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Alternate Universe
aka: Parallel Universe

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The criminal and the ape-thing, OK. But a woman?! That's just crazy.

"Penny, while I subscribe to the many worlds theory which posits the existence of an infinite number of Sheldons in an infinite number of universes, I assure you in none of them am I dancing."
Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

A story in which the characters we know are seen in a reality that's somehow different, often disturbingly so. If they can access multiple alternative universes at the same time, that's The Multiverse.

Sometimes everyone has an Evil Twin. Other times, everyone has a twin that's just a little different. Allows the goodies to be baddies for an episode, or for half of the cast to be killed — but not really. Sometimes it's just part of Side-Story Bonus Art.

Given a long enough run, any series based on superhero comic books will run into these.

If the writers want to depict an Alternate Universe, but the show's genre would not usually allow an Alternate Universe per se, the depiction may be accomplished via an extended Dream Sequence.

This trope is not to be confused with the following:

  • Alternate Continuity — The meta version, where a set of works is declared to take place in different universes (or, more specifically, different Canons).
  • Alternate Reality Episode — Asking and exploring a What If X and Y happened differently? question.
  • Alternate Universe Fic — Pretty much the same as above but for fanfics. Here at TV Tropes we use slightly different terminology, hence "universe" instead of "reality".
  • Another Dimension — Technically directions, such as left/right, up/down, and forward/backward. Some people say past/future, or time, is another one. Some also say the direction perpendicular to past/future is to different universes, hence over time "dimension" has become synonymous with "universe".
  • Constructed World — It's not Earth. Simple, right?

May be meta-caused by aforementioned Alternate Continuity; as well as by any of the three varieties of Discontinuity (Canon Discontinuity, Fanon Discontinuity, or Negative Continuity).

Specific variations:

  • Alternate History — Some major event in the past changed, like the Russian Revolution never occurring.
  • Alternate Timeline — This alternate reality is reached by rewriting history. Different from Alternate Universe the same way using a new piece of paper is different from using an eraser or correction fluid.
  • Alternate Tooniverse — An animated counterpart to reality.
  • Bizarro Universe — A lot of things in that world are reversed from the usual context, good is evil or vice versa, etc.
  • Crossover Alternate Universe — A universe that is created for a crossover.
  • Dark World — Our world's dark, sinister opposite.
  • Elseworld — Famous characters are placed into a situation which is potentially wildly different from the norm.
  • Gender-Bent Alternate Universe — Males and females are reversed.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot — You get to see how the world would have turned out if you were never born/existed.
  • Merged Reality — A universe where two or more universes are combined together into one.
  • Mirror Universe — Often a subset of Bizarro Universe, Good and Evil are reversed, but otherwise most of the things are the same.
  • The Multiverse — The people involved have the capacity to cross over to more than one additional universe.
  • Point of Divergence — One small change caused a huge difference between the universes.
    • In Spite of a Nail — Tiny changes have made the world almost the same, but the differences are critical (or wildly different, but the characters are still the same and still together).
  • Prime Timeline — The original timeline, the one all these alternates are an alternate to.
  • Retro Universe — The universe obviously resembles the past, and may or may not include additional fantastic elements.
  • Role Swap AU — A universe where some or all of the main characters are the same, but they've rearranged their roles. Often seen in superhero stories, with the same group of characters but the powers, alter egos and origin stories rearranged.
  • Short Screentime for Reality — The alternate universe is incredibly vast and exciting compared to our own limited, ordinary universe.

Another type of Alternate Universe is that which doesn't take any of the characters, but instead takes concepts, or machines. Such Alternate Universes are uncommon, but exist. Gundam is the perfect example, with no less than ten separate universes, all of them rehashing essentially the same plots and concepts — in particular, the conflict between those living in space and those living on Earth. With giant robots.

This trope is a common excuse for game masters to use when importing player characters from one tabletop role-playing campaign to another.

