One possible ending to stories in which the hero or heroes are trapped
in an Alternate Universe
is to somehow force the universes to merge or collapse into one single time-line that exhibits (hopefully the best) features of both. A way to Save Both Worlds
, if you will.
The current world is headed to nothing short of disaster
, so the only choice is to put it back a different way.
For making a world from scratch, see World Building
to Set Right What Once Went Wrong
, which deals with changing events in the past in the hope that things turn out better.
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Anime & Manga
- In the manga Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara: Dream Saga, awakening Amaterasu is meant to restore both worlds to their original, unpolluted glory. However, the ending offers the idea that Making a Better World isn't always better: the team learns that the original two worlds have to be destroyed and their populations killed. They resolve to Save Both Worlds instead of make new ones.
- The objective of the villain in Noein is to converge the infinite possible universes into one world, which would be free from suffering.
- In 11eyes, Kakeru comes to the realization late in the game that every one of the chosen ones was drawn from another, slightly different, reality since memories and information don't match up. Everyone worries that they have to die because of Liselotte's soul in them and when the battle is finished, they won't be able to see each other again. Kukuri heals the world back to normal. Everyone ends up staying together in the same world, a composite of all of theirs. They'd become such a tight group of True Companions that it would be too cruel to split them apart.
- Used mildly in the Shara/Shura arc of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. In this case, the main characters don't even realize they are time traveling, but their actions do result in friendlier interactions in the original world. Not that there aren't consequences....
- Inverted in Super Dimension Century Orguss. The protagonist's actions have caused a Merged Reality, it's wreaking havoc, and it becomes his and others' job to undo the damage and split all the realities and timelines back up.
- The climaxes of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis and Zero Hour. DC Comics seems to be in a habit of doing this every decade or so.
- Subverted like mad with The DCU character Superboy-Prime. His motivation is that he wants to bring back his world, the "perfect" world... and he's willing to blow up every other world in existence to do it. Moreover, he has no problem killing anyone who gets in his way (or anyone who doesn't), because he judges them to be "stupid" versions of people who'd exist on his world. Yes, to some extent, he is a superpowered avatar of fanboy rage.
- Subverted over and over again in Marvel's Earth X trilogy. Mephisto is continually tempting people to change history for this purpose, when in fact it creates alternate universes—so even if the new universe is better, the old one is still there and just as terrible as before. Meanwhile the Elders of the Universe are trying to put all these alternate universes back together to recreate the original—and never mind that this involves the effective death of trillions of people native to the new universes.
- A Marvel Comics storyline had the Fantastic Four aiding their enemy-turned-ally Amazon Thundra to merge her Lady Land Alternate Future of "Femizonia" with the misogynistic world of Machus to form a composite future of (theoretical) equality between the sexes. The men and women still fight each other constantly with deadly weapons, but Reed Richards just Handwaves that as the Proud Warrior Race version of Slap-Slap-Kiss. Naturally, Thundra finds this world boring and seeks out another version of Old Femizonia to settle in.
- The DC and Marvel multiverses briefly merge together into the Amalgam Universe in DC vs Marvel. Years later they are merged again (but not creating the Amalgam universe) in the JLA-Avengers crossover.
- Happens with the DC, Wildstorm and (sorta) Vertigo universes at the end of Flashpoint. After the Flash is revealed to have accidentally broken the timeline, leading to events in Flashpoint, Pandora merges the three universes together to fix the problem. (why she can't simply undo the damage and has to merge in the other universes is not explained) This leads directly to the DC reboot and the New52, with some Wildstorm and Vertigo characters and concepts being added to the DCU.
- The end result of the Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide Crisis Crossover's ending towards Mobius in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. Thanks to Eggman's mucking, Mobius is now one part "Mobius Prime" and one part "Mobius Genesis", resulting in a blending of game and SatAM elements, among other cosmic retcons. (Eggman's main base being the Metropolis Zone, Knothole being situated in the Wood Zone, Mobotropolis now in Westside Island...)
- Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series eventually merges the two worlds into one; as the characters are explicitly paired across both worlds (mirror-universe twin kinda thing), each pair merges into one being, and each pair has to time-share their body. Substantially easier for the heroes than for the villains, since heroes are used to putting the needs of others on par with or ahead of their own.
- Diana Wynne Jones's book Witch Week ends this way, with the merging character explaining to the cast that they will all melt quietly into the people they really are in the other world. Since they're probably going to be burned as witches otherwise, this sounds quite appealing. ('Probably' in context means 'if the world isn't destroyed first,' which is what will happen if their world (which was not supposed to exist) isn't merged with the other one.)
- Done absolutely awesomely in Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. The plot is rather complicated, but suffice it to say it emerges that our own timeline is the product of interference from another timeline, in which the Tlaxcalans of Central America conquered Europe and possibly the world. (The author does an excellent job of making it sound plausible). The people of that timeline viewed the Tlaxcalan invasion as the greatest catastrophe in human history, and so they altered their own timeline, by motivating Christopher Columbus to sail west (with a holographic God). Of course, in the story our own timeline appears to be headed for human extinction, so the characters make their own alteration, preventing both the Central American and European civilisations from wiping each other out. They are apparently more successful than the original alterers.
- This is because the protagonists have realized that the reason the original "interventionists" failed was because they made a single alteration and didn't see it through. Instead of sending a holo-recording, they decide to send three people with a plan for each. One's job is to destroy Columbus's ships and die in the process, preventing him from returning to Europe. Another, a native Mayan, has to unify the Central American peoples and teach them a milder version of Christianity. The third, an African female, has to teach Columbus the error of his ways and, along with him, unify and educate the peoples of the Caribbean islands in the same manner as her partner. The end result is that, when the ocean-going ships from the new American confederation arrive to Europe, they do so as equals. This prevents the world dominated by either the Europeans or the Native Americans. This still fails to explain the lack of an ecological catastrophe in this version of history.
- Averted in Animorphs. When the kids travel back in time to stop Visser 4 from messing with history, they consider using the Time Matrix to change history for the better. However, they hit the Reset Button by accident and put everything back the way it was (minus one host body for Visser 4).
- Although there was a sort of Merged Reality when Elfangor and Visser Three both activated the Time Matrix in The Andalite Chronicles.
Live Action Television
- On Sliders, the Big Bad of the last season tried to do this, experimenting by first merging people from different universes together.
- This is what essentially would have happened if Buffy hadn't stopped Glory in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It would have been only temporary, though.
- In Fringe, due to the activation of the Vacuum by Peter, a bridge is created between both the Prime and Alternate universe, preventing them from further collapse. This allows both universe's team to have the time to try and solve the problem.