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A trope in which a character using Time Travel encounters himself in the future or the past, and goes to introduce himself. It is the opposite of Never the Selves Shall Meet in that the situation has no disastrous effects (at least not from the fact that the meeting occurred at all).
There are several reasons this could happen:
- A horrible event happens, resulting in a time travelling character going back in time to warn the past version of himself about the disaster, hoping that his past self will listen and thus Set Right What Once Was Wrong.
- The character, after discovering time travel, will go into the future, possibly to Help Your Self in the Future, or just to see what it's like.
If the future version of the character remembers the meeting from the past, this could result in a Stable Time Loop, which means that the meeting was destined to happen since it, um, already did.
- The premise of Noein: To Your Other Self. Two alternate future dimensions are fighting for Haruka, and most of the fighters are older versions of Haruka's childhood friends. At the end of the series it's revealed that one version of her friend Yuu went through every single dimension trying to find one where Haruka doesn't die. At least, that's what we think happened.
- The Himeko Nonohara of 1994 goes to meet the Himeko Nonohara of 1997 to find out how she's doing. She doesn't find out anything immediately useful.
- In the second arc of Sailor Moon R, Mamoru gets nightmares that staying close to Usagi will kill her. After a multi-episode arc in which he breaks up with her while secretly trying to find out the source, they get back together anyway and decide to fight whatever's coming. When they finally travel to Chibi-Usa's time period, the 30th century, Mamoru meets the source of the nightmares - his future self, King Endymion, trying to ensure their love was strong enough to survive the trials of the Black Moon. Mamoru's first reaction on just seeing the guy is to try and beat him up.
- In Dragon Ball, Future Trunks has a couple of meetings with his infant self - once saving his own life as well as his mother's and the second time pulling his own hair while holding himself - but never actually has dialogue that could be confused for an introduction (probably because his past self wouldn't understand him anyway). Interestingly enough, in one of the video games, Future Trunks DOES meet up with his past self as a young boy and, taken aback that he has become such a spoiled brat in the main timeline, challenges himself to a duel. After being defeated by said spoiled brat, the Future Badass retracts his earlier disappointment.
- The Power Pack seems fond of this. In one of their new MA titles the present Katie travelled into the future and met her future self. She remained kind of suspicious. ("Tell me something only I would know! Who was my first boyfriend?" "Franklin Richards." "Wrong! It was a trick question! Boys are gross!")
- A series of Bloom County strips had Binkley meeting his future self, though the powers of his anxiety closet.
- This happens to Booster Gold during the "Reality Lost" arc; he travels back in time to recruit his past self for an adventure.
- In Pre Crisis Superman comics, this was declared physically impossible. If you time travelled back to a period where you already existed as a distinct being, you could only observe things as an invisible, intangible phantom. This was averted once, when Pete Ross psychically hijacked Superboy's body and traveled to the present where he met (and fought) Superman; apparently, it's not the bodies coexisting that creates a problem, but two instances of the same mind. Used for a real Tear Jerker in Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?, when young, teenage Supergirl visits the present and doesn't understand why she's not intangible. It's because it's after her own death. She asks if the contemporary version of herself is visiting another era and Superman, fighting back tears, confirms that "Supergirl is in the past."
- A Squee comic has little Squee visited by his future self. Unfortunately, memory loss is a side-effect of the time travel and future Squee can't even remember what he went back in time for.
- Played confusingly in Time Masters, where a group of aliens throw a group of space travellers in time 60 years, and damage caused by what happened then reveals that Sylbain and Piel were one in the same, both seperate entities of the same person at different times in his life.
- Doctor Who Fanfic: The Ten Doctors
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has this in "RIP Calvin". Their future selves turn out to have become hedonists who use Calvin's latest invention to find amusement... even if it's from Hitler. They later end up killing everyone but Hobbes, who manages to save everyone by destroying the invention.
- Played with on Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.
- ~The Time Traveler's Wife~ is made of this trope.
- Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure has this.
- Star Trek: Spock, meet Spock Prime.
- The ending of Meet the Robinsons where after the whole adventure that started when Wilbur brought Lewis to the future to restore his confidence, Lewis meets his older self. Similarly, the whole conflict was set into motion when the villain visited his younger self and told him to hold onto his anger and be evil.
- The Biffs and the Docs in Back to The Future. Subverted in both cases, in that the younger versions don't realize that they're talking to their older selves. The Marties, on the other hand... Also doesn't work so well with the Jennifers.
