WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic

Sometimes, especially if a franchise is a Long Runner or is about to have a Milestone Celebration, the creators might find it fun to do an episode or TV special in which the newer versions of the characters meet their past selves, before their Art Evolution or Character Development took place.

This will usually be handled one of two ways; the show might view the old incarnation of the characters with a level respect and maybe with only a few tongue-in-cheek jokes at their expense (with the older versions of the characters having some critiques of their own), or it can go into full-on Self-Deprecation, poking fun at how "bad" the show used to be and Flanderizing the earlier versions.

The second type is more likely when a different writer is handling the newer installments of the franchise, though having it be used as an outlet for Creator Backlash by the same creator is also possible. As such, use of this trope may either bring fans of all incarnations of the franchise together and be a celebration of the franchise as a whole, or it could just entertain new fans while alienating older fans.

Related to Era Specific Personality, Art Evolution, Retreaux and of course Early Installment Weirdness. Future Me Scares Me and I Hate Past Me may also come into use.

Examples of Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness include:


  • A joke comic strip was publishing in an issue of Wizard Magazine featuring Superfriends teaming up with their modern Justice League of America comic counterparts.
  • During the Zero Hour Crisis Crossover, Alfred Pennyworth and Robin had to contend with the Bumbling Sidekick Defective Detective version of Alfred from The Golden Age of Comic Books.
  • Arguably this was the point of the JLA/JSA crossovers in general. One of them, in issues 91-92 of the Silver Age JLA series, deliberately paired the Silver and Golden Age counterparts up to emphasize the differences between them.
  • A few issues of Archie had Archie and his pals run into the 1950s versions of themselves while walking down "Memory Lane".
  • During the Avengers/Invaders crossover (Marvel's WWII and modern hero teams) Namor the Sub-Mariner was the only guy who was alive for both of them (the Steve Rogers Captain America was dead at this time). Modern Namor is a little annoyed at his younger counterpart, who is brash and hotheaded.


  • Artemis Fowl returns to the past and encounters his younger, less nuanced self at some point in the series.

Live-Action TV

  • While this technically happens any time in Doctor Who that an old Doctor and/or companion pops up, the 2017 Christmas Episode, "Twice Upon a Time", had the Twelfth Doctor cross paths with his first incarnation. While Twelve squeed at One calling the TARDIS "the ship" he was also quite shocked to remember One's chauvinistic 1960s attitude. For what it's worth, One was equally fond of, and shocked by, what he'd grow into.
    • The novelization went further having Twelve scold One for treating the TARDIS as just a ship and explaining One's claims of having built the TARDIS as just a lie he told to feel big to the humans that he still looked down on.
  • Star Trek:

Newspaper Comics

Professional Wrestling

  • There were certain elements of this in a 2006 WWE storyline in which Kane feuded with someone that dressed and acted just like he did when he first debuted in 1997, even down performing his moves and displaying the same mannerisms. The storyline wasn't given much conclusion though, after Kane defeated him and took back the mask that the imposter wore.

Video Games

  • Sonic Generations has the current Sonic and his supporting characters come in contact with the versions of themselves from the Sega Genesis days.
  • It occurs in this promotional art for the Mickey Mouse game Mickey Mania.
    • As well as in the actual game. Each level is an older Mickey cartoon, and modern Mickey meets his older self in each one.
    • Kingdom Hearts II does pretty much the same thing in the stage based on Steamboat Willie.
  • In Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and The Time Rippers, Roger does some time travelling, and part of the game is set during the first Space Quest game, with everything except Roger depicted in the original more primitive graphics.
  • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 had Mario/Luigi occasionally visit planets shaped like 8-bit versions of themselves. Also while Koopa Troopas are now depicted as bipeds, they revert back into quadrupeds in these games.
  • Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations essentially touts this as a selling point. The game has a majority of the characters of Naruto Shippuden "meet" their younger versions of themselves from Part 1 of Naruto (pre-Shippuden). However, Young Naruto and Modern Naruto don't really meet aside from the introductory video, promotional artwork, and the multiplayer mode.
  • In Max Payne 2, where Max's appearance was based on a different actor than the first game, Max's former self says during a Dream Sequence: "I didn't use to look like this!"
  • In The Simpsons Game, the family meets their, heavily pixillated, counterparts from a very early video game and comment how much video games have changed since then (for one thing, the 3-life limit is long gone).


