History Main / TimelineAlteringMacguffin

29th Jan '16 10:50:21 AM ChronoLegion
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* In the second episode of ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'', Vandal Savage finds a piece of the 21st-century Atom suit in 1975 Norway. Realizing its importance, he orders his people to reverse-engineer it, killing a scientist who claims that it'll take too long. Back aboard the ''[[TimeMachine Waverider]]'', the "legends" find out that this development will allow Savage to move up his TakeOverTheWorld schedule by a century or so, showing a picture of Central City on fire in 2016.
17th Jan '16 1:45:58 PM NemoSpecific
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Clarifying the author
* "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" is a classic sci-fi short story by Lewis Padgett. A scientist doing an experiment in time travel realises he doesn't have anything to send back, so he grabs some of his children's educational toys and sends them back to 1943 (when the story was written) where they educate a brother and sister how to move into another dimension, which they do before their father's horrified eyes.
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* "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" is a classic sci-fi short story by Henry Kuttner (under the pen name Lewis Padgett.Padgett). A scientist doing an experiment in time travel realises he doesn't have anything to send back, so he grabs some of his children's educational toys and sends them back to 1943 (when the story was written) where they educate a brother and sister how to move into another dimension, which they do before their father's horrified eyes.
11th Dec '15 1:10:17 AM StFan
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]] * Possibly used in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' when [[spoiler:[=Chao Lingshen=] produces what may or may not be a future copy of the Springfield family register]] as the ultimate party-breaking item. Whether it was real or not is irrelevant, since it was destroyed shortly after. She did, however, bring a number of real pieces of information and technology from the future as well.
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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]] * ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'': ** Possibly used in ''MahouSenseiNegima'' when [[spoiler:[=Chao Lingshen=] [[spoiler:Chao Lingshen produces what may or may not be a future copy of the Springfield family register]] as the ultimate party-breaking item. Whether it was real or not is irrelevant, since it was destroyed shortly after. She did, however, bring a number of real pieces of information and technology from the future as well.

[[folder:Comics]] * In ''Comicbook/TheSandman'', people are digging up a bunch of those from an archaeological dig in Crete. Sadly [[spoiler: some of them are explosive.]]
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[[folder:Comics]] [[folder:Comic Books]] * In ''Comicbook/TheSandman'', ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', people are digging up a bunch of those from an archaeological dig in Crete. Sadly [[spoiler: some of them are explosive.]]

[[folder:Film]] * ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture''
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[[folder:Film]] [[folder:Films -- Live-Action]] * ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture''''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'':

* The Jet Engine in ''Film/DonnieDarko'' -- also an example of an (Un)StableTimeLoop and a TemporalParadox. ** Probably one of the soonest 'futures' though- less than one month later. * The arm and CPU from the first Terminator in ''Film/TheTerminator'', left behind in the 1980's, brought about the rise of SKYNET. [[TimeyWimeyBall Well, sometimes.]] In any event, since the Terminator was sent back in time ''by'' SKYNET, this is also a StableTimeLoop...until it's broken by the destruction of the items in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', which doesn't stop SKYNET from rising again in ''Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines'' (where the novelization even implies that despite the destruction of the items, what had already been researched was aprehended by the military leading to SKYNET's creation). Yeah, TimeyWimeyBall.
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* The Jet Engine in ''Film/DonnieDarko'' -- also an example of an (Un)StableTimeLoop and a TemporalParadox. ** TemporalParadox. Probably one of the soonest 'futures' though- "futures", though -- less than one month later. * The arm and CPU from the first Terminator in ''Film/TheTerminator'', left behind in the 1980's, 1980s, brought about the rise of SKYNET. [[TimeyWimeyBall Well, sometimes.]] In any event, since the Terminator was sent back in time ''by'' SKYNET, this is also a StableTimeLoop... until it's broken by the destruction of the items in ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'', which doesn't stop SKYNET from rising again in ''Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines'' (where the novelization even implies that despite the destruction of the items, what had already been researched was aprehended by the military leading to SKYNET's creation). Yeah, TimeyWimeyBall.

