Teenage Homer on the left: "I've gotta ask: What happened?! Was I in a forest fire or something?"
"Oh man! I'm going to look like crap!"
So you're a travelin' in time
, as you do, when suddenly! Ooh, it's future you! Only... you're different. And not in a good way. If you were cool, maybe The Hero
(or the Alpha Bitch
), then you discover you've become really lame
. Conversely, if you're the Plucky Comic Relief
or someone similar, older you is a badass
... a scary
badass. Or worse (arguably
), your future self could be evil
. Milder versions simply result in a persona change which bugs you.
Alternatively, you're the same as ever, and boy, can meeting yourself make you see why others are annoyed by you
. Maybe it's not you
that bugs you so much as your change in social standing
. This may lead to you arguing with yourself.
Moral of the story? If you're a time traveller, never meet up with yourself
. (And were you always that fat?)
Commonly used in concert with Bad Future
and Ominous Message from the Future
. See also Mirror Universe
, Evil Me Scares Me
, Future Badass
, Future Loser
. Compare Amnesiac Dissonance
, Other Me Annoys Me
and I Hate Past Me
, where your own past shocks you.
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- A few of the Montana Meth Project ads have serious examples of this (i.e. Bathtub, Laundromat, and That Guy).
Anime and Manga
- The Big Finish Doctor Who episode, "Season of Fear" has the Doctor and Charley being followed through time by the immortal antagonist, Sebastian Grayle. At the end of the story, the original Grayle (before he was made immortal) meets his future self, and he is scared and disgusted by the way the older him acts. So much so, that he saves the day by killing his future self.
- In a Story Arc of the Teen Titans comic, the Titans get dropped ten years in the future, and are more than a little disturbed to find that, in addition to replacing their mentors and becoming Darker and Edgier, their future selves are the dictatorial rulers of half of what used to be the United States. The future Titans are equally disturbed by meeting their "naive" past selves.
- Played for all it is worth in a post-Zero Hour issue of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes when the Time Trapper confronted the Legion with just about every possible future and alternate reality version of themselves imaginable. Most of the duplicate Legionnaires get along fine, but others are either villainous, harder and more cynical than their counterparts, or just plain embarrassing.
- Subverted in a pre-Zero Hour issue of LSH v.4 (#40, to be specific) wherein the younger "temporal duplicate" of sweet, shy, and very feminine Salu Digby, aka Shrinking Violet, is initially horrified at the sight of her older counterpart, a (very) butch lesbian. Once they get to talking, though, the younger Salu decides that "I guess I do hope I turn out a lot like you, after all."
- The Incredible Hulk once had to overthrow his tyrannical future self, the Maestro.
- Similarly, when Iron Man and Doctor Doom were stuck in 2093, they were not at all pleased with their future namesakes. The villainous future Iron Man was just a relative of Tony's, but the future Doom was Doom himself, a century older and much the worse for wear. Doom killed him without hesitation and walked away vowing never to become "that".
- Victor wasn't pleased when he also met Doom 2099.
- Most extreme version of this is done by the author Dan Abnett. And can be summed up as "Future self comes back to kill me" In the Durham Red comic, and also in a special edition of Warhammer Monthly comic, in this case, with the main character of the Malus Darkblade series.
- Adam Warlock was captured by his mad future self The Magus; after escaping, he soul-sucked a nearer-future self to make sure The Magus was definitely dead.
- A long running story in Black Panther had a sort of subversion and played straight with. The future Black Panther was an intentional throwback homage to a Silver Age characterization by creator Jack Kirby during Panther's original solo series, which was more light adventure, then his at the time serious personality. The problem was that said future Black Panther was at the final stages of a fatal brain aneurysm ailment, losing his mind and Panther at the time himself was just starting to get the same symptoms.
- It turns out that Iron Lad of the Young Avengers is actually a teenaged Kang the Conqueror, who ran away from his future self because he didn't want to become a villain. Inverted in that his older self is the more established character, rather than vice versa, and it turns out that all the characters have to let him become evil, to even attempt to change the future would cause irreversible damage to the timestream.
