Babe: You've got a lot of nerve coming back here, Roger Wilco! After leaving me the way you did, you male scum! This is the last woman you'll ever dump on! Right girls?!
Other girls: Right!
Babe: You said ya had to be free to roam the galaxy.
Roger: Was that me?
Babe: Said ya couldn't be tied down...
Roger: I said that?

A specific variant on Foreshadowing where the viewer sees the consequences of actions before seeing the actions themselves, via Time Travel or via future sight, or just via seeing the scenes out of chronological order.

Can overlap with Once More, with Clarity!. Compare Dreaming of Things to Come and Flash Forward.


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  • In the anime version of Future Diary, Ai's diary records that her boyfriend Marco buys a gift for a girl (namely, a ring). She confronts him about it, and because it hasn't happened yet, he has no idea what she's talking about. He ends up buying the ring for her.
  • Gundam does this a lot, thanks to the number of Midquels in the Universal Century timeline. The most famous example would probably be Gundam 0083, whose plot ends with the founding of the Titans, the villains from Zeta Gundam, which was made 16 years earlier but chronologically takes place 4 years later. Other examples come in the form of Humongous Mecha which are Retconned into being ancestors of later ones, such as the Gundam NT-1 "Alex" and GM Sniper II foreshadowing the Nu Gundam and Nemo respectively.
  • Please Save My Earth has a very weird occurrence of this. Alice's first memory-dream of her previous life as Mokuren has Mokuren awaken from a dream herself, saying she dreamed of being a Japanese high-school girl with straight black hair (Alice's appearance). Much later in the series, we see Mokuren's spirit leave her body as she dies and save Rin from his fall from the balcony in the beginning of the series. Though Mokuren died about 9 years before that occurred and how can she be reincarnated as Alice, if Alice is already 16 at the time and would be alive when Mokuren dies.... How this would have occurred previously is anyone's guess.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya. It's all over the place in the anime (by season 1 broadcast order), and to a lesser extent in the light novels, due to the Anachronic Order. But even when watched/read in chronological order, this trope is still in place due to Time Travel.
    • When Kyon and Haruhi meet, she asks him if they've met before, which, as far as Kyon knows, is not the case. Later on, Taniguchi tells him that in middle school Haruhi once snuck into the school at night and drew strange symbols in chalk in the track field. Three months after that, in "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody", time traveler Asahina takes Kyon three years into the past... where he sees Haruhi breaking into her middle school and has to help her draw those symbols in chalk.

    Comic Books 
  • The Time Travel issue of PS238 involved Zodon bouncing through time, at one point arriving in the middle of an alien invasion. Several issues later, said invasion occurs.
  • Alan Moore's Providence
    • Issue 3 includes several references to The Holocaust, the Swastika that Robert Black runs into on the road and a dream where he sees several of the fish-folk executed in the Gas Chamber. He also sees J. Edgar Hoover with a Humanoid Abomination, which is depicted in The Courtyard in a photo dated a few years after this series.
    • Issue 7 has O'Brien complaining about Governor Calvin Coolidge, predicting he'll use the Red Scare and militia suppression of the riots and parlay that into a political career where he'll ruin things even more. Coolidge who once proclaimed "the only business in America is business" is regarded as a President whose policies paved the way for The Great Depression, scheduled for arrival 9 years later.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Mori didn't go to the first meeting Kyon had with Organization members because she was intimidated by something Kyon did a few days before. About 20 chapters later a time traveling Kyon is shown bursting into a secret Organization meeting falling through the skylight in a 10 meter drop while carrying a man beneath one arm (who was spying on the meeting) and calmly saying "Don't mind me dropping in" as if it was normal a person would do this. He left through the skylight too. And Kyon is supposed to be the most normal cast member.
  • The 1983: Doomsday Stories make good use of this, in part due to how individual fics take place in different years and not in sequential order.
  • Queen of All Oni: In one flashback, when Hiruzen posthumously spoke to Tarakudo through his own severed head, Tarakudo found the concept of a floating head fascinating. This implies it inspired his own eventual transformation into a floating head.
  • From the Harry Potter AU The Prince:
    "The other boy didn't look up, but Abraxas finally was able to see that [Tom Riddle] seemed to be enthralled with a small book that sat closed on the tops of his slanted thighs. The cover was plain and brown, with no writing he could see, yet Riddle was staring at it as if it was the key to immortality."
  • The Calvin and Hobbes: The Series Made-for-TV Movie "Time Terror" shows statues of the protagonists labeled "Our World's Heroes". Subverted slightly in that the big event described hasn't happened yet (we think).
  • "Arm Candy", part of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts series, is told in Anachronic Order, with the chronologically-last scene occurring near the beginning and the chronologically-first at the end. In the chronologically-last scene, one character notes another's new butterfly tattoo, the significance of which is not revealed until the chronologically-first scene.