Compare with Masquerade, where a world might look the same, but something hidden makes it different. See Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment for examples wherein someone from one universe projects their feelings for their version onto a different universe's version.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Alternate Reality Game 
  • Crystore Inc.. revolves around the titular company and its iterations across the Red, Green, and Blue Bridges, alternate universes designated by the colour of their Golden Gate Bridge.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bakegyamon: The game is held in a kind of mirror world where the kids are able to summon monsters, and the game master can float around.
  • In the Kyoto Animation adaptation of Key's Visual Novel CLANNAD, Tomoyo's arc, which was never completed properly, was showcased in an AU OVA entitled Another World: Tomoyo Arc, where Tomoya never met Nagisa and Tomoyo is the winning girl.
    • In July 2009, they released the final DVD of Clannad: ~After Story~ that contains an extra OVA episode entitled Another World: Kyou Arc. Kyou finally gets her arc!
  • Code Geass, like K, has an Idol AU, featuring the characters as idol groups, instead of militaries. The groups are Code Black, a goth/punk band consisting of Lelouch, C.C., Kallen, and Shirley (with animal ears); Royal Rouge Rounds (or RRR), an idol group featuring either Euphemia, Suzaku, Cornelia, Gino, Anya, and Jeremiah, or Cornelia, Euphemia, Suzaku, and Lelouch; and Princess Peach, featuring Kaguya, Nunnally, and Lihua. Several figure sets have been made from this AU, and an album is (supposedly) on the way.
  • Doraemon: In "A World Without Sound", the characters go to an alternate universe where there is no sound and everyone communicates through writing.
  • Dragon Ball has three varieties:
    • The first is the demon world, which mirrors the regular setting except for the fact it is populated by demons. It first showed up in a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z dealing with a martial arts master from the demon world breaching the seal between the two worlds in order to kidnap human girls but later was added into continuity proper when the evil wizard Babadi enslaved the demon world's strongest fighter. The main villains from Dragon Ball Online hail from the demon world and Dragon Ball Xenoverse implies they too want to break the seal between the two worlds.
    • The second variety comes in the form of multiple timelines, a concept introduced when Future Trunks arrived via time machine to try and discover how to defeat two enemies from a very dark Bad Future. Unfortunately he was followed from an even darker future from which Cell hails. He killed his timeline's version of Trunks, who had already killed the Androids Cell needs to absorb, leading him to steal the time machine so he could absorb them in the past. Dragon Ball Online implies these alternate timelines are potentially endless and the main job of the protagonists was to prevent more of them from splitting off before encountering villains that aimed to change the known timelines rather than create new ones.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and Dragon Ball Super introduces the third variety that comes in the form of twelve separate "universes", which come in pairs that are determined by their designated numbers adding up to thirteen. The main setting is designated Universe 7 and so it paired with Universe 6, which superficially resembles it but has seen some drastically different developments over the course of its own history.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) the opposite side of The Gate is shown to be our universe. The two worlds have vastly different continuities but all humans have an Alternate Self on the other side of the gate.
  • Fairy Tail
    • As the story was written by Hiro Mashima, who already had experience with this with Rave Master, it only made sense for it to have one of these as well, in the form of Edolas, a world where magic power is scarce and slowly dying out, with the populace unable to use magic themselves but capable of storing it into tools and weapons and have resorted to using a special spell to siphon magic energy from Earthland. It makes for an interesting plot twist, and despite its relative lack of plot significance, it doesn't feel tacked on at all. Although it does explain a good few things, like Happy and Carla's origin, and why Jellal and Mystogan look identical to one another.
    • In Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, alongside a surprise return to Edolas, it's revealed there are other dimensions connected to Earth-land that aren't usually capable of being reached. One such Alternate Universe is Elentir, the Transcendent Magic World, where magic power flows in such an abundance it actually threatens to erupt and destroy it in a cataclysm without the aid of an order of priests that use White-Out Magic to pacify the land's magical energy. It is the home of both another Exceed named Touka and the White Mage/Faris, the latter of whom used the former to come to Earthland as part of a scheme to save her world from the Moon Dragon God Selene.
  • The Hetalia Bloodbath 2010 event: the culprits turn out to be alternate versions of various countries from another world where everyone has cat ears and they walk around nude like it's no problem, and apparently contains 123 different Frances. The survival of that world depends on finding a nation with a certain mark on their chest or butt before the end of Christmas, hence the stripping. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure eventually starts dealing with these:
    • The climax of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean involves Pucci's Made in Heaven causing the universe to reset and remade in his own image; however, his plans are ultimately foiled before he can finish the job, resulting in a restored version of the original universe that features alternate versions of all the characters he killed. The only one not affected was Emporio, the kid who killed him.
    • From JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run onward, each Part takes place in an alternate universe with parallels to the previous timeline. Word of God has gone on record saying the universe of Steel Ball Run and JoJolion is an entirely separate, unrelated universe with a new continuity that merely pays homage to the original story.
      • The Big Bad of Steel Ball Run has a Stand based around weaponizing a similar concept. He could escape death by pulling an identical version of himself from another universe to replace him, and could also force others to come into contact with their doppelgangers, and thus be obliterated. The other universes are almost identical, with the sole prominent difference being the lack of the Holy Corpse in all but the main universe.
  • K has both a High School AU and an Idol AU, which feature the series' feuding factions as rival school clubs or idol producers.
  • The Official Doujin spinoff of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War eventually becomes a collection of AUs instead of the initial Hotter and Sexier premise. There are The Little Mermaid AU, Cinderella AU, an all-girls school AU, and so on. The most well-known one is the Kindergarten AU, where Shirogane and Hayasaka are kindergarten teachers and the others as their students. It also has Hayasaka becoming Shirogane's love interest in this universe instead of Kaguya.
  • The Kirby anime is meant to be an alternate universe from the games, something many fans miss.
  • Unlike the traditional Lyrical Nanoha setting, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT is set in a universe without magic and alternate dimensions. Instead, the characters are normal humans living on earth, dueling one another via a recently introduced virtual reality-based Card Battle Game.
    • The franchise itself is one to the Triangle Heart series, where it's the rest of the Takamachis that live a secret battle-hardened lifestyle while Nanoha is an ordinary little girl.
  • Mazinger Z has a bunch of alternate universes: New Mazinger, set several years in the future, in a polluted, torn-warn Earth; God Mazinger, which has absolutely nothing to do with the original universe; Mazin Saga, Z-Mazinger, an alternate retelling where Kouji and Sayaka fight aliens masquerading as Greek deities; Mazinkaiser, another alternate retelling where Kouji finds his grandfather's true legacy; Shin Mazinger, yet ANOTHER retelling; Shin Mazinger Zero, a sequel to the original series set in an alternate timeline...
  • Naruto: Most of the Non-Serial Movie, Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja, takes place in another world that Tobi sent Naruto and Sakura to. Many of the filler episodes of Shippuden after Madara activates the Infinite Tsukuyomi also use alternate takes on the main setting—in addition to alluding to Road to Ninja, one "seen" by Tsunade takes place in a universe where both Naruto and Sasuke's families weren't killed and, particularly, Naruto is publicly acknowledged as the son of the Fourth Hokage but still secretly ostracized as a jinchuriki.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
  • In Episode 51 of Powerpuff Girls Z, the girls spend the entire episode traveling through time (using the Dynamo Z) gathering 3 flashes of light. Before they can get to the 2nd light, Him sends them off-course by transporting them into the universe of The Powerpuff Girls (1998), where the PPG can be seen fighting the Giant Balloon Fish in Townsville. However, the girls don't stick around long enough to meet their original counterparts, as they immediately travel back to their own universe and continue time traveling.
  • A major plot twist in Rave Master involved this trope: the entire series exists within an Alternate Universe, which was created when the last survivor of the original reality manipulated time in order to create a parallel world where The End of the World as We Know It didn't come to pass. The Omnicidal Maniac that was destroying this parallel world was in fact a balancing force created as a result of the unnatural divergence in the timestream.
  • Officially stated by a character in Saint Seiya: Episode.G Assassin: Shura and Aiolia are not in their usual timeline nor universe.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has one of these in Episode 26 with the Big Bad's Lotus-Eater Machine.
    • In a different vein, the new Parallel Works music videos leading up to the movie seem to be using these.
    • The series also has a High School AU manga.
    • One fan also seems to make an excellent example with an AU universe comic about TTGL worthy of the series.
  • Tsubasa Chronicle has many different worlds, and the four protagonists actually come from different worlds.
  • Panzer World Galient: The third OVA is an Alternate Universe to the series in which Jordy, Chururu and Hy Shaltat both are brothers-in-law, and Hilmuka isn't an alien.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • An episode of Pokémon the Series: XY has one where Ash and his Kalos friends have Mirror Universe counterparts that have completely polar personalities. In that universe, Ash has become a wimp who cries when things go bad, Alternate!Serena has become a Jerkass who often taunts Alternate!Ash, Alternate!Clemont has become a magician, and Alternate!Bonnie is more quiet and polite. Also, the real Team Rocket encounter their alternate counterparts, where they were actually seen as heroes of the Kalos region. Their Pokémon get affected too; Alternate!Hawlucha has become a wimp like Alternate!Ash, and Alternate!Pikachu has become cocky and is a regular nuisance to Team Rocket.
    • A two-parter in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon has Ash and Pikachu sent to an alternate universe version of Melemele where pollution and attacks by Guzzlord have devastated the now-abandoned island. They team up with the lone survivor to force the Guzzlord back to its home dimension before they are returned to their home universe.
    • Another two-parter in Pokémon Journeys: The Series revolves around a Bizarro Universe in which Ash is a weak-willed Shrinking Violet like in the XY mirror universe while Goh & Chloe are Hot-Blooded, and the Team Rocket trio is high-ranked and competent enough to have mooks of their own. The story revolves around their efforts to Save Both Worlds from Alternate!Team Rocket's Rage Against the Heavens plot.
  • Zigzagged in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V which has The Multiverse and inter dimensional travel as a major plot point, but each dimension is an Alternate Universe version of a previous setting in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise (though there's no direct communication between these dimensions and the settings they serve as counterparts to). After The Reveal it turns out this trope is either invoked or averted, depending on your point of view.
  • Space☆Dandy plays with this trope a lot. Each episode of the series is arguably set in a different universe as many of them end with the characters dying, becoming zombies or even micro-organisms, only for them to be perfectly fine the next episode. The series also ends with Dandy rejecting the Narrator's offer of Godhood, which causes the universe to reset itself to the very first episode...though things appear to be slightly different this time round.
    • One episode features Dandy, Meow and QT actually meeting different alternate versions of themselves, including a space trucker Dandy, a guy in a pink suit who thinks he's a robot (QT's alternate self) and a scary cyborg Meow.
  • Late into UQ Holder!, Kirie Sakurame is briefly sent into an alternate universe that's all but directly stated to be the universe that the reader resides in, as she mentions the year was 2021 (as opposed to 2086 where the story takes place) and there was a virus currently plauging said world.

    Asian Animation 
  • Each season of GG Bond features the characters having different personalities, an oddity that's explained in Season 16 as being because there are multiple alternate universe that the characters can be found in.

    Films — Animation 
  • It's implied that the two Cinderella sequels are set in different universes.
  • The LEGO Movie: The LEGO World is this to the Real World. While the events of the film and actions of the protagonists seem to be heavily influenced by Finn's actions at his father's LEGO set, Emmet still possesses his own thoughts when he falls into the Real World, and even wills himself to move at one point, independent of Finn or his father. The two worlds are separate, but apparently run parallel to each other, with whatever happens in the Real World affecting what happens in the LEGO world. The inverse also appears to be true, as Finn's father realizes his son's work when Emmet points it out to President Business.
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, Twilight Sparkle goes to one where the ponies are humans in high school, accessed via a Magic Mirror. However one visual gag raises the possibility that it's an alternate point in time rather than an alternate universe...
  • Shrek Forever After takes place in a universe where Rumpelstiltskin is crowned king, and many of Shrek's former allies have been changed in one way or another (I.E. Puss in Boots becoming the ogre clan's housecat and Donkey being treated as a regular mule).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Beau Is Afraid's version of 2022 contains a number of differences from our reality, including there existing a US city and state named Corrina, the US being involved in a military conflict with Venezuela, Moviefone still maintaining its now defunct call-in service, and there being no references to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • In Cube 2: Hypercube, the hypercube transects parallel universes. The characters don't realize this until they start running into duplicates of themselves and each other. Exploited by one character who uses them as a human food source.
  • Love Is All You Need? (2016) takes place in a universe, where homosexuality is commonplace and heterosexuals are victimized and persecuted.
  • The One is a cross between this and Conservation of Ninjutsu. The villain is traveling around to the various universes killing all the alternate versions of himself so he'll have all the power that would otherwise be spread out between them. Since the hero is one of the alternates, he winds up with bigger and bigger slices of the power pie as well, making for a battle royale when it's down to just the two of them.
  • Super Mario Bros. (1993) posits a "sub-dimension" created through the impact of the meteorite into earth that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs continued to evolve in this sub-dimension in the city of "Dinohattan", a city mirroring New York City.

