Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them is set furthest in the future?

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27

Lately I've been comparing how futuristic-set TV shows & movies have evolved over time, and while doing so, I became curious of the following...

What's the furthest-forward-in-time time period that's ever been depicted, in either a TV show or movie?

Charles

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 3 070

@NogShine If a date of that time is provided and can be referenced back to our time, then sure, I think that would be okay. – Charles – 2017-12-06T08:37:31.733

18You should clarify what you're asking. Is it, as the title says, Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them **is set furthest in the future**? - or as in the question text, What's the most futuristic time period that's ever **been depicted**, in either a TV show or movie?. They are actually quite different questions. – Grimm The Opiner – 2017-12-06T12:29:15.627

@GrimmTheOpiner Could you please explain the difference(s) then? Because I'm not seeing a difference.. – Charles – 2017-12-06T12:32:00.307

26@Charles Sure. Red Dwarf is set 3 million years in the future, with some episodes and/or scenes set in other times. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy is set in the "present day", but features a scene at the end of the universe. So, for a story set furthest in the future Red Dwarf might well win. For a story which simply at some point depicts the far future, HHGTTG is a better candidate. – Grimm The Opiner – 2017-12-06T12:53:57.460

1@GrimmTheOpiner I'm inclined to say then, that Red Dwarf would be a potential winner. I am most interested in how the future is portrayed, which may include the scenario humans find themselves in, their relationship with Nature, everyday technologies used, ideals/philosophies, type of government, etc. If it's just a single scene that doesn't really show much of anything (e.g., Matt's answer) then that's not too revealing. So, how do you suggest I edit the question to be most accurate to this? – Charles – 2017-12-06T14:56:34.137

3@Charles Instead of editing the question and invalidating existing answers, you should make a new question that specifies that the show is set the furthest in the future, not just has scenes or single episodes, and perhaps modify the title of this one to say "depicts a time" instead of "is set". – IllusiveBrian – 2017-12-06T15:52:23.950

@Charles your title really nails it. "Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them is set furthest in the future?" The question body need say little more than you "want the show or movie where the majority of the story is set in a future time, and that future time is later than any other". Maybe also that "single scenes or episodes in the far future do not in themselves qualify an entire movie or series for consideration" I might also ask that it's best if the actual date or years-into-the-future is explicitly stated. – Grimm The Opiner – 2017-12-06T16:02:01.390

1@IllusiveBrian If this question is edited for shows that "depict" the future, the Red Dwarf answer loses out for being too recent. If the question is edited for shows that are "set in" the future, the HHGTTG question loses out for only depicting the future but not being set there. Best if the question is simply edited to what the OP meant. – Grimm The Opiner – 2017-12-06T16:08:17.330

1@GrimmTheOpiner Generally questions should not be edited in such a way to invalidate existing answers unless necessary - considering almost all of answers appear to have answered under the question in the question text, it is better to clarify this question in a way that only invalidates one answer and then ask the question OP actually wanted in another question, where the invalidated answer can be copied. – IllusiveBrian – 2017-12-06T16:10:44.940

You can check for movies' settings on this Wiki page, and sort the Setting field in descending order.

– Johnny Bones – 2017-12-06T16:57:21.353

1I have amended the body text of the question to match the title and existing answers. For a question regarding the base year in which a movie/show is set (barring other internal chronological issues) I'd suggest a separate question although some of the answers here may suffice, – Paulie_D – 2017-12-06T17:26:02.820

And take a look at this link and its awesome infographic.

