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Bad Future / Western Animation

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  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron had this in "The Tomorrow Boys". Carl was an outlaw, Sheen was a garbage-surfer, and Jimmy was a loser married to Cindy. And thanks to Carl, Libby took over the world.
  • Argai: The Prophecy has Queen Dark ruling over 2075.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Choices" gives us personal examples of what Nicole's life would've been like if she hadn't met Richard. The first bad future involves her becoming everything her Abusive Parents wanted her to be, ultimately resulting in her becoming a megalomaniacal dictator that was so bad, Principal Brown says "Thank heavens that's over with." when the world is seemingly reduced to a barren wasteland.
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  • Atomic Puppet: In the Christmas Episode, AP is shown one by his consciousness manifesting as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. As a result of AP and Joey's partnership as Atomic Puppet being destroyed, Mega City has become a wartorn despair-ridden dystopia ruled by Professor Tite-Gripp and Joey has grown into a '90s Anti-Hero parody fighting a losing one-man war against the supervillain
  • What happens from Avatar Aang's perspective in Avatar: The Last Airbender; the 100 years he spent frozen in ice allowed the Fire Nation to spread their reach throughout the world, unimpeded by the Avatar restoring balance to the four nations. Due to a lack of any means of time travel, Aang has to fix it the hard way by defeating the Fire Nation in his future, rather than the usual approach for this trope of going back and preventing it from happening.
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  • In the Ben 10: Alien Force episode "Time Heals," Gwen herself accidentally creates a future (or rather, present) ruled by Hex when she goes back in time to save Kevin from mutating when the Omnitrix is hacked in the season premiere.
  • Captain Planet had several Bad/Dark Future episodes as well, in the first case it dealt with general social/environmental decay caused by Wheeler's desire/decision to leave the Planeteers (thus rendering them unable to summon the eponymous hero to stop Hoggish Greedly from ruining the world).
    • In the second the World's Summit gets sabotaged by Zarm and the other eco-villains, the ENTIRE WORLD went down the crapper as said eco-villains ran rampant destroying everything for fun, profit, whatever. Zarm adds insult to injury by having the Planeteers experience the world themselves while laughing about it AND holding a rapidly aging Gaia hostage.
    • The third one was also one set 100 years from the present where the descendants of the Eco Villains are in charge and the world is a complete waste dump.
    • There was another where a boy from the future, where the rainforest was gone and gorillas were now extinct and thought to be mere myth, was sent back 100 years by a mysterious woman who was revealed to be Gaia and helped the Planneteers Set Right What Once Went Wrong. When he returned, he was given the ring for Earth, and presumably became a planeteer in his time.
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  • In the CatDog episode "CatDog 3001" or alternatively titled "Future CatDog" Cat taunted Winslow to exercise indefinitely for one thousand years. Then after that time span a descendant of Winslow named Winslow the 38th ruled a dystopian Nearburg.
  • The Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: FUTURE" has this happen after Wally escapes from Madame Margaret, but not in time to save the rest of the team from girlification. 75 years later, Madame Margaret dominates the planet, having turned most of the population into girls; the last few boys, led by an elderly Wally (who is apparently reliant on Mr Wink and Mr Fibb's chair technology), huddle together in a small cave, desperately seeking a way to survive.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are whisked by a thunderstorm to the year 5001 A.D. in "Planet Of The Cats," where London in under a police state dictated by a race of felines. A future relative of Baron Greenback, calling himself "Big Leo" rules the cats from an undisclosed location. Not even the cats know it's a frog from whom they're taking orders.
  • The Danny Phantom Movie "The Ultimate Enemy": Danny finds out that he will become a rampaging sadistic sociopath who would gladly and gleefully murder his mother, his father, his sister, his two best friends and his English teacher to protect his own existance and also happens to be the strongest ghost on the planet. He killed his human self and hinted to have killed many, MANY more. All of it was because he got pretty much caught cheating on a test and his ensuing Survivor's Guilt; which itself was caused by a Stable Time Loop only broken by Clockwork stepping in to sever said loop. The good sides? Vlad was reformed, which did not happen in the real timeline, tragically; and for all the bad in that future, it did give present!Danny access to a powerful ghost ability his future self had just perfected, and it did let Danny know that his older sister discovered (and, more importantly, accepted) the fact that he was half-ghost. It is never explained whether that future remained inevitable after the events in the movie....