  • Discussed in a short story from Arthur C. Clarke called The Other Tiger, in which two scientists start talking about the infinite universes that could theorically exist.
  • In the 100 Cupboards trilogy, the different worlds the characters reach through the cupboards are implied to be parallel universes whose timelines have diverged so dramatically from that of "our" Earth that they bear little resemblance anymore.
  • Stephen Baxter's Anti-Ice: The discovery of an Applied Phlebotinum with properties similar to anti-matter dramatically accelerates the Industrial Age. The book begins with the Crimean War ending with the destruction of Sevastopol by a single anti-ice shell, and includes a Jules Verne-like trip to the Moon.
  • Discworld:
    • The Roundworld Project: Created by Hex the magic AI as an emergency dumping-ground for a thaumic overload, an orange-sized spherical universe is kept on Rincewind's desk at Unseen University. Most of the UU faculty think this narrativium-deprived alternate reality is a silly waste of time; even so, the Archchancellor occasionally (meaning, whenever a new The Science of Discworld book is published) tasks his wizards to offset interlopers' tampering with the pocket universe's history. Silly or not, it is University property. "Roundworld" is, of course, our own universe.
    • Alternate Universe theory crops up elsewhere in Discworld, too, such as in Lords and Ladies, where Ridcully, upon being told that there's a universe somewhere where he married his childhood sweetheart, gets annoyed that he wasn't invited to the wedding:
      Ridcully: You'd think I'd think of me, wouldn't you? What a bastard!
  • In Teresa Edgerton's Celydonn trilogy, the Inner Celydonn plays this role to Celydonn proper, so that, for example, the version of Tir Gwyngelli known in traveller's tales really exists as the home of The Fair Folk.
  • Daryl Gregory's The Devil's Alphabet: A virus (of sorts) mutates the populations of a couple of cities in different parts of the world. The eventual realization is that the various types of new humans (Argos, Betas and Charlies) are what humans are normally like in alternate versions of the world.
  • One of the types of dimensions the portals in''Liv in the Future can lead to. While not shown, one government-sustained portal is known to lead to a universe where Jamaica has sharp sand.
  • H. Beam Piper's Paratime: This series by is based entirely around this concept, in which an advanced Earth civilization with the technology to explore alternate universes does so in order to secretly mine them for resources.
  • The Dark Tower books by Stephen King : Mid-World is a strange collision of Scavenger World, After the End, and Weird West with some trace elements of Steampunk to boot. It exists "next" to our world on the Tower, and shares some overlap, such as the existence of "Hey Jude" as a type of ancient campfire song, the presence of an Amoco gas pump, and a mysterious race of Precursors who had knowledge of and access to our world. This is without mentioning the endless levels of the Tower which make up different versions of our world and Mid-World. See The Multiverse page for that.
  • In Dragonlance, Raistlin succeeds in becoming a god and killing every other god as well as all life in Krynn. Then Caramon time travels back to prevent him from succeeding.
    • The Alternate Universe part comes from the suggestion that there are universes where Caramon didn't succeed.
  • Most of the Claimed in Dis Acedia come from various alternate universes.
  • In The Edge, the Weird is a mirror universe to our world, mirrored so that Florida is in the west and California in the east. None of the characters are duplicated, though.
  • The Genesis of Jenny Everywhere by The Lyniezian makes use of the Shifter's ability to exist in multiple alternate universes and read the thoughts of other versions of herself (see also Web Original folder). Her home universe, though fairly mundane and boring has a continuing Imperial Japan in the news about to invade Mongolia, various Anachronism Stew elements (Radio 4 is still the BBC Home Service despite being otherwise identical to Real Life; Jenny listens to music on what may or may not be 8-track cartridges, but other girls at school obsess over boy bands and reality TV), and, of course, there are the obligatory zeppelins. This Jenny, a bored schoolgirl with an overbearing mother, would rather be dreaming of excitement in some more Adventure-Friendly World or other- then gets her wish when she discovers her shifting power.
  • In the fourth Haruhi Suzumiya novel, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon suddenly finds himself in a world without supernatural powers, with the SOS members remain leading normal, human lives, and where Haruhi went to a different high school. It is, however, quite important to the plot that it actually was not an alternate universe, the one he has always been at had been rebuilt. This universe is further explored in the manga spinoff The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan.
  • Isaac Asimov's "What If— (1952)": Mr If's scrying glass allows people to view "what might have been". Liwy and Norman ask "What if we hadn't met that day?" and see events play out slightly differently because of it.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's Norby Finds a Villain: In this story, it is discovered that, with enough power, robots like Norby and Pera can use hyperspace to travel into other universes.
  • The Gwendalavir Universe is a world parallel to ours.
  • This is the origin of all the strange things in John Dies at the End.
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick contains an alternate 1960s California controlled by the Japanese after a defeat of the allies during WWII. There is mention of another alternate reality, apparently revealed to an au ctthor who writes a book about such an alternate in which the US does not lose WWII. This is slowly revealed not to be "our" alternate, but one dreamed up by the writer, and of no special significance. The book was written using the I-Ching as a guide to the character's actions.
  • Robert J. Sawyer's "The Neanderthal Parallax" trilogy is all about an alternate universe where Neanderthals didn't go extinct, but homo sapiens did.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast and The Cat Who Walks Through Walls are based on this, exploring various fictional universes created not only by Heinlein but also others, especially Oz.
  • The Reluctant King: The world of the trilogy is one for Earth, which in turn constitutes its afterlife. Early on, Jorian briefly crosses over into Earth before going back. He's completely befuddled by his encounter with what are clearly cars on a paved road, then a highway patrol officer who's trying to help what must seem like a very strange man.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles has an unknown amount of alternate universes. Four have been introduced so far.
    • The first is Edom, introduced in the latter half of City of Heavenly Fire. It is a world where Jonathan Shadowhunter was a cocky individual who rejected working with the Downworlders in the fight against demons. As a result, the Downworlders sided with the demons, enabling the latter to kill all Shadowhunters in the world. The demons subsequently ate everything else, turning the entire Earth into a wasteland. The sea is drained and the sun is obscured by gray clouds. There are no living things, except for demons who scavenge for food. Edom is now ruled by the demons Lilith and Asmodeus.
    • The second is Thule, introduced in the second act of Queen of Air and Darkness. It is a world where Clary Fairchild was killed during the Battle of the Burren in the year 2007, as depicted in City of Lost Souls. As a result, the Shadowhunters lost their primary champion in the fight against Sebastian Morgenstern and his army, who then spread a demonic plague called Blight that served as portals for demons to take over, turning the Earth into a wasteland, much like Edom. However, because the point of divergence with the main world is much more recent compared to Edom, Thule still has Shadowhunters and Downworlders, although the former have lost all of their angelic powers.
    • The third is an unnamed realm ruled by Belial, which appears in Chain Of Gold. It used to belong to Belphegor until Belial took it. The realm is made of a desert environment that is devoid of color. There is also a ruined civilization that looks similar to London. The realm is destroyed when Cordelia incapacitates Belial using Cortana.
    • The fourth is Diyu, based on the Chinese afterlife of the same name, which appears in The Lost Book Of The White. It was ruled by a Greater Demon, Yanluo, until he was killed. It used to be the place where the wicked were tortured, but after Yanluo's death it has fallen to disarray and is currently inhabited by wandering demons. Sammael has plans to take over it.
  • the secret lives of Princesses: Princess Ices produces a mirror that you can step through to travel to another world.
  • The alternate history series 1632 runs on this trope. Not long after the Virginia mining town from 2000 appears in Europe in 1632 during the Thirty Years War, some characters speculate they have moved to a different universe.
  • In Smoke and Shadows, Arra comes from what seems to be a parallel Earth given how easily she adapts to life in Vancouver. Her world was less technological, but magic use was mainstream.
  • Spectral Shadows has this; Word of God says that the "Somebody Else's Dream/Episodes from Hell" segment of Serial 11 is this.
  • The Myriad Universes Star Trek novella collections have the "for want of a nail" version of this trope. The Mirror Universe short story collections, on the other hand, are very different to the main universe.
  • The Farside Trilogy involves travel between Earth during the World Wars and a magical realm called Yuulith where humans have to deal with Elven Empires and an invasion from a Europe taken over by utterly alien seeming creatures who want to enslave everyone in Yuulith.
  • In The Wicked Years it's implied that the story takes place in an alternate universe and Oz is a counterpart to America. This differentiates from the original Oz canon, as Oz was simply another country on Earth.
  • In Wildside by Steven Gould, a teenager has a portal to a parallel world in which humans never evolved on his farm. He and several friends try to use it to become rich by exploiting the knowledge of huge gold strikes on their earth that were never discovered on the human-free world (of course). They do attempt to not pollute or otherwise screw up that universe— and then the American government (the bad parts of it) discover the group's access to an alternate world, and things get dangerous. Eventually, it is revealed that the main character's mother came from a different world in which the Industrial Revolution ran amok and destroyed it, eventually using portals to come to our timeline and saving the uninhabited world as a potential "lifeboat" for our world
  • Michael Kurland:
    • In The Unicorn Girl, the protagonists inadvertantly explore several alternate universes.
    • In The Whenabouts of Burr, somebody steals the Declaration of Independence and replaces it with its counterpart from an Alternate History; the protagonists go in search of that alternate history in order to find answers and get their own Declaration back. The title comes from the fact that the alternate Declaration was signed by Aaron Burr instead of Alexander Hamilton — which incidentally makes the protagonists' world an alternate history as well, because in our history Hamilton didn't sign it either.
  • The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith — a police officer in a dystopian United States is accidentally blown into an alternate universe where the North American continent is a libertarian society, and must help his alternate self defeat a plot to conquer this new world. Basically an Author Tract (albeit an entertaining one) for libertarianism, it's available online as a graphic novel as well.
  • The Red and the Rest takes place in a parallel Earth where the major difference seems to be a link to one of these. The main characters soon find themselves lost in the world of lost things, which really kicks off the plot.
  • A Thousand Pieces Of You. The whole storyline of the books is about two scientists traveling from universe to universe and finding trouble in each one.
  • In Rough Draft, the protagonist finds himself the customs officer of an Inn Between the Worlds with access to a number of parallel worlds. Some of these are explored in greater detail than others:
    • Earth 1 (Arkan): A universe 35 years behind Earth 2 from a technological and historical viewpoint, although some areas of technology here are superior to Earth 2.
    • Earth 2 (Demos): Our world. One of the most technologically advanced known worlds. Nicknamed "Demos" for the prevalence of democracy.
    • Earth 3 (Veroz): A world without nation-states or oil, so Steampunk is common. City-states can be found across the world, frequently in the same locations as on Earth 2 but with different names. Australia hasn't been explored or settled. Seas are full of dangerous creatures, such as krakens. One of the more fleshed out worlds in the novel.
    • Earth 4 (Antik): A world stuck at the Classical stage of development with an "evolved" form of slavery (e.g. slaves can be richer than their owners and can rebel twice a year).
    • Earth 5: Humans have a spring mating season and are at the 50s-60s level of development.
    • Earth 8 (Firmament): A world dominated by the Catholic Church, stuck in Medieval Stasis with the exception of advanced bio-engineering. The Cardinals run the Church (no Pope) and are protected by female Swiss Guards with killer Yorkshire terriers, razor-sharp halberds, and flying gargoyles.
    • Earth 14 (Janus): A planet with harsh winters and scorching summers. Spring is the only (barely) tolerable season. There is no moon and no magnetic fields. Initially appears lifeless, but one character insists that some human and animal life survives by migrating with the spring.
    • Earth 16: It appears to be Earth stuck at the primordial stage with unceasing volcanic activity and radiation. It's later revealed that it's an After the End world that is the homeworld of the Functionals. Human and animal life survives on a single island.
    • Earth 18 (Preserve): A pristine world with no humans. Frequently treated as a resort place, provided the visitors clean up after themselves.
    • Earth 22 (Nirvana): A world with no animal life. Filled with plants that produce spores that trigger a narcotic effect. Used as a prison of sorts, since all people dumped here are permanently stuck in a drugged stupor. Taking someone out results in a lengthy withdrawal period.
    • Earth 46: A technologically-advanced world, whose people have successfully resisted an inter-dimensional invasion. They practice Brain Uploading and "preserve" their dead by copying their minds into robots. They have used their advanced quantum physics knowledge to seal off their world from the rest permanently.
  • Andrey Livadny's The History of Worlds setting turns five of his previously separate settings into The Multiverse, allowing characters from them to interact. Four are unofficially called by key works set in them, and one is called by the name of a key character.
    • The History of the Galaxy universe: the most explored setting due to being the author's longest-running series with over 60 novels, novellas, and short stories, spanning a millennium of humanity's exploration of the galaxy and various conflicts between human powers, corporations, and aliens.
    • Another Mind universe: humanity is at the early 21st century development level and comes under attack from space.
    • Life Form universe: humans are settling the Solar System with STL interstellar travel a possibility; alien artifacts are discovered on some planets.
    • Contact universe: humans are exploring the galaxy using FTL-capable ships; then an archaeological discovery on Ganymede is made, revealing the existence of multiple alien races.
    • Omni universe: Earth is a radioactive wasteland, following a mutually-destructive war against a race of Insectoid Aliens, with the survivors of both species attempting to rebuild their civilizations.
  • Tasakeru takes place in an alternate universe where humans have never existed.
  • Gravity Falls: Journal 3: During his travels in the multiverse, Ford came across several of these, most notably one he deemed "The Better World": Stanley took Journal 1 instead of fighting him and alongside Fiddleford, that world’s Ford kept Bill Cipher at bay and created the Institute of Oddology, becoming rich and famous in the process thanks to his multidimensional travel technology.
  • In the Christian novel The Tuning Station, an atheist meets an alternate version of himself, who is a devout Christian, and they are given the assignment to find out where their lives diverged.
  • Armadillo Fists exists in a multiverse, where travel between realities is commonplace enough that people hold "dop conventions" where they meet with all the other versions of themselves. This can be an unpleasant experience, though - main character June learns that almost every other version of her is male, while villain Rape Face discovers that there isn't a single universe where he became something better than a petty asshole criminal.
  • Phaeton takes place entirely in and out of alternate universe (Labeled Alpha Gamma 64) and the records of events were somehow sent to our universe, exactly how is as of yet untold.

