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You thought it hit an iceberg? Well, now, that's just silly!

Marco: Oh, Erek, one more thing. I kind of need a makeup paper on some great figure from American history. It's kind of due day after tomorrow.
Erek: How about Franklin Roosevelt? I was the White House butler during his administration. I was the one who came up with the phrase "New Deal." Of course, it was during a poker game.
Animorphs #34

Wouldn't it be cool if a fictional character in your story was either wholly or partially responsible for a famous real-life historical event? If you're the author, you can make it happen!

Though in many cases a well-written character in their own right, this character simply cannot get around the fact that a good chunk of their screen time is being the driving force behind major events that have already been written or described by others. In effect, they are made more interesting by association due to having "guest-starred" in a suitably major event.

Oftentimes the character will be written in so that they can contribute to or take the place of whatever causes led to the real event, without radically changing that event's outcome or legacy. For example, you can have superheroes, supervillains, robots, zombies, aliens, vampires, alien vampires and whatnot play a decisive role in World War II, but the Holocaust, the invasion of Poland, the invasion of France, Pearl Harbor, the invasion of Normandy, and the defeats of Germany and Japan will still happen, just for different reasons. On the other hand, you aren't necessarily prevented from creating an Alternate History where your character does cause history to take a different path.

Supertrope to Historical Rap Sheet. Almost always the source of a Historical In-Joke. See Seemingly Profound Fool, Mistaken for Special Guest. Contrast Beethoven Was an Alien Spy where a real historical figure is given fictional adventures, and Julius Beethoven da Vinci where multiple real historical figures were actually the same long-lived or time-travelling person. Can often cross over with Noodle Incident and Real Event, Fictional Cause. May or may not involve Time Travel.

Works With Their Own Page

Other Examples:

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  • When the new, so-called Iron Horse decided to run wild, John Jameson casually finished his breakfast, before taking matters into his own hands. After all, he was quite fond of its "precious cargo". Calmly, he relieved the engineer, a decision he would instantly regret. Selflessly, he rescued his whiskey. And for good measure, he set the Iron Horse free to roam greener pastures—coincidentally saving all of Ireland from the Prussian Incursion of 1807. Which is the reason nobody has ever heard of the Prussian Incursion of 1807.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler: Ciel and Sebastian inspired a young Arthur Conan Doyle to continue writing Sherlock Holmes stories (Arthur was convinced they would never catch on) by telling him how they engineered the murders at the party, as well as showing him Sebastian's true form.
  • Blood+: Though they didn't actually cause it, Saya and Haji were both involved in The Vietnam War, with an Intrepid Reporter taking the photos of Saya's bloody rampage that spur his son on to follow in his footsteps.
  • Doraemon does this more than once, thanks to the constant Time Travel in the series:
    • What Am I for Momotaro has Doraemon and friends visiting Meiji-era Japan to investigate the Momotarō myth (after finding photographic evidence that Momotaro allegedly exists). They instead inspire the myth when Nobita gets mistaken for Momotaro while his friends have to take the Animal Transformation Cookies as a disguise, becoming Momotaro's animal companions from the legend.
    • Doraemon: The Record of Nobita's Parallel Visit to the West reveals that Doraemon's VR Simulator being left unattended in ancient China caused demons from the simulator to escape and wreak havoc, and after the gang manages to re-seal the demons, they discover the events of their adventure turned out to be the inspiration behind the Chinese literary classic, Journey to the West.
  • All of the Servants in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night are, by definition of their nature as Heroic Spirits, people who are well-known for the historical events they were a part of in life before being summoned by the Masters.
  • The Gundam franchise has a few, in addition to the protagonists' exploits in the various anime, films, and OVA:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin reveals that Char Aznable participated in a number of events leading up to the One Year War, and in some cases, instigating them.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Day After Tomorrow follows Kai Shiden's exploits from the end of the war to the events of Zeta and beyond. In the process showing his own involvement in some pivotal events.
  • The Golden Laws: Alisa's time machine becomes responsible for several events in history after malfunctioning: it inspired the helicopter hieroglyphs in Ancient Egypt, was part of Prophet Ezekiel's visions, broke the Sphinx's nose, and even helped Moses and the Israelites get to the Red Sea and get to the other side before Pharaoh could even arrive at the shore.
  • Given who she's based off, Lucoa from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is responsible for the creation of at least one human civilization and is partially responsible for creating the planet.
  • Red River (1995): Yuri tries to keep a low profile when she gets transported to ancient Turkey, scared of this trope. When her actions lead to someone saying she could be shaping history, she considers it a very sobering thought. Her involvement has quite some effects — giving the Hittite Empire access to iron when it was the Bronze Age, for example — but it turns out that You Already Changed the Past, so everything she did was supposed to happen.
  • Oscar, the protagonist of The Rose of Versailles, is involved in many events of France's internal politics from Marie Antoinette's arrival to the Storming of the Bastille where she's killed by the defenders.
  • While the Japanese politician Toshimichi Okubo was really murdered in Real Life, in Rurouni Kenshin his killer was Soujiro Seta. The samurai historically credited for Okubo's death showed up after the fact and decided to take credit for it.
  • The☆Ultraman, set in an Alternate Universe different from the other entries of the Ultra Series, introduces Planet U40, an alien world with a landscape and its architecture resembling Ancient Greece, where it's revealed that the Ultramen of U40 are responsible for the modernization of mankind after coming in contact with the Neanderthals in the distant past. Because of this, mankind itself is implied to be descendants to the people of U40.

    Audio Plays 

  • Tim Wilson's Uncle BS bits are this. Each segment asks Uncle BS "Where were you on (insert)." Each of these are significant historical dates that place Uncle BS in places such as Kitty Hawk and Little Big Horn, or as a fertilizer salesman in Hiroshima, Japan, often with a humorous story surrounding historical events with Uncle BS heavily involved. The latter suggest BS believes his fertilizer was responsible for the nuclear blast.