  • "Time and Punishment", a Darkwing Duck episode, has this happen when Gosalyn ends up taken to the future and sees that Darkwing Duck has changed his name to Darkwarrior Duck, and is now a tyrannical Knight Templar who rules the city with an iron fist, punishing its citizens for "crimes" such as staying out too late and eating too much junk food. It was her disappearing in the present that drove him insane; her return was all that was needed to set things straight.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory movie subverts this. Mandark takes over the world, but we are told from the beginning of the movie that the future was saved, and even see the final (happy) ending before the Darkest Hour.
  • Scrooge McDuck finds himself in one in the DuckTales episode "Duck To The Future" where, after advising the nephews to cut costs in order to increase profits from their lemonade stand, he's transported forty years into the future to a Duckburg ruled by Magica DeSpell and her partners, the now grown-up triplets who had become ruthless businessmen in Scrooge's absence, having taken his advice on cutting corners a bit too close to heart. This future is undone when Scrooge returns to the present and impresses upon the boys that they should earn their money honestly.
  • Extreme Ghostbusters episode "Ghost Apocalyptic Future" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Kylie travels to the future to discover that the spirits have taken over after the "Great Spirit Uprising" and took humans as slaves.
  • The Fairly Oddparents:
    • In the episode "Father Time", Timmy melts his dad's trophy with heat vision. He goes back in time to make sure his dad doesn't win it in a race (all because of Cosmo’s stupidity); he comes in last place, winning a trip to dictator school. Returning to his future, his dad is the ruler of the world. Timmy goes back in time again and wins the race while impersonating his dad.
    • There was also the tv movie Channel Chasers which featured one ruled by Vicky.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Back to the Pilot", Stewie and Brian travel to the first episode of the series in order for Brian to find where he buried a tennis ball. While there, Brian warns his past self about 9/11. When they get home, Brian is hailed as a hero for foiling the terrorist plot. Stewie is outraged, as he specifically warned Brian about changing the past. At the same time, George W. Bush, who has lost the 2004 presidential election and has once again become the Governor of Texas, declares the secession of Texas and several other Southern states, sparking another Civil War. Brian still maintains that, in five years time, it'll all work out. They jump into the future and see that the United States has been destroyed by a nuclear war between the states. Anyone leaving the house has to put on a radiation suit and arm themselves.
    • Inverted in an episode where Peter goes back in time and fails to hook up with Lois. As a result, Al Gore wins the 2000 election, and the world is a Jetson-like utopia. When Brian finds out, he begs Peter not to try to get back with Lois, until they find out that Chevy Chase hosts The Tonight Show, and that Lois has married Quagmire.
  • Futurama:
    • The show is generally a subversion, with some aspects being bad and some being good, much like the present. However, in an episode featuring a time machine that can only go forward, the characters visit a Bad Future in which robots are destroying all of humanity.
    • Bender, however, thought it was an excellent future. Did you see the view from the mountain of skulls?
    • In "The Cryonic Woman," Fry and Michelle, his girlfriend, end up in the year 4000, where it's nothing but a barren wasteland whose only known inhabitants were a gang of children with guns. Subverted in that it was actually only two days in the future, and they were actually in Los Angeles.
    • In "Decision 3012," Nixon's reelection results in Bender leading a robot uprising and successfully taking over Earth by 3027.
