Rassilon was, alongside Omega and the Other, the founder of Time Lord civilisation. In his own time, Rassilon was chiefly an engineer and architect, but later Time Lord society would hail him as the first Time Lord and the single greatest figure of Gallifreyan history. However, some Time Lords contended that Rassilon was a corrupt megalomaniac who tried to murder his friend Omega and stole his invention.
After his physical death, Rassilon stayed active in the Matrix and manipulated the Doctor into performing many missions for him. During the Last Great Time War, he was resurrected from the Matrix to lead the Time Lords, and he tried to find ways to break the time lock and escape the war. After the Doctor saved Gallifrey, Rassilon was overthrown, banished, and converted into a Cyber-Leader.
According to Coordinator Engin, Rassilon was initially chiefly regarded as an engineer and architect. (TV: The Deadly Assassin) He and Omega created validium (TV: Silver Nemesis) and, with the Other, they created the Hand of Omega. (PROSE: Remembrance of the Daleks) They planned to use the Hand to induce a supernova in the star Qqaba. The energy released would enable the Gallifreyans to travel through time. (COMIC: Star Death)
However, Rassilon was jealous of Omega's popularity amongst the people of Gallifrey, and he prompted Omega's assistant Vandekirian to betray him at the last second. (AUDIO: Omega) Another account stated that Rassilon instead deactivated Omega's protective forcefield remotely seconds before the star's detonation. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) This betrayal was hidden from the Gallifreyans: the Fourth Doctor believed that Omega's death was caused by the interference of a Black Sun agent named Fenris the Hellbringer. (COMIC: Star Death)
Rassilon used his new technology to map out all of creation, invent rules for the universe, and purge reality of all irrationality. This anchoring of the thread created history in Gallifrey's image, and with it, Rassilon and his people truly became lords of all time and space. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet, The Book of the War)
War against the Vampires
During the anchoring of the thread, Rassilon accidentally unleashed the Great Vampires into the universe, (PROSE: Interference - Book One, The Book of the War) beginning the Eternal War. (PROSE: The Pit) Rassilon led the campaign to eliminate the vampires, fighting on the front lines of the conflict for several hundred years. (PROSE: The Book of Lists)
At one point during the war, Rassilon left the safety of the main fleet to investigate rumours of a vampire hive. His ship was attacked by the bird-like Ra'ra'vis, and he became their prisoner. Rassilon was asked to perform time experiments for them, in order to advance their technology. He was saved by Jorus, a Vogan. Rassilon gave Jorus his seal and told the Vogan the power of his race. The seal of Rassilon then became a key piece of iconography on Voga. (PROSE: Jorus and the Voganauts)
General Skellis told the recently regenerated and full-bearded Rassilon that his tactic of using dispersal as a way of eliminating any Great Vampire they found actually caused the Vampires to spread across the universe, and told him that penetrating their heart was a much simpler way of killing them. Rassilon then employed Bowships to hunt them down. (PROSE: The Multi-Faceted War) The campaign was largely successful, but the King Vampire was not found. (TV: State of Decay, PROSE: Interference - Book One)
After the war, Rassilon wrote the Record of Rassilon, giving a history of the war and instructions to all Time Lords to kill the King Vampire if ever they came across him. (TV: State of Decay) The record was written into every TARDIS. (PROSE: The Multi-Faceted War)
According to Faction Paradox-influenced transmissions from Anathema, during the war Rassilon had been exposed to vampire biodata in what he described as inoculation. (PROSE: Interference - Book One) The Cult of Rassilon the Vampire on Gallifrey believed that this caused him to become a vampire. (PROSE: Goth Opera)
Foundation of Time Lord society
When Rassilon returned from the Eternal War, he seized control of Gallifrey (PROSE: The Pit) by overthrowing the matriarchal society of the Pythia. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) He brought the Eye of Harmony, actually the singularity of a black hole, to Gallifrey. There it lay beneath the Panopticon. (TV: The Deadly Assassin) As the Time Lords banished the last fragment of impossibility from the universe, Rassilon said:
Now, see what we have created, we have built a world of reason triumphant. And it is good.