    Comic Books 
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen features Orlando (based loosely on the titular character of a book by Virginia Woolf), a gender-changing Immortal who fights in every major war from Troy to World War II, as well as causing the rift between Romulus and Remus and posing for the Mona Lisa. Also, he started the Renaissance.
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • The stories occasionally feature Morpheus becoming involved with or perpetuating some of history's biggest legends. Throughout the Fables and Reflections trade paperback, he is the catalyst behind the City of Glass myth, as well as giving Joshua Norton the dream to become the Emperor of the United States on a bet with his siblings. He also made an arrangement with Shakespeare, giving him the stories and the immortality he wanted in return for two plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream as a gift to Oberon and Titania, and The Tempest for himself.
    • The Greek poet Orpheus was also suitably retconned into becoming Morpheus' son, with many of the Endless helping to facilitate his famous descent into the Underworld to retrieve his dead wife. For that matter, many of Apollo's deeds are explained as Morpheus' doing, with him explaining that Apollo was a god of storytellers and legends; aspects which fall under Dream's purview and confuse casual listeners.
    • All explainable by the fact that it's Dream's job to inspire people to greatness. So most people with lasting fame have interacted with him in some level. And by the fact that he's the personification of dreaming: both the dreams you have when you sleep, and the dreams that you strive for when awake.
    • In Sandman: Endless Nights, a cocktail party of the gods, at the dawn of time, ends up Gumping the origins of both Superman and the Green Lantern Corps.
  • In one story, Booster Gold time travels into the past, meets Green Lantern's archenemy Sinestro, and convinces him that he's part of the... um... Sinestro Corps. Sinestro likes the idea.
  • Atomic Robo alternately averts this trope and plays it straight. Robo participates in World War II in a story where Robo is off on a side mission while real-life soldiers are fighting real-life battles; goes along for the ride for the first Mars probe mission but does not contribute anything to the actual accomplishments of NASA; and he declares himself neutral during the Cold War. He has, however, been to the moon, but probably well after humans had already made it. Essentially, Atomic Robo qualifies in that he's around for all sorts of historical events, but he's an aversion because he never takes away from what was done by historical human beings. It's the stated intention of the producers not to reduce the significance of any historical figures' effort or sacrifice.
  • In Marvel Universe, Rick Jones even recognized in his autobiography he was "Gumping" the Universe.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • Don Rosa likes to do this. In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Scrooge is shown to be the reason Theodore Roosevelt went back into politics (and the origin of some of Roosevelt's famous quotes). Scrooge also gave Buffalo Bill the idea to do Wild West shows, and was a major influence on Jack London's The Call of the Wild. He also meets Wyatt Earp, sails on the Cutty Sark, and witnesses the eruption of Krakatoa, nearly became the owner of the real world Anaconda Copper Mine, causes the sinking of the Titanic, etc., etc., etc.
    • Uncle Scrooge once boasted about his wrestling skills (to Roosevelt, while they were fighting) by mentioning that he once met Sitting Bull. Back then he was known as "Standing Bull." What makes this even more impressive is that Rosa definitely did the research with regard to where these people were and how they acted at the time Scrooge met them.
    • Don Rosa is not the only Disney author that did that. In multiple Italian stories, via either time travel, flashbacks, or other kinds of stories set in the past, Disney characters found themselves responsible for various events. Gus Goose invented the shape of the American Football doors, Donald Duck accidentally suggested the plot for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to Steven Spielberg when they were briefly in the same class at elementary school, Daisy Duck's great-great-grandma inspired the character of Sherlock Holmes... and so on.
  • Being "The Spirit of the 20th Century", Jenny Sparks from the WildStorm Universe was a part of every major event from 1900 to 2000, including the Titanic and "Shagging the three main players in World War II". The most outrageous of these was when she was living in Vienna and told a local struggling artist to give up because his paintings were no good. But he was a good public speaker, so maybe he should consider going into politics. But first he'd have to change his name, because nobody was going to vote for somebody named Adolf Schicklgruber. Understandably, she does not look back on this accomplishment favorably.
  • Star Wars: Tag & Bink is about two inept padawans turned rebels that somehow find themselves involved in almost every major event of the movies, and any gaffes or plot holes from the series are usually credited to the pair.
  • In James Robinson's Starman, Jack Knight becomes a Gump to Jor-El, father of Superman, by giving him hints of where to find Earth.
  • Several times, Mortadelo y Filemón have become parties to several important historical events. For example, in El Quinto Centenario, drawn to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America, they get accidentally sent to the past and become part of the crew that discovers America, next to Cristobal Colón (who resembles Felipe González, Spanish President in 1992) and Fray Requemado Sinsilla (who is drawn to be like Alfonso Guerra, Spain's vice-president in 1992), Pepe Gotera, Otilio and Rompetechos (all of them Ibáñez's characters). For example, Mortadelo and Filemón cause the sinking of the Pinta in the Americas.
    • Siglo XX, ¡qué progreso! has Mortadelo, Filemón, Ofelia and Bacterio travel to the start of the twentieth century, and become part of history: they cause the Russian-Japanese War, World War I and II, Ofelia becomes Mata-Hari and kills Rasputin, they meet the Wright Brothers, Mortadelo and Filemón are nearly executed during the Spanish Civil War, they become acquainted with many small and great inventions...
  • In the Asterix comics, the title character and his friend Obelix do this a lot, including in the animated adaptations:
    • Tea is brought to Great Britain thanks to some strange potion that Getafix gave Asterix before he left for Britain in Asterix in Britain.
    • Belgian fries and mussels are invented in Asterix in Belgium when a Belgian chieftain sees a cauldron with oil boiling in a Roman camp and when Obelix later finds a piece of the pirates' ship with mussels on it.
    • In Asterix in Spain, Asterix battles a bull with a red cape that accidentally fell in the arena, thus inventing bullfighting in Spain. In the same book, Unhygienix asks Obelix to make a payment in menhirs because he wants to "develop" a property in Carnac (Stonehenge in the English version).
    • In Asterix and the Great Crossing, Asterix and Obelix accidentally drift off on the ocean and unknowingly discover North America.
    • Why does the Sphinx have no nose? Answer: Obelix broke it.
    • Why does the Venus de Milo have no arms? Obelix broke it.
    • Why is the Colosseum partially collapsed? Guess. Apparently, most of the destruction done to landmarks from ancient history is Obelix's fault (What's really impressive about this one is that Obelix collapsed part of the Colosseum 120 years before it was even built).
  • Doctor Doom has influenced history both in the present and in the past.
    • First ever story starring the Fantastic Four? The Thing becomes Blackbeard. Yeah. The Blackbeard.
    • Originally, Doctor Doom (as the bandaged man) was part of the Red Skull's/Adolf Hitler's secret organization (as seen in The Invaders). Due to the sliding timescale, it got retconned as him travelling to the past in order to learn Nazi secrets.
  • If you ever wonder how the real Red Baron was killed, you should ask Corto Maltese, since he was there to witness the scene. He was shot by an Australian shepherd, whose aiming skills became improbable when he was drunk. He also took part in The Irish Revolution when the Sinn Fein still was a young party, just after using the Battle of Caporetto as a cover to retrieve a hidden treasure. And all of this only happens in one of his albums, Les Celtiques.
  • Watchmen:
    • It's heavily implied in the comic (and outright stated in The Movie) that the Comedian was the gunman who killed John F. Kennedy back in 1963. Though Before Watchmen claims it isn't true; Eddie was occupied with Moloch during the assassination. However, it does claim that he killed Marilyn Monroe and Robert F. Kennedy.
