Time travel : the three theories most popular at the cinema


Time travel is an old fantasy, which has sparked the imagination of many artists. The 7e art has obviously captured and delivered inspired works that have marked generations of spectators. Even today, there are many movies and series to play with this notion to make us travel through time… And sometimes we lose ! Three theories concerning these excursions temporal stand out and unite a large part of the long-feature films of science fiction of recent decades. Here’s a little summary to help you see more clearly.



It is one of the theories most used in the cinema. And in many ways, it seems to us more realistic and natural. It stipulates that the alteration of the events of the past will have a full impact on the present that one has left. Scénaristiquement speaking, it opens the door to many ideas, since it materializes in a dream that all the world has already done : to go back and make the right choice. The more it adapts to numerous movie genres : drama, romance, comedy… Everything is possible.


It thus offers the possibility of eliminating a threat to upstream in order not to be disturbed during the return in the present or yet to make the right choice to access to success and love.


It can, however, lead to a paradox, wonder, or even dangerous for the main character. Often called ” the paradox of the grandfather “, it suggests that this use of the temporal curve can be a problem with a simple example. If I kill my grandfather before he had children, I’ve not been able to come into the world. But how have I been able to make the trip to the murder ? Several responses can be made to this paradox, in particular by using the notion of a time loop, but it fascinates a lot of enthusiasts.



This theory has made the beautiful days of Robert Zemeckis since it poses the bases of the saga cult Back to the Future. The young Marty McFly, would not cease to travel in time with doctor Emmett Brown, to resolve the paradoxes time caused by his own interventions ! And for an example of our home, we may also refer to The Visitors. In the film of Jean-Marie Poiré, Godefroy de Montmirail kills by mistake his future father-in-law, which prevents marriage to Frénégonde. Accompanied by his faithful squire (not very primed, of course, but sniffing the tracks) he will drink a potion to return a few moments before the drama… and Left to get lost in the corridors of time !



The time travel that occurs on a timeline fixed is based on a premise that is simple : The future can’t really be changed or modified. This theory is based in part on the principle of consistency of Novikov, developed in the 80’s. The latter stipulates that there is only a single line of time and that it cannot multiply.


Even when people could travel in the past, the future they left cannot be changed. The actions they will carry out in the past are already part of the story. Getting rid of a murderous dictator while he is still a child (and/or replace it with another toddler will not affect its existence as the child is replaced (or even another) will become a dictator in his place. Although pessimistic, this theory remains quite fascinating since it is not exposed to a paradox like that of the timeline is dynamic.



(Attention, spoilers on older films can be found below)


The example film the most obvious is probably the Terminator movies. In the first episode, a robot overkill is sent into the past to kill the son of Sarah Connor (John), because the latter would later become the leader of the human resistance in the war against them.



We will however realize that if he had succeeded his mission, another man would have taken the place of John Connor at the head of the troops human. The famous result shows how John, Sarah and T-800 destroy Cyberdyne and yet… The Last Judgment has a place in the third episode. This near vision of the abrahamic religions suggests that man cannot escape his fate.



The third theory is based on the principle of “multiverse” and still leaves more to the imagination. She took the time traveller to his timeline to be fixed or dynamic, as it changes literally of the universe. He found another version (ancient or futuristic) to himself… unless he is already dead in this one ! According to the work, his alter-ego he will look perfectly, or have taken a totally different path.


In a timeline parallel, the traveler can do literally what he wants, since only the new timeline will be affected. If you decide to kill all of your ancestors in this last, it will not create any paradox. Just a new story, in which you existerez ever.



The writers like to use quantum physics to infuse realism into these travel in space/time. This was the case in the Interstellar of Christopher Nolan, but also in the excellent episode “A Rickle in time” of the series Rick & Morty.


The superb animated film ‘Spider-Man’: New Generation is grown up this idea. We discover the life of Miles Morales, an african-american teenager became Spider-Man after being bitten by a spider. Using a particle accelerator, his enemy opens portals to other worlds, where a bunch of other Spider-Man will emerge. An old Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Pig, and even a version manga will then have to meet.



How can we not mention the recent Avengers : Endgame, which continues to break records since its release ? We have specifically created a folder for the opportunity to see more clearly.


**Attention Spoilers**


In the latter, the Avengers, the remaining back into the past in search of the gems of infinity, which opens the door to a new timeline (without the stone of the time). If, by chance, the Hulk of this had killed one of the past, he would not have gone, he would have simply created a dimension where he died. However, the treatment of the character of Captain America calls into question the theory of time travel adopted by the brothers Russo, according to some fans…


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A short preview of the upcoming Spider-Man : Far From Home shows a dialogue between Peter Parker and Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio. He explains that he does not come from the same Land (it would come out of the 833 and Peter from the 616) but that their two planets share the physical constants are identical”. Remains to know if it is true.


These few theories are already what make us turn the meninges, but there are still many other. What is the one that seems the most realistic ?

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