According to the histories that Rassilon himself wrote, Pythia retaliated by wrathfully cursing Gallifreyans to be sterile. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) However, the sterility may have, in reality, been a result of the anchoring of the thread. (PROSE: The Book of the War) Rassilon solved the problem by creating the Great Houses and building the Looms that artificially birthed new Time Lords and Ladies. (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible)
In the early days of his rule, Rassilon imposed higher taxes on the Gallifreyan people and changed the Games in the Death Zone to use alien warriors rather than Gallifreyans. He also created the transduction barrier that protected Gallifrey from outsiders. Around this time, he was approached by the Stranger, who told him of Gallifrey's future and pleaded with him to change established events to make the Time Lords less powerful and selfish than they would become. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon)
Not long after Omega's incident, Rassilon led the Time Lords against the Nestenes, managing to contain their forces in the Illia galaxy. He personally persuaded scientist Roppen to reconfigure the Eye of Discord into a new device, one which he dubbed the "Galaxy Eater". After the device's interface gave him a brief encounter with several of his future selves, Rassilon activated the device and destroyed the Nestenes in the Illia galaxy. He then placed the device in the Omega Arsenal for safe keeping. (PROSE: Pandoric's Box)
Rassilon led the Time Lords in the Millennium War, against the Mad Mind of Bophemeral. His memory of the event was erased, as happened to all others who took part in the war. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
Rassilon created the Alliance of Races (COMIC: Gangland) in a war against the Hyperions. (COMIC: Terrorformer) After the Hyperions were defeated, Rassilon and the Alliance of Races embarked on another purge of races that were a threat to universal harmony. One such enemy was Count D'if and his Cybock Imperium. Rassilon challenged D'if to a game of Rassilon's roulette using the Time-Gun of Rassilon. D'if lost and he was wiped from existence. The Twelfth Doctor claimed that it was that moment that the Gallifreyans first began to fear their president. (COMIC: Gangland)
Rassilon invented TARDISes after a war with the Archons. (AUDIO: The Next Life, PROSE: The Nameless City) The Eleventh Doctor, having accidentally travelled back into Gallifrey's past, helped him with the Type 1 TARDIS, and was lost in the vortex during its first flight. (COMIC: The Lost Dimension)
To enable Time Lords to travel through time without ill effects, Rassilon created a genetic link called the Rassilon Imprimatur. (PROSE: Interference - Book One) He also worked with a biologist named Thremix, who had created a virus that he speculated would grant the Gallifreyans immortality. Rassilon ordered the release of the virus, which wiped out a large proportion of the Gallifreyan population, and gave the remainder the ability of full-bodily regeneration. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) The Valeyard claimed that Rassilon intentionally implemented a flaw in regeneration, meaning that Time Lords could only do so twelve times, so he alone could have true immortality. (AUDIO: Trial of the Valeyard)
Rassilon created a living weapon known as the Pariah which he used for missions throughout time and space. Rassilon gave the Pariah independent thought. This proved to be a mistake; the Pariah developed a mind of its own and rebelled against him. Rassilon banished the Pariah from Gallifrey, then created Shayde, a more evolved version of the Pariah incapable of independent thought. The Pariah would cause the creation of the Threshold. (COMIC: Wormwood)
Using temporal technology, Rassilon studied the future. He learned of the Divergence, a race which would eclipse his within ten thousand millennia. Fearing this future, he created a self-replicating, biogenic molecule which he sent back in time to seed all habitable planets in Gallifrey's galaxy. This ensured all intelligent life evolved in the form of the Gallifreyans. He trapped the Divergence in their own timeline, which Rassilon sealed into a time loop. (AUDIO: Zagreus)
Supposed death and survival