– polfosol – 2017-12-07T13:38:17.067

@polfosol Interesting, but those pages are hard to wade through to find the actual image, but here it is: The Future According to Films (as a plain jpg)

– Xen2050 – 2017-12-08T13:45:19.560

Not sure if they made a movie of it, but the Restaurant at the End of Universe from Hitchhikers guide to Galaxy would be an answer - since it's literally at the end of universe, time-wise. – Tomáš Zato – 2017-12-11T00:52:16.883

Answers

115

More of an adjunct to the existing answers - if you're looking for an example where the "usual" setting of the movie or show is far in the future (as opposed to a specific episode or segment) then I'd suggest Red Dwarf as the bulk of the show is set over 3 million years in the future.

motosubatsu

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 2 376

26I find this to be the best answer despite other answers which are technically further in the future. It feels like cheating to count shows/movies where the characters time travel to "the end of time" – Dean MacGregor – 2017-12-06T18:50:51.550

3Well, the Futurama episodes after "The Late Philip J. Fry" are technically set two entire universes (and about 10 feet lower) in the future due to the events of that episode, even though that future looks pretty much identical to the "regular" future in just 1000 years – Suppen – 2017-12-09T17:41:07.990

186

In Futurama episode "The Late Philip J Fry", some of the crew travel to the very end of time itself (and back around again... TWICE).

They most likely go through the heat death of the universe which is on the order of 10100 years!

However, the furthest "known" date shown on the time machine's indicator is 1 × 1040 AD: when the "last proton should be decaying".

The furthest date in history

Matt

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 1 109

31Love this answer. I expect it'll be unbeatable, too - most fiction stops at the end of the universe. Only Futurama would keep going forward to double it... and then some! – Nuclear Wang – 2017-12-06T13:50:56.157

2"The end of the universe" is hardly unique to Futurama, as we can see. The real winner will be the one with the longest-lasting universe. Which it looks like is still Futurama. – Nacht – 2017-12-07T04:10:18.120

2The video only covers going to the next universe, not 2. – Yakk – 2017-12-08T18:51:33.443

2I couldn't find the full full version, but the following scene is them going fast forward again but this time the professor doesn't slip. You can read it in the info sphere script I linked or better yet, use it as an excuse to rewatch the episode! – Matt – 2017-12-09T13:43:53.990

It has not to my knowledge been adapted in a movie or show but Tau Zero by Poul Anderson and in a weaker sense The Last Question by Asimov also experiment the end of the universe. – WNG – 2017-12-13T19:35:10.213

138

It's Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe as depicted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Referenced in the 2005 Movie, and makes an appearance in episode 5 the 1981 TV series

YouTube of Arthur Dent eating here.

Milliways, also known as The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, can only be visited practically by time travel, as it exists at the end of time and matter. Marvin the Paranoid Android is one character who manages to reach Milliways without the use of time travel, merely by being very patient. One of the restaurant's major attractions is that diners can watch the entire universe end in a Gnab Gib from the windows of the restaurant as they eat. The terminal moment is followed by dessert. Reservations are easily obtained, since they can be booked once the patron returns to his or her original time after their meal, and the restaurant's bill can be paid by depositing a penny in any bank account of the present time: by the end of the universe, the compound interest on that penny over the course of time after 170 quintillion years (short scale) will be enough to pay the extremely high bill. Near-instant transportation to the restaurant can be achieved in certain rarefied circumstances, such as being next to an exploding hyperspatial field generator on the planet where Milliways will eventually be built several billion years after the explosion occurs.

I'm pretty sure you can't get further into the future than this, since you eat dessert after the end of the universe. There's probably coffee and petit-fours after that.

Snow

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 3 639

6You can go further into the future if you go to the next universe ;) – Matt – 2017-12-06T09:59:59.503

3It seems people can point at other depictions also at the end of the universe - but TRATEOTU did it first. Plus, it's HHGTTG, so, winner. :-) – Grimm The Opiner – 2017-12-06T12:26:27.790

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Wouldn't this You can't beat the end of time answer also be matched by any number of other movies/shows like Dr Who in the year 100,000,000,000,000 5 minutes before the heat death of the universe?