  • Happens a lot in Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel. The best example is when Ray goes up and buys a round of drinks. The first time around it looks boring and irrelevant but later in the movie we discover the guy in the red hoodie standing next to Ray is actually a future version of Ray.
  • Given that the first trilogy made came chronologically after the second trilogy made, Star Wars as a whole is full of this, from explicit statements like Obi-Wan's "Why do I get the feeling you're going to be the death of me" to Anakin to subtler ones, like how General Grievous, a melodramatic cyborg with breathing problems, foreshadows Darth Vader, the original melodramatic cyborg with breathing problems.
  • Happens a lot in Memento, due to the Anachronic Order in which we see events.
  • Titanic (1997) opens with an extended look at the ruins of the great ship on the ocean floor. We don't see the actual sinking until almost three hours later.
  • The penultimate scene of the film adaptation of The Unbearable Lightness of Being has Sabina on a beach in California reading a letter that tells her of Tomas and Tereza's death in a traffic accident. The final scene has the two driving off back in Czechoslovakia, where in the last line he tells her he's thinking about how happy he is.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street is set in the 1990s, but has many echoes of the post-recession climate. Jordan Belfort practically Lampshades is when he offers to tell FBI Agent Denham that he can give information on the greater fraud happening in Wall Street at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Charles Xavier is hilariously fond of the hair he loses by the time of the other films.
  • Tucker: The Man and His Dream was made in The '80s and is a period film set in the late 40s and early 50s but has two scenes that refer to incidents that came in later decades.
    • The senate hearing and presentation by Tucker where he shows grisly images of car accidents and the unsafety of many automobiles was obviously a reference to the crisis in Big Auto in the late 60s and early 70s around the time of Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed. Tucker proposes that his cars have measures that will improve passenger safety and convenience. It would be much later when the other cars followed suit.
    • Tucker's final speech at the Court has him noting that the ability of large corporations to crush independent inventors and entrepreneurs will hold back American ingenuity and know-ow and that eventually Japan and Germany will surpass them in consumer electronics and cars. By the time Coppola made this film in the 80s, this became increasingly true, and it's especially prescient in the 21st century.
  • In Deadpool, Ajax mentions a breakdown in his chain of monthly supply to one of his clients and tells him that he will provide in two months. It's later shown that he is creating superpowered slaves and selling them to the highest bidder, but one of his subjects (Wade) destroyed his facility and has been hunting down people in his organization, leading to the breakdown.
  • In 12 Monkeys we see a man being shot in an airport, long before we find out who the man is, what he's doing in the airport, and why he got shot.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is presented as the narrator, Jean Louise "Scout" Finch, remembering her childhood. The book begins with her mentioning an incident where her older brother Jem broke his arm and got a minor but permanent disfigurement as a result; only at the very end of the novel do we see the event, when Bob Ewell tries to murder both children.
  • In A Brother's Price it is made clear pretty early that Princess Odelia is looking for a husband, as she and her sisters aren't married. We also learn that Princess Ren has some sexual experience. (Something unusual for an unmarried woman or man in that world) The fact that they were married, and their husband was a jerk whose death was a relief, is only revaled, and shown in a nightmare-scene later. Likewise, it is known pretty early that he did something horrible to Princess Trini, and she's shy and misanthropic as a result. However, the reader (and the younger princesses) are only told later what, exactly
  • The gamebook Sail with Pirates, from the Time Machine series, opens with the protagonist meeting a man who mentions meeting him before, and is talking about things the player will do much later (from his perspective), while time-travelling into the past. Strangely, it's possible to finish the adventure without ever actually doing the things the man mentions you doing...
  • In the YA novel Locksmith's Closet, Lock (in the future) finds a photo of an adult Brandon Rossa with a scar on his chin. Five chapters later (in the present), during a relay race, Brandon takes a nasty fall and gets a chunk of broken glass stuck in his chin.
  • In Use of Weapons, by Anachronic Order. There are frequent references to someone known as The Chairmaker, who had committed atrocities, but it is a long time before we find out what they did, and why they are called The Chairmaker.