  • Gloryhammer: The first album, Tales from the Kingdom of Fife is set in a Fantasy Scotland with unicorns, magic, trolls and goblins. The second album, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards is set ten centuries later in the grim darkness of 1992, when Zargothrax, the Evil Sorcerer from the first album, comes back to wreak havoc with the aid of the Goblin King and the Chaos Wizards. At the end of the second album, McFife follows Zargothrax through a wormhole into another reality.
  • Tsukipro - a fictional talent agency representing various artists, mostly boy bands. Their main releases are music singles, accompanied by audio dramas about their daily lives, stories which continue on the official twitter accounts and in the various anime adaptations. Normally, it would stop there, but not this time. This series makes good use of its Universal-Adaptor Cast, and AU stories have been made turning them into youkai, military officers in space, angels and demons, rabbit royals, and more. It helps that in canon, one of the idols is a demon king. Or maybe it doesn't...

  • The retrofuturistic Eighties setting of Within the Wires is a False Utopia that divorces children from the concept of family, separating them from parents, and eliminating/repressing memories of siblings and childhood relationships at the age of ten via pharmacology, cybernetic implants, and batteries of psychological programming. Gradually, the series reveals a Point of Divergence, a devastating war called "The Great Reckoning." In its aftermath, The Society was created, and it was decided that nationalism, tribalism and familial loyalty were the root causes of war and violence, to be eliminated through drastic social engineering.