    • Doc Manhattan is there waiting when Neil Armstrong steps out of the lunar lander. And the famous Victory Kiss photograph after World War II is a bit different due to the presence of a certain female vigilante in place of the male sailor.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Professor Andro was present at and claims at least partial responsibility for numerous disasters throughout human history, including the eruption of Vesuvius, Atlantis falling into the sea, and the Chicago fire of 1871.
  • The mini-series Sub-Mariner: The Depths seems to suggest that Namor was responsible for sinking the Titanic.
  • Batman villain Ra's Al-Ghul, being over seven hundred years old, takes credit for numerous historical events. His spotlight issue during the New 52 Villains Month implies that he was responsible for the Great Fire of London, the cholera epidemic of 1832, and training Gavrilo Princip, the assassin of Franz Ferdinand. This last seems more like taking credit for something in retrospect, as Princip was so incompetent as an assassin that Ra's would only want to be associated with him because of the results.
  • Many an Alien vs. Predator comic inserts the monsters (particularly the Predator) in historical events. For instance, one was the dragon that St. George fought.
  • Death Vigil notes that the last copy of a text the Grim Reaper wanted to be erased from existence was kept in the library of Alexandria.
  • Zipi y Zape: In 'El tonel del tiempo' ("The barrel of time"), the twins Time Travel to Ancient Egypt and construct a prosthetic nose for Queen Cleopetra, who is upset about her really ugly nose, inspired by the Great Sphinx of Giza. She then orders the complete destruction of everything that is more beautiful than her new nose, so Zipi and Zape deface the sphinx to prevent it from being completely demolished.
    Zipi: As long as the future generations can appreciate it...!
    Zape: Don't think so, they'll say it was Napoleon.
  • Doctor Who (Titan) has done this a couple of times:
    • In an Eleventh Doctor story, it is told that the vision at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge which converted Emperor Constantine to Christianity was a combination of a crashing Cyberman spaceship and an illusion that the Doctor created to drive the Cybermen away.
    • In a Twelfth Doctor story, a character in nineteenth-century England known as Charlotte is revealed to be Charlotte Brontë, with Clara and the Doctor and their relationship influencing Jane and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.
  • The northeast blackout of 1965 was caused, according to Jim Steranko's "Project Blackout" in Strange Tales (made two years later), by Mister Fantastic in order to destroy a weapon of the Yellow Claw.
  • The Eternals, a race of long-lived superpowered beings, inspired some of mankind's legends. For instance, the Forgotten One was Gilgamesh (with some of the monsters he faced in the myth having actually been Kronans, the rocklike alien race Korg belongs to), while Sersi, a beautiful Eternal with the power to transmutate objects and living organisms, inspired the sorceress Circe from Greek mythology. Lampshaded by Sersi herself:
    The Greek storytellers could never spell my name right.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Due to the abnormal temporal situation of Hell, Requiem (who fought and died during World War II) is transported to the past and revealed to have attacked Mary Shelley in the night she gained inspiration to write Frankenstein.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Inverted with Captain America. According to Ultimate Origins, the Super-Soldier was going to be the best weapon the US had in the war, but he (seemingly) died while trying to stop a Nazi-alien rocket. Unable to use him anymore, the US had to resort to atomic bombs instead to end the war with Japan.
    • The Ultimates: Red Skull assassinated John F. Kennedy, took part in the Vietnam War, worked for two of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century (Pol Pot of Cambodia and Idi Amin of Uganda), worked for the Russians in Afghanistan and has trained and fought alongside terrorist groups across the entire globe. Basically envision all the terrible shit that occurred during the latter half of the 20th century and he probably had some involvement in it.
  • The official tie-in comic book for Quantum Leap featured an issue in which Sam jumps into the body of a lesbian whom he had sent to prison in an episode of the series. He leaped into her in late June 1969 and Sam and Al realized that he's there to document the Stonewall riots.
  • Jonah Hex #37 reveals that Jonah was responsible for the death of General Stonewall Jackson.
  • In Tomahawk #96, it is revealed that General Washington's crossing of the Delaware was successful because Tomahawk and the Rangers were conducting a distractionary raid downriver.
  • Superman:
    • In Superman (Brian Michael Bendis), Jonathan Samuel Kent suggests to a coalition of aliens to create a union of various worlds so that tragedies such as the destruction of Krypton would never happen again. The idea sticks and he, Superman, and Supergirl are shocked by the arrival of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who reveal he just helped create the United Planets.
    • Two for the Death of One: During the final battle, Superman gets smashed against the Sphinx's face, making him accidentally responsible for its missing nose.
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, Supergirl time-travels to 1692, and is reminded of rumors about a so-called "Golden Witch" who terrorized the country in that same year and then disappeared suddenly. As she is wondering if she will manage to unravel the mystery, Kara decides to help out a nearby village. She provides food, potable water, coal, and medicine for the frightened farmers before flying back to her own time, unaware that their powers have been mistaken for witchcraft. Once she checks an encyclopedia, Kara realizes she was the "Golden Witch".
  • Trollhunters: The Secret History of Trollkind: Not only did the founders of Trollmarket (including Blinky, Vendel, Draal, Kanjigar, and Bagdwella) sail on the Mayflower, they also encounter Lewis and Clark.
  • Commonly happened to Buck Danny:
    • He was working at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked, then became a flyer for the U.S. Navy and experienced several of the Pacific War's major battles, such as Midway, firsthand.
    • Halfway through the war, he transferred from the Navy to the Flying Tigers in China. In the series' first long-form story arc, he and three of his friends were responsible for ferrying the Allied plans for the Burma offensive to the Flying Tigers (and then retrieving them, and keeping them out of Japanese hands, when the plane crashes on the way back to China).
    • Later wars and historical events that Danny, Tumbler, and Tuckson participated in included The Korean War, the 1991 Soviet coup attempt against Gorbachev, The Yugoslav Wars, and The War on Terror.
    • They were also frequently assigned as test pilots helping to develop any pivotal number of aeronautical technologies. These include early jet and supersonic aircraft, the X-15, the SR-71 Blackbird, and the F-22 Raptor.
  • In the sequel to Armageddon 2001, Armageddon: The Alien Agenda, Captain Atom's attempts to get back to the present caused various events in time, namely the extinction of the dinosaurs, the burning of Rome, the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and the first usage of the atomic bomb.
  • In Chronin, Hiro, a fictional member of The Shinsengumi, mentions having been present at several of their famous incidents, including the assassination of Serizawa Kamo and the raid at the Ikedaya inn.
  • The Shea Fontana iteration of DC Super Hero Girls had a tie-in graphic novel titled Past Times at Super Hero High, where the plot largely revolved around Batgirl and Harley Quinn going on a time travel adventure. On their journey, they encounter Amelia Earhart and Emily Dickinson when they were only young girls and end up encouraging them to respectively become the first female pilot and a writer of poetry.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Bloom County, Bill the Cat caused the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 by leaning on a lever. (In front of a sign with very big words saying, "WARNING! DO NOT LEAN ON LEVER!")
  • Doonesbury's Uncle Duke. Lampshaded in a '90s strip in which his son (after learning about the time in the '80s when he was simultaneously dealing junk bonds with Michael Milken, skimming HUD money, and working for John Gotti) refers to him as "Forrest Gump's Evil Twin."
  • Played for Laughs in a strip from The Far Side that depicts a frustrated Albert Einstein facing a blackboard covered in crossed-out versions of his famous formula—"E=MC cubed," for example. Meanwhile, a cleaning lady who's just finished up tidying a desk loudly remarks, "Now everything's squared away! That's right, squared away!" You can practically see the light bulb going off in Einstein's head.
  • In Madam & Eve, Eve claims in this series of strips that one of her ancestors inspired a number of William Shakespeare's plays.
    Shakespeare: Jislaaik, this woman comes up with catchy titles!