    Live Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • In the "Babylon Squared"/"War Without End" time travel arc, Sheridan has a flash-forward in which he sees the disaster that his actions will bring for Centauri Prime. Unfortunately, he doesn't learn how it's going to happen, which is kind of a prerequisite for setting right what once went wrong.
      • In that same vision, Sheridan learns that the good guys win the upcoming Shadow War. Fans complained that this was a major Spoiler. J. Michael Straczynski's reply was basically "Come on, did you really think I'd spend three years building up a war and then have us lose?"
    • Londo's prophetic dream in "The Coming of Shadows" depicts him becoming Emperor (but being utterly miserable) and ultimately strangling and being strangled by G'Kar (a prophecy he mentioned in the first episode of the series proper). Later episodes show the events leading up to these outcomes and puts them in context.
    • In "Signs and Portents", Lady Ladira shows Sinclair her vision of Babylon 5 being destroyed. Ultimately this comes to pass... after the station is finally decommissioned and evacuated, since the creation of the Alliance means that its purpose had been fulfilled.
    • The show is full of examples of this. In one of the DVD Commentary tracks, JMS commented that he hid nothing, he always told the viewer up front exactly what was going to happen, but how it happened and what it means was left to be seen.
  • Doctor Who: Not surprisingly, the Doctor indulges on this on occasion, especially where River Song is concerned.
    • In another case, we saw Queen Elizabeth I stark raving mad at the Doctor nearly three years before he or the viewers found out why. Turns out that in her past/his future, he marries her, robs her of her title of the Virgin Queen, then abandons her.
      • Nearly four years later the full story is revealed. 10 married Elizabeth I, after proposing to her, thinking she was a shapeshifting alien. After marrying her he left quickly, but due to the presence of his future self he forgets exactly what happened.
  • An extra episode on Dollhouse's season one DVD showed events ten years after the main series, after the mind-wiping technology leads to the collapse of civilization and the Brainwashed and Crazy version of a Zombie Apocalypse. Recorded memories allowed flashbacks hinting at how this happened, though events in the series did not work out exactly as depicted (something Word of God had mentioned beforehand, noting that the memories could have been faulty or deliberately altered).
  • Farscape had Crichton experience several of these in "Back and Back and Back to the Future".
  • Given the framing of the show, How I Met Your Mother uses this a lot. The biggest example, of course, is that we see Ted's kids before he has them, and his house before he buys it. Also, things are sometimes shown or mentioned briefly in one episode (often paired with some variation of "But we'll get to that" or "But that's another story"), with the full story being told episodes or even seasons later. Examples of this could fill an entire page, but the most notable one is probably the story of the goat in Ted's bathroom. It's first mentioned in the first-season episode "Milk," more of the story is told in the third-season episode "The Goat," and the event actually occurs in the fourth-season episode "The Leap".
  • Once Upon a Time is basically made of this. In any given episode, there are at least two parallel plots running at the same time: one in the past and one in the present. Adding another layer, the past scenes aren't shown in chronological order to each other, so we get futureshadowing even among the various past scenes themselves.
  • Similarly there was an episode of Seinfeld where the scenes were shown in reverse order, beginning with the resolution of the story and working back to Jerry's first meeting with Kramer.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Tabula Rasa" shows scenes out of order so the audience sees the characters behaving in very out of character ways for a while before it is revealed what actually happened.
  • Star Trek examples:
    • The third season Star Trek: Voyager episode "Before And After", in which Kes's consciousness is travelling back through time, futureshadows elements of the fourth season episode "Year of Hell", although the timeline has changed slightly by the time the events actually occur (not least because Kes isn't a member of the crew any more).
    • In Deep Space Nine's "Visionary", Chief O'Brien keeps getting previews of the future, each more disastrous than the last — up to and including the station blowing up. Fortunately, he manages to avert the really bad ones when he notices them starting.
    • In the Next Generation episode "Timescape", an away team returns to the ship to find it frozen in time, apparently locked in battle with a Romulan warbird. But the visual evidence is deceptive — when they manage to rewind the disaster, we find out the two crews were cooperating.

    Video Games 
  • Special mention goes to Achron, a game which makes this a standard multiplayer game mechanic.
    • It's really more of a "whole game" mechanic and is actually required in certain missions in the singleplayer campaign, simply due to the game's habit of forcing you to watch the cutscenes while units you NEED march to their deaths.
  • Just about any game which involves multiple playable characters along separate storylines, such as the below-mentioned Sonic Adventure, can dabble in this, depending on the order in which you play through said storylines. For example, while playing as character A you may encounter character B someplace you never expected them to be, but you won't find out how they got there and what they were doing there until you play as character B and get to the same point.
    • Oh, you'll definitely encounter this no matter what order you play them in, though the extent does depend on the order. The first time you control Sonic, he's fighting Chaos 0... whose first present-day appearance chronologically is in Knuckles's story, when he breaks out of the Master Emerald into which he's been sealed. And you have to play Sonic's story first, and can't play another character's story until you encounter them in the story you're playing.'
  • Sonic Adventure does this nicely with the Tikal-induced visions of the past; we see both the aftermath of and the events leading up to the echidna raid on the Master Emerald shrine, but we don't see the event itself until the very last one.
    • A specific and illustrative example from Sonic Adventure 2 is this: Most players are expected to play the Hero story first, and see Sonic on the run from the law for no apparent reason, then meet the mysterious Shadow, whose motives are unknown. The first level of the Dark story takes place hours before this and explains how Shadow came into play and gives a rough glimpse of his motives.
    • And if you play the Dark story first, there's one point where Sonic gets dumped into space and blown up. He's back in action pretty fast, but you have to play the Hero story to know how.
  • The third season of Sam & Max: Freelance Police seems to like this trope so far, in particular The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, which centered around a film in four reels that had to be watched out of order in order to solve some of the puzzles. Most relevant to this trope are the moles in the third reel; the daughter is still sore at Sameth and Maximus for stealing a ventriloquist's dummy from her, and when they tell her father that she has a crush on them, he responds, "Still?!" Both of these refer to events in the second reel. And yes, both of them Make Sense In Contextnote .
    • The previous episode, The Penal Zone, plays with this as well; the first sequence of the game is a vision of the future which does an excellent job of setting the scene for the events that will come to pass (came to pass? Oh, never mind). The fact that Skun'kape takes steps to avert this version of the future when the time actually comes doesn't dull the shadowing much.
    • That's not to say other seasons don't touch the trope. In particular, one part of Episode 201 has Sam and Max rescue their future selves from a pit of lava. We don't find out how they got into that mess until Episode 205.
  • The first case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations is Mia Fey's second case. The fourth case of the same game is Mia's first case. The former contains a few allusions to the latter, including Mia and Dahlia Hawthorne commenting that they know one another and references to the poisoning of Diego Armando.
    • Investigations dabbles in the trope as well; the first case is actually the fourth case chronologically (and vice versa), and so there is appropriate foreshadowing. The cameo by Manfred von Karma also gives futureshadowing to the first game.
  • A rather bizarre example is in Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, where Roger time-travels to Space Quest X - Latex Babes of Estros and meets the titular Latex Babes, resulting in the page quote. Bizarre in that the series hasn't progressed beyond SQ6 and shows no signs of continuing, so the events being Futureshadowed may never occur.
  • The Bad Future from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, which shows the heroes what the world will look like if the Time Gears are not recovered.
  • In Suikoden V, you can let Oboro investigate something about Georg and he claims that he doesn't seem to be blind even with his Eyepatch of Power. Of course, if you ever played Suikoden II, years after the former game, you find that Georg doesn't have an eyepatch at all. He throws the eye patch at the end of Suikoden V.
  • In The Reconstruction, there's a lot of this in relation towards Dehl's Back Story. In particular, any mention of the Blue Plague when Dehl is within earshot.
  • Xenoblade gives you the Monado, which at various points in and out of battle allow you to see things that will happen in the future, allowing you a chance to change the future. It still manages to be surprising though, as due to the lack of context most lines you hear in flash forwards don't end up meaning what you think they mean.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has a hidden CODEC scene where Big Boss, having recruited the man who will be Otacon's father, notes he gets a bad feeling when he looks at the water. Otacon's father is revealed to have drowned himself in Metal Gear Solid 2.

