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Babe: You've got a lot of nerve coming back here, Roger Wilco! After leaving me the way you did, you male scum! This is the last woman you'll ever dump on! Right girls?!

Other girls: Right!

Babe: You said ya had to be free to roam the galaxy.

Roger: Was that me?

Babe: Said ya couldn't be tied down...

Roger: I said that?
—Exchange from Space Quest 4: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers

A specific variant on Foreshadowing where the viewer sees the consequences of actions before seeing the actions themselves, via Time Travel or via future sight, or just via seeing the scenes out of chronological order.

Examples of Futureshadowing include:


  • In the anime version of Future Diary, Ai's diary records that her boyfriend Marco buys a gift for a girl (namely, a ring). She confronts him about it, and because it hasn't happened yet, he has no idea what she's talking about. He ends up buying the ring for her.

Fan Fiction

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Mori didn't go to the first meeting Kyon had with Organization members because she was intimidated by something Kyon did a few days before. About 20 chapters later a time traveling Kyon is shown bursting into a secret Organization meeting falling through the skylight in a 10 meter drop while carrying a man beneath an arm (who was spying on the meeting) and calmly saying "Don't mind me dropping in," as it was normal a person would do this. He left through the skylight too. And Kyon is supposed to be the most normal cast member.
  • The Nineteen Eighty Three Doomsday Stories make good use of this, in part due to how individual fics take place in different years and not in sequential order.


  • Happens a lot in Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel. The best example is when Ray goes up and buys a round of drinks. The first time around it looks boring and irrelevant but later in the movie we discover the guy in the red hoodie standing next to Ray is actually a future version of Ray.
  • Given that the first trilogy made came chronologically after the second trilogy made, Star Wars as a whole is full of this, from explicit statements like Obi-Wan's "Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me" to Anakin to subtler ones, like how General Grievous, a melodramatic cyborg with breathing problems, foreshadows Darth Vader, the original melodramatic cyborg with breathing problems.
  • Happens a lot in Memento, due to the Anachronic Order in which we see events.
  • The penultimate scene of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being has Sabina on a beach in california reading a letter that tells her of Tomas and Tereza's death in a traffic accident. The final scene has the two driving off back in Czechoslovakia, where in the last line he tells her he's thinking about how happy he is.

Live Action Television

  • Not surprisingly, the Doctor indulges on this on occasion in Doctor Who, especially where River Song is concerned.
    • In other case, we saw Queen Elizabeth I stark raving mad at the Doctor a good three years before he or the viewers found out why. Turns out that in her past/his future, he marries her, robs her of her title of the Virgin Queen before abandoning her.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Tabula Rasa" shows scenes out of order so the audience sees the characters behaving in very out of character ways for a while before it is revealed what actually happened.
  • Similarly there was an episode of Seinfeld where the scenes were shown in reverse order, beginning with the resolution of the story and working back to Jerry's first meeting with Kramer.
  • Star Trek examples:
    • The third season Star Trek Voyager episode "Before And After", in which Kes's conciousness is travelling back through time, futureshadows elements of the fourth season episode "Year of Hell", although the timeline has changed slightly by the time the events actually occur (not least because Kes isn't a member of the crew any more).
    • In Deep Space Nine's "Visionary", Chief O'Brien keeps getting previews of the future, each more disastrous than the last -- up to and including the station blowing up. Fortunately, he manages to avert the really bad ones when he notices them starting.
    • In the Next Generation episode "Timescape", an away team returns to the ship to find it frozen in time, apparently locked in battle with a Romulan warbird. But the visual evidence is deceptive -- when they manage to rewind the disaster, we find out the two crews were cooperating.
  • An extra episode on Dollhouse's season one DVD showed events ten years after the main series, after the mind-wiping technology leads to the collapse of civilization and the Brainwashed and Crazy version of a Zombie Apocalypse. Recorded memories allowed flashbacks hinting at how this happened, though events in the series did not work out exactly as depicted (something Word of God had mentioned beforehand, noting that the memories could have been faulty or deliberately altered).
  • Farscape had Crichton experience several of these in "Back and Back and Back to the Future".
  • In Babylon 5's big time travel story, Sheridan gets stuck years in the future, where he sees the disaster that his actions will bring for Centauri Prime. Unfortunately, he doesn't learn how it's going to happen, which is kind of a prerequisite for setting right what once went wrong.