    Fan Works 
  • A.A. Pessimal has fun with this one in his Good Omens fics. The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, in the slightly-less-than-seven thousand years of the Planet Earth, have hitched a lift on the Ark with Noah and his family; gatecrashed the Last Supper; been confidantes of the Borgia family; been in at the birth of modern ritual magick; assisted a young Adolf Hitler with opera tickets; and sponsored Black Sabbath (Crowley) Cliff Richard and Andrew Lloyd-Webber (Aziraphale)note  into pop music careers.
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The details are mysterious, but Thor caused or at least influenced the Dyatlov Pass Incident. The author has jokingly claimed that Scylla will in future cause the 2021 Suez Canal Blockagenote .
  • All For Luz: All for One was born during the rise of Quirks in his world and became one its first supervillains. He also created One For All succession through his younger brother and wagged a 10-year war for control of the Boiling Isles with Emperor Belos and introduced Quirks to the witch population, including recreating One For All through Amity. After his death, he caused a Mass Super-Empowering Event in the Human Realm when soul ended up in Luz's mindscape. He's pretty much connected to almost every other character in the story either directly or indirectly.
  • In the PandoraHearts Continuation fanfic Beyond the Winding Road, the three major wars we hear about throughout the story are far more intimately connected to the main cast than they first appear. All three of Sable's major wars in the past 100 years (the Revolution, Great Tousterre, and Idvitzen Invasion) basically dominoed from actions taken by the characters during the manga. The destructive climax of Pandora Hearts became the flashpoint of a building anti-nobility movement against the Four Great Dukedoms which led to the Revolution and divesting of the nobility; the Revolution's political instability opened up an opportunity for the Empire of Lucya to make a power grab that caused the Great Tousterre War; and the tensions left between Sable and its enemies in that war led to the Idvitzen invasion three decades later.
  • The Bolt Chronicles: Played with. When dementia descends on him, Rhino boasts having accomplished all sorts of improbable deeds in "The Spaceship." These include leading an army of elephants over the Alps to attack Rome, inventing the telephone and Internet, and being the trusted advisor to British Prime Ministers and U.S. presidents, among other things. It has unexpected consequences when two space aliens try to kidnap him, wanting him to head up their civilization's Brain Trust Committee.
  • The Bound Destinies Trilogy of The Legend of Zelda fics reveals that Terminus, Hylia's fraternal twin sister/Terminian counterpart, was the one who supplied the Ocarina of Time to Link and Zelda and created the Song of Healing. Not only that, but the reason Link found himself in Termina during the events of Majora's Mask is because Terminus pleaded with Din, Nayru, and Farore for help in stopping Majora from carrying out its infamous Moon Drop plan.
  • In A Brighter Dark, Nyx becomes this due to her effective immortality from being frozen at the age of a young girl. She's lived long enough to have witnessed and interacted with several events that other characters only know about from history or legends, if they know about them at all.
  • The Chaotic Masters:
    • The titular Physical Gods evidently caused the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, and created Mts. Everest and Kilimanjaro, among other things they did for fun over the centuries.
    • The Knights of Entropy, the Meridian-based militant order of the Chaostism religion which worships the Masters, have been secretly influencing events in other parts of the world for centuries. For instance, they are confirmed to have caused the Great Fire of London, and are also suspected to have been involved in Frollo's actions, as well as the French Revolution and rise of Napoleon.
  • Many of the Long-Lived characters in Child of the Storm are mentioned as having done this - in Natasha's case, it was usually by manufacturing a coup or killing someone on the Red Room's orders. In Doctor Strange's, it's explicitly noted by Dresden that if he didn't directly have a hand in something, he had a hand in something that affected it.
  • In The Confectionary Chronicles, during Hermione's time in the past visiting the Hogwarts founders as they create the school, she plays a small but significant role in the creation of the Sorting Hat, and also witnesses Rowena Ravenclaw put the finishing touches on the Room of Requirement.
  • In the Love Hina fic Contract Labor, it's revealed that Gidget the turtle survived the eruption of Krakatoa (and in fact was saved by the eruption: she had been captured by whalers and was about to be eaten when the eruption sank their ship and freed her), and during World War II saved the life of a sailor implied to be John F. Kennedy.
  • Conversations with a Cryptid: All For One was alive during the rise of quirks. He founded Japan's earliest vigilante association, which became the first supervillain league when it was outlawed. Behind the scenes, he has backed many government officials, doctors, and police. He also owns several major news corporations.
  • The third part of Day of the Barney reveals that Barney and Baby Bop were alive and present at the extinction of the dinosaurs and are hinted to have caused it. The list of historical events they are shown to have caused is long: Since the extinction of the dinosaurs, they are revealed to have met and corrupted Caligula, caused the spread of the Black Death, saved the life of and met Adolf Hitler, and befriended Anne Frank, only to betray her and her family to the Nazis after learning that she is a Jew.
  • A core premise of the Heroes of the Storm fanfic Heroes of the Desk is that many events in history aren't as they seem—many were part of maintaining a Masquerade. Feudalism, the Salem Witch Trials, and something involving the Catholic Church are all Noodle Incidents right now, though whaling in the early 20th century has finally been explained: It was a cover against Sapient Cetaceans who were going to melt the polar ice caps. The main rationale for The World Is Not Ready comes in the form of a Cryptic Background Reference to the fall of the Roman Empire being somehow related to Functional Supernatural Phenomena in an unmasqued world. It also posits that a Government Agency of Fiction and its predecessors actually worked to conceal Functional Supernatural Phenomena (Magic by Any Other Name) from the world through, among other things, feudalism, whaling, something involving the Catholic Church, and the Salem Witch Trials.
  • In If I Could Start Again, Loki is mentioned offhandedly as having been one of Shakespeare's original actors during his "theatre nerd phase".
  • Ignited Spark: Chapter 39 reveals that All for One stealing the precognition Quirk was what allowed him to cause the Point of Divergence that led to the story's current setting. By looking into the five possible futures, the villain was able to develop countermeasures, such as stealing Super Regenaration before his fight against All Might on Endor Forest.
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus reveals that the Infinity Train had denizens that would eventually become the gods and demons humankind talk about. Another sidestory, Rey Mysterio vs the Cosmos, brings up how the lost colony of Roanoke came to be when the Train picked the colonists up.
  • In the How to Train Your Dragon / Marvel Cinematic Universe crossover Loki'd series, due to Hiccup being given an incredibly long life-span, he is able to help make the serum given to Captian America, work in a lab with Howard Stark, fight in the last battle against HYDRA in WWII and help found SHIELD.
  • In the A Man of Iron universe, Asgardians have a tradition of taking on mortal identities and living among the people of Westeros and Essos. This had led to them influencing a lot of the world's history, up to them even serving as the inspiration for the Faith of the Seven (though thanks to in-universe Sadly Mythtaken, the Faith isn't remotely accurate).
    • Sif was Nettles, the mysterious Dragon Rider companion of Daemon Targaryen during the Dance of the Dragons. She's also the reason that the giant Ægir is known as the Drowned God (as she dumped him in a lake after he drunkenly flirted with her at a party).
    • Thor was Joramun, the King-Beyond-The-Wall who fought the Others in the Long Night. And in addition to inspiring the Warrior of the Seven, he was also viewed as both the Storm God of the Ironborn and the one defied by Durran Godsgrief.
    • Loki is the most prolific, as over the course of his many pilgrimages to Midgard he taught Lann the Clever everything he knew, guided King Theon Stark towards raiding Andalos, convinced Ser Criston Cole to get revenge on Rhaenrya by siding with Aegon II, and wrote the Pureborn of Qarth's rules and doctrines.
    • A non-Asgardian example would be Qyburn/Mr.Sinister. According to himself, he engineered Robert's Rebellion, albeit only a side effect of his plan to push Rahegar and Lyanna together, since he wanted to the see the potential of a child with both Targaryen and Stark blood. And it's implied he's behind many other conflicts at both sides of the Narrow Sea as a result of his projects.
  • Manehattan's Lone Guardian, which begins a year before Twilight Sparkle is sent to Ponyville, has the simple act of Leviathan sitting on a bench. Lyra Heartstrings, known in the fandom for some of her more human-like tendencies, sees this from afar and decides to start trying it herself. As the narration notes, "Everything has to start somewhere."
  • Memento Vivere, a FFX fan fiction, uses this trope in nearly all scenes involving the canon game sphere recordings.
  • The Ai Yori Aoshi fic Miyabi Remembers reveals that Miyabi was present in New York during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, having been on a business trip, and assisted in saving several injured civilians.
  • A Moth to a Flame: Marcy's ancestors in the Wu Clan did this for centuries, pulling the strings of civilizations from Ancient China to the Roman Empire, before moving on to Amphibia to help build up its conquest-based society in partnership with the newts, even helping to create the Core, with some of them joining its Mind Hive as a result.
  • In Mutant Histeria, the Acolytes (Gambit, Pyro, Collosus, Sabertooth, and Mastermind) are sent on a time travel frenzy thanks to Forge's soap-powered time machine. During their travel, they cause the Great Fire of Moscow, the legend of Paul Bunyan, the naming of the French Foreign Legion, and the mass extinction of Mars billions of years before the present. They also run into past versions of several Marvel characters, including Professor X, Magneto, and Captain America.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic My Little Mission: Sneaking Is Magic, among other things, Snake's visit to Equestria is why he starts off Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with a tranq pistol.
  • In Perturabo in Remnant, the titular Primarch came to Remnant about a hundred years before the main timeline and thus played a significant role in the world's recent history. He fought in the Great War against the kingdoms of Mantle and Mistral, made the profession of Hunters more widespread, and built Beacon Academy, to name a few. In the follow-up setting, when he joins the Imperium of Man, he naturally plays a significant role in shaping Imperial history.
  • In the Pokemon fanfic, A Professor and a Student, Ash is revealed to have been the subject of several research papers by the regional Professors, including some incredibly famous ones on dimensions by Professor Rowan. Ash himself was unaware of this before Kukui asks him about it and Tracey even points this out to Kukui in Chapter 20, mentioning that Ash is also a Frontier Brain Candidate, knows every Champion from every region he's been to, met Legendary Pokemon, and even helped actual royalty. But he also deconstructed it in that the reason that Ash may actually be bothered by it but doesn't voice his opinions anymore (Kukui eventually notes has also given him trust issues).
  • In Prodigal Son, Hiccup was nearly hit by a swath of arrows during the Reconquista in Spain. Hiccup also briefly worked as a member of the Varangian Guard before quitting when he was ordered to needlessly destroy sacred objects, and while Hiccup and Toothless were unable to prevent the Siege of Alexandria, he was able to provide support in helping evacuate the citizens.
  • Running With Death: One of the Addams familt ancestors made the first Penseive. Also, the ancestor Ugg Addams invented the art of grave-digging.
  • In Shadowchasers: Conspiracy, Eden claims to have been mentored by many historic figures over the century, including Lao Tzu, Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, and John Locke. ("... and that was just philosophy," she adds. "You'd be surprised how easy it was to convince all the great geniuses in history to share what they know.")
  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos has Maledict - and considering he's the biblical Satan, it's very understandable. Not only is he behind various events in the Sonic series such as the release of Chaos, the creation of Shadow, the Black Arms invasion, and the Metarex War, he's also been involved in actual human history numerous times. The supplemental materials reveal that he established the Roman Empire as a Demon proxy state and manipulated the world into fighting the World Wars.
  • In the Kim Possible fic "What's the Alma Mater?", when the Mathter displaces Team Possible, Kim's father and himself back to various points in time, Kim's father sets out to drop the key apple on Isaac Newton's head and Rufus helps Winston Churchill write a crucial speech and inspires Henry V to keep fighting (the last of which earns Rufus a knighthood).