Rassilon died whilst in his final incarnation. Before his death, he prepared his tomb to test those who sought the gift of immortality. (PROSE: Pandoric's Box) Many rumours surrounded Rassilon's death (or lack thereof). One stated that the Time Lords had revolted and imprisoned him in the Dark Tower in the Death Zone. Borusa, Lord President and the Doctor's former mentor, believed that Rassilon had discovered a form of true immortality beyond the regenerations known to Time Lords. Borusa uncovered and used several artefacts from the Dark Times, including the Coronet of Rassilon (a mind control device) and the Game of Rassilon. The Doctor discovered the truth when Borusa used him to try to discover Rassilon's secret; Rassilon had indeed discovered immortality but realised it was too dangerous a secret to share. Borusa was condemned to immortality as a living statue, imprisoned immobile in Rassilon's tomb. (TV: The Five Doctors)
Over the millions of years after the end of Rassilon's Presidency, he came to be revered on Gallifrey. Time Lord history credited Rassilon with creating the traditions of their society; for instance, after Rassilon had a nightmarish vision of a dictatorial, imperialistic Gallifrey, he was said to have created the principles of non-intervention. (COMIC: The Final Chapter) Secret societies on Gallifrey worshipped Rassilon as a god. (AUDIO: Intervention Earth)
After fleeing the Homeworld during the First Diaspora following the anchoring of the thread, the Eremites remembered the first President as "Urizen the Architect", a blind old man measuring his own dung with a set of dividers. They ironically worshipped this drooling god with the rites of Urizen, during which they were permitted to break their vows of silence to freely laugh. (PROSE: The Book of the War)
Copy in the Matrix
Within the Matrix, he sat with other advanced beings who collectively called themselves High Evolutionaries and had some involvement in the affairs of the universe. The High Evolutionaries used the Gallifreyan construct known as Shayde on their behalf. (COMIC: The Tides of Time)
After President Romana reconciled Gallifrey with the Sisterhood of Karn, lifting the Curse of Pythia, (PROSE: Lungbarrow) the Book of Lies said that, from within his tomb, the "Great Grey Eminence" made a deal with Faction Paradox to fold the Doctor's timeline back on itself and return Gallifreyan history to passionless sterility. (PROSE: Unnatural History) When the Master's last trap left the Eighth Doctor suffering from amnesia, Rassilon's spirit guided the Doctor to various locations where his past selves were about to face crucial dangers or defining moments. In the process, the Doctor made "improvements to the pattern of history" for Rassilon. At the end, Rassilon guided the Doctor to Sam Jones, (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) who he knew would never dare to "screw" the Doctor. After Gallifreyan history was rewritten, (PROSE: Unnatural History) Flavia was the current President (PROSE: The Eight Doctors) and the "Eminence" had been taught the ways of paradox. However, these changes to Gallifrey's history were unstable, and the Doctor wasn't sure if Flavia or Romana was President, (PROSE: Unnatural History) or if he'd had parents or been born of a Loom. (PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon)
From within the Matrix, Rassilon began to manipulate the Doctor into destroying the Divergence, arranging for him to be possessed by the essence of anti-time and appearing to him before this happened as well as saving him, so that he could become the destructive Zagreus and be used against Gallifrey's enemies. Rassilon possessed the body of Leela – the only body on Gallifrey that he could influence without setting off mental alarms – and used Romana II to teleport them past the barriers in the Death Zone which was her presidential right. He did this to obtain the Ring of Rassilon and unlock his Foundry. He then tried to force Romana to resign in favour of Zagreus, believing that this would ensure the destruction of the Divergence. Rassilon formed an alliance with the Doctor's TARDIS, which had also been infected with anti-time, promising to release its consciousness from the infection while using its body to create a sword of anti-time, with which he hoped Zagreus would kill the Divergence.