- Primer. Characters running into each other isn't nearly as metaphysically hazardous as running into another time traveller when you used the same time machine to return from incompatible futures, but given that Abe and Aaron have a frequent need to impersonate their past selves, some iteration is likely to end up drugged or knocked out...
- The Man who Folded Himself by David Gerrold. The time-hopping protagonist ends up having sex with lots of male and female versions of himself from the past, future and parallel timelines.
- In Night Watch, Vimes is sent back in time whilst chasing a murderer, and Future!Vimes has to step into the shoes of his own Mentor who's been killed by the aforesaid Knife Nut. He never reveals his identity to his teenaged self though, in order to maintain the Stable Time Loop.
- Played with in Pyramids, when temporal instabilities around the Great Pyramid's construction site lead the designers to "loop" their work crews, thus multiplying the effective size of their crew. Hilarity Ensues, as when one of the masons beats himself up for making eyes at his wife.
- In the second Science of Discworld, the wizards travel back in time to prevent their past selves from changing Earth history. Having done so, their past and future selves start brawling furiously over which one of their duo Hex should return to the Discworld ... except for the Rincewinds, who flip a coin instead.
- In Time Twister by Ged Maybury, the protagonist travels into the future and meets a man who introduces himself as "Yos", and tells the protagonist what he needs to do in the present to avert an imminent catastrophe. Near the end of the book, he learns that his sister has also travelled into the future and met Yos -- but the Yos she met was a woman. They realise that "Yos" is an acronym: Your older self.
- Artemis Fowl has this in Time Paradox. The younger self starts off as a bit of a jerk.
- Robert A. Heinlein examples:
- His "-All You Zombies-" turns this Up to Eleven, as the main character is actually all the characters: through loads of time travel, the main character (who is an intersex, and at the start of the story a man) travels back in time, impregnates his past female self, then the female gives birth to a baby but complications in the birth force the doctors to turn the mother into a man, and the baby is sent to the past by the oldest version of the main character. So, the main character is simultaneously his own father, mother, child, and kidnapper. Also the bartender the story is told to..
- In "By His Bootstraps" a man's future selves go back and meet his past self for various reasons.
- In Time Enough for Love, Lazarus briefly meets himself as a child. He thinks he's a brat.
- The Eyes of Kid Midas has a surreal, dreamlike scene towards the end where the protagonist interacts with his future self.
- In a Boys Life edition, a story appeared including a time machine. At one point, they had to confront a bad guy, but were concerned they didn't have enough people. Then someone got the idea to use the time machine to go back repeatedly to the same time and (roughly) same place, so that there would now be many copies of themselves and the time machine, and they could defeat the baddie. (Don't ask more details, I don't remember. It was from when I was a kid and I think I got each month's copy inscribed on a clay tablet.)
- In The Mirror of Merlin, the titular character passes through a Magic Mirror where he meets an elderly Merlin tutoring a young Arthur.
- Doctor Who:
- "The Three Doctors", "The Five Doctors", "The Two Doctors", "Time Crash", and at least once the Third Doctor ran into himself briefly due to a TARDIS malfunction (in "The Day of the Daleks").
- Also happens in The Big Bang. Especially notable because this time they're both the same (eleventh) incarnation. But then again the future Doctor just got shot and the entire situation is already bad enough, so...
- In the same episode young Amelia releases her future self from the Pandorica. Which older!Amy has been waiting in for nearly 2000 years.
- Along with the main examples is the inversion/subversion in "The Next Doctor", where a mix-up and some amnesia leads the past Doctor to introduce himself to the future Doctor (rather than the usual future introducing themselves to the past). Then the future Doctor turns out not to be the Doctor after all, so it might not count anyway.
- And the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory all get to meet themselves from (about a minute into) the future in "Space and Time".
- In the Fifth Doctor story Mawdryn Undead, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart from 1977 meets the Brig from 1983. When they touch the temporal backlash causes the younger Brig to suffer a mental break that causes him to forget ever having met the Doctor at all. He doesn't get his memory of the Doctor back until they meet again in 1983, which leads to him meeting his past self. which...
- In "A Christmas Carol", the Doctor plays the part of the Ghost of Christmas Future by transporting young Kazran to the present to see the man that he has become.