  • Gargoyles had one, but that's a subversion because it was an illusion - not real. Which is good, because Gargoyles time travel runs on a Stable Time Loop rule - if it had been real, it would have been unchangeable. The scenario is that Goliath and Elisa's absence during the Avalon World Tour lasted FORTY YEARS. In that time, Xanatos took over Manhattan and sealed it off from the rest of the world. His Steel Clan and Talon Clones serve as stormtroopers, and the people live in fear and squalor. Hudson dies fighting him, and the small resistance that challenges him is losing badly. Broadway was blinded in a raid that killed Coldstone, Maggie the Cat and the real Talon. Lexington is a joyless cyborg. Matt Bluestone is on the front lines in his early seventies, Claw is likewise aged and wingless, and de facto leader Brooklyn has taken Demona as a lover after Thailog's death. It only gets worse from there.
  • Generator Rex: Rex is transported 6 months into the future by Breach. The Big Bad is gone, but he finds his Providence under new management by Black Knight who's more of a Knight Templar than White Knight, the previous boss. Wild EVO creatures are put under mind control and his friends have all gone missing. Rex initially believes he's in a bad future, even noting his brother has grown a goatee (and has dropped the Heroic and Comedic from his Heroic Comedic Sociopath nature). By the end of the episode, Rex comes to terms that this is his future and he's here to stay, so he joins the defect group with his friends.
  • In an episode of G.I. Joe, several of the Joes are blasted "sideways" into an Alternate History where Cobra Commander has beaten them. They find that every national landmark from The Lincoln Memorial to the Statue of Liberty now sports a Cobra operative's likeness.
  • Godzilla: The Series had the crew mysteriously transported into the future, where a race of dragon-like monsters created by a Mad Scientist had basically caused The End of the World as We Know It- Godzilla had died fighting them, and the last remaining cast member (and his Robot Buddy) was a Future Badass. Naturally, they travel back to prevent it, using knowledge and weapons from the future.
  • Played for Laughs (if that's even possible) in Gravity Falls. "The Time Traveler's Pig" reveals that the gigantic, time-devouring baby from another dimension that was mentioned in one of the previous episode's Freeze Frame Bonuses will eventually be released from its frozen prison in Antarctica by global warming. He will then take over the universe. However, since the event doesn't happen for several centuries, the main characters do nothing to correct the event (if they're even aware of it) since it has nothing to do with them; plus, humanity got time travel out of it, so it isn't all bad. Also, at some point he will travel to the past where he'll be destroyed by Bill Cipher during the events of Weirdmaggedon.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy's Big Damn Movie Big Boogie Adventure had one of these at the start where Boogie Man sends two robot clones of Billy and Mandy to make sure it happens. We're initially lead to believe it's because the heroes fail to stop the Boogie man from getting Horror's Hand, but right at the end of the movie, when Mandy is holding the gauntlet, a future Billy appears and says that Mandy is the dark lord, and Grim snatches it away from her. Then, at the very very end it's revealed that the bad future still happened, and the lord of darkness is revealed to be Fred Fredburger.
    • One episode showed one where Mandy had taken over the world by transforming into a giant worm like creature who entertains herself with Billy clones that regularly die.
  • In the Grojband episode "Ahead of our Own Tone'' Corey, Laney, and Kon travel one year ahead (Only to have the time machine smashed by Trina) where Cell-Borgs run amuck, Cyborg!Trina has become the Evil Overlord, and the reason why Kin grew a beard is because he "went a little nuts!"
  • Justice League:
    • A variant of this trope appears when the League, with the exception of Batman, were under the protection of Green Lantern's power field when changes wrought by a time-travelling Vandal Savage winning WWII overwrote the current Earth and replaced it with a Bad Future version with him as supreme Evil Overlord. They were therefore unaffected and able to use the time machine Savage used to go back to WWII to fix matters — they even find that Earth's version of Batman on the way, who is the leader of La Résistance because his parents were killed for speaking out against Savage's regime.
    • Another variant appears in the second season, where Superman is sent several thousand years into the future and finds himself on a ruined, depopulated and desolated Earth — where he encounters Vandal Savage, who is immortal. Savage used Superman's absence to steal a device that allowed him to control gravity, which he lost control over and thus ruined the entire solar system, rendering the Earth a destroyed wasteland. Having had time to reflect on his errors, Savage willingly assists Superman in returning even at the cost of his own existence once that future is overwritten.