However, his plan failed when the Doctor refused to kill, proclaiming his status as the Doctor. Rassilon then used the anti-time sword to kill Matthew Townsend, Tepesh, and Walton Winkle, who had seen the Divergence and been re-constituted in the Matrix with parts of the Doctor. Although Rassilon had hoped that the deaths of his other selves would further break the Doctor, this failed when, at the Doctor's behest, Charley Pollard used the anti-time blade on him. However, he gave into his Zagreus persona to survive with the help of the aspects of himself released when the three were killed, recognising that Rassilon was the real threat. Armed with the anti-time blade, Zagreus refused to be Rassilon's puppet and cast him into the Divergent Universe to end his actions. (AUDIO: Neverland, Zagreus)
In the Divergent universe, Rassilon planned to steal the Doctor's TARDIS and escape, but the Doctor stopped Rassilon and left him behind. Rassilon's temporal senses broke down as the universe's time-looped nature left him trapped in a repeating pattern, while the Doctor and his companions returned to the main universe. (AUDIO: The Next Life)
The Last Great Time War
In the early days of the Last Great Time War, Rassilon was resurrected from his tomb in the Dark Tower in the Death Zone to lead the Time Lords to battle. (PROSE: Engines of War) To resurrect him, the High Council used the body of Admiral Valerian of the House of Rassilon and imprinted Rassilon's Matrix projection onto him, killing Valerian in the process. (AUDIO: Desperate Measures)
Rassilon wiped out the Tharils, the Porfue and the Krajonnu in the first year of the Time War so that they didn't threaten the Time Lord's supremacy. (PROSE: Lords and Masters) He also retro-evolved dozens of Time Lords to become a possibility engine to aid him in victories throughout the War, creating the discarded race of the Interstitials and succeeding with Borusa. (PROSE: Engines of War)
During the War, Rassilon was taken to the Death Zone by Pandoric to offer advice to his former self in whether to use the Galaxy Eater to destroy the Nestenes. He warned his former self that he would live past his death and that there would be even greater conflicts in his future. (PROSE: Pandoric's Box)
When the Time Lords feared that the Compassionate would side with the Daleks in the War, Rassilon sealed them in a rift at the heart of the planet Galen and told the War Doctor that the Daleks had done this. (AUDIO: The Bleeding Heart)
Late into the War, Rassilon sent the War Doctor on a mission to find the Master after he had fled the War.
Four hundred years into the War, Rassilon planned to detonate the Tear of Isha in the Tantalus Eye to stop a Dalek plan to wipe Gallifrey and the Time Lords from history. 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. (PROSE: Engines of War)
On the last day of the Time War, Rassilon intended to spare Gallifrey from destruction by using the Ultimate Sanction to turn the Time Lords into beings of pure consciousness to escape the end of creation. The Woman opposed Rassilon's plan to destroy time itself, (TV: The End of Time) along with the Patriarch of the House of Stillhaven. (PROSE: Lords and Masters) Rassilon condemned them to stand behind him in the Panopticon and cover their faces "as monuments of their shame, like the Weeping Angels of old", (TV: The End of Time) and had their names erased from time as further punishment. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
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. He succeeded. For a brief time, Gallifrey broke free of the time lock and appeared in the skies above Earth. However, Rassilon was opposed by the Tenth Doctor, one of only two Time Lord survivors of the war. Rassilon was badly hurt by one last attack by the Master, the other survivor, out of vengeance once he realised 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 Time War. (TV: The End of Time)
After the Time War
Rassilon's battle with the Master caused him to regenerate, (PROSE: Pandoric's Box) reportedly because the Master "shoved White Point Stars down his throat". Rassilon screamed all the way through the regeneration, so much that Ohila had to make him "a special draft of potion" to help. (PROSE: Lords and Masters) Despite Rassilon's previous intention to kill the "diseased" Master, (TV: The End of Time) the Time Lords instead cured the Master's "condition" (TV: The Doctor Falls) and locked him up in Gomer's Asylum, which he later escaped from. (PROSE: Lords and Masters)