– WernerCD – 2017-12-06T12:34:30.480

3For those who might otherwise wonder: "I've seen [the End of the Universe]. It's rubbish," said Zaphod, "nothing but a gnab gib." — "A what?" — "Opposite of a big bang." – Quuxplusone – 2017-12-10T08:13:00.977

3The End of the Universe is (wioll on-be) "I believe five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years" futurewards of the time Zaphod, Arthur, et al. departed (willan on-depart) Frogstar World B. I'm not immediately sure how far in our current future (or past) that was supposed to be, though. If they were still at that point in our "present" (roughly circa 1980 — anyway, it was sometime when there were Thursdays and the Earth still existed), then Milliways would have been temporally located in only about A.D. 576,000,001,980 — peanuts to Futurama. – Quuxplusone – 2017-12-10T08:20:53.397

1.7 x 10^20 years (of interest on that penny) is a lot more than 5.67 x 10^11, and also handily beats Dr Who's 10^14 (but not Futurama's 10^100). However, dessert isn't any further forward: once the gnaB giB is reached, the restaurant starts cycling back in time to just before it. – stevek_mcc – 2017-12-13T20:31:43.540

76

The Doctor Who Episode Utopia is set in the Year 100 Trillion, at literally the very end of time and space itself (according to the show)

SGR

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 1 944

1

Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.

– Napoleon Wilson – 2017-12-15T15:00:57.173

38

Adaptations of "The Time Machine" (H. G. Wells). At least two of them (1960 and 2002) depict quite detailed the year 802,701.

And in the 2002 adaptation, there are also landscapes of the year 635 427 810. It is more than six hundred million years from now.

Mouvier

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 1 654

12

The Babylon 5 Season 4 finale, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, is broken into a number of segments showing events affecting the Interstellar Alliance at different stages in its future. The final segment is set one million years into the future and shows

the destruction of the Earth by the Sun going nova.

The Doctor Who episode The End of the World is set in the year 5 billion.

Darren

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 1 878

2it's down to whether the question is strictly about baseline series setting or inclusive of one-shot 'visits' to a 'later' time. – N. Presley – 2017-12-07T01:38:25.460

11

And the winner is...

A many-way tie!

The time for this tie is "the end of time," also sometimes portrayed as "outside of time."

There are multiple movies and TV shows, as well as literature and video games, which depict things such as the end of time, the next universe after the end of time and then time restarts, post-time time has run out and now we are in a timeless 'place' where time is some singularity or nonexistent or other weird thing, and other variations of this theme.

All of these have in common that they are at the farthest extent of time or even beyond time, therefore they all tie for first place for this answer and none of them can be beaten.

The Winners

Some examples have already been given: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dr. Who, and Futurama.

In "Red Dwarf" season 5, episode 2 "The Inquisitor" the crew encounter an android who has lived to "the end of time." Once at the end of time, the android decides that there are no gods or afterlife, so the android builds a time machine and goes back to the past.

Another one is the TV series 12 Monkeys. 12 Monkeys had a cult which worshipped The Witness, a person who was born outside of time by two time travelers. Two time travelers conceived the child while in a temporary "pocket timeline," for lack of a better term, which was the result of their tampering with history and which should not have happened but did due to the many accumulating paradoxes. The traveler is worshipped as the one who lives outside time and who will bring an end to time. Although "outside time" does not always necessarily mean "after time," in this case the "outside time" quality is brought about through actions taken throughout history and it brings an end to time, so it is effectively "after all time."

There are also time-travel movies and shows in which people are trying to stop "the end of time" from becoming reality, but which I do not know enough about to know if anyone actually "goes there." Example: Quantum Break

Special Notes

These go beyond the scope of this question but are likely of interest to most people asking this question or reading it.

There are a lot of contenders if you were to include other story media such as literature and video games...

There was a video game, Chrono Trigger I think, in which you had to travel back and forth through time as part of the plot, with the farthest time being a place at "The End of Time" which used the concept "All time is spent and this is now a 'timeless' post-time place. Time is essentially frozen in place, though you can still move, talk, and perform other actions."

And there was a choose your own adventure book which involved a time-travel cave (go in one time, come out another exit at another time) which had a special "post-time" room as well which worked the same way.

In "The Time Traveler's Almanac" one of the time-traveling short stories had time-travel technology invented, and there was also an "end of time" there, but most people avoided it because nobody ever returned from it, so its properties are unknown to those in "normal time." Sorry, I do not recall the title of this short story.