*** The nigh-unstoppable warship belonging to the villain is also an example. In its own time period it is merely a mining vessel. Its ability to [[spoiler: blow up planets]] is due to something that they stole [[spoiler: from Spock]]. * The [[LiveActionTV/KamenRiderOOO Cell Medals]] become this in ''Film/OOODenOAllRidersLetsGoKamenRiders''. After Ankh accidentally leaves one in 1971, it falls into the hands of [[BiggerBad Shocker]], who use it to create a monster strong enough to defeat Rider #1 and #2, allowing them to change history and {{Take Over The World}}.
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*** The nigh-unstoppable warship belonging to the villain is also an example. In its own time period it is merely a mining vessel. Its ability to [[spoiler: blow [[spoiler:blow up planets]] is due to something that they stole [[spoiler: from [[spoiler:from Spock]]. * The [[LiveActionTV/KamenRiderOOO [[Series/KamenRiderOOO Cell Medals]] become this in ''Film/OOODenOAllRidersLetsGoKamenRiders''. After Ankh accidentally leaves one in 1971, it falls into the hands of [[BiggerBad [[GreaterScopeVillain Shocker]], who use it to create a monster strong enough to defeat Rider #1 and #2, allowing them to change history and {{Take Over The World}}.

* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Twins'' novels, Caramon bringing a volume detailing events back from [[AfterTheEnd a very dark future]] was the reason Krynn did not falter into an AlternateContinuity where it was utterly destroyed
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* * In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Twins'' novels, Caramon bringing a volume detailing events back from [[AfterTheEnd a very dark future]] was the reason Krynn did not falter into an AlternateContinuity where it was utterly destroyed

* A non-time travel version occurs in the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "A Piece of the Action": A pre-Prime Directive starship 100 years prior had inadvertently left behind a book on Chicago gangs of the 1920s, which caused the civilization in question to develop into the original PlanetOfHats, with a culture based around 1920s gangsterism. After the crew has fixed the entire planet, [=McCoy=] leaves his communicator behind, alarming Kirk who worries that this trope will take effect. "In a few years they could be demanding a piece of ''our'' action!"
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* ''Franchise/StarTrek'': ** A non-time travel version occurs in the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "A Piece of the Action": A pre-Prime Directive starship 100 years prior had inadvertently left behind a book on Chicago gangs of the 1920s, which caused the civilization in question to develop into the original PlanetOfHats, with a culture based around 1920s gangsterism. After the crew has fixed the entire planet, [=McCoy=] leaves his communicator behind, alarming Kirk who worries that this trope will take effect. "In a few years they could be demanding a piece of ''our'' action!"

* ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': ** "Future's End" has a 29th Century timeship that was sent back to 1967. Interestingly, the 29th century technology helps create the "holo-emitter" the Doctor uses for the rest of the series, so the timeship was a TimelineAlteringMacGuffin to the 24th Century as well. ** The final episode leaves the possibility of this trope rather alarmingly dangling overhead. Future Janeway comes back over a decade to bring the crew home, decking out the ship in all kinds of future tech and eventually infecting the Borg Queen with a super nasty future virus. Now, given the Borg's ability to adapt, one can speculate that if they manage to overcome that virus, they would then have adapted to technology and programming the Federation hasn't yet invented. Not only that, but they had already assimilated her shuttle from the future by then, including the armor and the torpedoes. In the ExpandedUniverse novels, specifically ''Literature/StarTrekDestiny'', this comes back to bite them.
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* ** ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'': ** *** "Future's End" has a 29th Century timeship that was sent back to 1967. Interestingly, the 29th century technology helps create the "holo-emitter" the Doctor uses for the rest of the series, so the timeship was a TimelineAlteringMacGuffin to the 24th Century as well. ** *** The final episode leaves the possibility of this trope rather alarmingly dangling overhead. Future Janeway comes back over a decade to bring the crew home, decking out the ship in all kinds of future tech and eventually infecting the Borg Queen with a super nasty future virus. Now, given the Borg's ability to adapt, one can speculate that if they manage to overcome that virus, they would then have adapted to technology and programming the Federation hasn't yet invented. Not only that, but they had already assimilated her shuttle from the future by then, including the armor and the torpedoes. In the ExpandedUniverse novels, specifically ''Literature/StarTrekDestiny'', this comes back to bite them.