  • Many roleplays on the Bay12 Forums use this as their base:
  • The first story in the Brave New World Universe has an entire story arc dealing with a character traveling to multiple alternate realities.
  • Fate/Nuovo Guerra takes one of Fate/stay night's bad endings and runs with it as their Back Story. The Fifth Grail War results in the destruction of Fuyuki City, prompting the Einzberns to start a new Grail War elsewhere.
  • In Lords of Creation every one of the new gods became that way by successfully offing a god in their own universe, now they have to create their own and hopefully not screw it up.
  • Survival of the Fittest:
    • It has had several small-scale AU RP's. These range from simple What-If scenarios (What If the students had been rescued on Day 3, What If SOTF really was a TV show, etc) to radically different concepts such as Mech SOTF and SOTF with zombies.
    • In 2010, a spin-off site effectively dedicated to Alternate Universe versions of Survival of the Fittest was created, with the pilot in an interesting Continuity Nod, being an alternate version of Battle Royale, the concept which SOTF was based off. While the Battle Royale AU was left unfinished, several other A Us have been established and seen multiple versions. A list can be found here.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Several campaign settings are alternate universes to both Earth and each other, although this is rarely referenced in game materials and comes mostly from Word of God.
    • Greyhawk exists in a Multiverse (along with Dragonlance and the Forgotten Realms), but it's not made up of alternate universes. Rather, it's the term used for the system of heavens and hells, elemental planes, the Astral Plane, and so on; the different campaign settings are planets in the same universe.
    • Forgotten Realms: The entry for 1357 DR in The Grand History of the Realms notes that in that year, on an alternate Material Plane world known as Earth, Ed of the Greenwood gathered together various books and maps given to him by Elminster of Shadowdale, and made the first publication of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
    • Mystara somehow exists in a different multiversal set-up from the other campaign settings. In addition to Earth, it also crossed over with another universe with futuristic technology; a starship from that universe crashed on Mystara and its radioactive engine became a major source of arcane power.
    • Unlike most other official Dungeons & Dragons settings, Greyhawk and Mystara share background elements pulled from early games (such as the aforementioned starship crash, the Barony of Blackmoor, and connections to Earth), but in slightly different formats.
    • Gothic Earth, a spinoff of the Ravenloft product line, is an Alternate Universe version of our own planet in which supernatural horrors lurk beneath the façade of Victorian-era society. Also, some characters from classic fiction in our world are real there.
    • Urban Arcana's worlds on the other side of Shadow could be this, but the nature of Shadow makes travel between universes... tricky. As in, 'you can't go back'. One of the adventures includes a character from the other side that has figured out how you can travel between the Earth of UA and his world. This character, and his organization, also appeared in Planescape...
  • Broken Rooms is a science fiction horror game involving movement between 13 alternate realities. The premise of the game is that on a certain date on our world nothing remarkable happened...but on 13 other realities the beginning of the end of the world took place. These can range from a catastrophic meteor strike, to a nano-viral zombie plague, to an alien invasion, to the annihilation of the solar system from a rogue black hole. Only people with a certain hindbrain anomaly can travel between these realities by way of Broken Rooms, places where tragedy has eroded the barrier between realities.
  • Exalted: The Shards of the Exalted Dream features four versions of the main Exalted universe: a Space Opera setting, a modern day setting, a fighting game-style setting, and a setting based on Battlestar Galactica (2003).
  • GURPS Infinite Worlds setting.
    • It involves the PCs as agents travelling through alternate universes. Officially all GURPS settings are universes within the Infinite Worlds. This includes assorted Alternate Histories (GURPS Technomancer, GURPS Reign of Steel), several universes where All Myths Are True (GURPS Camelot, GURPS Atlantis), multiple worlds with superheroes (GURPS Supers, GURPS International Super Teams), and even universes inexplicably modeled on the popular fiction of the baseline universe (GURPS Conan, GURPS Discworld)!
    • The enemy timeline is Centrum, a scientific state that wants what is best for all, and for this to continue (discovering where this one branched off is a surprise)... others in the Alternate Worlds books have included Gernsback (named for the Golden Age SF editor), where Nikola Tesla's inventions shaped the development of science; Excalli, where the dominant empire is an Aztec-derived one; Roma Aeterna, where the Empire of Rome simply carried on, with the adoption of science; an alternate where China continued to trade overseas; and several versions of the usual "Nazis triumphant" parallel. Oh, and the United States of Lizardia, where dinosaurs evolved into sentient beings but somehow ended up recapitulating human history along the way.
  • Planebreaker: The Planes of Mirror and Shadow refers to parallel worlds of the Material Plane. If a character finds themselves the focus of a trip into the Congruent Corridor, the alternate world first observed should look almost exactly like their world of origin, except for at least one thing that might or might not be easy to notice. As the character moves along the Congruent Corridor, the alternate worlds remain roughly similar, but more and more different additions and subtractions build up with each new window.
  • Wizards of the Coast long ago published a set of generic supplements for handling deities in roleplaying games, called The Primal Order. One of the books in this series, Chessboards, covered in exquisite detail how to design and manage an entire multiverse complete with cosmology.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse, as the name implies, features several alternate universes both shown in the game itself and in its background lore. This includes such universes as the Iron Legacy Timeline where all around Boy Scout Legacy goes totalitarian after his nemesis kills his daughter, The Inverse-verse where heroes are bad guys and villains are good guys, the Xtreme-verse where everything is XTREME(!), the Animal Verse where everyone is an animal except for Plague Rat who is instead Plague Man (this one in particular originated as a joke after Christopher and Adam, the game's creators, accidentally referred to the character Sergeant Steel as Sargent Seal), and many, many others.
  • TORG:
    • It features several different dimensions/realities, each corresponding to a different genre (such as Aysle, a traditional world of Medieval European Fantasy; the Cyberpapacy, a Cyberpunk world run by a Corrupt Church; the Space Opera-influenced dimension of the Space Gods; Orrorsh, a Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror Story in a Heart of Darkness style British colonial jungle setting; the Nile Empire, a world of Pulp Action Adventure; the Living Land, with sentient dinosaurs; and others), all cooperating to invade Earth.
    • Part of what makes TORG such an interesting game is that it's based on distinctly different rules for how reality works, depending on the context of the home dimension. First edition's Nile Empire, for example, had no room for moral ambiguities: every character was either Good or Evil, though they could change from one to the other under the right circumstances. Characters can engage in literal 'reality duels' with opponents from different dimensions, and the High Lords can do the same with entire areas of real estate.
  • The Hyborian Campaign was alternate universe to the Conan the Barbarian series, particularly as it progressed and more and more Space Filling Empires nonexistent in canon arose as players conquered increasing amounts of land.
  • Warhammer 40,000 was originally just Warhammer Fantasy In Space, then the two were implied to be alternate universes of each other or that Fantasy was just set on one planet among billions in 40K. Now the universes are more or less set apart except for the occasional reference to high-tech wargear finding its way to Fantasy by way of the Warp.

