If you've ever made a serious mistake in life, then you've wondered what it would be like to change things back to the way they were. Questions like "What advice would you give your younger self?" or "What would you change if you could go back in time?" have not only enticed people for years, but they've also made us wonder if messing with time is actually a good thing. Recently, Barry Allen has made a truly enormous mess of things on The CW's The Flash by travelling back in time and altering the timeline. This meddling has led to many fans —and many characters, too — regarding #Flashpoint as a huge mistake on Barry's part.
Time traveling is no mean feat, and it's this complexity which intrigues us and makes us race to the theaters whenever a sci-fi blockbuster brings that possibility to life. The number of movies and TV shows focused on time-traveling is huge, but there have been those which gave the idea of interacting with the past a whole new meaning. And so, to celebrate this year's 'Pretend to be a time traveler day' (yes, this is a thing!), here are six times in which life time traveling has made life much better.
Let's just get this out of the way, shall we?
#BarryAllen may be the fastest man alive, but he harbored some serious abandonment issues because of the death of his mother, and his father's subsequent imprisonment. He was raised by another family, visited his father in jail and mourned his mother, simply because he was powerless to change things — until he wasn't. The Speed Force allowed Barry to run back in time and experience a totally different life, one in which both of his parents were alive and well. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Barry leapt at the chance to reunite with his family.
I'm not even gonna pretend that, because of his time traveling, Barry didn't screw up the lives of his friends — or the timeline itself, for that matter. But, what many fans (and Cisco) seem to have a huge problem wrapping their heads around is that this experience actually made Barry a much better hero. By living — and abandoning — the life he'd always wanted, he learned to value and cherish his 'normal' life in a much more profound way. He understood the sacrifices that each member of Team Flash has had to make, and he also figured out that changing the past wouldn't make him a better hero — but making choices for the benefit of everyone would. In the wise words of #OliverQueen:
"Changes happen; tragedy happens. People make choices and those choices have consequences. You're not a God, Barry."
Back To The Future
If going back in time to save his mother led Barry to lose the support of his friends, imagine what making his mom fall in love with him would've done! Marty McFly saw his own existence threatened when he traveled back in time — with the help of Dr. Emmett Brown's #Delorian — and inadvertently caused his mother to fall madly in love with him, instead of falling for his father. McFly learned the hard way not to mess with the past, and his mission became to make his mother notice his father, so that McFly himself could exist one day.
The danger of being erased from the timeline was averted when McFly successfully repaired the damage he caused, and was able to join his parents — but he managed to change more than that. Marty's time-meddling shenanigans instilled his father with self-confidence and his mother became a more secure woman for it, which led them to be better parents to Marty and his siblings. So, when McFly went #BackToTheFuture, he realized that he'd changed everything — for the better.
Legends Of Tomorrow
Time-masters exist for the sole purpose of keeping the timeline intact, and protecting it against any 'time-pirates' who interfere with the past or the future. That is why Captain Hunt is always so adamant about the #LegendsOfTomorrow not meddling with events that have already happened as they travel through time — but the Legends seem to have a harder time sticking to Hunt's plan. Time and again, they interact with people and change events, causing time anomalies that, ultimately, ripple through their own lives.
Case in point: Dr. Martin Stein. Dr. Stein has interacted with his younger self more times than any other Legend. However, because of his terrible need for control, he ended up giving some piece of advice to the young Dr. Stein that led to an anomaly: a daughter he never had. Stein's initial stance was to reject his daughter but, as he spent some time with her, he saw her brilliance and ingenuity, and understood she was a gift to him, rather than a problem that needed to be erased.
Imagine having a remote control that could rewind and fast forward any moment of your life? That's exactly the 'gift' Michael Newman got while buying an universal remote. Mike was a workaholic, who spent way too much time focusing on his job, and not enough focusing on his loved ones. He missed family reunions, had silly arguments with his wife Donna, and neglected his children — and continued to do so even after he got the remote. Instead of using it to have more time with his family, he used it for work — skipping ahead to a promotion or using the language button to help him with international clients.
After a roller-coaster of emotional moments and decades of bad decisions, Mike finally saw what he'd been missing all along by not valuing time spent with his family. Given a second chance to return in time to before he got the remote, Mike made better use of his time, sharing moments with his kids and with his family rather than working 24/7.
If you're a historian — like Citizen Steel from Legends of Tomorrow — then the possibility of being a time traveler must be truly enticing. For Claire Randall, a nurse from the 1940s, traveling back in time to 1743 and finding herself in the middle of the Jacobite war wasn't so fun. In #Outlander, she magically journeyed back in time through the stone circle of Craig Na Dun, and she had to quickly adjust and adapt to her new reality.
Of course, Claire managed to make it work — especially after she found love with the dashing Jamie Fraser, a Highlander with a knack for finding trouble. As time passed, Claire finally realized that she'd found her true home in Jamie and Scotland, and she then proceeded to try and help the Jacobites win the decisive Battle of Culloden — and change the future of Scotland forever.
Dr. Stephen Strange thought he had it all: more money than he could ever spend, the love of a devoted woman and all the success that comes with being the best neurosurgeon there is. But when he lost everything because of a car accident, #DorctorStrange refused to give up the idea that he'd one day be fully healed. That's how he found Kamar-Taj, a secret and mysterious compound led by the Ancient One — a powerful sorcerer who could manipulate magic and even harness energy from other dimensions. There, Stephen Strange underwent training to learn how to elevate his mind and heal his body, but he also got thrown in the middle of a very dangerous war between the Ancient One and Kaecillius.
Strange constantly questioned the Ancient One, and why he was prohibited from meddling with time magic. Eventually, after battling with Kaecillius himself and losing the Ancient One, Strange figured out a way to use time magic to save the planet from Dormammu's dark dimension. Not only did Strange save the day, but he also realized there was much more to life than the material things he had before; hence, he decided to forgo healing his hands in order to continue protecting humanity from dark forces.
Fancy #TimeTraveling? Here's more:
- Exploring The Science Behind 'Arrival': Is It Really Possible To Do What Louise Banks Did?
- What Is The FlashPoint Paradox?
Like anything which affects the lives of others, time traveling and has some serious and dangerous implications, but it can also be used for the greater good. Humanity is still eons away from making time traveling a reality but (before we start making a list of things we would change if that were possible), let's celebrate this 'Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day' with these examples of how time traveling can be awesome — if you make the right choices.
Pretend you are a time traveler today: where would you travel back (or forward) to in time? Let me know in the comments!