- In The Children's Crusade, Iron Lad is still determined to Screw Destiny on this point, convincing himself that his timeline has been messed with sufficiently that he's not from the same history as his apparent future self. So he's particularly worried when he visits a timeline with a version of his villainous persona who still works with the former Young Avengers.
- Darkseid once met his future self. And was disappointed enough to kill him with Omega Beams.
- Superboy Prime met and attacked his future self, because... he didn't like his old face and beard. If he hadn't judged people by their looks, he could have been amazed by the fact that his future self was the Time Trapper.
- Impulse is not at all pleased to discover his future self in Dark Tomorrow is a violent, Darker and Edgier hero who is no longer on speaking terms with his then-girlfriend and seems to be more lenient about the Thou Shall Not Kill rule than present-Imp.
- Although even evil future versions of Impulse (he's met several) tend to be nicer than the evil versions of his companions.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Comics: the Future Willow...'nuff said!
- Though they haven't met, when young Marcus Langston got his hands on a book that contains all stories of everybody in the Universe, he read his own story and was horrified with the revelation that he was going to become a junkie and criminal, so he rewrote it, making himself a superhero and member of Youngblood - Sentinel
- In Ed Brubaker's The Authority run, Midnighter is contacted by a future version of Apollo and warned that he has to leave the team or he will kill Jack Hawksmoor, go insane and become the undisputed genocidal ruler of future earth. It turns out to be part of a Evil Plan by Henry Bendix to disband the Authority, but still...
- Subverted in Runaways: Most kids would be thrilled to hear that they're destined to lead the Avengers, but Gert calls her future self boring and insists that she'll never become that woman And since she ends up getting killed by a group of kids trying to become the next Pride, she turns out to be right. Victor would be a straightforward example of this trope, except that he's never actually met his villainous future self. Just hearing about him is enough to give the boy nightmares, though.
- Back to the time-traveling warlord Kang the Conqueror, for the longest, er, time, he shudders at the thought that he will eventually become the "doddering old scholar" Immortus. In the Avengers Forever limited series, this changes when Immortus is killed and then is brought back as Kang's alternate self and no longer as his future self. Needless to say, Kang is pleased by the turn of events.
- Battling with his past and future selves seems to be Kang's biggest motivation most of the time. If it's not Immortus, it's the Scarlet Centurion, or Pharaoh Rama Tut, or Iron-lad.
- And this trope is even played further by the limited series as particular characters aren't too happy with how things will turn out for them, or how they will turn into. Of particular note is Rick Jones, who meets a one-armed future version of him who is bonded with a Captain Marvel he doesn't like too well. Another version of this trope is how the Avengers find out the possible not-so-pleasant aspects of the legacy they will leave for the rest of the galaxy.
- Subverted by Franklin Richards in Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four - Present Franklin and Future Adult Franklin get along great, happily calling each other Kid Franklin and Mister Franklin. Then again, Franklin has the power of being superhumanly well-adjusted, far more than any kid who's been repeatedly kidnapped, has seen every one of his relatives die at least once, sometimes possesses godlike powers, and was once trapped in hell has any right to be.
- Played straight with his sister Valeria in the same story and her very similar adult self.
- Played straight in one crossover with the X-Factor, New Mutants and the Fantastic Four where the ghost of the Franklin Richards from Days of Future Past goes on a rampage of Reality Warping.
- Early on in All-New X-Men, the X-Men first class from the past (particularly Scott and Warren) get this reaction upon seeing their future selves (save for Jean, for obvious reasons). Warren, in particular, is horrified to find out that, somewhere down the line, he'll degenerate into an amnesiac Man Child with techno-organic wings and, even after they both save Avengers Tower from an out-of-nowhere HYDRA attack, teen Warren messes with present Beast's time-travelling device in the middle of a Heroic BSOD just so he can go back to the past. He's only stopped because Jean mentally manipulates his emotions just in time.
- Young Loki's biggest fear is to become like his past self, so everybody can imagine his horror, when the Big Bad of his solo series turned out to be a future version of him, who did just that. Except that he lost the aversion to technology and became more pop-cultured... which arguably made him worse.
