Thinking Up Portals

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In science fiction, fantasy, and superhero stories, many times a character will need to get somewhere else in a hurry. And obviously, there are few ways faster than teleportation. But simply appearing can lack a certain... pizzazz that stepping out of a hole in the air can certainly grant, all the more so if you generated it yourself.

This trope involves characters who can create a portal using their superpowers or magical powers, or by having personal portal-generating equipment added as part of a Cyborg Upgrade. Note that if the portal isn't the sort that requires you to step or jump into it, it probably isn't this trope, and if it requires any external equipment, it's likely part of a Portal Network instead.

The name is derived from the "Thinking With Portals" tagline of the Portal video games. note 


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • One of Doraemon's gadgets is the Short-Cutter which, as its name suggests, is a cutter that cuts spacetime, creating a portal linking two locations together.
  • In Digimon, the extremely powerful but rarely-appearing MagnaAngemon has "Gate of Destiny" as his primary attack. It can send enemies through a portal into Another Dimension, and trap them there permanently.
  • Janemba, villain of the 12th Dragon Ball Z movie, has this as part of his overall Reality Warper package. He uses it to send one of Goku's ki attacks right back at him, and to fire one of his own point-blank. He sometimes combines it with an even weirder trick - turning into jigsaw pieces that blink out of existence and reappear elsewhere.
  • Tooru from Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon can make portals that lead anywhere, even between worlds, without any apparent limit. It doesn't seem to be a power that all dragons have, since Elma can't make them (she gets stranded on Earth as a result).
  • World Trigger has Mira, a Neighbor whose Trigger can create portals, which she uses to rescue allies, but can also be used as spikes to stab enemies.

     Comic Books  

  • Marvel Comics characters Doorman and Spot have portal-based teleportation as their powers, while villain Black Hole, a "living singularity", could suck objects through a portal in his body to another dimension.
  • Magik from X-Men can create portals as her mutant power. It kind of blurs the line between scientific and mystical since her power is connected to a Hell dimension of which she is Domain Holder and Depending on the Artist her portals are drawn as fiery pentacles.
  • Shatterstar from X-Factor can create portals by channeling his powers through his swords.
  • In The New Universe Psi-Force series, Sedara Bakut can create door-like portals in space.
  • Gates from Legion of Super-Heroes was a bug-like alien with the mutant power to create, well, gates—small portals that he and his teammates could use to travel long distances. His portals also have sharp edges that can destroy anything they open inside of (like Ra's al-Ghul's arm). Because his power could often break the story, Gates was often a victim of The Worf Effect.
  • Miss America Chavez from Young Avengers can kick star-shaped portals between universes.

     Films  

  • Blink from X-Men: Days of Future Past, can create portals, which she uses liberally. Tellingly, she was the last frontline defender to die in the final battle, and the Sentinels were only able to beat her through sheer number.
  • In WarCraft, by far the most common spell used by both Khadgar and Medivh is teleportation.

     Literature  

  • In The Mortal Instruments, warlocks can do this, although the spell is fairly advanced. The Clave often hires them to provide portals as necessary. Clary can also do it, thanks to a rune revealed to her by the angel Ithuriel. However, it is not one of the runes from the Gray Book, and other Shadowhunters do not seem to be able to learn it, or at least are unwilling to try.
  • This is how powerful Others teleport in Night Watch. They create portals to anywhere in the world. In one book, a villain needed to get to the ISS, so he created a portal into orbit... but probably forgot to carry the 2 in calculating the destination, and ended up floating in space, helpless (the Others need humans nearby in order to use magic), until he burned up on re-entry.
  • In the Nightrunner series, the Translocation spell works by creating a portal through which people and objects can pass. It was an evolution of an older spell that created a "window" between remote locations for viewing and communication.
  • Oscar Britton from the Shadow Ops books specializes in this.
  • The main characters of The Wheel of Time rediscover the lost talent of Traveling, which creates square, razor-sharp portals between two locations. It only works in areas the user knows well, but a related talent, Skimming, gets the same effect a little more slowly with a shortcut through the Void Between the Worlds.
  • In the Demonata series of books, Kernel Fleck has this ability to create portals with the lights he can see from birth to all different universes and locations.

     Live Action TV  

  • Moya, the living starship in Farscape, has a FTL drive called "Starburst". It essentially consists of the ship generating a large portal, slinging it into its path, and then diving through it.
  • In S2E1 of Torchwood, renegade Time Agent John Hart arrives in 21st Century Cardiff this way, perhaps taking advantage of the existing space-time rift that invisibly runs through the city to supplement his usual time travel technology. A glowing portal opens and he just saunters out onto the roof of a carpark.
  • Kamen Rider Drive has an odd variation on this with the Dimension Cab Shift Car. Since Drive wears his Shift Cars' tires like a sash across his chest, he can only send his head, part of his chest, and right arm through the portal (he can pull objects through the portal, but only if they fit the fixed radius, which is about the size of a standard automobile tire).
    • Dimension Cab itself can generate portals even when it's not in use, but they're only about an inch and a half wide, big enough to transport tiny objects like Cab itself or a bullet aimed at Drive....