After the Doctors united to place Gallifrey in a stasis cube to prevent its destruction, (TV: The Day of the Doctor) Rassilon began work to place it back in the main universe. Not wanting to return to another war, Rassilon found a weak point in the universe at Trenzalore caused by cracks in time and broadcasted a signal calling to the Doctor to see if it was safe to return. When the signal led to the Siege of Trenzalore, Rassilon continued to wait for the Doctor's signal until Clara Oswald alerted him and the Time Lords to the Doctor's inability to regenerate and that the Daleks were preparing to kill him. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords) Using research gathered from Ophiuchus's experience with regeneration, (COMIC: Ophiuchus) Rassilon granted the Doctor a new regeneration cycle, but the Doctor left Trenzalore without freeing Gallifrey. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords)
The Time Lords later returned Gallifrey to its original point in space but were forced to hide it near the end of the universe for their own safety. (TV: Hell Bent) At some point afterwards, Rassilon was taken to the Death Zone by Pandoric to offer advice to his former self in whether to use the Galaxy Eater to destroy the Nestenes. He told his former self that Gallifrey would stand past all its conflicts. (PROSE: Pandoric's Box)
Possibly due to being alerted by Missy, Rassilon grew concerned about the prophecies of the Hybrid, and gave an order for Clara to be killed to entrap the Twelfth Doctor in a confession dial to get information out of him. (PROSE: A Brief History of Time Lords) To this end, Rassilon contacted Ashildr to have her assistance in the kidnapping of the Doctor (TV: Face the Raven, Hell Bent) and trap him within his own confession dial in an attempt to learn everything that he knew about the Hybrid. The Doctor's refusal to relent led to his being trapped inside the dial for four and a half billion years, constantly dying and recreating himself to breach the dial's barriers rather than confess his secrets. (TV: Heaven Sent, Hell Bent) On his escape, the Doctor finally returned to Gallifrey. (TV: Heaven Sent)
Threatened by the Doctor's presence and still desperate for information on the Hybrid, Rassilon ordered first troops and then the High Council to make contact with the Doctor. However, the Doctor was only willing to speak directly to Rassilon himself. Eventually, Rassilon was forced out into the Drylands to confront him. There, the Doctor held him alone responsible for the crimes of the Last Great Time War, and for his treatment in his confession dial. Rassilon tried to have a firing squad execute the unarmed Doctor, who ordered him to "get off my planet." However, the squad purposefully missed due to their great respect for the Doctor. Military reinforcements arrived but had been summoned by the Doctor instead. When Rassilon tried to use his gauntlet to kill the Doctor himself, the General reinforced the Doctor's order. Rassilon was overthrown and replaced by the Doctor. He was then banished from Gallifrey by the Doctor, along with[statement unclear] the High Council. (TV: Hell Bent)
Rassilon found the Cybermen, who were clinging to life at the end of the universe. 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 Twelfth Doctor when he returned to Gallifrey.
As the Doctor tried to gather his remaining Gallifreyian allies, he learned that Rassilon intended to use the accumulated energy of the captured Time Lords to literally regenerate the universe to fit his vision, only for his plan to be subverted by the Cybermen. The Cybermen placed the Doctor and Rassilon into the Cyberiad. Inside, Rassilon realised his mistake and formulated a plan with the Doctor to use the regenerative energy of the Time Lords 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.
Rassilon was once again left in his Bowship at the end of the universe. The Twelfth Doctor wondered if Rassilon was able to remember the events with the Cybermen like he could. (COMIC: Supremacy of the Cybermen)
In a parallel universe where the Sixth Doctor led the Time Lords in the War, the flagship of the First Imperial Gallifreyan Fleet was a time dreadnought named the Righteous Fist of Rassilon. (PROSE: The Quantum Archangel)
Skills and abilities
By the time of the foundation of the Time Lords' civilisation, Rassilon already proved to be able to stop a Gallifreyan fleet from falling into a black hole; moreover, he could spring bolts of power arc from his fingertips, a power called electro-direction. (COMIC: Star Death)
He was also incredibly intelligent. He was able to create and develop the Matrix and created or designed much of the technology that the Time Lords used, although this could not have happened without Omega giving the Time lords their power source.[source needed] During the final days of the Last Great Time War, with the apparent help of a gauntlet, he was able to provoke the molecular dispersal of another Time Lord and to revert the effects of an Immortality Gate on a planetary scale, just with a gesture ending the Master's control and was also capable of developing various scenarios and outcomes and his scheme was only foiled by the Doctor's timely intervention. (TV: The End of Time)
Many important Gallifreyan artefacts bore his name.