  • In an example that's thoroughly Played for Laughs, this post suggests that Player from Carmen Sandiego was responsible for "Storm Area 51", planning to use it as a cover so Carmen could sneak into the base and stop V.I.L.E. from stealing some advanced technology.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 roleplay The Cold Shoulder system, AKA Stercius Ludicrum is implied to be in Sub-Sector Aurelia, depicting the infestation of Typhon (a vengeful Norn Queen named Becky with a grudge against Adeptus Sororitas) and the founding of Angel's Landing (a city built as a wedding gift by the Imperium's Youngest Bishop for his wife).

    Films — Animation 
  • In Aladdin, Aladdin and Jasmine distract one of the builders of the Great Sphinx of Giza during their love song, causing him to break a vital point that destroys the whole nose. Curiously, Aladdin is set in medieval times, while the Sphinx was obviously constructed in Ancient Egypt (a recurring villain from the weekly series was from Ancient Greece as well).
  • In Hercules, Hercules skips a stone in a grotto with a statue, but he breaks off both arms resulting in the Venus de Milo.
  • According to Eetu ja Konna, Bill Gates got rich with frog technology that Konna accidentally dropped in his yard.
  • The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France has two pillars on its balcony missing, one of its gargoyles broken off, and the doorknob smashed off one of its doors. According to the climax of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney), Quasimodo broke off those two pillars which Frollo chained him to, to save Esmeralda from being burned at the stake. During the final battle, Frollo smashes off the doorknob on one of the cathedral doors to enter the cathedral, and the damaged gargoyle is the one that dispatches Frollo in the end. None of this is called attention to in the film itself, being more of a Genius Bonus than an immediately-obvious historical joke.
  • Mixed with a good helping of Anachronism Stew in Ice Age: Continental Drift, in which Scrat is shown to have caused the breakup of Pangaea during the Ice Age. An even more anachronistic example occurs in Ice Age: Collision Course, in which Scrat is revealed to have accidentally created the Solar System during the Ice Age, which defies logic on many levels.
  • In The King's Beard, in the only hint in the film that the story takes place on Earth in the indeterminate past at all (as opposed to a generic fantasy realm), Wizzy shows off a "rabbit-in-a-hat spell" that he's developed and optimistically quips that it's "bound to catch on".
  • A variation occurs in The Lion King 1 ½, in which main characters Timon and Pumbaa cause the assorted events of the original film without knowing; the entire thing is an excuse to spoof Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.
  • According to Minions, the Minions have been around for millennia, helping out tyrants, would-be world conquerors, and other "bad guys" since the dawn of human history (and before that, when they tag along with a Tyrannosaurus rex). They're seen building the Great Pyramids and fighting with Napoleon in his Russian campaign; given how badly the latter went in Real Life, one can assume the Minions were even more incompetent before they met Gru.
  • In Mr. Peabody & Sherman, not only have the titular characters visited virtually every major historical event, but Mr. Peabody is shown to have invented many of the most popular things we have today including but not limited to planking, the fist bump (aka the brofist), the backwards ollie, and Zumba.
  • Pixar Shorts: The title robot in BURN•E is sort of an inversion; each of the major events in WALL•E turns out to have impacted his comparatively trivial problems.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, a chariot race between Rameses and Moses hits a scaffolding being used by workers on the Great Sphinx of Giza, not only causing the loss of the nose but getting a smile painted on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Army of Frankensteins: Alan is forced into the American Civil War by the time portal, and ends up fighting the Confederacy, mistakenly changing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  • In Back to the Future, we see that Marty is responsible for the skateboard, the Frisbee, and rock and roll.
  • Batman Begins: Ra's al Ghul reveals to Bruce that the League of Shadows are responsible for, among other things, the Sack of Rome, the Black Plague, the Great Fire of London, and the Wretched Hive of a Crapsack City that Gotham has become.
  • According to an interview by a Bill & Ted fansite, Bill and Ted was originally going to be one of these movies, with these two idiots causing the Titanic disaster and the Holocaust as they travelled through time, but this was considered "too dark".
  • In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Borat is revealed to be Patient Zero for COVID-19, which was actually bioengineered by the Kazakhstani government. Whilst infected with it, he traveled to places and met people strongly associated with the virus, such as the Huanan Seafood Market (considered the actual source of the virus) and Tom Hanks on the set of Elvis in Australia.
  • Bumblebee: Shatter and Dropkick show the U.S. Department of Defense how to build the Internet.
  • In the low-budget Captain America movie from the '90s, the Red Skull is said to have had ties to the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier has the titular villain, an assassin active over the last seventy years, who HYDRA used to shape the world into the current era of paranoia. It's heavily implied, judging by the numerous Russian features they gave him, that the Winter Soldier is directly (though unwillingly and unknowingly) responsible for escalating the Cold War. The sequel Captain America: Civil War reveals the Winter Soldier killed Tony Stark's parents, which leads an enraged Iron Man to try to murder him and causes a rift between him and Cap for years.
  • Company Man, a 2000 comedy movie, had a whole cast of these that set the stage for the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
  • In the 1999 film Dick, the Watergate break-in is unwittingly exposed by two ditzy teenage girls. Who are also responsible for the 18-minute gap in Nixon's tapes.
  • The former Trope Namer, Forrest Gump, was based around this concept. Throughout the movie (and source novel) that shared his name, he was responsible for any number of historical events: exposing the Watergate break-ins, teaching Elvis Presley how to dance, participating in a famous anti-Vietnam War rally, inspiring the smiley face symbol, investing in Apple Computer, and many others. The real world Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., on the other hand, was created in response to the movie.
  • Highlander: Connor Macleod is an immortal Scottish warrior from the 16th Century who fought in World War II and (according to a scene that was written but never made it in the final film), the American Revolution. The expanded series reveals he also fought in the Napoleonic Wars too.
  • How I Unleashed World War II inverts it, by having the protagonist think he is the case, firing at a fleeing German general literal seconds before the invasion of Poland begins. He remains completely oblivious till the very end of the movie.
  • The Swedish film The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared shows through a series of flashback scenes that the main character prevented an assassination of Franco, personally suggested the explosive obturation principle for a Manhattan project, and many other things.
  • In the 1979 film The In-Laws, Peter Falk's character, an old spy, claims to have been responsible for the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
  • James Bond:
    • Dr. No: Dr. No either stole the Portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London or acquired it from the original thief soon thereafter.
    • Thunderball: SPECTRE were consultants to the actual thieves in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, and are also involved in the trafficking of drugs to the United States.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies: Elliot Carver caused the Mad Cow panic of the 1990s in order to avenge himself on a British beef tycoon who lost to him in a game of poker and refused to pay up. (And kept the stories running for two more years when the tycoon's French competitors bribed him to do so).
    • Casino Royale (2006): Le Chiffre is a banker for various international terrorists. As such, he was able to anticipate 9/11 and made a fortune off of it by shorting airline stocks.
    • Quantum of Solace: Dominic Greene and his Quantum partners were responsible for the 2004 coup d'etat that overthrew Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti.
  • The fictional Czech genius Jára Cimrman has been involved in just as many historical events as Forrest Gump; for instance, in the movie Jára Cimrman lying, sleeping, his biography, he - among other things - aids Eiffel with the design of his tower, advises Anton Chekhov to write Three Sisters rather than two, and inspires Marconi to invent a wireless telegraph after accidentally breaking down his telegraph poles. Oh yes, and he also invented the light bulb, dynamite, etc. (but arrived at the patent office a minute after Edison and Nobel, respectively).
  • Jumanji has an early scene where Carl Bentley, a lackey at Alan's dad's shoe factory whom Alan has befriended, invents the modern basketball shoe in 1969. But then Alan drops it into the machinery, damaging the machine and destroying the shoe and getting Carl fired. After the game finally ends, winding time back to that evening, one of the first things Alan does is confess that it was his fault, presumably leading to Carl getting his job back and a chance to recreate his invention.
  • In the 1923 silent film Little Old New York, set in 1807, the main characters contribute to the funding of Robert Fulton's first steamboat.
  • In A Madea Homecoming, Madea claims that the real reason Rosa Parks didn't get off the bus wasn't because she was trying to make a Civil Rights statement, but because Madea was outside trying to confront her over Rosa stealing Madea's boyfriend.
  • The Man from Earth plays this straight and also averts it: John Oldman barely remembers a lot of the historical events he took part in because at the time he took part in them, they were not important historical events, just things that he happened to do that day. It was only later, upon reading history books, that he realized his probable involvement. He also points at that he's just one man in one place at one time, so there is a very limited number of important or famous people that he could meet even during the course of a 14,000-year life. That said, he claims to have known Van Gogh, studied under Siddhartha Gautama, and in an attempt to spread those teachings to the Middle East became known as Jesus.
  • Mare Nostrum: This drama set during World War I has the protagonist, a Spanish sea captain, getting tangled up with some Austrian and German spies. He gets roped into using his ship to illicitly refuel a German U-boat at sea. The U-boat then sinks the SS Californian, a Real Life ship that really was sunk by a U-boat in the Mediterranean in November 1915.note 
  • MonsterVerse:
    • Godzilla (2014) reveals that the various nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific Proving Grounds during The '50s were not tests at all.
      Serizawa: They were trying to kill it.
    • The various Kaiju (called Titans) are heavily implied to have been the source of many mythological creatures (such as the Hydra, Scylla, Dragons, and the like) as well as being treated as Gods and Demons in many different cultures, a concept which Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) in particular explores.
    • And apparently, Monarch suspects that a Titan caused the Great Smog of London.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian shows Brian attending a speech by Jesus, being mistaken for Jesus, and being involved in numerous other Bible shenanigans.
    • "He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!"
    • Funnily enough, the original idea for the movie was a subversion. Brian was envisioned as an unheard-of apostle who, because of various contrivances and scheduling conflicts, was constantly forced to miss the important events Jesus took part in (the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, etc.).
  • The second National Treasure movie featured a minor character, Nicolas Cage's character's great-grandfather, burning a vital clue to a hidden treasure given to him by John Wilkes Booth minutes before the assassination of President Lincoln, thus preventing the Confederates from recovering the treasure and having the funding to start a second Civil War.
  • In Neighbors, apparently Delta Psi is responsible for inventing toga parties, beer pong, and the boot and rally. Subverted when Pete explains that hundreds of fraternities have also claimed credit for inventing them.
  • Newsfront: Among the events the film crew manage to document are the 1949 re-election of Robert Menzies as Prime Minister of Australia, the 1951 referendum to ban the Communist Party of Australia, post-war immigration, the combatting of the rabbit plague, the Redex reliability trials, the Hunter Valley floods, and the introduction of television to Australia.
  • In None Shall Escape (a 1944 film about a trial against a fictional Nazi officer following the end of the then-ongoing second world war, told via flashbacks from the points of view of the witnesses at the trial), Karl threatens to reveal Wilhelm's role in the Reichstag fire and the "Schleicher murder" (i.e. the Night of the Long Knives).
  • The film The President's Barber has Seul Han-mo (played by so-called "Korean Tom Hanks" Song Kang-ho''), a simple barber who is caught up in an espionage plot and is hired to be the official barber of President Park Chung-hee. While cutting his hair Han-mo inadvertently sends Park into a rant about intellectuals. He was also present at Park's state visit to America.
  • In The Ripper (1997), Florry Lewis is responsible for Jack the Ripper not mutilating the body of Liz Stride after he murdered (and, by extension, the second murder of the 'double event') when she witnesses the attack and screams "FIRE!", bringing others running and forcing the Ripper to flee.note 
  • According to Ridley Scott (and the 1960s TV series The Time Tunnel) Robin Hood is responsible for the Magna Carta.
  • In The Rocketeer Neville Sinclair crashes into the HOLLYWOODLAND sign, destroying the "LAND" part. (The film is set around a decade before they actually removed the "LAND", though.)
  • In Rogues of Sherwood Forest. Robin Hood's son is responsible for the Baron's bringing King John to Runnymeade forcing him to sign the Magna Carta.
  • Jackie Chan's and Owen Wilson's characters from Shanghai Knights, Chon Wang and Roy O'Bannon (real name Wyatt Earp), have on their record, among other things, creating the names of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, getting Doyle interested in writing, and getting Charlie Chaplin interested in acting. Roy also decides not to invest some of their funds in this new-fangled device called an auto-mobile. Ignoring the errors that they present (Chaplin was born in 1889, two years after the movie is set), there was also Chon's sister getting attacked by Jack the Ripper, and tossing him into the Thames.
  • A blink-and-miss moment in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows implies that Moriarty arranged the murder of Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria as part of a carefully elaborate plan to spark a world war in 1891.
  • Space Jam posits that the Looney Tunes and evil cartoon aliens persuaded Michael Jordan to return to basketball. One suspects they were not involved in real life. In a way, they were: as part of his contract, Michael Jordan demanded that Warner Brothers construct a basketball court with all imaginable amenities for him to practice himself back into shape.
  • Titanic (1997) shows that Jack and Rose manage to visit every area of the ship as it sinks at one moment or another, and are even on the stern when the ship goes down. Between Jack, Rose, and a few other main characters, we see every major episode of the sinking.
  • Inspired by the success of Forrest Gump, a Hong Kong movie called The Umbrella Story has three generations of umbrella makers being visited by assorted classic Hong Kong film stars from as early as the '50s.
  • Parodied by Walk Hard - Dewey frequently meets famous musicians, from Elvis to the Beatles, but they are all deliberately horribly miscast (Jack Black as Paul McCartney?) and Dewey always refers to all of them by their full names. The scene with The Beatles takes it the furthest - they all deliberately state that there is a rift between the four of them, George Harrison complains that they never let him write songs, and they all really obviously drop the names of songs that hadn't been written yet.
    • Also, Dewey apparently invents punk.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Wolverine and Sabertooth fought in the American Revolution, were there on D-Day (though The Wolverine has him fighting in the Pacific instead, and being present for the Nagasaki bombing), and finally bumped into Stryker in the last days of the Vietnam War. And their action indirectly caused the Three Mile Island incident.
    • X-Men: First Class: Mutants both caused and averted the Cuban Missile Crisis. And Beast not only designed the SR-71 Blackbird, but it was originally a transport!
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Magneto was arrested for his involvement in Kennedy's death (as in the magic bullet; the Viral Marketing raises the hypothesis that Mystique in guise of Lee Harvey Oswald was the one who shot), and the Paris Peace Accords that closed America's involvement with The Vietnam War now have Dr. Bolivar Trask, Major William Stryker and some mutants in attendance.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Alex Summers says that Apocalypse took the idea of the Four Horseman from the Bible. Moira MacTaggert counters by suggesting the Bible took the idea from him.
  • The Trope Maker, Zelig. While he doesn't actually discover anything, the earlier and influential Woody Allen film is a mockumentary detailing the title character's celebrity and includes old photos of him posed with famous people as well as interviews from real academics about him. The movie does a good job of justifying why its audience would never have heard of Zelig by treating him as one of many fads of the 1920s and 1930s, forgotten when the public discovered something new of interest.