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Scion, characters who learn Boons from the Psychopomp purview can do this: Rainbow Bridge (Psychopomp 7) lets a character teleport anywhere in the World, and Otherworldly Portal (Psychopomp 9) allows a character to teleport between planes of existence.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 2nd Edition psions could manifest "Wormholes," creating a large portal for a short time
    • In later years, the short-range teleport spell Dimension Door spell was reflavored to fit this trope. (In some D&D-inspired video games, a wizard casting this spell literally steps through a portal.)
    • The top-level spell Gate creates a temporary portal between two planes of existence — and, if the caster wants, summons something in from the other side.
  • Teleportation in Mage: The Awakening starts off like this, before the mage learns to dispense with the portals and just be elsewhere.

     Video Games  

  • In Absorption, though you can't create portals, you need to replace existing ones to solve puzzles.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Corridors of Darkness can be opened by anybody who gets too close to the Darkness.
  • The Shifters in The Longest Journey can open portals to Arcadia at will.
  • Prey (2006)'s Hunters and Harvesters travel around the Sphere via portals that the Mother creates for them; it's very usual for you hear the familiar hissing sound their gates make, and seconds later find yourself ambushed from all sides. The Keepers, being higher up in the hierarchy, can use their cybernetics or Psychic Powers to jump around you mid-battle.
  • Touhou: Yukari Yakumo is known for her "gaps", and actually sits on one in her portrait.
  • Teleportation spells in The Witcher appear to work in this fashion.
  • Amidatelion of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers has the power of Summon Magic, which manifests this way.
  • Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has the Passage of Golubria spell, which creates two temporary portals, one at a targeted point and one near the caster. Stepping into one warps you to the other, though each portal collapses as you walk through it. While blinking is a more convenient way to jump to a different spot, this spell is still usable by characters wearing an amulet of stasis.
  • Peacock in Skullgirls uses her Synthetic Parasite, the Avery Unit, to make portable holes appear. This is how she summons her cornucopia of cartoonish weaponry to use in battle, and how she's able to teleport. The portals are shaped like her eyes—look closely enough at some of her animations, and you'll see that her eyeholes are portals, too. On top of this, she somehow she managed to figure out how to use the Avery Unit to bend reality itself as well as space, too.
  • Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite has the power to open "tears" into other realities. Initially her control over them is haphazard, but as the game progresses and she gets further from the siphon in her tower, she's able to conjure supplies, cover and allies for the player, or even enter Alternate Universes. By the end of the game this has extended to the point where she's basically a god, moving herself and whatever she wants freely through universes, space, and time.
  • The boss "Dimension Diver" from G-Darius uses this, allowing him to attack from the background and the foreground.
  • After reaching a certain level, mages in World of Warcraft are able to conjure portals to transport themselves and party members to the major cities in their respective factions.

     Web Animation  

  • Raven in RWBY seems to have portal generation as her Semblance.

     Webcomics  

  • Desdemona in Evil Inc. can manifest portals for traveling through - completely or partly, or simply for slipping other things through (and even holding them open while ropes pushed through are manipulated on the other side).
  • Drake in Gold Coin Comics has the power to conjure a teleportation portal.
  • Fiends in The Order of the Stick can travel between planes through portals.
    • Tarquin's psion associate Laurin can conjure up Wormholes large enough to march an army through.
  • Beam from The New Guard.
  • Anpu of Godslave can teleport himself and Edith over short distances when need arises.

     Web Original  

  • In the Whateley Universe, Gateway has found out she has this power. She has been able to summon beings from other dimensions, like Rythax, and also things like fire elementals. And she's learned it's a really fun power to abuse.
  • Worm
    • Phir Sē can create portals that send things forwards or backwards in time.
    • Doormaker can also create portals anywhere in the world or between alternate realities.
    • Taylor/Khepri takes this trope quite literally when she starts thinking in portals.
  • In Pact, Faysal Anwar can do this, as befitting a Gatekeeper of the First Ring. In a variation, he can also choose what doors are available to others, although he cannot explicitly bar any paths.
  • In Saga Of Soul, Eriko uses them in impressive ways, such as weaponizing seawater through pressure and the Earth's rotation.

     Western Animation  

  • In Adventure Time, the Door Lords can throw magical keys at any spot they choose, and it will create a door between that spot and wherever they choose to go. The doors can apparently be in any position or angle they want.
  • In Danny Phantom, Wulf can create portals to the Ghost Zone at will. Danny's evil alternate-future self can do the same.
  • Breach from Generator Rex can create portals to and from anywhere she wants as long as she can move her giant second set of arms. Though, she can apparently do it by instinct without them.
  • As an Eliatrope, Yugo from Wakfu can create teleportation portals. Shushu king Rushu is particularly interested in acquiring Yugo since Eliatrope portals are the only means of travel off the Shushu world. Adult Eliatropes such as Qilby are even better at this, being able to generate multiple pairs of portals at once.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), sparkling, round portals were popular for traveling to distant locations and other dimensions. Individual characters like Skeletor were shown to be able teleport normally. But portals were favored, especially when bringing multiple people from place to place.
  • This is a favorite technique of the Enchantress from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!. Using her magic, she can create portals that transport herself and her allies out of the way of attacks, from place to place, or even between the realms. She is the only Asgardian shown in the series who can create portals using her own innate abilities. Thor and the Executioner use their hammer and axe, respectively, if they need to move between the realms.
  • Soundwave of Transformers Prime is directly connected to the Decepticon systems, which enables him to open space bridge portals anywhere he wants. Summoning a portal to remove threats rapidly becomes his Signature Move as the series goes on.
  • Steven Universe's magical pet Lion can create portals with his roars.


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