- Lost Christmas has Goose and Anthony. Goose thinks Anthony is a nutter because of his powers, but they're really there to make sure Goose (good future) exists and Anthony (bad future) doesn't.
- The Lost in Space movie had Doctor Smith who thought he was rather evil until he met himself 20 years in the future as a half-mutated spider bent on destroying all of humanity. His future self is also less than impressed with him: "I never liked me, anyway."
- In Zathura, the Astronaut is a helpful if scarily intense young man who turns out to be the older self of one of the main characters, who came back in time to stop himself from wishing his younger brother out of existence and thus being trapped in the game world forever.
- Back to the Future: Part II features Jennifer unwittingly running into her future self and passing out in shock after gasping "I'm old!" Also, Old Biff meets his teenage self.
- Even funnier, Jennifer's future self happens to pass out in shock gasping, "I'm young!"
- Old Biff is pretty scary, given that that version of Biff has just as much of a temper as young Biff, with bitterness that's been marinating for decades added in.
- Jennifer also has a similar reaction to the sight of her future boyfriend/husband, Marty - he is unbelievably different than the guy that she's in love with in 1985. Marty himself never sees his future self, but he learns enough in Part III to avert the accident that sent him down that path.
- In Click, Adam Sandler's character is disgusted when he sees his future self cold-heartedly dismiss his father (twisting the knife even further, this is the last time he saw his dad, not even being there when he died). He even calls his future self "pathetic".
- It seems that it's subverted in Click, since Adam Sandler's character's body goes into "autopilot" in the jumps where he fast-forwards to the future. While his conscious self comes back into his body at short intervals, he becomes horrified at how things turned out while he was "away", and his unconscious body acts mechanically and treats his loved ones callously. It's more of a Future Me-When-Not-Me Scares Me.
- Triangle is pretty much made out of this trope. A woman on a boat trapped in a series of time loops becomes convinced that time only loops whenever everyone else on the ship is dead, so to save all her friends she has to kill all her friends. Naturally, Killer Jess comes off as an utter nutball to First-Time Jess, yet it seems like the Sanity Slippage is inevitable...
- In Looper, Joe's dislike of his future self becomes outright fear and disgust when Old Joe starts murdering children in an attempt to avert Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act.
- Disney's The Kid is about a guy meeting his eight-year-old self, who can't believe he grows up to be a Workaholic Jerk Ass.
- The Garfunkel And Oates song "29/31". It follows a woman at the ages of 29 and 31; her 29-year-old self is an idealistic Naïve Everygirl while her 31-year-old self is a cynical Deadpan Snarker, having realized her life didn't go as well as she expected it to. Her older self (played by Riki) is annoyed by her younger self (played by Kate), while her younger self is horrified by what she has become.
- Silent Hill:
- In Silent Hill 2 James stumbles into a room with a man in a chair, staring into a tv that has nothing on it. Upon examination, he looks and sees it's him, brutally murdered.◊ The creators said they put this there to scare players by showing that this could very well happen to James.
- Other people on the team, however, have claimed they simply reused James' model for the man in the chair because they were lazy and didn't think anyone would notice.
- In Silent Hill 4: The Room Young Walter is terrified when he meets the serial killer he will eventually become.
- In Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the duo travel 100 years forward in time to find that Sam is then wheelchair bound and suffers from dementia. Although present Sam is not visibly perturbed, he does remark later: "Good. Just wanted to check my dementia wasn't setting in early."
- In Mega Man II for the Game Boy, Wily travels to the future and kidnaps Mega Man, brings him back, and reprograms him into the villainous Quint. One wonders what would have happened to the space-time continuum if Quint had successfully destroyed the present Mega Man...
- And why he just can't do that to the present day Mega Man.
- World of Warcraft has a quest in which you meet Future You (who is wearing the same gear you are, of course). After the success of the battle he tells you to "get better gear," which one could find annoying.
- Bizarrely, one of Future You's comments is, "I can't believe I used to wear that."