  • BIONICLE has the Olmak, also called the Mask of Dimensional Gates. Does exactly that. Its wearer, Brutaka, has used it both to teleport and to send enemies to a dimension they probably won't return from. He tried to send his former friend Axonn into the Zone of Darkness (a pitch-black dimension with only flat, featureless plain with gravity), and also used his (then damaged) mask to teleport Takanuva to Karda Nui to warn the heroes of a great danger. However, the mask malfunctioned, and sent Takanuva into both Alternate History and a Bizarro Universe. After finally finding the another Olmak in one of those universes, Takanuva entered inter-dimensional space and got to his intended destination. This is a Multiverse with a twist, as "our" dimension is explicitly called "the real universe", the rest are only pocket dimensions that shows how things would've turned out if they were done differently. Brutaka's mask was destroyed eventually, but the lunatic villain Vezon managed to get his hands on another one... and it ended up fusing to his face. Now he is a living dimensional gate, and has already visited several other universes (among them a few of those that Takanuva got lost in).
    • A subversion of this trope happens in the book Time Trap before any of the other examples. Vakama wakes up in an alternate timeline where he and the rest of the Toa Metru never became Toa and six others became toa in their place. At first it seems like he accidentally changed the past with the mask of time, but it turns out the Big Bad was using illusions to trick him. Vakama figures out the situation isn't real by mentioning an event that didn't happen to a friend who would know that it didn't happen, then continues to play along with the illusion for a while to look for clues.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc IF takes place in a "What if?" version where Naegi finds a switch to escape the school before any of the students can attempt a murder.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony takes place in an alternate universe where the Danganronpa franchise is a popular series of video games and anime. So popular, in fact, that it became a reality TV show where high school students willingly sign up to take part in real killing games where they are mind-wiped and implanted with the fabricated personalities and backstories of Danganronpa characters as a form of Enforced Method Acting. It's mentioned that world peace has been achieved and there are no wars or conflict anymore, so watching Danganronpa is now the only way for humanity to satisfy its lust for violence.
    • Each of the main Danganronpa entries has an extra mode (School Mode in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Island Mode in Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Dangan Salmon Team in Danganronpa V3), all of which could be considered alternate universes where the killing games never happened. Danganronpa V3 also has an unlockable game titled Ultimate Talent Development Plan which could count as yet another alternate universe, where the rosters from all three novels attend Hope's Peak Academy during the same period and the Monokubs take over as the school's headmasters.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has at least two alternate universes (that we know of) compared to the one the game takes place in. The first is the universe that the upcoming sequel Hatoful Boyfriend: MIRROR takes place in, where the main protagonist's parents are alive (and the Heartful Home incident never happened, preventing the chain of events that lead to Nageki's death and Hitori taking Kazuaki's identity, meaning both Nageki and the real Kazuaki are alive). The second is the world of the book Absolute Zero: The Forbidden Epic of Fallen Angels, which is the alternate universe that's mainly seen as Anghel's fantasy world, yet is actually a real parallel dimension (indicated by things that Anghel very obviously should not know about being present in the book, such as "Kazuaki" being Hitori's impersonation of the real Kazuaki and Shuu knowing Ryouta's father when they were younger) and it's implied that Anghel is some sort of Reality Warper capable of temporarily merging that dimension with the one he's actually in.
  • The main plot behind Little Busters! can be described as this. At first you don't realize because you're playing like any other DSIM, but at each playthrough the two main characters evolve a little (better seen on their status screens) and little things change from one playthrough to the other. It's only when you complete the Rin route for the second time, after playing through all the other five routes that it's revealed that the world they live in is actually an alternate universe created for the two main characters by the other eight, in order to help them cope with what happened in the real world.
  • Sunrider Academy is a Highschool AU of the main Sunrider universe. Sola's route reveals that both universes are part of a larger multiverse, as Academy!Sola is one of several "fragments" of the main universe Sola, created when the main Sola was transported thousands of years into her future; as such, Academy!Sola should not exist and the plot of her route involves preventing her from being erased from reality.
  • Every path in the multi-route TYPE-MOON games is a potential outcome of the main scenario, which makes it rather difficult to establish the rules of the 'verse due to the plot differences in each route; according to Word of God, all of them are canon.
  • The When They Cry franchise is filled of this, referred to as fragments/kakera. In Higurashi the Ground Hog Day Loop is revealed not to be repeats of the same events but instead different universes with a certain person pushing the Reset Button after each arc searching for a fragment in the sea of fragments where Rika won't be killed. In Umineko we are introduced to witches who can travel in the sea of fragments looking for specific events that fit their needs or wants.
  • The Nonary Games trilogy all hinge on using knowledge gained in an Alternate Universe path with a Bad Ending in order to progress on the main path to the True Ending.

    Web Animation 
  • The 150th Strong Bad Email had Strong Bad visiting many of the website's alternate universes.
  • Smash King is a story based on an alternate universe in the world of Smash that's parallel to the Nintendo multiverse at large, and the trophies know they're replicas of their original selves from the multi-verse, yet create their own society and choose their own personalities of their own volition, living life on their own terms in this tier based society.
  • In Underverse, the plot jumps between timelines and multiple different universes, tracking Cross's effort to get his timeline back.

  • In 2/0, an alternate version of the universe was discovered by Terra.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja The universe the setting is in is sandwiched between two other realities, the Radical land, and what amounts to the real world. These universes both bleed their coolness and lameness into the comics one respectively so that its cooler than our universe but not as cool as the radical lands.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, According to the commentary, the chapter "Another Path" was originally intended to be set in an alternate universe where Paulo had sex with Lucy during her Mental Breakdown in "Another Shoulder". The final version has it as a daydream of Paulo's.
  • Bob and George has an infinite number of them, and Bob visits quite a few. The title characters themselves are from a different universe than the one where most of the action takes place.
  • In Bobwhite, Cleo freaks out over the many-worlds hypothesis and its implications on fast food. In this universe, she never orders burritos because they're gross... which means that in some other universe she always orders burritos. But why?
  • There are a few of these in Breakpoint City, though they haven't played a major part so far.
  • The first page of City of Trees establishes real locations in Boise, Idaho, though the story quickly introduces magic and magical begins.
  • Decrypting Rita has four such universes at minimum, not counting Universe Aleph:
  • Dela the Hooda: Universes are classified into "alternate universes" and "parallel dimensions." Alternate universes are usually Alternate History, such as Edith's homeworld where Erasmus Darwin unleashed an alien plague that caused mass animal uplift and can sometimes be traveled to by accident via wandering into "soft places." While parallel dimensions are completely different worlds, such as Dela's "Babylon 5 meets Lord of the Rings" homeworld of Mhâr, and are considerably harder to reach.
  • Dinosaur Comics has an alternate universe where everyone has goatees, a Shout-Out to the Star Trek episode "Mirror Mirror," in which the Spock counterpart wore a goatee. Anytime you see an alternate universe counterpart with a goatee, chances are it's a Shout-Out to "Mirror Mirror."
  • Dumbing of Age is an alternate universe to Shortpacked! and the other series in David Willis' Walkyverse. It reboots the story by placing it back in college (most of the Walky cast graduated from college in 2001) removing the science fiction elements completely, and using a Sliding Timescale so the characters will never graduate. Shortpacked! continued to run until 2015, and Willis had since started reposting the Walkyverse here with commentary.
  • In Dragon City, Erin's friend Natasha reveals herself to an alternate universe counterpart despite Erin having blue scales and Natasha having brown.
    • Actually, as Natasha (the brown Erin) points out, due to genetics, Erin was more likely to be brown than blue and that the blue Erin is a genetic fluke.
    • Yes, Erin IS that vain to have made friends with her other world counterpart.
  • In El Goonish Shive, the Word of God said that at least four dimensions have meddled with the "main" one. Most of them are Alternate Universes, each with its own version of Tedd or other main characters.
  • In Fake News Rumble, all the villains came from an alternative universe, as well as protagonist Tek Jensen. Furthermore, every universe contains some version of of our heroes Stephen and Jon.
  • Fall City Blues revolves around two versions of the same person forced to live together when their alternate universes were merged to save space.
  • Five Nights At Freddy's: Lost Souls: One in which Fazbear's Frights was built and a theme park was erected around it to cash in on the in-universe real-life Fazbear murders. However, the attraction burned down under mysterious circumstances, with the other rides beginning to break down shortly after. In the comic's present, the theme park has been abandoned completely, with only the animatronics and the mysterious entity still walking its grounds.
  • Freaking Romance: The whole story is about two people falling in love after their dimensions keep meeting and colliding in their apartment.
    • As it turns out, there's a lot of other dimensions. At least 54 if the number is correct.
  • All the Four Corners short stories or most extra drawings are always putting the characters in alternate universes, and never in the comic's actual timeline.
  • Alternate Universes play a big role in the 'Maze of Many' arc in Goblins; the Maze itself is a Pocket Dimension which allows different iterations of characters from across multiple realities to exist in the same place simultaneously.
  • In Homestuck, initiating the Scratch creates one of these by resetting the conditions of the game, including the players and their universe. As a result, the players of the initial session switch places with their ectobiological parents, and vice-versa. This has happened twice so far: once to Earth, and once to Alternia.
  • Jix had a story that took place in an alternate reality where Remula had taken over the Earth and it was discovered later that the original Lauren had actually be transported to that universe when she caught up to her counterpart.
  • If they can be successfully opened, Panegates in The Mansion of E allow access to alternate universes.
  • Minions At Work: Invoked here.
  • MS Paint Masterpieces has a number of alternate timelines that are shown as side-stories. As X explains in filler, there's only one actual timeline, and when you mess with time travel, you destroy the projected one, which is what Wily's up to between the first and second games.
  • The protagonists of Paonia Pawns gain the ability to travel between these; in many, some sort of disaster has wrecked the local civilization.
  • Parallels:
    Keeping the spaceways safe one universe at a time.
  • One Shortpacked! story featured Leslie travelling to a universe where the Drama Tag was never pulled. Another one-off strip featured a series of parallel universes in which Hasbro had made different announcements about the new Transformers toy, making the point that the Fan Dumb would have been unhappy regardless (and ending with what will probably be the only official Dumbing of Age crossover.)
  • Silver Bullet Nights is basically an alternative universe of Smoke Fur And Stone. The creator of both these comics often plays with the idea of alternative worlds and multiple versions of characters in his work.
  • Sluggy Freelance is almost the Sliders of webcomics. Among the worlds its characters have visited are:
    • A sci-fi dimension heavy on tropes from Star Trek and Alien,
    • A "Dimension of Pain" inhabited by demons,
    • A rather saccharine dimension where everyone is always nice and friendly to each other, there's no beer, and the main source of food is rice cakes,
    • A dimension where everyone has purple hair and speaks Portuguese,
    • An anime-parody dimension where battles between good and evil were regularly fought out by giant robots, in which the entire universe is actually a power source for a giant waffle iron (don't ask),
    • A dimension that has been invaded by Aylee's race, and
    • A dimension that has been overrun by mutants, with the only survivors holed up in the Orwellian 4U City, which keeps its inhabitants drugged into submission.
    • John Ringo's Hell's Faire features several Sluggy Freelance strips as if they were created within the novel's setting. This was possibly a favor in return for the shout outs to Sluggy Freelance in the third and fourth books of the series.
  • Supernormal Step takes place on an AU Earth with magic and fantasy creatures. It is one of many dimensions, and two of the main characters are actually from our normal, boring one.
  • Very briefly done in Vexxarr.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: In total there are 20 competing in the tournament, each going down a different path in DBZ history (Goku becoming evil, the Namekians fusing to form a Super-Namekian, etc).
  • Helvetica takes place in a world where everyone is 'born' as a skeleton right after they die on the real world. They have none of their old memories and the first word they say becomes their name, no matter how weird.
  • Zebra Girl: The "Angels with Dirty Fur" arc, where the gang is trapped in a parallel cartoon universe Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • No Zone Archive focuses on the No Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), which was a zone that had nearly all the characters involved in law enforcement.