In Dungeons and Dragons there is an elf-like race called the Le Shay. In at least the 3rd edition of D&D (not sure about other editions), the description of the immortal Le Shay suggests that they are already in such a situation relative to their home-time. Due to tampering with the universe, which produced a catastrophe that could not be fixed, the Le Shay managed to, somehow (they are secretive, so this part is unknown), get themselves beyond the end of time and into the next instance of a habitable timeline. So, if those rumors are to be believed, then the default setting is a "future" timeline that is beyond the end of time of a previous timeline. Also, D&D is available as movies and TV shows, however I am not aware if the Le Shay have made any appearances on the screen - I am only aware of their existence in literature, hence mentioning this in the special notes section.

Aaron

Posted 2017-12-06T08:20:13.023

Reputation: 283

8Most of your suggestions are either repeats of things have been mentioned in other answers or books. This is a Movies and TV SE and the question specifically asks about those two formats. – Darren – 2017-12-06T15:35:19.507

5I specifically mentioned "Some things have been provided in other answers, such as...", so yes, those are repeats, as intended; that is both acceptable and even expected in good answers according to StackExchange policy. As for the books, yes, and I specifically stated that those are additional information going beyond the question since that information is very relevant to anyone interested in this. That information on its own would be an off-topic answer, but it is merely additional notes to an otherwise on-topic answer - another thing which is often done in good StackExchange answers. @Darr – Aaron – 2017-12-06T15:44:56.350

1Down-voters, please comment. This is one of the few correct answers, and it's the most thorough. Yet there are incorrect answers sitting at +9 and above right now, some of them very short and probably hit the poor-quality queue automatically by the system. – Aaron – 2017-12-06T17:38:52.313

14I didn't downvote, but I have to admit, this doesn't really add anything. The first three examples, as you noted, have already been given. The next two (Red Dwarf and 12 Monkeys) feature characters who have been to the end of time, but the stories don't actually take place at the end of time, so they don't count. And the non-movie/TV show examples naturally don't count because they aren't movies or TV shows. – F1Krazy – 2017-12-06T17:47:38.020

1@Aaron Well, people already did comment on possible problems with the answer. It's not like people haven't presented possibilities for improvement they saw. All you can do is respond to that (which you did) and hope for the best. But such is the way of broad HNQ trivia. Complaining about other +9 answers here won't get your much farther, unless you leave comments on those answers pointing out their problems. – Napoleon Wilson – 2017-12-06T18:06:23.190

@NapoleonWilson The one person who had commented before had done so long enough ago that I doubted they were the source of the downvote. Also, I have been working on the question, and that comment was done before my answer looked nice. Also, I'm not complaining about the +9 answer I mentioned; in fact, I am glad to see those answers even if they are not strictly correct given the question - I like them because they are still relevant despite not being the farthest in the future. I was merely drawing a comparison when mentioning them. Also, those answers being older helps them as well. – Aaron – 2017-12-06T18:13:15.883

@F1Krazy In 12 Monkeys, which I watched (some parts more than once), I would argue that we did see the end of time. Exactly what was happening is arguable, but that is how I took it. As for Red Dwarf, perhaps you are correct there since OP states "... ever been depicted...". How much was "depicted" in that episode? I'm not sure; I'll look into the Red Dwarf part and improve that if I can. Thank you. – Aaron – 2017-12-06T18:17:04.007

12 Monkeys (the TV show) definitely doesn't count, the parts set "outside of time" are orphaned timelines such as "the house of cedar and pine" and the "end of time" in the context of the show isn't the chronological end of time but rather the destruction of time itself, the whole point of which is that there is no future or past so by definition it can't be "furthest in the future" . The Red Dwarf episode doesn't depict that far future, it all takes place in the normal setting of +3 million years. Your H2G2, Dr Who & Futurama mentions are all covered by others so don't add anything, sorry! – motosubatsu – 2017-12-06T19:54:07.573

@motosubatsu And similar nitpicks can be made about things like Dr. Who's example not really being the furthest in the future either, but to get that philosophical and argumentative doesn't (in my opinion anyway) help either the question or the answers. Your view on the 12 Monkeys issue is one which I do not share; I do admit, however, that it is very debatable. I would argue, as I already did, that the destruction of time constitutes the end (as in, farthest advanced along a direction) of time and therefore is the furthest in the future. You can disagree but that does not invalidate my answer – Aaron – 2017-12-06T21:32:34.723