  • The Autobiography of Santa Claus: Nicholas had a hand in helping the creation of A Christmas Carol and Silent Night, and accidentally gave George Washington the idea for attacking the Hessians during Christmas.
  • Kane, from Isaac Asimov's short story "Does a Bee Care?". He's an alien who has influenced pretty much the whole development of physics and engineering on Earth with his Psychic Powers, working on scientists like Newton and Einstein and Thornton Hammer so as to help Earth get space travel. He's taken the form of the human body since it's the most intelligent species on Earth. It's all part of his instinctual drive for reproduction, and he doesn't even understand what he's done.
  • The Dream Eaters and Other Stories by Louise Searl features the short story Lightbringer, which involves aliens coming to Earth and influencing the natives into creating religion.
  • Cécile from the Girls of Many Lands series bonds with the two young dukes—the great grandsons of the Sun King—and is one of the people who bars herself in a room away from the court doctors with Madame de Ventadour so they don't have the chance to bleed Anjou, the youngest, to try and cure his fever. She's exiled from court for it, but offered a chance to attend St. Cyr by Madame de Maintenon. "Anjou" grows up to succeed his great grandfather at the age of five and become Louis XV.
  • Nick "Ace" Geraci, from The Godfather sequels, is a rare case where this turns out to be the canon explanation for events as the licensed continuation of the franchise. He is responsible for beating the two college kids who assaulted Bonasera's daughter. He executes Tessio in the first chapter of The Godfather Returns as a test of loyalty to the Family. Later, he manipulates Fredo into unwittingly betraying Michael by offering him help with a plan that would show his worth to Michael. Finally, he kidnaps and executes Tom Hagen by strapping him into a car and driving him into the Florida Everglades.
  • Casca: The Eternal Mercenary is about an immortal Roman soldier once known as Casca Rufio Longinus, who's fought in virtually every major war since he stabbed Jesus on the cross. He inspired the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, returned to Mexico as one of Cortez's conquistadors, and shot Hitler.
  • The Flashman series often moves in this direction, having him not only indirectly responsible for important events in British history but also having him as the inspiration for The Prisoner of Zenda and Uncle Tom's Cabin (!). One novella, Flashman and the Tiger, has him getting the Sherlock Scan from lawyer friendly cameos of Sherlock Holmes and Watson and isn't as well done since the series (outside of the characters of Tom Brown's Schooldays) doesn't have literary characters as real people, only as the inspirations for them.
    • Fictional uncertainties aside, Flashman certainly serves as a splendid Gump, as his career spans virtually every notable conflict in the world from the First Afghan War to the Boxer Rebellion (though sadly his author died before recounting some of Flashman's highest-profile adventures, e.g. The American Civil War and (most) of the Zulu War).
    • He's also used to fill in some of the gaps in historical accounts. Unknown soldier leading the Charge of the Light Brigade? That was Flashman. Unidentified figure in a painting just after the Indian Mutiny? Flashman again.
    • He also accidentally killed General Custer during the Battle of Little Bighorn when he shot at a Sioux brave and missed.
  • Sharpe is a similar example—if he'd been killed in India, Britain would probably have lost the Napoleonic Wars. Some things Sharpe is responsible for: the assassination of Tipu Sultan; saving the Duke of Wellington's life; the capture of Gawilghur; stopping an Indo-French treaty (by murdering an accredited diplomat no less) to force Britain out of India; capturing the Danish fleet at Copenhagen; securing funding for the Lines of Torres Vedras; the explosion at Almeida; covering up a scandal involving the Peer's brother and the British ambassador to Spain; leading the Forlorn Hope at Badajoz; shooting the Prince of Orange at the Battle of Waterloo; helping the Chilean Revolution to succeed.
    • Similarly, the character of Uhtred from the Saxon Stories series is involved in most of Alfred the Great's campaigns against the Danes. His absence from historical records is explained in-universe as the result of a dislike for the pagan Uhtred on the part of the Christian monks who wrote them. In both cases, the series began as attempts to depict the careers of famous historical figures—the Duke of Wellington and Alfred the Great, respectively—from a different, more earthy perspective than usual.
    • His American Civil War character, Nathaniel Starbuck, was responsible for warning Nathan Evans (who is portrayed as a hilariously Lethal Joke Character) of the Union flanking movement at the First Battle of Manassas Junction, thus saving the Confederacy and setting the stage for a long Civil War.
  • Skylanders: The Mask Of Power: Eruptor Meets the Nightmare King reveals that Eruptor, Grim Creeper, and Slam Bam were actually part of the group that had split the Mask of Power in the first place, as they assisted Wizbit in stealing it from the Nightmare King.
  • In Spoonbenders, Teddy claims that he had met a young Johnny Carson who would later "steal [his] act" in the form of his iconic character Carnac the Magnificent. Whether or not this is true is rather vague.
  • In The Hobbit, it is said that the game of golf was invented by hobbits at the Battle of the Green Fields, in which Bilbo's great grand-uncle Bullroarer Took scored a decisive blow by knocking off Golfimbul's head with a wooden club for a hundred-yard drive into a rabbit hole.
  • The Hellequin Chronicles has the main character, Nate get heavily involved in history. This is justified largely by the fact that he was Merlin's hatchet man and generally meant to intimidate a number of human leaders into behaving.
  • The Brazilian novel O Homem Que Matou Getulio Vargas (released in English as Twelve Fingers: Biography of an Anarchist) has an interesting inversion—the main character, a Serbian assassin, would be responsible for several historical events, like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the transport of French troops to the Marne and the bribery of the jury who put Al Capone in jail, if he didn't always screw up. He does however "suicide" the titular Brazilian president (who is distantly related to him).
  • Another Brazilian book, O Vampiro Que Descobriu O Brasil has a Portuguese vampire coming after the body-snatching one that bit him, leading both to Brazil. They stumble on every possible historical fact.
  • The Others from the Night Watch (Series) 'verse. Name a war, a cause, a philosophy, an artist—it was either them or they were The Man Behind the Man.
    • They've had a few big experiments tried to fix the world they helped bring about. Including the communist revolution, capitalism, and democracy. Oh and Christianity...
  • My Nine Lives By Cleo is a children's picture book about a Gump who happens to be a cat. She's the inspiration for the invention of constellations, the alphabet, sundials, forks, and parachutes, among other things. Oh, and she's the reason for the Mona Lisa's smile.
  • The Science of Discworld novels posit our world being a sort of novelty science experiment on the Discworld, where the wizards' meddling is not only responsible for life in general but more specifically William Shakespeare and Darwin's successes.
  • Inverted in the Horatio Hornblower series, where the author deliberately keeps Horatio out of the way of most of the major historical events of the time. Forester did this while at the same time using many real historical figures (there was a Captain Pellew, for example), but usually not in a way that you'd expect their interaction to merit special historical notice. (You can see the full list here at The Other Wiki.)
    • Commodore Hornblower, set in 1812, specifically places Hornblower in the Baltic dealing with Russia. This was to avoid any mention of the War of 1812 between the British and the USA. The stories themselves were written 1937 to 1967, and avoiding any hint of conflict between the RN and the USA was a priority.
  • Similarly inverted in Gustave Flaubert's Sentimental Education which, despite being set around the tumultuous events of the 1848 French Revolution, makes sure its hero is absent for the most dramatic events, such as going on 'honeymoon' with his love interest.
  • In the Earth's Children series, the protagonist Ayla was solely responsible (with a little help from Jondalar) for many of the most important technological discoveries of her prehistoric era, including domestication of horses and dogs, suturing wounds, starting fires using flint, the travois, and the atlatl.
  • The Thursday Next novels start out set in a clearly alternate reality, but via the actions of the books (and healthy doses of Time Travel) the setting gets closer and closer to our world as the series progresses.
  • Captain Alatriste from the Spanish series of adventure books meets several historical figures and takes part in several historical events.
  • Randall Flagg from The Stand deserves an honorable mention. He remembers being involved in many of the most horrifying events in recent American history, everything from The Manson Family to handing Lee Harvey Oswald pamphlets, meeting Donald Defreeze (and suggesting the name Cinque in the first place), going to school with Charles Starkweather, and plenty else. It's all the more horrifying in that he has absolutely no investment in any of this; he has no misguided cause, or even a desire to profit. He just likes to be part of the hate.
  • Both of the main characters in Robert Merle's Fortune de France series interact with a lot of historical figures, and are part of important events during the XVI and XVIIth centuries.
  • The Three Musketeers was historical fiction partly based on people who actually lived at the courts of Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Among other examples, it inserts Milady De Winter into the 1628 assassination of the Duke of Buckingham, all four musketeers into the execution of Charles I and the eventual restoration of Charles II, Athos' son Raoul into the story of Louis XIV's mistress Louise de la Valliere, and D'Artagnan into nearly every military campaign of any significance in the 17th century.
  • Robert Masello features a few examples of these in his work:
    • Blood & Ice shows Eleanor Ames and Sinclair Copley meeting Florence Nightingale before their transformation into vampires.
    • The Medusa Amulet reveals that Marie Antoinette and Adolf Hitler were beneficiaries of the power of the titular amulet after it was created.
  • The Chee from Animorphs are very long-lived androids who helped build the pyramids and use advanced holographic projections to masquerade as humans, appearing to age normally and eventually faking their deaths and assuming new identities when they decide they're getting too old. Some of the people they refer to are Moses (Erek's "father" was his law professor), Catherine the Great (Erek used to cut her hair), and Roosevelt (Erek "was the White House butler when he suggested the phrase 'New Deal'. Of course, it was during a poker game."). One Chee is also said to have been a famous actress in a previous life-cycle.
    • Averted, too: For example, Eric mentions he worked on the pyramids—as a slave hauling blocks.
    • The Chee take care to stay out of any great historical events. Erek mentioning that he thought up "New Deal" is probably the most they've ever contributed. Most often they're just on the sidelines, such as Erek mentioning he was Beethoven's assistant for a few years, and at least one Chee is a homeless person.
    • There’s also Elfangor and his friends Steve and Bill, who are hinted at being Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, and the implication that Elfangor helped them with information that led to the development of Apple and Microsoft and some worldwide internet stuff.
  • In Good Omens, Crowley owns the original sketch of the Mona Lisa. A footnote then re-constructs a conversation between Crowley and Leonardo in which the artist blows off the lower quality of the painting, because "who's going to see it?" He goes on to ask Crowley about an invention, which apparently he later takes credit for. Subverted with Crowley's commendation from Below for the Spanish Inquisition — he was in Spain at the time... relaxing at cantinas and generally having a good time. When he gets around to checking out this thing he's being commended for, he promptly goes back to the cantinas and gets drunk for a week.
  • Ender's Shadow retells Ender's Game from the perspective of Bean, who is revealed to have been responsible for a lot of Ender's successes, making him this trope in a fictional setting. (And provoking some people to consider him a Canon Sue.)
  • John Jakes' Kent Family Chronicles. Starting with The Bastard, it takes its young French hero through young manhood—where his best friend is the Marquis de Lafayette—sends him to England in search of his true parentage, then fleeing to the Colonies when framed by unscrupulous relatives, and arriving in Philadelphia just in time to meet and take advice from Benjamin Franklin (he even becomes a successful printer!). This continues through several novels and more generations, as he and his descendants frolic through an all-star reading of history.
  • Elias Vaughn in the Star Trek Novel 'Verse. Introduced in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, he was an elderly Starfleet officer with a long history in Starfleet Special Operations. He went on to make appearances in novels fleshing out many established events in the Federation's history; the Tomed Incident, the Betreka Nebula Incident, and the fight to liberate Betazed from the Dominion, among others. That well-known but as-yet-unexplored historical event? Vaughn will probably have been involved. Some readers certainly feel this trope got over-used with Vaughn.
    • A novel also tries to fit the Eugenics Wars in the 1980s/90s listed on Khan's debut. So Khan kills Ayatollah Khomeini, helps the South Korean democracy movement, opens a hole in the ozone layer, and an attempt by fellow Augments to kill him causes an earthquake in India. The advanced spaceship when mankind barely explored the Solar System is also explained by having it reverse-engineered from the Ferengi ship that crashed in Roswell (as shown in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
  • In Time Cat the protagonist, Jason, travels through time via magic and ends up being a part of many historical events and meeting and influencing various famous figures from the past.
  • In Uller Uprising, the heroes get much-needed information from a porn novel whose author is a stickler for historical detail mixed in with the pornography. The main character of the novel is a very HOT Gump.