These included the Sash of Rassilon, the Rod of Rassilon, (TV: The Deadly Assassin) the Coronet of Rassilon, the Harp of Rassilon, (TV: The Five Doctors) the Crown of Rassilon, (TV: The Invasion of Time) and the Seal of Rassilon, a symbol used as a mark of Time Lord authority which appeared as a motif in many Time Lord designs. (TV: The Deadly Assassin, The Five Doctors) These were stored in the Capitol and, save for the supremely powerful Great Key, which at one stage found its way into the hand of Cardinal Borusa, were made available to the Lord President of the Time Lords. (TV: The Invasion of Time)
The Black Scrolls of Rassilon, also later obtained by Borusa, contained forbidden, arcane secrets. (TV: The Five Doctors) The fabled Ring of Rassilon, however, capable of conferring a form of immortality upon the wearer, resided in the Tomb of Rassilon in the Dark Tower located in the Death Zone. (TV: The Five Doctors)
These artifacts, like many institutions in Time Lord society, were named "of Rassilon", in such number and with such unfailing consistency that the Eighth Doctor once reflected that Joanna Harris "couldn't imagine how much [he'd] had it in here with the This, That and the Other of Rassilon". (PROSE: Vampire Science)
Rassilon was a charismatic leader who was capable of inspiring his people. The General himself stated that, while Rassilon eventually became corrupt, he was once a good man. (TV: Hell Bent) Indeed, Rassilon was initially a man who hated corruption and was good at detecting it. (TV: The Five Doctors)
During the early history of the Time Lords, Rassilon led the revolution against the last Pythia, (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) overthrew President Pandak, (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) and instituted changes to deal with the problems of the Empire, such as ordering the creation of genetic looms to permit the Gallifreyan race to reproduce, (PROSE: Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible) creating the transduction barrier, (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) and completely ended "the Games" in the Death Zone (TV: The Five Doctors) after a period of using alien warriors instead of Gallifreyans. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) Rassilon and the Time Lords also created the Web of Time to purge the universe of irrationality. (PROSE: Christmas on a Rational Planet)
Controversially, Rassilon ordered the release of a virus that wiped out a large proportion of the Gallifreyan population, while allowing the survivors to regenerate. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon) He also discovered how to become immortal without having to use regenerations to survive, but believed that the secret was too dangerous to share, and thus kept it to himself, (TV: The Five Doctors) and instituted the non-interference policy after dreaming of a future Time Lord empire that used its power to suppress the weak of the universe. (COMIC: The Final Chapter)
Rassilon was intimidating and unforgiving, but was also a hero to many Gallifreyans, (AUDIO: Zagreus) with the Second Doctor calling him "the greatest single figure in Time Lord history", (TV: The Five Doctors) though the Twelfth Doctor recalled how the Gallifreyans began to fear Rassilon after he beat Count D'if at Rassilon's roulette. (COMIC: Gangland) However, his wisdom in recognising the curse of immortality and his opposition to the corrupting influence of power (TV: The Five Doctors) did not prevent him from becoming corrupted by power himself, such as with his prejudice against Vampires, (AUDIO: Zagreus) and becoming increasingly obsessed with avoiding death during the Last Great Time War against the Daleks. (TV: The End of Time)
After the loss of Omega, Rassilon wept for him, with the Other musing that Rassilon's later actions were born out of love. (PROSE: Lungbarrow) However, some believed Rassilon to actually be behind the plot to murder Omega, (AUDIO: Omega) despite the evidence against the assassin Fenris, whom Rassilon banished into the Zone of No Return to avenge Omega, (COMIC: Star Death) while another account had it that Rassilon had been responsible for Omega's protective forcefield failing. (PROSE: The Scrolls of Rassilon)
After punishing Borusa for attempting to claim immortality, Rassilon offered immortality to the First, Second, Third and Fifth Doctors, and admitted that they had "chosen wisely" after they declined, and sent them back to where they belonged afterwards, (TV: The Five Doctors) even giving the First Doctor complete control of his TARDIS to allow him to attend to unfinished business before his regeneration as a show of gratitude. (PROSE: The Witch Hunters)
Rassilon was also manipulative, trying to trick the Eighth Doctor into destroying the Divergence in the belief that they were too different to live, (AUDIO: Neverland, Zagreus) and 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. (TV: The End of Time)
