more planets, gaining more followers and more proper armies in the process.

Gallifrey knew that he must be stopped, but, uncomfortable with being seen to act directly in the universe, the Time Lord High Council eventually chose to fight this war by proxy. The Fifth Doctor, who had travelled into Gallifrey's past, was appointed "Supreme Coordinator of the Alliance Battle Fleet" and directed an unlikely army of humans, Draconians, Cybermen, Ogrons, Ice Warriors and Sontarans against Morbius, with the Time Lords providing the Doctor with financial support and a flagship. (PROSE: Warmonger)

According to the Scrolls of Gallifrey, Morbius had been exiled by Lord President Pandad as soon as he had made his bid for the Presidency, though he then claimed the title of President-in-exile. Escaping his exile, Morbius and his Cult assembled an "army of evil" with which to take the Capitol by force and returned to Gallifrey ready to attack, starting the Time Lords' great Civil War. Pandad took the lead of Gallifrey's armies against Morbius's own force, which mostly comprised alien lifeforms.

The war dragged on for many years and claimed the lives of untold numbers of Time Lords, Gallifreyans, and other sentients. (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) Planets involved in the conflict included Fangoria, Romark, Darkeen, Martak and Freedonia, which provided troops for Morbius, and Sylvana, Zandir, Tanith and Electra, which fell to him. (PROSE: Warmonger)

In the end, the last of Morbius's forces were forced by the last of Pandad's to the planet Karn for a final clash during which the better part of both armies died, as did Karn's native population. The only local institution or population to survive the clash of Time Lords was the Sisterhood of Karn, (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) who had originated on Gallifrey itself, (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) and helped the Alliance defeat Morbius, (PROSE: Warmonger) who throughout all these events was still in his first incarnation. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)

Trial and execution[]

Although the grisly verdict had been decided in advance, (PROSE: Warmonger) Morbius was still put on trial by the Sisterhood of Karn, (PROSE: Warmonger) with the Sisterhood's leader Maren attending the execution personally. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) The sentence of death by public and ceremonial disintegration was in part a panicked attempt by the Time Lords to caution the universe at large against ever opposing them. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

Morbius was already encased in a dispersal chamber when Pandad climbed atop one of Karn's cliffs to grandiosely deliver the verdict in a public address. Before he could do so, Pandad, lost in the momentousness of what he had to say, misjudged his footing and plummeted to his death. Pandemonium erupted, but Cardinal Helron, one of Pandad's High Council, seemed to manage to action the execution machine before Morbius could take advantage of the confusion to escape; (PROSE: The Legacy of Gallifrey) Morbius's body was publicly atomised "to the nine corners of the universe". (TV: The Brain of Morbius)


Morbius' original incarnation, as seen in his mindbending contest with the Doctor. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)

However, Morbius had actually escaped death: one of his followers, the human surgeon Mehendri Solon, secretly removed Morbius' brain prior to his disintegration. (TV: The Brain of Morbius, PROSE: Warmonger) Solon had secretly been aided by the Fifth Doctor, who knew that Morbius's brain had to survive in order to keep history on track. (PROSE: Warmonger) Solon stayed on Karn in hiding, where he began planning to build a new body for Morbius. After he was reborn in this makeshift body, Morbius later entered a mindbending duel with the Fourth Doctor during which he was mentally regressed to his earlier, more humanoid face. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)


Morbius was known to the Fourth Doctor as "one of the most despicable criminally minded wretches that ever lived", though Solon noted that members of the surviving Cult of Morbius obviously begged to differ. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)

The Book of the War documented an unprecedented event in Time Lord history it dubbed the "Imperator presidency" wherein which "the Imperator" had seized power on Gallifrey and attempted to wage war on the universe, only to eventually be betrayed by the Time Lords and hurriedly executed by molecular disintegration. The Book described the Imperator as one of the original Renegades, of the same generation as the War King and Grandfather Paradox, but also as a member of House Dvora, a newblood house. (PROSE: The Book of the War)

The black, friable spires of Yarvelling's Church from Skaro were a fragment of the Last Great Time War. According to one account, the Eighth Doctor saw the Cathedral fused with fragments of Morbius' Red Capitol in the backwater where he triggered the Moment. (PROSE: Doctor Who and the Time War)


Morbius's original Gallifreyan body appeared as a middle-aged man with a strong forehead and sunken eyes. He had short, dark hair and prominent cheekbones. (TV: The Brain of Morbius) He was "slightly under medium height" with a high domed head and "classically handsome features". Prior to being deposed, he dressed in the traditional outfit of a President of Gallifrey, wearing the Presidential robes, the Sash of Rassilon and the Coronet of Rassilon, and carrying the Rod of Rassilon. Later, as the General, he wore a uniform of his own design, sky blue in colour. It had gold epaulettes and braid, a scarlet sash, and a number of medals — all, naturally, self-awarded.(PROSE: Warmonger)


According to the Fifth Doctor, Morbius had "tremendous charisma and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion" and was a "military genius". (PROSE: Warmonger) In his next body, Morbius would look back on his glory days as a man who had "dreamed the greatest dreams in history". (TV: The Brain of Morbius) He displayed a degree of narcissism; as "the General", the walls of the War Room of his flagship was covered in mirrors, such that, "from anywhere in the war room, Morbius could see his reflection – full length, head and shoulders, full-face, left and right profiles". (PROSE: Warmonger)

Behind the scenes[]

  • No actor was cast as the original incarnation of Morbius in The Brain of Morbius: the face glimpsed in the mindbending duel is visibly not a human actor but the clay bust earlier seen in the hands of Mehendri Solon.