    "The heroine is a sort of super-Mata-Hari, who is, alternately and sometimes simultaneously, in the pay of the Nazis, the Soviets, the Vatican, Chiang Kai-Shek, the Japanese Emperor, and the Jewish International Bankers, and she sleeps with everybody but Joe Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, and of course, she is in on every step of the A-bomb project. She even manages to stow away on the Enola Gay, with the help of a general she's spent fifty incandescent pages seducing."
  • In the Jin Yong novel The Deer and the Cauldron, Wei Xiaobao blunders his way into several historical events, including the signing of the first equal treaty between China and a foreign power and being the first to step foot on an island that later fell into dispute between China and Japan.
  • The point of half the novel Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann (The Hundred-year-old who stepped out through the window and disappeared), which devotes every other chapter to the long and exciting life of its protagonist.
  • The Amelia Peabody novels center around a family of Egyptologists working in Egypt in the 1880s-1920s (so far). Since they have to make discoveries periodically, the author has them make all the discoveries of Flinders Petrie, a real-life Egyptologist who worked in the same era. In order to avoid the awkwardness of actually meeting him, the author gave the main character's husband an uncontrollable dislike of him.
  • Andre-Louis Moreau, the protagonist of Scaramouche, is shown as one of the driving forces behind The French Revolution.
  • In The Pillars of the Earth two main characters are present at the assassination of Thomas Becket. William was one of the assassins, and it was Philip's idea to make a saint of him. A large section of the book can also be described as "how Jack introduced Gothic architecture to England."
  • Professor Moriarty Series: Moriarty kills Jack the Ripper because he is annoyed about how Jack's crimes have the police patrolling Moriarty's territory more than usual.
  • In Tom Holt's Flying Dutch, the immortal alchemist Montalban turns out to secretly be responsible for all of modern science and technology—all of which he developed in an attempt to cure the horrific stench that was an unfortunate side-effect of his immortality potion. Vanderdecken also recalls the time he happened across a large flotilla of English boats off Dunquerque in 1940. Fortunately he was downwind of them. Unfortunately, the German navy was downwind of him.
  • The protagonists of James Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy are involved in the 1960 Kennedy campaign and subsequently become prime movers and shakers involved in virtually every major American historical event of the next decade, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, both Kennedy assassinations, the killing of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Vietnam War.
  • Shows up occasionally in The Dresden Files. Ebenezer McCoy claims credit for The Tunguska Event, Krakatoa, and the New Madrid earthquake. Kemmler was behind World War I (though exactly how he did it is left vague). It's implied that the Red Court caused a lot of the general bad governance in Latin America. The short story "Even Hand" implies that Gard assisted Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • Perry Rhodan has Atlan. Even with some hibernation periods, ten thousand years stuck on Earth make for a fair few opportunities for somebody who was already a certified badass before ever coming here to leave a mark. Among other things he supplied the poison that killed Attila the Hun, and he knew and crossed at least figurative swords with Nostradamus — who after his eventual reappearance in more modern times during the Swarm arc likewise turns out to be more than he seemed at the time. Oh, and the original lost Arkonide colony on Earth that was named after him...
  • Dr. Anton Murik, a noted nuclear physicist and the Big Bad of Licence Renewed, is mentioned to have worked on the Manhattan Project, which was responsible for the very first atomic bombs.
  • Heavily implied as part of the backstory of an immortal assassin in the Horus Heresy novel The Unremembered Empire, mentioning being recruited in the battle of Iwo Jima, and then making two notable kills on behalf of his employers in the second millennium, someone he refers to as the Good Man, in Memphis, and another he refers to as the Brother, in The City of Angels.
  • In the Lords of the Underworld series, the Black Plague started when Torin (keeper of Disease) touched a woman's face. This is why he tries to avoid being around people.
  • The Last American Vampire: If Henry's narration is to be believed, he and various associates played significant behind-the-scenes roles in every major event from 1865 forward, except for the Titanic. He claims to be the one who blew up the Hindenburg. He's also one of three survivors of The Lost Colony of Roanoke, the other two being Virginia Dare, whom he later marries then turns into a vampire at her request, and the colony doctor, who was responsible for the deaths of the rest of the colony and the one who made Henry a vampire.
  • Jan Guillou's The Great Century series of novels about the Norwegian family Lauritzen, whose members have an amazing ability to get involved in multiple important episodes of European nineteenth-century history (often on opposing sides in wartime and times of political crisis), occasionally even shaping them directly. Individual members of the family turn out to have been responsible for, amongst other things, financing The Threepenny Opera, the assassination of Kurt von Schleicher and countless members of the SA during the Night of the Long Knives, helping large numbers of Norwegian Jews flee to Sweden during World War II, the Krylbo bombing, and building numerous real-life bridges and railroad lines. Different members of the family also manage to become acquaintances of Bertolt Brecht, The Bloomsbury Group, Hermann Goering, General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, Emperor Wilhelm II, Knut Wallenberg, and Rosa Luxemburg.
  • The Letters From Nicodemus has the protagonist meet practically everybody who was anybody in The Four Gospels, giving them a place to have the Last Supper and helping with the funeral.
  • Journey to Chaos: Tasio the Trickster, when reading from his "resume", claims to be responsible for the invention of fire, the wheel, and the Great Vowel Shift.
  • Several works in the Star Wars Expanded Universe have done this, showing the perspective of Imperial and Rebel characters that had a role to play in larger events. People like the gunner who pulled the trigger on the Death Star or the Star Destroyer captain who crashes her ship into Jakku.
  • Eurico the Presbyter portrays the Umayyad conquest of the Iberian peninsula being personally witnessed by the main character who participates in several significant events like fighting in the battles of Guadalete and Covadonga, and rescuing the sister of Pelagius of Asturias (the founder of what would become Spain and Portugal) from an harem.
  • The Magic Treehouse: Averted for the most part, Jack and Annie are typically discouraged from interfering too greatly with events in time periods they visit. In "Earthquake Early in the Morning", this gets played with as Jack is unable to save a bunch of books from burning during the 1906 SF earthquake but he and Annie wind up as the subjects of an old photo symbolizing hope for the people of the city by the bay in this grim time.
  • Averted in Jago. Susan is one of a small number of psychic Talents identified by a government research body that tries to find people like her and find uses for them. She recalls that one way they tried to get her to be useful was to apply her psychometry to a collection of items related to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. However, she didn't have any effect on the investigation; the few things she was able to gather about the murderer turned out to be true when he was caught, but that happened without her input because the police considered her impressions too vague to be useful.
  • The League of Secret Heroes: The Infinity Trinity end up playing a vital role in the first book, saving ENIAC and its programmers from being kidnapped by the Duquesne Spy Ring.
  • The Troy Saga is a Demythification version of the Trojan War set during the late Bronze Age, so actual historical events at the time occur and sometimes the characters in the series take part in them. Hektor at the start of the series is off with the Trojan Horse serving in the Hittite Army in one of its wars against Egypt. He's later revealed to have played an instrumental role in the real-life historical Battle of Kadesh
  • The Gentleman of the Spider-Man: Sinister Six Trilogy caused the Hindenburg disaster to evade capture by the US government and had a hand in causing the Tet Offensive as well.
  • Ben Snow: In "The Man in the Alley", Ben is present at the assassination of William McKinley, and later brings the secret mastermind behind the assassination to justice.
  • My Story: Each book in the series tells the story of a different person (from their perspective) and how they contributed to important events in history.
  • In The City We Became, Hurricane Katrina and the botching of the government response were influenced, if not caused by, the Woman in White, as a way to make it easier to kill New Orleans. The same goes for the 2010 Haiti Earthquake and the birth of Port-au-Prince.
  • In "The Shadow of the Vulture", Gottfried is accidentally responsible for making the Ottomans withdraw from Vienna under siege when he launches a drunken sally on the Ottoman camp after arguing with Sonya, thus accidentally foiling a nighttime surprise attack on the walls of Vienna.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bewitched:
    • In one episode, it's suggested that Aunt Clara was inadvertently the one responsible for the massive Northeast blackout of 1965.
    • In another episode, it's revealed that Esmerelda was responsible for the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilting when she was merely trying conjure a sandwich. She always considered it her greatest blunder and, not realizing it was a famous landmark because of its tilt, once decided to straighten it out. This ended up causing all of Italy to have a Freak Out.
  • Subverted in Blackadder, in which what they're showing us is the real history, while the history that we know was rewritten by Henry Tudor, the fake Queen Elizabeth I, and the fake Prince George. Played straight when the reason they were able to re-write history was because of the character's actions.
    • Captain Blackadder, Lieutenant George, and Private Baldrick all took part in the Christmas Day Armistice. Blackadder was off-side.
    • If Series Five was made, one possibility was that Baldrick accidentally killed J.F.K while fiddling around with a gun in Dallas.
    • He also caused the extinction of the dinosaurs with his underpants in Blackadder: Back And Forth.
  • An episode of Blossom spoofed the trope namer in a dream sequence. Blossom had this role and was responsible for inadvertently giving Michael Jackson the inspiration for the moonwalk. The parody is spoiled because the writers didn't do their research — they meet after the Pepsi commercial shoot which left him injured, which was in 1984. He first performed the moonwalk the previous year.
  • The Boys (2019) has Soldier Boy, a Military Superhero from World War II who took parts in events such as the Red Scare and the CIA operation in Nicaragua. It turns out he's a Phony Veteran only stormed Omaha Beach two weeks after the war for a photo op. Instead, he gained military experience in quelling civil unrest, his actions including hosing Civil Rights protestors in Birmingham and shooting anti-war protestors at Kent State. He may have also shot JFK in Dealy Plaza.
  • Buffyverse:
    • A flashback in the Anya-centric "Selfless" episode shows the ex-vengeance demon and her friend Halfrek dining in a room full of massacred victims in St. Petersburg in the year 1905. Halfrek praises her for granting a wish which sparks the 1905 Revolution.
      Halfrek: There's a revolution going on outside that you are somewhat responsible for. Aren't you the teeniest bit interested?
      Anyanka: Well, what is there to be interested in? The worker will overthrow absolutism and lead the proletariat to a victorious revolution, resulting in socio-economic paradise on Earth. It's common sense, really.
    • Anya's past Marxism is a comical allusion to her later Patriotic Fervor which sees her fall deeply in love with capitalism.
    • In the earlier episode "Lessons", there is a brief mention of Anya interacting with a "Mrs. Csolgosz", which some have suggested is meant to be a reference to Leon Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley.
    • The Darla-Angel-Drusilla-Spike family have been linked to various events, but not necessarily causing them. From Spike killing a slayer in the Boxer Rebellion to Angel hanging out with Elvis, Bugsy Siegel, and The Rat Pack in Vegas.
      • Spike also claims Billy Idol stole his look from him rather than the other way around.
    • In "School Hard" one of the random vampires claimed to have been at the Crucifixion. Spike was highly skeptical of that, for good reason; the Sun was only dark for 3 hours and it was noon when the darkness started.
      Spike: If every vampire who said he was at the Crucifixion was actually there, it would've been like Woodstock. I was actually at Woodstock; that was a weird gig. I fed off a flower person and I spent the next six hours watching my hand move.
    • Sahjhan, a member of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Angel season 3, claims that he invented daylight savings time.
  • The Castle episode "Pandora" features Dr. Nelson Blakely, a practitioner of "linchpin theory": finding a small event that can start the dominoes falling to get a big geopolitical change. Blakely was purportedly involved in the fall of the Soviet Union ("turns out all we had to do was outspend them"), but at some point, he had a Heel Realization, faked his death, and started using linchpin theory to do things like reduce cholera in Africa and kick-start The Arab Spring uprisings (which at the time of the episode were going pretty well, though things went downhill afterward).
  • Brazilian miniseries Copas de Mel had the titular character and her husband helping Brazil conquer most of its FIFA World Cups.
  • Drew Carey's mother in The Drew Carey Show was apparently responsible for a number of famous things, including inventing the term "Rock and Roll". Drew refers to her as "Florence Gump".
  • Elementary: Morland Holmes is somehow responsible for The Falklands War, though we're not shown any details as to how.
  • In the world of The Fall of the House of Usher (2023), Verna is implied to be responsible for the wealth and influence of several prominent American individuals and families, from Mark Zuckerberg to the Bushes to William Randolph Hearst.