    • Yet another variant occurs when an Alternate Universe The Flash, a member of the Justice Lords is killed by then president Lex Luthor, causing the Justice Lords to go rogue and kill him, in the oval office. This resulted in a Bad Future and a subsequent universe crossover, with the teams' different but similar moralities causing them to come to blows.
    • Let's face it, this show loves this plot. The second of a two part episode sees Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Batman travel into the future chasing a time villain, Chronos, where they meet Terry McGinnis i.e. the current Batman who along with an older Static and the elderly Bruce Wanye are the only pockets of resistance left to face against him and his enhanced Jokerz gang who have all but wiped out the Justice League.
  • Kim Possible did this in the A Sitch in Time movie with a future where Shego managed to Take Over the World and is now called the Supreme One.
  • The Mask animated series did this once.
  • The Mega Man cartoon had this trope in the episode 'Future Shock'. Interestingly, Wily hadn't taken over completely at the insistence of Protoman, who wanted rebellions to crush. Things were still pretty bad, though.
  • Megas XLR pulled this in the series finale. The local power is not the Glorft, as might be expected (Gorrath's dead); instead, Coop discovers at the end of part one that this world is ruled by an Evil Overlord version of Coop himself.
  • Episode "The Future's So Bright Syndrome" of Men in Black has J traveling into the future by accident where he sees a world dominated by the Worm aliens and Humanity on the edge of extinction.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle meets her future self who's decked in black, wearing an eye patch, and has a Darker and Edgier hairstyle, and she attempts to tell her something before quickly fading away. It turns out that everything that gave Twilight her scary future look were mostly self-inflicted injuries, nothing bad happened in the future, and her future self was just trying to tell her not to worry about anything happening in the future. Twilight just couldn't shut up long enough for her to deliver the message. And then after learning this, she tries going back in time to tell her past self this information with predictable results.
      Twilight Sparkle: Is there some sort of epic pony war in the distant future or something?
      Future Twilight: Actually, I'm from next Tuesday morning.
    • Seen in the Season 5 Finale, "The Cutie Re-Mark". Starlight Glimmer makes her return and acquires a time travelling spell and uses it in an attempt to sabotage Rainbow Dash's first Sonic Rainboom so the Mane Six don't get their cutie marks, causing several bad futures where The Bad Guy Wins: King Sombra has conquered the Crystal Empire and half of Equestria, and leads an army against Princess Celestia and the other half; Queen Chysalis and her Changelings conquer Equestria, forcing ponies to escape to the Everfree Forest and form a ragtag resistance group led by Zecora; Nightmare Moon has defeated Celestia and banished her to the moon instead, putting Equestria into eternal night; Tirek destroys Equestria; Celestia and Luna are powerless to stop Discord and have been made his personal entertainment clowns; The Flim-Flam Brothers have turned Equestria into an industrial wasteland; etc. The final straw is when Twilight Sparkle takes Starlight herself to one of these bad futures to give her a real experience first hand of the consequences. Equestria is a total desolate wasteland with nothing in sight. No ponies, no buildings, no villains, no trees, no water, just nothing, like everyone has either fled Equestria entirely, or worse. This causes Starlight to realize the error of her ways, and perform a Heel–Face Turn afterwards.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "It's About Time" Kowalski comes back in time to warn Private and then Skipper. Private's dream of the perfect future is a little different to Skipper's dream....
    Future Kowalski 1: Private, can you think of one time I have played a trick or told a joke?
    Private: You really are from the future! Tell me, am I living in a cottage in Novaskoscha happily married with one egg and another on the way?
    Future Kowalski 1: Uh... no.
    Private: Aw...

    Skipper: There's two of you? You're from the future! Tell me, does the Earth become a post-apocalyptic wasteland terrorized by roaming bands of irradiated mutants?! (punches one flipper into another eagerly)
    Future Kowalski 2: Uh... no.
    Skipper: Oh...