By the end of the Time War, Rassilon had become ruthless, power-hungry and insane, being willing to destroy the whole of creation rather than accept the end of the Time Lords. He planned to change himself and the Time Lords into beings of pure consciousness, free of physical bodies and the ravages of time, in his Ultimate Sanction. Rassilon had also grown in his pettiness, vaporising the Partisan for speaking against his desire to continue the Time War, and taunting the Tenth Doctor with how "the final act of [his] life [would be] murder" after a failed attempt to fool the Doctor into an alliance with him. Even as he was dragged back into the war, Rassilon made one last hateful attempt to kill the Doctor. (TV: The End of Time)
Following the end of the Time War, Rassilon retained his arrogance, believing himself superior to others simply for being Lord President, and showed no remorse for locking the Twelfth Doctor in his confession dial to get the information he wanted. He also showed his sadistic side by gloating how he could remove the Doctor's regenerations one at a time. (TV: Hell Bent) After his banishment, Rassilon was driven to teaming up with the Cybermen to survive and reclaim Gallifrey. (COMIC: Supremacy of the Cybermen)
Behind the scenes
- Rassilon was first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin. Prior to this, evidence pointed to Omega (who had appeared in The Three Doctors) as the founder of Time Lord society. A Doctor Who Weekly comic story, Star Death, attempted to reconcile this by having Rassilon and Omega working together. A few subsequent televised Doctor Who stories, such as Remembrance of the Daleks and Silver Nemesis, also took this approach. Remembrance's novelisation by Ben Aaronovitch, dipping into the "Cartmel Masterplan", explained that Omega, Rassilon, and another historical figure worked together in enabling the Gallifreyans to have time travel. In the novel The Infinity Doctors' universe, Omega states that the Time Lords had not three but six important central figures. These include Rassilon, Omega, the Other, Apeiron, and two others whose names went unmentioned in that source. The novel The Ancestor Cell also describes Apeiron as a founder of Time Lord society, confirming Pandak as another founder and mentioning, in addition, the name Eutenoyar.
- In Interference, Samantha Jones experiences a "transmission" from the Remote which depicts key moments in the Eternal War. Some details of the transmission are historically inaccurate, in part due to propaganda from Faction Paradox. Other details are filtered through Sam's cultural perceptions; for example, she sees Rassilon as being played by Brian Blessed.
- Rassilon actor Timothy Dalton was credited in The End of Time part one as "The Narrator," as the character's true identity would not be revealed until part two. The Character Options action figure of Rassilon was also packaged and marketed as "The Narrator".
- People with major involvement in the DWU and in Doctor Who Magazine, when asked in TEDW 7, were divided over whether the Rassilon seen in the television story The Five Doctors is actually alive or an artificial intelligence or if he had ever died prior to The Five Doctors. According to DWM editor Tom Spilsbury, it hadn't occurred to him before that he was anything other than being alive, and that "it might come down to semantics over what being alive means." Doctor Who scriptwriter Gareth Roberts believed that Rassilon is dead and the face that appears is "a clever AI." Head writer and executive producer Russell T Davies believed that Rassilon is "clearly alive", with his big face in the story being "A projection from the Matrix. A mental life extending beyond the body's death." Novelist, audio writer and comic writer George Mann believed that Rassilon was dead, but the Time Lords had figured out a way of "resurrecting dead people in extreme circumstances," doing "something horrible and timey wimey". Novelist, audio writer, comic writer and DWM columnist Jacqueline Rayner described his condition as "a permanent sleep which is pretty much indistinguishable from death", and that "He's immortal, but he has no awareness," and when the trap inside the Tomb of Rassilon is triggered, "he becomes semi-aware so he can oversee or judge what's going on, before going back into his eternal sleep again". DWM deputy editor Peter Ware believed that Rassilon is dead by the time of The Five Doctors, and his dead mind is speaking from the Matrix to the Doctors and Borusa. He mentions the line from the television story Hell Bent — "Rassilon the resurrected," as further proof that he had died. Doctor Who scriptwriter Mark Gatiss quipped that Rassilon is "biding his time until he regenerates into [actor] Daniel Craig." Head writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, who also wrote Hell Bent, understood that Rassilon was "alive, but in 'eternal sleep'," having got up from his eternal sleep to participate in the Time War, "And got killed. And resurrected. Because that happened a lot in the Time War." According to scriptwriter Terrance Dicks, who wrote The Five Doctors, Rassilon has "gone to a higher plane where he's a benevolent being who can, if he feels it's a big enough crisis, intervene".
- Rassilon was voiced in the German dub of The Five Doctors by Manfred Erdmann.
- His depictions in Supremacy of the Cybermen, especially the Don Warrington outfit, seem to be based off a fan art.