    Web Original 
  • In Keit-Ai, two lovers from alternate dimensions help each other out in hooking each other up with the AU versions of themselves by telling their deepest, darkest secrets through their cellphones (hence the title).

  • SCP Foundation. The Foundation has many contained objects that apparently come from (or are doorways to) other universes, many of which are similar to the Foundation's universe.
    • Dr. Mackenzie's SCP-001 Proposal ("The Legacy"). In his diary The Administrator claims to originally be from a parallel plane of existence that he calls an "alternate reality".
    • SCP-093 ("Red Sea Object") is capable of transferring people to an alternate world using mirrors. This world is mostly a wasteland filled with futuristic technology and giant humanoid monsters that attack and absorb any living things they see. Explorers from our universe find a journal of an SCP agent from a third universe that details what happened here. The world the object connects to was visited by an incredibly powerful god-like being only named He, who arrived during the Industrial Revolution and declared the world to be unclean. He instigated a massive Tech Boom for a war to purge the world of sin. This left the world in ruins and the survivors became the giant abominations, mutated thanks to exposure to a pure form of a substance called His Tears, which was apparently supposed to free them from sin. Not only that but there are numerous copies of the Red Sea Object that are all linked to other universes, and there's a possibility that He could use the Object copies to travel to any of them... including ours.
    • SCP-507 ("Reluctant Dimension Hopper" is a man who randomly and involuntarily gets sent to various ones, which The Foundation keeps a log of.
    • SCP-970 ("The Recursive Room"). Anyone who passes through all of the doors in SCP-970 and ends up in their original location will actually be in a slightly different universe. Each time they pass through SCP-970 the universe will change a little more, until things get really strange.
    • SCP-1142 ("A Cry for Help"). SCP-1142 is a radio receiver that broadcasts transmissions from an alternate Earth where the Nazis summoned an Eldritch Abomination that is threatening to destroy their world.
    • SCP-1739 ("Obsolete Laptop"). SCP-1739 turns an Eldritch Abomination into a Sealed Evil in a Can by creating one of these. The Abomination is distracted by being allowed to destroy the new universe, keeping it from destroying the universe it's in.
    • SCP-2069 ("AEGIS") is a collection of debris that was blasted into the Foundation's universe. It was the aftermath of when AEGIS (a team up between the Foundation and the Global Occult Coalition) used a doomsday device called NOVA as a last-ditch attempt to stop an Alien Invasion.
    • SCP-2273 ("Major Alexei Belitrov, of the Red Army's 22nd Armored Infantry Division"). SCP-2273 is a soldier from another universe where the U.S. and U.S.S.R. got into a nuclear war.
    • SCP-2332 ("Thought Messenger") is a butterfly made of ultraviolet light that was originally created and sent out by another universe's version of the Foundation. It ended up in this universe by accident.
    • SCP-2451 ("Love Through Time, Space and Species"). SCP-2451 is a doorway to a series of other universes, some of which are very different from the Foundation's universe. In one the "humans" are 8 foot tall bird-like creatures with beaks the size of a human's arm.
    • SCP-2645 ("Through the Looking Glass"). The anomalous mirror SCP-2645 has another universe accessible through its mirrored surface that is initially identical to the SCP Foundation's universe. The contents of that universe can be changed by the influence of entities in the Foundation's universe.
    • SCP-2935 ("O, Death") is a cave underneath a cemetery, which leads to another world exactly like our own, except that all life died at the exact same instant on April 20, 2016. Corpses lay where they fell, vehicles have crashed, trees are broken, and nothing is decomposing because all microbial life is dead as well. Even SCP-682 is dead. What caused it? This world's Foundation sent someone to investigate their own 2935, and just like our world's Foundation, he too discovered a world where everything died at the exact same instant. Then he came back to his own world, and the instant he did, everything in his world died (except for him, though he took care of that himself later). The investigators from our Foundation wisely decide not to return to their own world so that the same thing won't happen to it, and send a drone back with their findings and instructions to blow up the cave and seal it off.
    • SCP-4823 ("The Whole World Has Gone Bananas!") is a banana that functions as a portal to an alternate universe where all life is plant-based and instead of humans, there are humanoid banana-people. Diplomatic relations between our Foundation and their Foundation were going well... until a single fruit fly accidentally hitched a ride over to Banana World with one of our guys, found the best all-you-can-eat buffet it could ever ask for, and started laying eggs. Six months later, an Apocalyptic Log was ejected through the portal, written by a French banana girl as her world was devoured by The Swarm, with the last entry stating that she is about to die as well, but is sending her journal over so that our Foundation knows exactly what they did.
  • Almost every story in The Wanderer's Library takes place in a different one.
  • YTMND:
    • The website gets its name from Sean Connery's line "You're the man now, dog!" in the movie Finding Forrester. One user created a YTMND of the full scene containing the line, which also included Connery saying "Punch the keys for God's sake!" This inspired the creation of an alternate universe where the site's creator chose that line to make his site around instead of "You're the man now, dog!". PTKFGS had slightly different versions of YTMND's fads, such as "omg, internet" instead of "lol, internet", "R U SHUR?" instead of "O RLY?", etc. These sites had a blue PTKFGS watermark in the upper right corner to contrast YTMND's orange watermark in the upper left. This eventually snowballed into the creation of a third universe, YESYES, named after Connery's exclamation of "Yes! Yes!" in the same scene from Finding Forrester. YESYES sites had a green watermark in the bottom right corner. Multiple attempts were made to create a "fourth corner" universe, but nobody could agree on what to definitively call it since Connery didn't have any more lines in that scene. Proposed suggestions included "HEH" (Connery lets out a small chuckle during that scene), "Typing Noises" (another character can be heard typing on a typewriter during that scene), and "YHTMOAG" ("You have the manners of a goat", a Connery line from Highlander). Eventually one user created a YTMND establishing lore that the fourth corner was in fact a multiverse containing all proposed suggestions.
    • There were other AU memes on the site beyond the traditional "corners", such as "GAYTMND" (Camp Gay and often set to "Shut Up (and Sleep With Me)"), "CRAPTMND", "LOUDTMND", and "Violin" (which involved edits of other sites to have classical music and pictures of violins pasted into them, and being perpetuated as a Forced Meme on the front page by a user's repeated donations).

