TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

5 Terrible Movie Futures That Were Fixed With Time Travel


In movies, time travel is the quantum equivalent of a Band-Aid, one that cinema often applies to correct futures of the post-apocalyptic variety.

From AI-controlled killing machines to disease-ravaged worlds, righting wrongs by breaking the laws of physics is a popular trope that yields some truly memorable sci-fi. Fox’s blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past is the latest film to pull a Quantum Leap, as Wolverine travels back in time to save both humans and mutants from the deadly Sentinels.

As director Bryan Singer’s sequel passes $500 million at the global box office, SPINOFF ONLINE takes a look back at five movies that used time travel to fix terrible futures.


1. The Terminator Films

What’s Wrong With the Future? As cool as it is to have plasma rifles in the 40-watt range, it’s not fun to have to use them on unstoppable killing machines bent on killing anyone by name of John or Sarah Connor.

How to Fix It James Cameron’s bleak look at a future run by Skynet greatly inspired the narrative of the latest X-Men film; Singer even bent Cameron’s ear on the subject of time travel. Days of Future Past employs X-gene-powered means, courtesy of Kitty Pride, to send Wolverine’s future consciousness into his past self, thus hoping to stop a chain of events that unleash the Sentinels on mutants everywhere. Those looking for a happy ending to Logan’s efforts will be very satisfied.


2. 12 Monkeys (1995)

What’s Wrong With the Future? A disease has all but wiped out the human race, forcing the few remaining survivors to live underground and employ plastic, bubble-boy tech to go back into the past to find a cure.

How to Fix It: Sadly, time traveler Cole (Bruce Willis) can’t. He gets caught up in one hell of paradox that results in his efforts to save mankind being what dooms it in the first place – sort of.


3. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

What’s Wrong With the Future? Earth, population 9 billion – all Borg.

How to Fix It: Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew use time travel to essentially stop time travel, thwarting the evil Borg’s trip to the past in an attempt to assimilate Earth before Starfleet ever existed. The end result is one of Trek’s better uses of the storytelling device – and one of the franchise’s better films.

voyage home

4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

What’s Wrong With the Future? It’s not quite “dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria,” but the 23rd century has a serious problem: A probe of unknown origin is disrupting all planetary operations as it searches for humpback whales. Unfortunately for Starfleet, the long-extinct mammal is the only thing that will stop the probe from crippling Earth.

How to Fix It: Enter Admiral Kirk and his crew of AARP members, who use the slingshot method around the sun (naturally) to travel back in time to 1986. Once they touch down in San Francisco, Kirk and Spock beam up two humpback whales, and slingshot back to the future just in time to save it. Is there anything Shatner can’t do?


5. Back to the Future II (1988)

What’s Wrong With the Future? Twin neckties and water-deficient hoverboards are the least of our problems. Biff runs a Thunderdome-fueled, Vegas-like Hill Valley after using an almanac from 2015 to change his future for the better, while ruining Marty McFly’s.

How to Fix It: Simple. Take a Delorean back in time to the events of the first film and mess around in their periphery to course-correct a Biff-tacular 2015. We just hope those power laces and hoverboards survived the changes.


  • Fabio Riccardo

    “James Cameron’s bleak look at a future run by Skynet greatly inspired the narrative of the latest X-Men film”
    oh come on.. the comic came out in 1981.. first Terminator movie in 1984..
    who inspired who now? -_-

  • Brendan McGowan

    Ok nice piece. Not a hater, but I gotta correct you on that last one. The future is relatively fine (besides the McFly children being sent to prison for being morons). It’s the present that gets messed up when Biff goes to the past (1955) with the Almanac which leads to the creation of a Biff-tacular 1985. Of course if nothing was done it would have been a Biff-tacular 2015 but we never actually saw that in the film. *Side note: by my count, there is a little over 6 months before I best be seeing some hoverboards in Toys R Us.

  • Trat

    “Is there anything Shatner can’t do?” Well, no, and thanks for asking. Loved the “crew of AARP members” line.

  • John Harmon

    The author wasn’t referring to the comic, but to the movie. The way Bryan Singer depicted the future in Days of Future Past was straight out of The Terminator. Me and my friend both started humming the Terminator theme at the same time when we saw it. The opening to Days of Future Past is straight out of the Future Wars scenes in Terminator and Terminator 2. Everything’s dark and blue for some reason, piles of human skulls.

  • Ian Cook

    I expect that, in all futures, there will be piles of human skulls.

  • Sarcasm Detected

    If the Borg can time travel: A) we’re all doomed and B) why did they need to fly right to Earth before time-traveling? Couldn’t they do the same to Vulcan?

  • Fury

    they were already attacking Earth, so they time-jumped when that attack went wrong. Besides, if you watch Enterprise (haters gonna hate), it’s Earth that gets all the local powers to team up after they whup the Romulans’ asses in the 2150s. No Earth, no UFP.

  • Sarcasm Detected

    It seems like the purpose of the Earth attack was to get close enough to do the time-travel thing, since they only sent one Cube.
    And it was the Vulcans that introduced humanity to the wider universe at the end of First Contact. If time-travel is no big deal for the Borg (which seems incredibly bad), why not just take out as many planets as they want?

  • Black Doug

    The original DOFP comic took place in 2013 and I see no piles of skulls around now. I am disappoint.

  • Michael Richards

    It’s funny in “Back to the Future II” how the Japanese loom in the background as villainous corporate overlords. That was the collective fear back in the 80’s, something probably unimaginable to younger generations now. I’m sure a lot of younger people watching don’t catch it.

  • James Wurm

    Bruce Willis’ character’s mission wasn’t to change time, but to learn the origin of the virus, so that the remnants of society could vaccinate against it in the future. SPOILER ALERT: His character tried to change events on his own, but failed to do so. He did succeed in identifying the origin of the virus, and the scientists sent one of their own to retrieve it at the end.

  • piscx77

    bill. is. that. you?

  • TallBoy6t6

    Best non-hoverboard future fanon explanation I saw: the great-grandfather/great-grandmother of the hoverboard creators were supposed to meet on the train that Marty and Doc diverted in 1885, hence, no hoverboards.

  • beebop

    Sorry but star trek 4 and back to future should not count. They are Utopias and one is begun by the fool who has to stop it…

  • Kanak Tripathi

    I am so glad youare dissapointed :P