Video Games

  • Special mention goes to Achron, a game which makes this a standard multiplayer game mechanic.
  • Just about any game which involves multiple playable characters along separate storylines, such as the below-mentioned Sonic Adventure, can dabble in this, depending on the order in which you play through said storylines. For example, while playing as character A you may encounter character B someplace you never expected them to be, but you won't find out how they got there and what they were doing there until you play as character B and get to the same point.
    • Oh, you'll definitely encounter this no matter what order you play them in, though the extent does depend on the order. The first time you control Sonic, he's fighting Chaos 0... whose first present-day appearance chronologically is in Knuckles's story, when he breaks out of the Master Emerald into which he's been sealed. And you have to play Sonic's story first, and can't play another character's story until you encounter them in the story you're playing.
    • A specific and illustrative example from Sonic Adventure 2 is this: Most players are expected to play the Hero story first, and see Sonic on the run from the law for no apparent reason, then meet the mysterious Shadow, whose motives are unknown. The first level of the Dark story takes place hours before this and explains how Shadow came into play and gives a rough glimpse of his motives.
    • And if you play the Dark story first, there's one point where Sonic gets dumped into space and blown up. He's back in action pretty fast, but you have to play the Hero story to know how.
  • The third season of Sam and Max Freelance Police seems to like this trope so far, in particular The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, which centered around a film in four reels that had to be watched out of order in order to solve some of the puzzles. Most relevant to this trope are the moles in the third reel; the daughter is still sore at Sameth and Maximus for stealing a ventriloquist's dummy from her, and when they tell her father that she has a crush on them, he responds, "Still?!" Both of these refer to events in the second reel. And yes, both of them Make Sense In Context[1].
    • The previous episode, The Penal Zone, plays with this as well; the first sequence of the game is a vision of the future which does an excellent job of setting the scene for the events that will come to pass (came to pass? Oh, never mind). The fact that Skun'kape takes steps to avert this version of the future when the time actually comes doesn't dull the shadowing much.
    • That's not to say other seasons don't touch the trope. In particular, one part of Episode 201 has Sam and Max rescue their future selves from a pit of lava. We don't find out how they got into that mess until Episode 205.
  • Sonic Adventure does this nicely with the Tikal-induced visions of the past; we see both the aftermath of and the events leading up to the echidna raid on the Master Emerald shrine, but we don't see the event itself until the very last one.
  • The first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations is Mia Fey's second case. The fourth case of the same game is Mia's first case. The former contains a few allusions to the latter, including Mia and Dahlia Hawthorne commenting that they know one another and references to the poisoning of Diego Armando.
    • Investigations dabbles in the trope as well; the first case is actually the fourth case chronologically (and vice versa), and so there is appropriate foreshadowing. The cameo by Manfred von Karma also gives futureshadowing to the first game.
  • A rather bizarre example is in Space Quest 4, where Roger time-travels to Space Quest X - Latex Babes of Estros and meets the titular Latex Babes, resulting in the page quote. Bizarre in that the series hasn't progressed beyond SQ6 and shows no signs of continuing, so the events being Futureshadowed may never occur.
  • The Bad Future from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, which shows the heroes what the world will look like were Primal Dialga was to succeed in his evil plans.
  • In Suikoden V, you can let Oboro investigate something about Georg and he claims that he doesn't seem to be blind even with his Eyepatch of Power. Of course, if you ever played Suikoden II, years after the former game, you find that Georg doesn't have an eyepatch at all. He throws the eye patch at the end of Suikoden V.
  • In The Reconstruction, there's a lot of this in relation towards Dehl's Backstory. In particular, any mention of the Blue Plague when Dehl is within earshot.
  • Xenoblade gives you the Monado, which at various points in and out of battle allow you to see things that will happen in the future, allowing you a chance to change the future.
  • Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker has a hidden CODEC scene where Big Boss, having recruited the man who will be Otacon's father, notes he gets a bad feeling when he looks at the water. Otacon's father is revealed to have drowned himself in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty.


  • Homestuck. Each of the four main characters is introduced at around the beginning of the day, even as time passes for the other kids, so we hear about certain events before we see them. For example, when Dave gets buried under puppets, we first see the chatlog of him pestering Rose about it, and only later do we see the event itself.
    • Homestuck also has an in-universe example as a major plot point. Jade is semi-precognitive, and sees John upset at something in the future. So she sends him a powerful weapon that will help him to fight against the Big Bad (and, obviously, cheer him up). Said weapon falls into the enemy's hands first, allowing him to become the Big Bad. The subsequent destruction that the Big Bad creates is what causes John's sadness in the first place. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
    • Not that Andrew Hussie hasn't dabbled in this before. Problem Sleuth has this. (For this.)
  • The April Fools 2010 issue of Brawl in the Family consisted of an "official letter" from Nintendo demanding that the comic be shut down. It provided a list of "offensive" comics and the reasons they were so offensive... and the worst offender listed, #249, hadn't even been made at the time. Did it live up to its charges? Sort of.
  • The Time Travel issue of PS238 involved Zodon bouncing through time, at one point arriving in the middle of an alien invasion. Several issues later, said invasion occurs.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: After the failed mission to blow up a dinosaur scout, Dr. McNinja ended up bouncing in time and ended up somewhere in the future. But no one knows when this will happen or how.
  • Miamaska's plot seems to hint at this with an image of the heroine with longer hair and different companions, used as reference by the baddies. Word of God has it that the events won't be revealed for another three years.
  • Girl Genius has the "time windows", where some characters seem to be coming back from the future using some strange device.

Western Animation

  • In the fourth season of Teen Titans, we're treated to several visions of the aftermath of Trigon's arrival on Earth episodes before it even happens.
  • In the first two seasons of Justice League, Hawk Girl and John Stewart developed a romantic relationship--one which was broken when she was revealed as a mole (and an engaged mole, at that). Though she eventually does a Heel Face Turn and sides with the League against her own people, she still leaves the team before they decide on whether or not to forgive her, going off to serve a self-imposed penance. Come Justice League Unlimited, she returns to an awkward situation with Stewart--who, in addition to having to decide if he can trust her as a teammate again, has the additional complication of having started a relationship with another woman in her absence. To make things even more awkward, Stewart then ends up making an unexpected visit to the future, in which he finds out that Batman Beyond's JLU member, Warhawk, is his and Hawk Girl's son. Now he faces the philosophical conundrum: if he does get back together with her, is it because You Can't Fight Fate? But is it fair to reject her simply to Screw Destiny? Then there's Vixen...
  • It happens most of the time whenever Paradox shows up in Ben 10 Alien Force and Ben 10 Ultimate Alien, especially since Paradox's chronological order isn't the same as Ben's or the viewer's.

Real Life


  1. (or at least as much so as anything in the Sam and Max games does)
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