    Web Videos 
  • Feather Adventures: There are several alternate versions of the titular world which are only accessible by portals during special occasions or episodes.
    • The first known one is only accessible on Halloween. The alternate Sqaishey is called 'Sqoshey', the entire world has a much darker atmosphere, mobs like spiders and phantoms are friendly while cows and horses are hostile, and all the pets are bunnies.
    • Another example occurs in Episode 336, "Let It Snow!", where an alternate Sqaishey named 'Sqlushey' appears through a portal. Sqlushey looks like a snowman version of Sqaishey and they leave a trail of snow wherever they go, and appears to have some control over ice and snow. They have also been featured in later Christmas Episodes.
    • A third one appears in Episode 344, "A Polluted World", where the place looks almost normal at first glance (though a bit darker and less cheery) and houses the green 'Sporshey', who spends a lot of their time clearing out rubbish and smog clouds and shifts between bright and greyish shades of green depending on the level of pollution of the land. The land becomes a lot brighter and more colourful when the rubbish and smog are cleared out, and once more trees and flowers are planted around. Fittingly, the episode where Sporshey is introduced is released on Earth Day 2022 and has a Green Aesop.
    • A fourth one makes its debut in Episode 377, "The Water Mystery!!", which is home to the light blue 'Sploshey'. The world itself resembles a dried-up, desert version of Feather Adventures with only tiny pockets of water, and is filled with bleached coral and dead plant life. Once Sploshey recovers their stolen trident, they are able to restore their world to a stormy but lush world of prismarine, sandstone, and bright and healthy coral. The episode also introduces Sqorchey, a fiery, red version of Sqaishey who turns out to be the real culprit of the trident theft.

    Western Animation 
  • In the season four finale of Adventure Time, the Greater-Scope Villain the Lich finds and opens a portal to The Multiverse. When Finn and Jake follow, we see them in a universe where the Mushroom War never happened. Thus, the Candy Kingdom doesn't exist, Jake can't talk, and Finn is not the last human. He also has a robot arm. We find out more about this in the season 5 premiere. Finn wished the Lich out of existence, so he and Jake ended up in an alternate timeline where the Ice King performed a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent the final bomb from falling in the Mushroom War, and the creation of the Lich, from ever happening.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse introduced us to the multiverse for a major arc. Among the alternate universes seen are a world where Ben never got the Omnitrix and a post-apocalyptic world a la Mad Max.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: P.O.O.L.", Numbah Four travels to an alternate world where the KND are the DNK (Destructively Nefarious Kids). His own evil counterpart is the leader (complete with goatee).
  • The Negaverse in the Darkwing Duck episode "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything" — a mirror universe set up to explain the origin of Negaduck (not to be confused with the self-proclaimed Negaduck whom Megavolt accidentally created in another episode by dividing Darkwing into good and evil clones) The portal to the Negaverse was lost at the end of this episode, in a traditional Status Quo Is God ending.
  • Futurama:
    • In "The Farnsworth Parabox", Farnsworth creates a box leading to an alternate universe where every coin toss has the opposite outcome. There are also lots of other boxes, leading to other alternate universes, each linking to each other.
    • In "I Dated a Robot", Fry goes to the edge of the universe and sees alternate versions of himself and his friends, all wearing cowboy hats.
    • In "The Beast with a Billion Backs", a portal opens to an alternate universe, home to only one sentient being: Yivo, the infinitely huge, love-lorn ball of tentacles.
    • In "The Late Phillip J. Fry", after Farnsworth, Bender, and Fry have reached the end of the universe, a second Big Bang creates a universe identical to the last, giving the trio a chance to go home. And giving Farnsworth a chance to shoot Hitler. And once they reach their time, Farnsworth accidentally slips on the controls, forcing them to go all the way back around again. This time around, Farnsworth misses Hitler and hits Eleanor Roosevelt instead.
    • In "The Lesser of Two Evils", the sign which says "Tonight: MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT" a moment later turns into "Tomorrow: MISS PARALLEL UNIVERSE PAGEANT".
    • In "That's Lobstertainment!", there is a Parallel Universal Studios side-by-side with the Universal Studios.
  • An episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero featured a timeline where Cobra had succeeded in taking over the world.
  • Invader Zim seems like it may take place in one, but then again, it may just be 20 Minutes into the Future.
    • The Halloween special had one where everyone was a horrific monster version of themselves and they were trying to get into our world with a portal in Dib's head.
  • The Real Ghostbusters episode Flipside.
  • Kaeloo: The episode "Let's Play Astronauts" had the main four go to an alternate universe through a black hole in space. There, Kaeloo's transformation works in reverse, Quack Quack and Mr. Cat (known as Meow Meow and Mr. Duck) had each other's personalities and traits, and Stumpy was a genius who loved physics and hated comic books. It turns out Stumpy dreamed this all up.
    • In Episode 70, the main four meet themselves from another dimension where the concept of life is "Let's Learn..." instead of "Let's Play...". Alternate Universe!Kaeloo's transformation takes place in reverse, and instead of being sweet and gentle, she's strict and somewhat abusive. Alternate Universe!Stumpy is intelligent instead of being The Ditz, and Alternate!Universe Mr. Cat is a quiet idiot who eats books instead of an extremely intelligent but Ax-Crazy psychopath who goes around destroying stuff.
  • In an episode of Rugrats, Tommy and Chuckie think they're in a "Mirrorland".
  • In The Secret Saturdays, the whole family (except the female lead's brother) has a twin in an alternate universe, who all try to take out the heroes as The Psycho Rangers.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series:
    • In "The Magicks of Megas-Tu", the crew of the Enterprise discover a world where much of their equipment doesn't work, but Functional Magic is commonplace. Oddly, Spock adapts quickly.
    • In the other universe shown in "The Counter-Clock Incident", time runs in reverse, and the only way to travel between universes is to go through a dead star/nova at Warp 36.
  • The various incarnations of the Transformers have done this quite a bit, with alternate timelines galore.
  • A large percentage of Rick and Morty revolves around parallel universes and inter-dimensional travel. In one episode, it is revealed that many of the infinite other Ricks from alternate dimensions came together to form the Citadel of Ricks, a society made entirely up of Ricks with their Morty companions, complete with their own form of government. The ability to travel between dimensions has also helped the duo on more than a few occasions. Most notable was the time where Rick irreversibly altered the DNA structure of everyone on Earth, making them Cronenberg creatures. They remedied the problem by finding an alternate dimension where both Rick and Morty die shortly after solving the problem, leaving the "invading" Rick and Morty to bury their own corpses and assume their own lives in a new dimension.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" has SpongeBob and company going to a restaurant on the surface called the Trusty Slab and encountering live-action human versions of themselves.

    Real Life 
  • Many physicists and cosmologists are coming up with the possibilities of other worlds, and that there are more than one universe, but multiple universes in the "multiverse". This idea has been theorized in religion, transpersonal psychology, literature, astronomy, and philosophy. Even though the theory is quite popular in science fiction and fantasy cultures, many scientists are trying find proof of existing dimensions. Some believe we are living in parallel universes that had different timelines, alternate histories, and different, but similar environments. But the existence of alternate universes has not yet been confirmed.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Parallel Universe


The Algae's Always Greener

Plankton switches lives with Mr. Krabs and experiences what it's like if he was the owner of the Krusty Krab.

How well does it match the trope?

4.79 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlternateUniverse

Media sources: