Merged Reality

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.

Sister Trope to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, which deals with changing events in the past in the hope that things turn out better.

As this is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers!

Examples:

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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 he thinks would be free from suffering. It also comes at the cost of all individuality ceasing to exist.
  • 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.
  • Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure: After the Big Bad is defeated, the hero Kazuki Yotsuga is forced to sacrifice his Humongous Mecha in order to Save Both Worlds — except that Mitsuki Sanada leans on the wrong lever just beforehand, causing all of the named characters find themselves in a Merged Reality, unlike either of the realities of the story, but preserving all of the unique memories and characters from both of its parents. (For example, both Mitsuki Sanada and her cousin-slash-alternate self Mitsuki Rara both coexist within the new reality and its new history.)

     Comic Books 

     Fan Works 
  • Played with in Digimon: Children of Time. It's explained that the different versions of the Digital World as seen in Adventure/02, Tamers, Frontier, and Data Squad'' were all once one composite world, but were broken apart when the original DigiDestined defeated the darkness present during that time. After Tai, Davis, Takato, Takuya, and Marcus' respective groups saved each one, they have since merged back together into a single world.
  • In A New World, Yukari Yakumo successfully achieves the fusion of the worlds of technology and magic, with the added bonus of giving all youkai independence from human thought. She's been dead for three hundred years and was still able to trick everyone in both Gensokyo and Luna into executing her plan to the letter.

     Literature 
  • Jack Williamson's Legion of Time is one of the earliest novels in which this trope appears as a (somewhat illogical) happy surprise ending. The alternative futures of Utopian Jonbar and Dystopian Gyronchi fight for existence. The hero struggles to bring about Jonbar's future, but somehow his efforts cause a fusion of the two futures, with the best features of each - including a fusion of the two womem in them he loves, good girl Lethonee and bad girl Sorainya.
  • 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.)
  • 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. No direct explanation is given for 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.
  • A more malicious example nearly happens in the Rod Albright Alien Adventures; BKR and Smorkus Flinders planned to merge Dimension X with Dimension Q, the dimension Earth is in, thus creating a composite universe where everyone would be subject to Dimension X's Reality Quakes and potentially be driven insane. It's outright stated that BKR is doing so purely For the Evulz, despite the fact that he will be affected just like everyone else.

     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.