[[folder: Video Games ]] * While not exactly a mundane item from the future, the titular ''[[Franchise/TheElderScrolls Elder Scrolls]]'' serve a similar function. They were written by a god and contain records of history: All that has happened, all that will happen (usually in the form of "If X happens, then Y and Z will happen, in that order"). They are extremely hard to read, causing blindness if read too often, but they are used by the emperor to secure the wellbeing of his empire, guiding his course of action.
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[[folder: Video Games ]] [[folder:Video Games]] * ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': ** While not exactly a mundane item from the future, the titular ''[[Franchise/TheElderScrolls title Elder Scrolls]]'' Scrolls serve a similar function. They were written by a god and contain records of history: All that has happened, all that will happen (usually in the form of "If X happens, then Y and Z will happen, in that order"). They are extremely hard to read, causing blindness if read too often, but they are used by the emperor to secure the wellbeing of his empire, guiding his course of action.

*** What's more, they are absolutely and utterly immutable, such that they can change history, just by being read. In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' the ultimate thieves guild quest involves stealing one in order to break a Daedric curse.
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*** ** What's more, they are absolutely and utterly immutable, such that they can change history, just by being read. In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'' the ultimate thieves guild quest involves stealing one in order to break a Daedric curse.

* In ''SDGundamGGeneration DS'', the cast of ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' travels back in time to try and prevent the apocalyptic "Dark History" from coming to pass. Unfortunately, [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Gihren Zabi]] gets his hands on the Dark History data, which allows him to produce an army of super-mecha equipped with knockoffs of the Turn A's GrayGoo weapon.
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* In ''SDGundamGGeneration ''VideoGame/SDGundamGGeneration DS'', the cast of ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' travels back in time to try and prevent the apocalyptic "Dark History" from coming to pass. Unfortunately, [[Anime/MobileSuitGundam Gihren Zabi]] gets his hands on the Dark History data, which allows him to produce an army of super-mecha equipped with knockoffs of the Turn A's GrayGoo weapon.

* In a ''SuperFriends'' episode, the Superfriends are able to find the Legion of Doom by traveling to the year 7000 and finding a future almanac, which they simply look up the year when the Legion of Doom took over the future (the past?) in the year 3984. By the end of the episode they keep it. * One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' had Stan go back in time to prevent Creator/JaneFonda from ruining Christmas (in his opinion). A tape of disco's greatest hits is accidentally left behind, where it's discovered by the past version of Roger the Alien, who becomes insanely rich and then goes broke riding the rise and fall of the disco trend. ** In the end of the episode, the family complains that Roger is whining about disco, ''again'' (something he never did before in the series.)
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* In a ''SuperFriends'' ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'' episode, the Superfriends are able to find the Legion of Doom by traveling to the year 7000 and finding a future almanac, which they simply look up the year when the Legion of Doom took over the future (the past?) in the year 3984. By the end of the episode they keep it. * One episode of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' had Stan go back in time to prevent Creator/JaneFonda from ruining Christmas (in his opinion). A tape of disco's greatest hits is accidentally left behind, where it's discovered by the past version of Roger the Alien, who becomes insanely rich and then goes broke riding the rise and fall of the disco trend. ** trend. In the end of the episode, the family complains that Roger is whining about disco, ''again'' (something he never did before in the series.)