  • Homestuck. Each of the four main characters is introduced at around the beginning of the day, even as time passes for the other kids, so we hear about certain events before we see them. For example, when Dave gets buried under puppets, we first see the chatlog of him pestering Rose about it, and only later do we see the event itself.
    • Homestuck also has an in-universe example as a major plot point. Jade is semi-precognitive, and sees John upset at something in the future. So she sends him a powerful weapon that will help him to fight against the Big Bad (and, obviously, cheer him up). Said weapon falls into the enemy's hands first, allowing him to become the Big Bad. The subsequent destruction that the Big Bad creates is what causes John's sadness in the first place. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
    • Not that Andrew Hussie hasn't dabbled in this before. Problem Sleuth has this. (For this.)
  • The April Fools 2010 issue of Brawl in the Family consisted of an "official letter" from Nintendo demanding that the comic be shut down. It provided a list of "offensive" comics and the reasons they were so offensive ... and the worst offender listed, #249, hadn't even been made at the time. Did it live up to its charges? Sort of.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: After the failed mission to blow up a dinosaur scout, Dr. McNinja ended up bouncing in time and ended up somewhere in the future. Specifically, here, five years later at the climax of the Doctor's Darkest Hour.
  • Johnson Superior: Dirk hears a noise behind his couch but chooses to ignore it, and- before time travel is introduced to the reader- the narration says he wasn't interested in seeing the werewolves or time travelers or biblical demons. That happens to be right on the money, when later, Future-Dirk is the one behind the couch.
  • Miamaska's plot seems to hint at this with an image of the heroine with longer hair and different companions, used as reference by the baddies. Word of God has it that the events won't be revealed for another three years.
  • Girl Genius has the "time windows", where some characters seem to be coming back from the future using some strange device.
  • Scary Go Round: A slightly chilling instance occurs in the "Expecting to Fly" flashback filler comic, when a distressed Shelley, in 1996, threatens her young sister Erin with going to Hell. Years later (or years earlier, in publication sequence)...

    Western Animation 
  • In the fourth season of Teen Titans, we're treated to several visions of the aftermath of Trigon's arrival on Earth episodes before it even happens.
  • In the episode of Batman Beyond "The Call", the future Bruce Wayne tells Terry that he "never trusted" the boom tubes used by natives of Apokalypse. Come an episode of Justice League where the young Batman is seen using a boom tube for the first time with Wonder Woman, he seems to get motion sick from doing so.
  • In the first two seasons of Justice League, Hawkgirl and John Stewart developed a romantic relationship—one which was broken when she was revealed as a mole (and an engaged mole, at that). Though she eventually does a Heel–Face Turn and sides with the League against her own people, she still leaves the team before they decide on whether or not to forgive her, going off to serve a self-imposed penance. Come Justice League Unlimited, she returns to an awkward situation with Stewart—who, in addition to having to decide if he can trust her as a teammate again, has the additional complication of having started a relationship with another woman in her absence. To make things even more awkward, Stewart then ends up making an unexpected visit to the future, in which he finds out that Batman Beyond's JLU member, Warhawk, is his and Hawkgirl's son. Now he faces the philosophical conundrum: if he does get back together with her, is it because You Can't Fight Fate? But is it fair to reject her simply to Screw Destiny? Then there's Vixen...
  • In the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon, a teenage Clark Kent is brought to the future and operates as Superman at a time - from where he sits - not long before his Metropolis super-debut. There's an episode where Brainiac 5 is ill, and ranting and rambling. One thing he says, that sounds like a Non Sequitur to everyone but the viewer, is "Green Rocks kill the last son!"
  • It happens most of the time whenever Paradox shows up in Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, especially since Paradox's chronological order isn't the same as Ben's or the viewer's.
    • The movie Ben 10: Destroy All Aliens takes place toward the end of the original series, but Gwen is already shown using moves she commonly uses in Ben 10: Alien Force. In addition, Azmuth refers to her powers as mana, which is revealed to be the source of her powers in Alien Force.

    Real Life