Created By: fishsicles on October 5, 2009

Make Wrong What Once Went Right

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Most time travelers have a motivation. It is just sometimes, it is not to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Many are out to do the exact opposite: Set Wrong What Once Went Right. They could be anything from a time-traveling Stupid Jetpack Hitler, a (not necessarily but usually) Magnificent Bastard who wants to rearrange history in his favor, or a Jerk Ass who decides to mess with time For the Lulz. Sometimes a traveler with these goals is a protagonist: in this case, they are generally of the third kind. When paired up or teamed with a more ethical time traveler (in any sense of "paired up"), hilarity can ensue.

Note that it does not need to be 'setting wrong' from the point of view of the traveler himself, e.g. a time-traveling Neo-Nazi from the year 4242 would have no qualms with making the Nazis win WWII.

Examples: Star Trek: Enterprise is full of this, what with their Temporal Cold War and all. The entire third season is riddled with malicious time travel. Ironically, STE has the same lead actor as Quantum Leap, the Trope Namer for Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • October 5, 2009
    • This was once a plot point in Animorphs, with a villain getting hold of the Time Matrix and trying to alter human history so Earth would be easier for the Yeerks to conquer.
  • October 6, 2009
    • Star Trek First Contact. The Borg go back in time to try to prevent the first contact between Vulcan and Earth that led to the formation of the Federation.

    • Dean Koontz's Lightning. Nazis try to change history so they can win World War 2.
    • Harry Turtledove's Guns of the South. Time traveling racist Afrikaaners aid the South so it wins The American Civil War.
    • Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World. The arch villain "He" tries to change the past to eliminate the Special Corps, the only organization capable of thwarting him.

    Tabletop RPG
    • Pacesetter Games' Timemaster game. The alien Demoreans are trying to change humanity's past to bring their twisted schemes to fruition.
    • In GURPS Time Travel, two possible futures (represented by the Timepiece and Stopwatch organizations) try to prevent each from coming into existence by manipulating past events.

    This sort of activity is often opposed by the Time Police.
  • October 6, 2009
    random surfer
    • In Quantum Leap there was a story arc with an "Evil Leaper" whose job was to set wrong what once went right (or what Sam set right anyway).
    • Jack Harper, Tru Davies's Evil Counterpart - or Tru herself. It's complicated. Tru goes back in time 24 hours to save someone who died in the "original" reality, Jack tries to make sure reality doesn't change. Which one is "good" and which is "evil" can be argued.
  • October 6, 2009
    Idler 2.0
    Big Wolf On Campus had a Russian agent go through a time portal to make his country win the Cold War.
  • October 6, 2009
    In Soon I Will Be Invincible, Lily started out trying to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Then she succeeded, realized she liked things better the other way, and became supervillain in the past to try to mess things up again.
  • October 6, 2009
    In the Kim Possible special a Sitch in Time, the main villains try to use time-travel to prevent Kim from becoming a hero.
  • October 7, 2009
    The Pocket
    Oh y'mean like in Back To The Future Part II when Biff goes back in time to make "himself" rich? It doesn't turn out quite how he planned...
  • October 7, 2009
    On Flint The Time Detective, the main characters went back in time to fix the problems caused in the time line when the Time Shifters were scattered. However, the villain, Petrafina, while going to the past to get the Shifter for her boss, usually planned to use the Shifter's power for her own gain in whatever particular time period she was in.
  • October 7, 2009
    The Meddling Monk from Doctor Who wanted to mess with history just to see what would happen. He planned to wipe out the Viking fleet with atomic bazookas, thereby leaving King Harold and his troops fresh when they fough the Norman invasion in 1066.
  • October 7, 2009
    It's possible to do this in Chrononauts. While some of the changes players can make to history are beneficial, they can lead to some undesired side effects. Most notably, sabotaging the Manhattan Project and Sputnik opens the door for the Cuban Missile Crisis to transform into a full-blown, humanity-annihilating World War 3...which is just fine as far as Squa Tront, the hyperintelligent cockroach from a fallout-mutated future, is concerned.
  • October 19, 2009