- Future You can say other things as well, like "When you get to the party with the gnome and the furblog, DON'T DRINK THE PUNCH!"
- Past You can say stuff like "Ew. Look at your gear. Have you even been raiding?" and parts with you with "Thanks. No offense, but I'm gonna make sure I turn out better than you."
- Other random conversations have Future You admit to a drinking problem because of how much a loser they were at your level. Inversely Past You may complain about how bad your gear is still and say they're gonna get drunk.
- It is possible to do these two quests immediately back-to-back. WoW characters are vigorously and formidably psychotic.
- Another example is the Infinite Dragonflight, who are bronze dragons corrupted by the Old Gods after a Bad Future. Their leader is Murozond AKA Nozdormu, driven insane by being cursed to see the future up to and including his death.
- A similar case in the fourth Final Fantasy XI expansion, Wings of the Goddess, in which Lady Lilith is an evil alternate dark future version of Lilisette and her fourth Spitewarden is you, wearing the same gear from the waist up.
- Played with in Retro Game Challenge, where a young Shinya Arino is shocked when you go back in time and tell him about the Evil Overlord-lite he grows up to become in your era.
- Averted in Jak II: Renegade. Old Samos and Young Samos never stop arguing, and young Jak is one of the few people to get along with older, phlebotinum rebel Jak.
- Bayonetta: Cereza, Bayonetta's past self, seems a bit scared of Bayonetta from time to time.
- Cereza is oblivious of the fact Bayonetta is her future self though. Not only that, but she also likes Bayonetta, seeing her as a mother figure ("You're the best, mommy!")
- In inFamous, just before he dies, the Big Bad Kessler reveals to Cole that he's actually Cole from the future. This shocks Cole, for obvious reasons.
- In BlazBlue, there are very few people that give the cold as ice Jin Kisaragi pause. One of them is the Knight in Shining Armor, Hakumen, who's been around for the last century or so: a being that Jin became in an alternate version of the "Groundhog Day" Loop. In another way, Ragna the Bloodedge also has this issue. He's actually one of the two components of the Black Beast, the Eldritch Abomination that destroyed half of the world in the distant past. When he's sent back in time in one of the sidestories, he dies by being absorbed into it while keeping it at bay for a whole year.
- In the first Marvel: Ultimate Alliance game, Doctor Doom—in addition to being being the Big Bad—is also a downloadable character or can be gotten through the Gold Edition (both exclusive to the X-Box 360). If you have the playable Doom in your party when you meet the boss Doom, it's revealed that boss Doom is from the future. As mentioned in the examples in "Comic Books", playable Doom wasn't happy with his future self.
- In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, the Big Bad is revealed to be Peter Parker's future self, who has gone insane due to the death of all of his loved ones and the use of an anti-aging drug he used to allow himself to be alive in 2099. He planned on reshaping the universe in his own image in order to fix his past mistakes.
- A bizarre variant occurs in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: the villain is a Raidou Kuzunoha from a post-Shin Megami Tensei II future, trying to prevent said future from coming about by turning Taisho-era Japan into a world superpower through supernatural means.
- In Super Robot Wars Z, during the Dark History reveal, Ryoma Nagare from Getter Robo sees a fearsome machine that resembles a Getter, and a wild-eyed, ferocious version of himself who actually scares him. The prevalent fan theory was that he saw Batshit Ryoma and Shin Getter from Getter Robo Armageddon; this was confirmed when Armageddon was announced for the sequel.
- In Tales of Majeyal when playing as a time warden, your psychotic future self shows up to kill you. If he succeeds it also counts as a Grandfather Paradox.
- Even Dr. Robotnik/Dr. Eggman gets this in Sonic Generations. Even though the two of them are working together and are collectively the game's Big Bad, Robotnik looks at Eggman's behavior with puzzlement and asks "Wow. Will I really get that crazy?" At the very end of the game when Robotnik learns that Eggman has never defeated Sonic, he gets depressed and decides to go for a teaching degree instead.
