Morbius was a notorious and malevolent renegade Time Lord. His career was the first in millennia to dramatically alter Gallifrey's relations with the wider universe. He attempted to overturn Gallifrey's non-interference policy in favour of military conquest, but was exiled and eventually executed, only to survive, saved by his following.
Reign, conquest and fall
Morbius's ambition led him to become the head of the High Council of Time Lords. His warlike nature led him to urge the Time Lords toward a policy of conquest. 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)
In his search for immortality, he used the time scoop and the Death Zone. He drew seven incarnations of Iris Wildthyme to play the Game of Rassilon in an effort to gain Rassilon's gift of immortality. This attempt was ultimately thwarted. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
When the Time Lords finally denounced him, he and his followers abandoned Gallifrey and attacked the cultures of the outside universe. (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)
War with the Alliance
Uncomfortable with being seen to act directly in the universe, the Time Lord High Council eventually chose to fight the 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. 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)
With the help of the Sisterhood of Karn (PROSE: Warmonger), who had originated on Gallifrey itself (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible), the Alliance at long last defeated Morbius on the Sisterhood's planet Karn.
Although the verdict had been decided in advance, the Sisterhood still put Morbius on trial. (PROSE: Warmonger) The Sisterhood's leader Maren attended the execution where Morbius was placed in a dispersal chamber and atomised to the nine corners of the universe. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
Morbius escaped death when one of his followers, the human surgeon Mehendri Solon, secretly removed Morbius' brain prior to his disintegration. Solon was secretly aided by the Fifth Doctor, who knew that Morbius's brain had to survive in order to keep history on track. (PROSE: Warmonger) Solon went into hiding on Karn, where he began planning to build a new body for Morbius. The Sisterhood began to defend the Elixir of Life by causing nearby spacecraft to crash. These space travellers provided a regular supply of corpses from which Solon scavenged body parts for his project. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
Over the years, Solon acquired a great many body parts, which he used to create Morbius's new body. These included lungs from a Birastrop, a left hand from Solon's unknowing assistant Condo, and a claw for his right. This plan to create a new body for Morbius was nearing completion when the Fourth Doctor and his companion Sarah Jane arrived at his castle upon the planet Karn.
The haphazardly-assembled body lacked a head to hold the brain of Morbius, so Solon planned to use the Doctor's head. After Morbius's brain was damaged during a fall when Condo fought with Solon on discovering his arm was being used, Solon was forced to use a plastic brain case. He had not used this before as there was the danger of a static build-up. Morbius was unable to speak for some time due to the damage sustained. Eventually Solon was able to repair this, but was killed soon afterward when the Doctor poisoned him with cyanide gas. Morbius was challenged to a mind-bending contest by the Doctor and agreed.
Morbius was apparently winning the contest, but the static build-up left him in a dazed, animalistic state. He didn't speak again, only groaning in agony. Upon leaving Solon's castle, he was chased by the Sisterhood of Karn, surrounded and forced over the edge of a high cliff, apparently falling to his death. (TV: The Brain of Morbius)
Cristophe Zarodnix later became the leader of the Cult of Morbius and bought the planet Karn, forcing the Sisterhood off-world. On Karn, he found a fragment of Morbius' brain and began to look for a Time Lord, so he could extract DNA to fuse with what was left of Morbius, in order to effect his resurrection. Zarodnix used DNA from the Time Lord agent Straxus to effect a new regeneration for Morbius. In his new form, Morbius used a stellar manipulator to suck the power of the Eye of Harmony, making the Time Lords powerless to stop his conquest. Morbius rebuilt his military forces and spent a decade conquering over ten thousand worlds, but his body was unstable and required frequent gene-splicings (called "feedings") from Straxus.
The Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller, who had barely escaped from Gallifrey before Morbius used the stellar manipulator, arrived and worked with Straxus and the cybernetically augmented Trell policeman Rosto to steal the remote control for Morbius' stellar manipulator. The Doctor succeeded in taking the control and releasing the Time Lords, who promptly broke the Laws of Time to prevent Zarodnix's purchase of Karn and Morbius' resurrection; however, at the moment before the Timeline was rewritten, Morbius and the Doctor fell from the balcony of Morbius' palace. The Time Lords believed the Doctor to be dead, but he was actually transported by the Sisterhood to the planet Orbis. The timeline in which Morbius had been brought back to life was unmade, with only Lucie Miller and Straxus remembering it. (AUDIO: The Vengeance of Morbius)
Behind the scenes
- Morbius was named after a character from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. (INFO: The Brain of Morbius)
- A different account of Morbius's presidency and its aftermath is given, with slight changes for the sake of copyright, in the Faction Paradox book The Book of the War, which is outside the scope of this wiki. In The Book of the War, Morbius is referred to as "the Imperator".
- One theory regarding the faces seen during Morbius' battle with the Doctor is that they are in fact Morbius' previous incarnations.