  • In Phineas and Ferb "Phineas and Ferb's Quantum Boogaloo", Future Candace going to the past to bust the boys on the day they built The Rollercoaster in the first episode lead to a future where creativity has been banned, children are all stored in People Jars until adulthood, and Perry the Platypus was incapacitated long enough for Doofenshmirtz to Take Over the World.
  • The Powerpuff Girls ended up here when they approached the speed of light. The future they found themselves in was when where their absence had caused the world to grow gradually worse until Him was able to take over, transforming it into a blasted wasteland where all of the inhabitants of Townsville we see have long since been driven mad (such as the Professor obsessively trying to recreate the girls while haunted by hallucinations, Ms. Bellum ranting about how the girls disappeared while guarding the Mayor's hat and sash which are all that remain of him, and Ms. Keane standing in the ruins of the kindergarten repeating the last thing she did before the girls vanished). Then they went backwards again, preventing it — the future was bad only because they'd been absent in the years between.
  • The first season finale of ReBoot temporarily dropped Dot into a Mainframe where she had given up on a Game, Bob had been nullified as a result, and Megabyte was in firm control of the system. The whole point (Phong did it somehow) was apparently to convince her just how imperative it was that she not give up. It worked.
    • Later, near the end of the third season, Enzo and AndrAIa found Mainframe even more like a traditional Bad Future, where they had been gone for what amounted to years, with a struggling resistance against Megabyte's rule added in... except this time, it was real.
  • Samurai Jack: The entire premise of the show is that the main character is flung into a Bad Future and tries to return to his own time.
    • Season 5 (coming out 13 years after S4) takes it Up to Eleven. The future is still ruled by Aku, but he managed to destroy every time portal in the intervening fifty years, and Jack has become a depressed Death Seeker anti-hero.
  • The Secret Saturdays: In "The Return of Tsun 'Kalu", Tsun 'Kalu gives Zak visions of a future where he has completely embraced his Kur nature and uses his control of cryptids to wipe out humanity.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Spoofed in a Treehouse of Horror short where Homer is flung back in time and proceeds to accidentally destroy various prehistoric creatures, creating a series of Bad Futures starting with one where Ned Flanders is the undisputed and absolute ruler of the world.
      • In the same TOH short, one of the futures Homer visits is actually good where he is rich, Bart and Lisa are well behaved, and Patty and Selma are dead. However, doughnuts apparently do not exist in this timeline, making Homer start over again. As soon as he leaves, doughnuts start falling from the sky and one of the Simpsons comments "its raining".
    • There's also the Future episodes. To wit: trees have apparently gone extinct, there was a World War III, and the United States has gone bankrupt. Of course, because of the Comic-Book Time in effect, the present has caught up at least one of those futures, wherein Lisa got married. She's still eight years old.
  • In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , the Smurf of Christmas Future shows Grouchy what his hatred of Christmas will cause when he reveals that on Christmas Day, all the Smurfs will be captured by Gargamel.
  • South Park did this in "Trapper Keeper," "Goobacks," and the "Go God Go" Two-Part Episode.
  • The New Adventures of Speed Racer depicts the year 2078 as this - the pollution is so high that everything is covered in dirt and the sky is permanently clouded, the downfall of the society can be seen on the streets and in violent Deadly Games, and regular people are minority among robots and mutants (those who have not managed to stay clear from toxic wastelands). There is also a brief mention of "The big spill", and the present day is referred to as the times from before it.
  • Superman: The Animated Series did this in "Brave New Metropolis"; Lois finds herself in a Metropolis ruled by Lex Luthor, with Superman as his superpowered enforcer, having gone Knight Templar after failing to save his dimension's Lois from a car bomb.
  • In the SWAT Kats episode "A Bright and Shiny Future", the heroes are sent into a world where the Metallikats have taken over, thanks to a Legion of Doom alliance with the Pastmaster.