- In the "Time Crash" mini-episode, the Fifth Doctor discovers there are worse fates than turning into Colin Baker, thanks to a Timey-Wimey Ball.
5th Doctor: "Who are you?"
10th Doctor: "Take a look."
5th Doctor: "Oh...oh no."
10th Doctor: "Oh yes."
5th Doctor: "You're...oh no..."
10th Doctor: "Here it comes, yeah, yeah, I am."
5th Doctor: "A fan!"
- Red Dwarf had an episode where Rimmer went back in time to warn his past self to be put in stasis while Lister went back in time to warn Kochanski to be put in stasis. In the end, past-Rimmer thinks he is hallucinating when present-Rimmer appears before him, and then past-Lister and present-Lister enter the room together. It ends with a pair from even further in the future, future-Lister and future-Rimmer, appearing next to the other two pairs. Future-Rimmer seems to remember this incident, though present-Rimmer obviously doesn't; past-Rimmer just shuts his eyes and tells everyone to go away.
- Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Hells Bells". An old man appears and convinces Xander not to go through with his wedding with Anya. Near the end of the episode, we find out that it was a Xander from the future. And at the very end, we find out that he's not, but instead a demon trying to get revenge on Anya.
- A recent episode of Supernatural had Zechariah the angel show Dean what the future would be like if he didn't allow his body to be Michael's vessel. Dean meets his future self and is surprised by how much more brash and uncaring he is, ie. Future Dean seems to have no qualms about sacrificing members of his own team.
- Charmed season 5, episode 8, "A Witch in Time", plays this straight two times. First a warlock meets his past self to suggest using future knowledge for self gain. Second, Piper tells her past self to sabotage a rescue attempt to prevent the entire timeline from happening in the first place.
- In the 2009 (fake) trailer of Raumschiff Gamestar, Dr. Chris appears in two selves: the younger one from the present and the older from the future (in a direct homage to Spock from the contemporary Star Trek movie).
- Hiro Nakamura from Heroes pulls this off on several occasions.
- Admiral Janeway comes back in time to help get Captain Janeway and her crew home sixteen years ahead of schedule. Why she chose to wait until they'd been in the Delta Quadrant for seven years is still a topic of debate.
- In an episode of Sliders, the group finds themselves in a dimension that is behind our own in time, leading Quinn to encounter himself as a child and teach his younger self how to fight, in order to avoid a traumatic event in his childhood when he seriously injured a bully with a baseball bat.
- Smallville, in the recent 200th episode "Homecoming": Brainiac 5, in an effort to help Clark deal with his fears of his past and embrace his heroic destiny, allows him to see his near future, where he and Lois are the star reporters for The Daily Planet and very much in love, and he has become Superman. At one point, Clark meets his future self, and is taken aback by his suit and glasses. Future Clark, as it turns out, was waiting for his past self, and tells him to go to the Planet's roof to save Lois while he prevents a nuclear reactor meltdown across town. When Clark asks how Future Clark was expecting him, Future Clark simply answers, "Time travel. Think it through."
- In the first Kamen Rider Den-O movie, the heroes are stranded in the past and run into the 10-year-old version of protagonist Ryotaro. Like Back to The Future, the shock causes both to faint, but worse still, it caused the modern Ryotaro to forget everything that's happened so far, meaning his contracts with the Imagin can't function. They end up taking the younger Ryotaro (nicknamed "Kotaro", from the Japanese word for "little") along, which comes in handy since he can become Den-O, meaning the present Ryotaro is effectively useless until he gets his memory back.
- There was a Calvin and Hobbes arc in which Calvin and Hobbes time-travel forward two hours to pick up his presumably-completed homework so he doesn't have to do it... and learns that Stable Time Loops, unfortunately, do not work that way. After a heated argument, the two Calvins travel halfway between their timepoints and try to force that Calvin to do the work, but he points out that they'll suffer repercussions of whatever happens to him. Meanwhile, the past and future Hobbes team up to complete the creative writing assignment. The story they come up with is basically an unflattering retelling of the current situation, emphasizing how stupid and lazy Calvin seems to them. The teacher loves it.
- There is an Funky Winkerbean arc that involves Funky somehow ending up in the past and meeting his teenage self.
- A recurring gag in Candorville is Lemont talking with his past or future selves in dreams.
- This trope is an ever-present occupational hazard of the soldiers of Achron.
- The opening of The Journeyman Project 2: Buried in Time.
- Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, in which the plot is driven by Luke's future self, who went back in time to ask the professor for help. Or so they thought, since they're not in the future, and "Future!Luke" set up the entire Future!London as part of an elaborate scheme.
- Happens a few times in City of Heroes.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time has this as the main gameplay element; the Mario bros travel in time to when they were still babies and have to save the kingdom together from an Alien Invasion.
- "Hi, I'm Old School Andy. I'm, like, a vision from the past." He's the final boss in Backyard Skateboarding...and nothing happens if you touch him.
- World of Warcraft has this as a quest line from the Bronze Dragonflight, in which you go to the Bronze Dragonshrine and your future self helps you defend an artifact from those who wish to subvert the timeline. When your character hits level 80, you do the quest again, to help your past self defend the artifact from those who wish to subvert the timeline. Your past and future selves are controlled by the game's AI. Note that both of those versions are quite snarky.
- Any time Link and Young Link are both selected in Melee.
- Evident in Blaz Blue.
- Depending on the friends you have and how much they like spoilers, it can be strangely unsurprising or a Mind Screw when you find out that Hakumen is the future Jin Kisaragi, but he's renounced his Jerkass past to become a different kind of Jerk Ass.
- It gets better...in the back story of Blaz Blue Bloodedge, the guy who held the black beast back for a year, was Ragna with amnesia. The black beast, as everyone who played the first game knows, is Ragna. So thus Ragna basically made himself what he is.
- "I am you from the future! There's No Time To Explain! Follow me to... OH CHRIST!"
- Sonic Generations has Classic Sonic team up with his Modern self to fight the Time Eater.
- Eggman teamed up with his past self to control the Time Eater.
- Time Splitters: Future Perfect has Cortez helping himself out at several points in the storyline.
- During the ending of Final Fantasy VIII, Squall Leonhart ends up thirteen years in the past and meets his four-year-old self.
- Happens in In Famous, where Kessler, the Big Bad of the game, turns out to be Cole from the future.
- In Jak 2, Jak sends his younger self back in time.
- Xkcd did this in a five-part strip called "Choices".
- The identity of the protagonist's other self is very ambiguous though.
- The Wotch parodies this here.
- Spoofed in Narbonic: one character impersonates another and when caught, pretends he is their future self.
- PS238 has an Expy of The Doctor, Tom Davidson, who interacts with a slightly older (both appear the same age, the only difference is that the older version wears a fisherman's vest as when you time travel, you need plenty of pockets) version of himself as well as mentioning at least one case of meeting someone who claimed to be him a few hundred years later.
- After fighting through the Medium for months gathering all the information he can, Dave travels back from a Bad Future to the present in order to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Future!Dave then uses himself to prototype his present self's kernelsprite, effectively becoming his own Spirit Advisor and a recurring character. This undid the future that he originally came from, and set the main events of the story on an alternate timeline starting from when he appeared.
- And now, Jade as well. After she prototyped her kernelsprite with Bec and that totally screwed everything up, she tried to fix her mistake and gain an extra edge by following Dave's lead and prototyping it with her dead Dreamself. Unfortunately, Dream Jade had finally broken down due to the amount of shit she'd been through and was not happy to be alive again.
- Owing to paradox-clone time travel shenanigans, infant John and infant Karkat both meet their respective future selves in meteor labs before being sent back in time -- but being newborns, they don't remember it.
- The fact that Karkat is frequently debating with his past/future selves in his notes might also count.
- Not to mention the hundreds, possibly thousands, of Aradias which came from doomed timelines to help fight the Black King. All but the original were killed soon after. Later, Aradia meets one of her dead alternate selves again in a dream bubble.
- Later on, several trolls travel through the Furthest Ring, and meet deceased Alternate Timeline versions of themselves and other (also deceased) trolls.
- Karn and Juggernaut in Tales From the Pit.
- Kevyn Andreyason and Schlock in Schlock Mercenary came back in time to prevent the destruction of the galaxy (and save Captain Tagon). Afterwards the older Kevyn bought a lottery ticket and retired, while the past and future Schlocks merged.
- Not uncommon in Dragon City, and before the first time that happened Erin would try to convince Jonas she was his future self by painting herself red.
- Cassie from Times Like This has done this early and often - and even from her 100-year-old self - TWICE.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory special "Ego Trip", Dexter uses his time machine to travel into various eras of the future and visiting 3 versions of himself, and by the end, all four Dexters team up against 4 different Mandarks from different periods.
