February 15, 2013

Idea: Two Time Travel Movies Released In Real Time

[This post is part of an idea dump.]

I know actually writing this would be much harder than just coming up with a loose idea. But structurally, it would work something like this:

In 2015, a movie comes out that takes place entirely in 2015. In the story, a character travels five years into the future, has some profound experience, and then returns to the present where the ramifications of his future travel profoundly affect him. We never find out exactly what happened in his time jump, and we’re curious, but it’s okay because the present story stands well on its own.

In 2020, the sequel comes out. It takes place entirely in 2020. We finally have caught up with the time traveler, and now we get to see what the heck happened when he got here that affected him in 2015. The story in 2020 also works well on its own, but it sheds new light on events that happened in the 2015 movie.

For bonus points, the time traveller’s 2020 scenes could all be shot in 2015, so the actor will not have aged, but all his costars will. For a more enhanced effect, the movies could be more than five years apart, or the characters could be young so the five years of aging is more dramatically obvious.


Series six of New Doctor Who played a little trick like this. (spoilers coming, of course, but only for the first 20 minutes of the season)

At the start of the season, when they kill the Doctor, the time it happens is the actual time and date when the episode first aired in Britain. That evening in Britain was midday in Utah, and they flash the date and time at some point during the episode. So the fixed event of the time traveler’s death literally happened “Right Now” as people first watched it.

I always thought that was a neat touch.

If the plot involved kids in some way, even 5 years would change them significantly.

If this film worked, it would have a similar appeal to the Seven-Up series, save that everyone ages identically in those films except for the modern-day viewer (that is, if you’re watching them all at a go instead of having watched them as they came out).

I think this could work wonderfully, given the appeal of several films using an older cast to reference original films they were in (Hot Tub Time Machine and ‘Enemy of the State’ using Gene Hackman’s character from ‘The Conversation’ are unfortunately the only examples springing to mind at the moment)

I really really love this idea. Very unusual and interesting. The actual effects of time used this way would be fascinating to watch.

The way this would be most awesome would be for another actor to be playing the twenty-years-older version of the time traveler, in a movie released in (say) 2017 that at the time seems unrelated to the 2015 movie. A grizzled older traveler appears from the future in order to set right some problem that he has to fix. Then in the 2020 film it’s revealed that they’re actually the same character; a few years later we get the film in which the old man sees the repercussions of early mistakes and decides to set them right.