  • In the Teen Titans episode "How Long is Forever", Starfire accidentally travels to one of these when she tackles the villain Warp, ending up twenty years in a future where she hadn't been seen since that day. The Titans have separated. Cyborg is rusted and isolated from everyone, due to wear and tear forcing him to replace his battery with a heavy generator, trapping him in the remains of Titan's Tower. Beast Boy failed miserably as a solo hero, felt into a deep depression, and becomes a circus entertainer. Raven is locked up in an asylum for hallucinating. It's never stated what caused her to be locked up in a mental ward, but considering the danger of her losing control of her emotions, she likely had herself committed for the good of the world. Hallucinations would result from a combination of years of isolation and regular sedatives. And, finally, Robin becomes a less charming version of Nightwing than he would normally be, had a Heroic BSoD, and completely refused to associate with anyone else ever again.
  • Donatello winds up in one of these in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon in the episode Same as It Never Was. To list it all: Shredder takes over the world. The survivors are forced to work 18 hours a day in labor camps. The grounds are patrolled by gestapo-like agents and the skies are filled with patrolling mecha and blimps with Shredders face on it. Splinter and Casey Jones are dead. The Turtles started fighting among themselves. Michelangelo lost an arm, Raphael his left eye, and Leonardo (presumably) the use of his eyes. When Donatello arrives and rallies the turtles for one final battle, Leo, Mikey, Raph, Hun, Baxter, Karai and Shredder all die. This episode alone has a higher body count than the rest of the series combined.
  • In Transformers: Rescue Bots, Cody, Frankie, and the Bots are accidentally sent back to 1939 with Doc Greene's robot, Dither. When they return to their own time, they leave Dither behind. This leads to a future where Doctor Morocco rules Griffin Rock with an iron fist and an army of Morbots, Chief Burns is a janitor, his three oldest children are auto mechanics(and the four of them are members of the resistance), Cody doesn't exist, and Doc Greene doesn't live in Griffin Rock.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men is mostly about the characters trying to avert the future Professor X finds himself in: two parts "Here Comes Tomorrow", one part Bishop's future, three parts "Days of Future Past", and all parts depressing. And once they succeed it's replaced by a world that looks very much like the Age of Apocalypse. At least Professor X still has his house in this future.
    • The first bad future could be summed up as From Bad to Worse taken Up to Eleven. First, Storm is driven mad by the Shadow King, and kills every living thing in Africa with her powers, before dying herself. Then, a mutant named Nitro is taken to Genosha, where his powers go off and take out at least half the island. Then the Sentinel program is introduced, which provokes Magneto into going to war. In the middle of all of this, The Hellfire Club abduct Jean Grey, and the power of the Phoenix she has inside her. And they get it, only the Phoenix quickly goes out of control, and sets fire to most of the world, burning away the oceans, and what's left of Genosha. After this, there's a war between the Sentinels, who have Turned Against Their Masters, and the Mutants. Which the Mutants lose badly, with almost all of the X-Men dying, save Wolverine and Professor X. By the time we first see the bad future, there's no sign of any human cities left, or any civilisation at all. Just the Sentinels, and the Mutants, who are being slowly hunted down and eradicated.
  • And speaking of Bishop, in the original X-Men cartoon Bishop originally came from the "Days of Future Past", or something very like it, but every attempt he made to Set Right What Once Went Wrong seemed to make things worse (Cable's Apocalypse-ruled future, for instance.)
  • Xiaolin Showdown: The first part of the two-part series finale has Omi freeze himself and winding up in a Bad Future where Jack Spicer has taken over the world.
  • In Young Justice, Bart "Impulse" Allen, grandson of The Flash, claims to be a time-traveling tourist Trapped in the Past, but viewers quickly learn that he's from a future where the Reach have conquered the Earth. His main objective is to prevent Jaime, who's bonded with Reach technology, from falling under their control. As a bonus, he comes back far enough to save his grandfather, who was going to be killed by Neutro, and Neutro himself, who was another Brainwashed and Crazy slave to the Reach. In a twist, a glimpse of the future implies that a bad future happens anyway, though later events (Mount Justice being destroyed by the good guys) means that this is open to interpretation.

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