- Played for Laughs in Yoshi's Island DS: Baby Bowser throws a tantrum upon learning that, when he grows up, he'll still be a loser wanting to take over the world.
- In Star Trek Online, a Federation player will confront the Klingon B'Vat during the Star Trek: The Original Series era. He reveals that he met the version of himself from your time frame and is greatly embarrassed by his appearance. He asks you to go kill him, as it would probably be the most honorable thing.
- In Tales of Xillia 2, Elle's father, Victor, is an alternate future version of Ludger. Victor turns out to have murdered all of that timeline's incarnations of Ludger's friends, used his daughter to lure Ludger to his timeline, and intends to kill Ludger and then commit murder-suicide with Elle so they can be reincarnated together in the prime dimension. "Future me scares me" is a bit of an understatement.
- In Superosity, character Boardy (an amnesiac super-being who isn't sure if he's an alien or a robot) has met a future version of himself who is a crazy, obnoxious jerk, and a further future version who is pure unadulterated evil. He was alarmed to find out the first future him is, according to it, from a very near future, and there have been signs recently in the comic that his sense of right and wrong is beginning to slip. These are only a couple of the futures the cast has visited; Boardy always seems to be either evil or dead. He's remarked on how annoying this is.
- Subverted in Fans!, where the present day characters encounter their past selves, and their past selves mistake their present selves' character development as being a Face-Heel Turn. The present characters then wipe the floor with the past characters, taking advantage of everything they've learned.
- Happens in a future arc of Coga Suro with Steve and his grimmer future self.
Steve: I don't wanna be scarred and stubbly!
- Narbonic parodies this with Mell's reaction to her future self. She wants to avoid that future happening not to save the world, but because she thinks that her future self looks lame with contacts.
- Played with on multiple occasions in TRU Life Adventures. First, upon meeting his alternate older self, Bob's disturbed most by the fact he's bald. Later, even Old Jack gets annoyed by his younger self.
- In the fanmade online comic special The 10 Doctors, the ninth Doctor at first refuses to believe that Ten is his future self ( "Where's Rose?"), the first Doctor has no respect for any of the others besides the tenth, Three thinks Seven and Two are complete dunces, and nobody likes Six. The first Doctor is from after he left Gallifrey but before the show actually started — not having met his first human companions, he's a little aghast to learn of his future career.
- In the Bad Karma arc of Magellan, time-traveling superheroes come back to Magellan Island to stop two supervillains. The first-year cadets are impressed. But these time travelers are some of the main characters, just aged and tempered. Bill is horrified to meet his future self and discover chronic hair loss. Kaycee Jones finds out that her future self went Darth Vader and killed a supervillain, was discharged from the team, went rogue, had half her face burned off in a superbattle, ...
- During the 'Surreptitious Machinations' arc of General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart encounters her future self - a ruthless empress who rules the world with an iron fist. While she IS scared by what her future shows she is capable of, her first reaction - much to Empress Trudy's annoyance - is to be horrified by how OLD she's gotten.
: I have to start coloring my hair... and a diet, got to lose weight... plastic surgery... facelift... got to fix THESE
Empress Trudy: I LOOK MARVELOUS FOR MY AGE, MORON!
- More like "Alternate Me Scares Me", but here's Lord Tedd. Courtesy of El Goonish Shive.
- Averted in Homestuck: Dave takes meeting his future self entirely in stride. It doesn't hurt that he gets awesome stuff from it.
- This kid.◊
- In a sort The Legend of Spyro fan comic, Cynder's Final Battle? presents a situation where it turns out Spyro's evil future self is really the Dark Master come back in time needless to say Spyro doesn't take this well.
- In the "younger self" comics in Hark A Vagrant, Kate's younger self is very unimpressed with her.
- A strip of GastroPhobia decides to make the feeling mutual and combines this trope with I Hate Past Me. After Philia finding out that everything was gonna turn out ah-okay, she is kind of upset about future her not telling her sooner.
Philia: WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME EARLIER AND SAVE ME SOME STRESS YOU STUPID BITCH?
: (thoughts) Gods
I hate myself.