     Video Games 
  • Inverted in the computer game The Longest Journey: the idea is to prevent the two worlds from combining, at least under the current uncontrolled conditions.
    • Similarly, the combining of the two worlds in the Super Mario Bros. Movie was a plot of the antagonists to rule them both.
  • Tales of Symphonia ends up with this being the goal of the main characters, although for much of the second half of the game they are under the mistaken impression that they need to do the exact opposite in order to Save Both Worlds. It just so happens that the resulting combination ends up being the world map of Tales of Phantasia.
    • It doesn't quite go as planned, as shown by the sequel/spinoff that came after. Only when Ratatosk (in the Good Ending) decides to rewrite the laws of nature so that life does not need mana to survive does everything ultimately work out.
    • In Tales of Eternia, the two main worlds begin colliding. The heroes only manage to fix it just in time by exploding the barrier between Inferia and Celestia, blasting the planets away from each other and altering the very nature of their universe. In the final scene, one of them is planning to upgrade their spaceship so they could go between worlds and visit their friends.
    • Tales of Innocence revolves around multiple factions looking to get their hands on a MacGuffin for different purposes. The main characters' is to unite Heaven and Earth into one paradise.
  • Final Fantasy V: this is exactly what Omnicidal Maniac Exdeath wants to happen and the heroes are trying to prevent. As it turns out, the power he's after was sealed by splitting the world in two hundreds of years ago, and he can only release it from the Dimensional Rift by reuniting the worlds (which entails the destruction of the Crystals, so with or without Exdeath actually claiming his prize and wreaking havoc with it, everybody's pretty much screwed). Exdeath succeeds in reuniting the worlds, so the heroes settle for protecting the merged world.
    Exdeath: I will return the world to its original form!
    Bartz: To a world of evil!
    Exdeath: Are you even listening to me?
  • In Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the Big Bad is Dark Kahn, a merged version of Shao Kahn and Darkseid, who starts merging the realities of Mortal Kombat and the DC Universe, while feeding off the rage of the characters. He's also playing the heroes and villains of each world against each other, which think that the other is an invading army. Eventually, though teamwork, Superman and Raiden manage to defeat Dark Kahn and split the merged universe back into two and Dark Kahn himself back into Darkseid and Shao Kahn... who end up in each other's world and therefore powerless. Darkseid gets confined into the Netherrealm, while Shao Kahn gets banished to the Phantom Zone.
  • Implied in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask; in the ending, you see all the people you helped in the sidequests, no matter how many times you exploited the "Groundhog Day" Loop or even whether or not you helped them on your final loop.
  • In Eternal Darkness the true ending is obtained by playing the game three times, choosing a different Ancient as Pious' patron each time. In each path a different Ancient is slain. The true ending reveals that the entire game was Mantorok's plot to eliminate the three Ancients since he could no longer keep them in check thanks to Pious turning his own magic against him. The Tome of Eternal Darkness guided the player characters throughout history to kill a different Ancient in each timeline. Then Mantorok merged the three timelines so that all three of the Ancients were killed, leaving him and his own counterpart Ancient as the last of the Ancients.
  • Happens in the browser-based game no-one has to die.. Four normal endings, each with only one character left alive, each of them walk into a time machine, and meet up in a Merged Reality for the final ending.
  • Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death: When Judge Death retreats to his home dimension after his body is destroyed by Judge Dredd, he reveals to Dredd that his new plan is to use the Psi-Judges' energy to merge Deadworld with Dredd's universe, killing every living thing in Mega City One.
  • Super Robot Wars Z, using the same plot device from Orguss (listed above) in concert with the Black History from Turn A Gundam.
  • In Sonic Rush, Eggman's theft of the Sol Emeralds from Blaze's dimension is causing it and Sonic's dimension to merge together. Eggman and his doppelganger Eggman Nega plan to build a transdimensional Eggmanland in the wake of the collision, but the heroes are able to stop them before both worlds are completely ruined.
  • With multiple uses of time travel in the whole Red Alert series this trope is normally averted (timelines are, canonically, overridden in succession). However, a merging of timelines is deployed for the ending of the Allied campaign in the Yuri's Revenge expansion of Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: after Yuri's initial plot at simultaneous worldwide psychic domination while the Allies were distracted celebrating the defeat of the Soviets hits a snag in San Francisco due to an ultimately-fortuitous Harrier crash on Alcatraz, the Allies' task forc jump back in time to warn their past selves - they end up back at the initial Soviet invasion of San Francisco during the original game. Among other things, this means the assassination of General Carville by a Crazy Ivan just prior to the battle in the Black Forestnote  gets retconned out. During the denouement of the Allied campaign everybody's screens start shaking like earthquakes as Einstein explains the timelines are merging since two sets of events at the same time cannot coexist - thankfully, the best events of both timelines for the Allies are kept: as before the Soviets are still defeated, but now Carville is still alive and Yuri is now in a Tailor-Made Prison to render his psychic abilities useless.

     Webcomics 
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, this turns out to be the main motive of the Big Bad, King Radical. His homeworld, the Radical Lands, were drained of Life Energy by Sparklelord and gradually dying. He escaped to an Alternate Universe, the Dr.'s world, which is a cross between our mundane world and the awesomeness of the Radical Lands. In order to save his own world, he manipulated a time portal to start merging the worlds together in order to save his people. Why is this wrong? Because the process would make every Radical Lander take the place of a normal person from Doc's world, effectively forcing them out of existence, which would ultimately kill billions. But by the Blue and Orange Morality of King Radical, there is nothing wrong with this because native radical residents would be spared, and boring people don't deserve to live anyway.

Alternative Title(s): Make A Better World, Parallel Universe Merge

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MergedReality