27th Oct '15 10:27:14 PM MadCat221
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[[caption-width-right:220:Just bet on the winner and you'll never lose.]]
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[[caption-width-right:220:Just [[caption-width-right:350:Just bet on the winner and you'll never lose.]]
27th Oct '15 10:27:06 PM MadCat221
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[[caption-width-right:220:Just bet on the winner and you'll never lose.]]
18th Sep '15 4:42:37 PM eroock
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bttf_sports_almanac.jpg]]
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.[[quoteright:350:[[Film/BackToTheFuturePartII http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bttf_sports_almanac.jpg]] jpg]]]]
18th Sep '15 4:41:41 PM eroock
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bttf_sports_almanac.jpg]]
17th Sep '15 8:24:53 AM Morgenthaler
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Added namespaces.
* In ''ArtemisFowl: The Eternity Code'' Artemis steals some fairy technology (which is at least 20 years ahead of human tech), builds a computer out of it, and offers to sell it to a ruthless multi-billionaire. Said billionaire then steals the computer and shoots Butler. [[spoiler: He gets better.]]
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* In ''ArtemisFowl: ''Literature/ArtemisFowl: The Eternity Code'' Artemis steals some fairy technology (which is at least 20 years ahead of human tech), builds a computer out of it, and offers to sell it to a ruthless multi-billionaire. Said billionaire then steals the computer and shoots Butler. [[spoiler: He gets better.]]

* In the sequel to ''TheBookOfNightWithMoon'', a spin-off of the ''YoungWizards'' series, a book on modern-day engineering gets sent back into an AlternateUniverse [[VictorianLondon Victorian England]], enabling the British Empire to rapidly develop many forms of modern-day technology. Including nukes. * This trope is played around with in ''ThePendragonAdventure''. Generally, taking an item from one territory to another is said to cause disaster and allow Saint Dane to win. This first occurs in ''The Merchant of Death'', the very first book, when Bobby ignores this warning and [[spoiler: gives the Milago tribe all the necessary parts to make an atomic bomb]]. Saint Dane is sometimes shown as doing this as well, such as in ''Black Water'' where he [[spoiler: uses a poison from another territory to try and poison the locals]], but in the very same novel, the protagonists use [[spoiler: the antidote from the same territory as the poison]] to foil his plot. It goes so far as to have Bobby give the people of Ibara [[spoiler: weapons from Quillan to defeat an army of Quillan dado robots, who themselves were attacking Ibara on skimmers from Cloral]]. * In the ''{{Dragonlance}} Twins'' novels, Caramon bringing a volume detailing events back from [[AfterTheEnd a very dark future]] was the reason Krynn did not falter into an AlternateContinuity where it was utterly destroyed
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* In the sequel to ''TheBookOfNightWithMoon'', ''Literature/TheBookOfNightWithMoon'', a spin-off of the ''YoungWizards'' ''Literature/YoungWizards'' series, a book on modern-day engineering gets sent back into an AlternateUniverse [[VictorianLondon Victorian England]], enabling the British Empire to rapidly develop many forms of modern-day technology. Including nukes. * This trope is played around with in ''ThePendragonAdventure''.''Literature/ThePendragonAdventure''. Generally, taking an item from one territory to another is said to cause disaster and allow Saint Dane to win. This first occurs in ''The Merchant of Death'', the very first book, when Bobby ignores this warning and [[spoiler: gives the Milago tribe all the necessary parts to make an atomic bomb]]. Saint Dane is sometimes shown as doing this as well, such as in ''Black Water'' where he [[spoiler: uses a poison from another territory to try and poison the locals]], but in the very same novel, the protagonists use [[spoiler: the antidote from the same territory as the poison]] to foil his plot. It goes so far as to have Bobby give the people of Ibara [[spoiler: weapons from Quillan to defeat an army of Quillan dado robots, who themselves were attacking Ibara on skimmers from Cloral]]. * In the ''{{Dragonlance}} ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Twins'' novels, Caramon bringing a volume detailing events back from [[AfterTheEnd a very dark future]] was the reason Krynn did not falter into an AlternateContinuity where it was utterly destroyed