- The first Futurama movie, Bender's Big Score, has a slight variation of this with Fry and his future alternate-timeline self, Lars. Much of the plot is devoted to revealing how they became differentiated, as (aside from basic face structure) they don't look much alike and have strikingly different personalities, with Fry-Fry remaining his boyish, lazy self in the year 3000 and Lars-Fry becoming a confident and self-sufficient man when sent back to the year 2000 to continue his old life. In fact, when coming back to the distant future, the first thing Lars does is successfully hit on Leela.
- The Kim Possible movie, A Sitch In Time, had Kim Possible travel back in time to meet herself when she was younger.
- Happens to Jackie Chan once and Jade twice on Jackie Chan Adventures.
- South Park is the Trope Namer: "My Future Self 'N Me" is about Stan's future self landing in the present. It turns out Stan's future self is a huge loser and provides motivation for Stan to keep his life on track Because the future self is actually a paid actor, hired by Stan's parents specifically for this reason.
- Which is twisted at the end when after the kids discover the trickery, a rich, handsome businessman shows up claiming to be the future Cartman, to congratulate the young Cartman for making a good turn in his life that led to this positive future. Cartman assumes this is another trick, and informs the man that, because of this very interaction, he's going to live as poorly as possible. As the young Cartman walks away, the handsome man suddenly transforms into a hairy, morbidly obese mechanic. His response? "AW GODDAMN IT!"
- In "Go God Go", Cartman accidentally ends up in the future but comes up with a plan to warn his past self to not try to freeze himself for three weeks. Using future technology to call his phone in the past, his past self doesn't believe him and hangs up, to which future Cartman yells "WHAT AN ASSHOLE!"
- The Bionic Six episode "Triple Cross" uses this trope twice, as Big Bad Dr. Scarab teams up with child and senior citizen versions of himself to finally defeat the Bionic Six. It doesn't do him any good.
- In the three-part Grand Finale of Captain Simian and The Space Monkeys, the Captain gets help from Mandrax, "a mysterious mandrill with unimaginable powers". In the series' final shot, Mandrax reveals his true identity as Captain Simian's future self.
- Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Jimmy, Carl, and Sheen travel into the future and are happy with how they turn out as adults. However, after accidentally altering past events, Jimmy and friends return to the future to see that it is vastly different. They meet up with their past selves and are disgusted to see what losers they have become. The future selves even help their past selves by fending off against a police robot going after them.
- Candace gets to meet her future self in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo".
- Superjail did this in the season one finale. The Warden is put on trail in Time Court for reportedly YEARS. When he gets back, he only thinks he's been gone a few minutes, and goes back to the past to stop this from happening. The past and present Wardens hug each other, causing...well...you'd just have to see it.
- Stewie Griffin hangs out with his future self in the Family Guy direct-to-DVD movie. He is not pleased to learn he grows up to be a 35-year-old Parade-reading virgin. Of course, his efforts to change this only make things worse.
- In a Justice League Unlimited episode, Batman travels to the future and meets his old self. His first reaction is "I am surprised I lived for so long". Later, he pulls off a Good Cop, Bad Cop routine with his older self. In this case, the younger version (the one that dangles criminals from tall buildings to get them to talk) is the Good Cop.
Static: Wow, Batman playing Good Cop. Never thought I'd see the day.
John Stewart: Everything's relative.
- In an episode of Static Shock, Virgil travels to the future and meets his future self at the very end right before he is taken back to the present.
- American Dad had an episode with Stan's Future Badass Mexi-Canadian cyborg self, who promptly steals Francine from his past self.
- Star Trek: The Animated Series: "Yesteryear" has Spock the Starfleet officer meet Spock the child (to save himself from being killed).
- The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "It's About Time" has Twilight encounter a future version of herself. She's arrived to give her past self some sort of warning, but present Twilight is so busy fangirling over her future self she doesn't get a chance to deliver the warning. At the end of the episode, after a series of incidents that gave her the appearance her future self had (paper cut to the cheek, her mane getting burned by Spike, etc.), she realises that no catastrophe happened by the day her future self came from, and goes back in time to tell her earlier self not to worry about the future. But of course...
- Future Andy appears in the Squirrel Boy episode "The Grim Cheaper". Technically, Future Andy is just a figment of Andy's imagination but Andy does spend a lot of time interacting with him.