Web Original

Western Animation

  • Turtles Forever, in which the 2003 Ninja Turtles meet the 1980s ones, and later, the earlier comic book ones. The writers had their own interpretations of the earlier versions though.
    • The 2012 cartoon had the Nick Turtles briefly watch their 1987 counterparts from a dimensional window. Michelangelo describes them as dorks but Donatello notices the nice jumpsuit on April.
      • A proper crossover occurs in the episode "Trans-Dimensional Turtles", where the 2012 and 1987 turtles team up to stop Krang from destroying the Ninja Turtle multiverse, also running into the Mirage Comics Turtles at one point. The episode comes complete with an Art Shift between 2D and CG animation. It was similar to Turtles Forever in many ways, though the 1987 turtles are portrayed much more favorably (and even with their original voice actors at that).
  • The Alvin and The Chipmunks cartoon did an episode that was a parody of Back to The Future called "Back to Alvin's Future" in which the 80s Chipmunks meet the 60s Chipmunks and try to stop them from quitting music and preventing the 80's chipmunks from being created. It was complete with a Limited Animation Art Shift.
  • Re Boot: At the end of a very big episode, young Enzo appears and pounces on Bob. Matrix, who is Enzo all grown up, is speechless.
    • There was also an episode where the older, teenage Enzo encountered a game containing Mainframe, in a strange homage to The Prisoner. It was much cheesier and more in-line with the first episodes.
  • Scooby Doo: Scooby Doo And The Cyber Chase had the gang encounter their 70s versions in a video game!
  • Happened in the Family Guy episode Back to the Pilot where Brian and Stewie use their time machine to travel back to the pilot episode and comment on all the weird technical limitations, old animation style, and how Meg sounded differently back then.
  • In-Universe example: In an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents, "The Crimson Chin meets Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad", The Crimson Chin meets several of his old personalities, from 30s pulp-fiction Chin, to edgy 1985 Chin, who got cancelled for swearing. They all fight crime together.
  • There is a Quack Pack episode wherein Donald Duck is de-aging. Teenage Donald is actually how he appeared in his debut in The Wise Little Hen, way back in 1934. May count more as Lampshade Hanging, however.
  • On the season seven Simpsons episode "The Day the Laughter Died" [1], Bart and Lisa work hard to try and save I&S Studios from bankruptcy (and get Apu out of jail for indecent exposure) -- only to find out that the conflict was resolved by two badly-drawn look-alikes named Lester and Eliza (who resemble Bart and Lisa back when The Simpsons was a filler cartoon on The Tracy Ullman Show).
    • The Couch Gag for the season eleven episodes "Beyond Blunderdome" [2] and "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" [3] have The Simpsons as they're currently drawn meeting their crudely-drawn counterparts from The Tracy Ullman Show and all ten of them freaking out.
    • The 2011 Simpsons wall calendar features three versions of the family all fighting each other.
    • A Treehouse of Horror segment has the current Simpsons meet their Tracy Ullman Show variations. Present Homer is immediately enamored with Past Marge, who's much more laid back and prefers him to her husband Homer's constantly grouchy counterpart. Only after Present Marge offs herself in retaliation and Past Homer kills his present counterpart do the present couple make up. Then the current versions of the kids meet their end, both families reconcile around the breakfast table, and the episode closes out on a garden variety of Simpson variants standing outside the house.
  • A music video seen in House of Mouse had Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto walk on top of a bridge made from a fallen log, causing them to turn black and white (similar to Simba becoming an adult during the song "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King).
  • One episode of Ben 10: Omniverse had Ben swapping minds with his original incarnation much to the confusion of the Gwens in both time periods.
  • Toxic Rick and Toxic Morty are exaggerated versions of Rick and Morty's characterizations from Season 1. The sharp contrast shows how much the titular duo has changed over the seasons.
  1. The one where Bart befriends a homeless man who claims -- and proves -- he was the real creator of Itchy from the Itchy and Scratchy cartoons and that his idea was stolen by Roger Meyers' father
  2. The one where Homer partners with Mel Gibson to revise his latest film
  3. The one where Barney quits drinking after watching his birthday video and seeing how much of a loser he is when he's drunk
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.