@motosubatsu Also, even if you disagree with my portrayal of the facts, it does still remain that there are multiple answers to this question which (unlike mine) just flat out plain and simple are not the furthest in the future no matter how you look at it and are not arguable. So why is mine singled out? – Aaron – 2017-12-06T21:35:44.267

5I downvoted this answer, because it contains to much overhead, i.e. does not get to the point (I am not interested in what you did and why, just provide examples with plot summaries) and is not well structured for random access. And I don't understand parts of it. What is "many-way tie"? – problemofficer – 2017-12-06T22:17:22.957

@problemofficer Thank you for your constructive criticism. I made an edit; could you clarify some things please so I can edit more? How is it "not structured for random access" (each part has big bold headings, and each entry is its own paragraph with the title in bold, what else can I do)? I am not sure what about "many-way tie" is confusing, so I will do my best here: a "tie" is when more than one option are equal, so you have two or more first place winners; many is a synonym for "a lot"; and it is normal to state how many tied winners there are, ie: "three-way tie" - does that clear it up? – Aaron – 2017-12-06T22:46:41.040

@Aaron Even if I agreed with your view on 12 Monkeys it still wouldn't count for this question as it is not depicted - the "end of time" that the Traveller and their minion's seek to bring about doesn't happen as they are thwarted from paradoxing a sufficient number of primaries. So your answer only really adds two invalid examples (as neither are depicted) and a lot of vague references to examples other media none of which provides enough specificity to be valid. – motosubatsu – 2017-12-07T10:11:10.373

PS: By "Traveler" I'm assuming that you are referring to the "Witness" - I used your terminology for consistency :) – motosubatsu – 2017-12-07T10:32:51.173

@motosubatsu Oops, you are correct; I incorrectly said Traveler. I will fix that - thank you. As for the other part, I believe that many, if not all, of the weird temporal anomalies and the trippy visions were depictions of the end of time. For any of the anomalies or visions to occur, I believe that the end of time was brought about but that it was changed. It's kind of like physics when you say an electron has a 20% chance of being here or 30% there; a quantum mechanics expert might tell you that both realities are actually, physically true. I think that is how 12 Monkeys timelines are. – Aaron – 2017-12-07T14:51:08.767

3@motosubatsu Also, even if I added zero new content (which I disagree with, but for the sake of argument...), it is still suggested by StackExchange guidelines that coming in to make one answer that is more complete by combining the information of other answers is desired for the SE format. In that regard, SE policy still dictates that my answer is good; of course, that does not disallow you from voting your conscience, as you should. – Aaron – 2017-12-07T14:53:53.893

In 12 Monkeys the only thing that depiction of the "end of time" we saw was the temporal storms, which make it as far as destroying parts of 2044 (including the temporal facility) but time certainly hasn't ended and any damage is undone when Cole prevents the 1957 paradox. Given we subsequently not see the 204x timeline progress as "normal" but we also travel to 2163 I'd be hard pressed to call that the "furthest in the future" for any TV show/movie since it's not even the furthest in the future for that show! – motosubatsu – 2017-12-07T15:57:36.117

The Red Dwarf episode doesn't depict "the end of time" at all, it is only mentioned briefly (and skeptically) as a possible "origin" for the Inquistior so that one's not valid either. Combining info from other answers can indeed be a good thing (although personally I'd consider it bad form not to add new unique content but that's purely my opinion not necessarily that of SE and I wouldn't DV on that basis), adding new content that is wrong or that purports to answer the question but doesn't is what earned it my DV, it's really nothing personal and I actually respect the effort you've put in. – motosubatsu – 2017-12-07T16:01:19.270

@Aaron Oddly enough you appear to be right. I'd suggest taking this up on Meta to clear up the confusion and for the community to decide what to do with such situations it in the future. You have the opportunity here to build the site.

– Mast – 2017-12-09T10:49:30.217