* In ''The Hanged Man'' episode of ''{{Journeyman}}'', a digital camera Dan accidentally left in the early 1980s causes technology to leap far forward when he returns to modern times -- including a family member being wiped from existence because of a "nanotech accident" on the day of his conception.
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* In ''The Hanged Man'' episode of ''{{Journeyman}}'', ''Series/{{Journeyman}}'', a digital camera Dan accidentally left in the early 1980s causes technology to leap far forward when he returns to modern times -- including a family member being wiped from existence because of a "nanotech accident" on the day of his conception.
6th Jul '15 10:03:09 AM nombretomado
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* In ''LoisAndClark'', after the first time Tempus was defeated, he was left in the past, where he wrote a diary a man would eventually use to become wealthy by investing in oil, plastic and computers. Later, that man's [[TheUnfavorite unfavorite son]] used the diary to blackmail {{Superman}} into stealing from the man's other son. According to this VillainOfTheWeek, Tempus was either a man from the future or a fortuneteller good enough to put [[FortuneTeller Nostradamus]] to shame. * ''{{Misfits}}'' has an episode where an elderly Jewish man with time travel powers tries to go back and kill Hitler. [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct That ends badly]], but Hitler manages to retrieve the man's cell phone from him before the man gets sent back to his time, leading to a future where the Nazis have taken over Britain due to technological superiority. [[TooDumbToLive Why the man went back in time with both his cellphone and a letter explaining he was going back in time to kill Hitler (instead of leaving the letter behind in case he failed to return) is not explained]].
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* In ''LoisAndClark'', ''Series/LoisAndClark'', after the first time Tempus was defeated, he was left in the past, where he wrote a diary a man would eventually use to become wealthy by investing in oil, plastic and computers. Later, that man's [[TheUnfavorite unfavorite son]] used the diary to blackmail {{Superman}} into stealing from the man's other son. According to this VillainOfTheWeek, Tempus was either a man from the future or a fortuneteller good enough to put [[FortuneTeller Nostradamus]] to shame. * ''{{Misfits}}'' ''Series/{{Misfits}}'' has an episode where an elderly Jewish man with time travel powers tries to go back and kill Hitler. [[HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct That ends badly]], but Hitler manages to retrieve the man's cell phone from him before the man gets sent back to his time, leading to a future where the Nazis have taken over Britain due to technological superiority. [[TooDumbToLive Why the man went back in time with both his cellphone and a letter explaining he was going back in time to kill Hitler (instead of leaving the letter behind in case he failed to return) is not explained]].
26th May '15 8:15:15 AM erforce
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* In the first draft of ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' Marty revealed to 1955 Doc that all his crazy inventions could be cheaply powered with Coca-Cola (ItMakesSenseInContext... [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum well, almost]]) so when he traveled back to 1985 he actually ended in an alternate reality where everything was a {{Zeerust}} 50's rendition of the future, with hovering cars and robots everywhere powered by Coca-Cola. The dystopic part? [[ALittleSomethingWeCallRockAndRoll No Rock and Roll!]] * The Gray's Sports Almanac in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'', which allowed Biff Tannen to become wealthy through using the information from the 2015 Gray's Sports Almanac that his future self brought to him in 1955 to make bets on the outcomes of sporting events.
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* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'' ** In the first draft of ''Film/BackToTheFuture'' Marty revealed to 1955 Doc that all his crazy inventions could be cheaply powered with Coca-Cola (ItMakesSenseInContext... [[ItRunsOnNonsensoleum well, almost]]) so when he traveled back to 1985 he actually ended in an alternate reality where everything was a {{Zeerust}} 50's rendition of the future, with hovering cars and robots everywhere powered by Coca-Cola. The dystopic part? [[ALittleSomethingWeCallRockAndRoll No Rock and Roll!]] * ** The Gray's Sports Almanac in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'', which allowed Biff Tannen to become wealthy through using the information from the 2015 Gray's Sports Almanac that his future self brought to him in 1955 to make bets on the outcomes of sporting events.
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