  • Forever (2014):
    • The Jack the Ripper case is described as leading to the creation of professional medical examiners. Henry just happens to be the doctor brought in to consult on the murders, thus he also happens to be the world's first medical examiner. Adam mentions he was in London at the time, leading Henry to fear he might be Jack the Ripper, but Henry's estimate that Jack had a larger than average hand, combined with the later reveal of Adam's relatively slight stature, makes it unlikely.
    • Thanks to his longevity, and supernatural ability to get himself in trouble, Henry's saved three generations of a royal family over the span of 60 years.
    • The doctor who experimented on Adam in Auschwitz was Dr. Josef Mengele.
    • Adam claims that he was there at the stabbing of Julius Caesar and died trying to save him.
  • Forever Knight. Although Nicholas and Janette have met their share of famous people, it's their maker Lucien LaCroix who appears to have had the most influence on history. He claims, "I taught Nero the tune, and together we watched Rome burn." He also ordered the execution of Grigori Rasputin to help bring about the Russian Revolution. Averted when LaCroix meets Adolf Hitler, briefly considers turning him, then changes his mind—decades later he wonders how history might have been changed if he'd gone ahead.
  • Sophia Petrillo from The Golden Girls is a case combined with Unreliable Narrator, thanks to a combination of a slight stroke, general old lady nuttiness, and a tendency to stretch the truth in her stories if she's trying to make a point. One should take her stories with a grain of salt. Her various anecdotes include:
    • Having a romantic tryst with Pablo Picasso;
    • Knowing where Jimmy Hoffa was buried;
    • Holding court with three lovers on a small island before World War II, then promising to come back to that same island in the future to choose who she loved best—while she never returned, the three men did in what history knows better as the Yalta Conference;
    • Sharing a pizza-sauce recipe with the woman who later became Mama Celeste;
    • Being close friends with future Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir;
    • And sitting in a mechanic's garage immediately adjacent to the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago (although in a later episode, she claimed "I was at the movies that day. All day.")
  • Good Omens (2019): In episode 3, we see that Aziraphale and Crowley were present at Noah's Ark, the Crucifixion of Jesus, King Arthur's campaign, Shakespeare's plays, The French Revolution, and the London Blitz. Not that they actually did much at any of those events (though they took credit). One of the running themes is that human history is pretty much entirely the fault of humans, for good and ill.
  • The Good Place: According to the Judge, because Michael interfered with the timeline while trying to save Team Cockroach from going to the Bad Place, Brexit happened, "that Hugh Jackman musical about P.T. Barnum" made $400 million at the box office, the Jacksonville Jaguars became good, and Byron Allen bought the Weather Channel.
  • One episode of Green Acres, much like the Bewitched example, gave their interpretation of the cause of the 1965 power failure. Namely, it happened when Oliver tried to plug in his electricity, resulting in a "Double Drick!".
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and to a greater extent Xena: Warrior Princess each had the titular characters delving into full-on Gumpdom.
    • Hercules embedded Excalibur itself in stone, found himself caught up in the Norse gods' Ragnarok, invented the Olympics (with Salmoneus providing the name), saved King Midas from his gold curse, and was present at the destruction of Atlantis. Iolaus, meanwhile, was implied to be one of the Three Wise Men and helped claim the Golden Fleece.
      • The Golden fleece makes sense seeing as Hercules was one of the Argonauts.
    • Xena was responsible for Lucifer's fall from grace. She also gave a donkey to a certain pregnant couple on their way to Nazareth. By way of Greece. She took the Sword out of the Stone and then put it back in. She aided Boadicea's army and was the pirate captain that captured Julius Caesar. Yes. Xena is the master chef of the Anachronism Stew. She puts a bit of herself into each delicious bowl.
  • Immortals in Highlander: The Series live for centuries, so they have plenty of opportunity to mix with some pivotal events. Given their potential lifespan, if a character doesn't actively seek out a historic event, it's likely that one will just happen while they're around.
    • Pompeii was the result of an Immortal being killed on sacred ground. There's a reason why all Immortals respect sacred ground.
    • The title character, Duncan MacLeod, being 400 years old has plenty of history to get involved in, but he goes out of his way to involve himself in events relating to Scottish nationalism. He was a soldier in Bonnie Prince Charlie's army in the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, unsuccessfully advised the Charles to try again 14 years later, and stole the Stone of Scone in 1950. During World War 2, he was a British spy operating in occupied Europe and was part of Operation Valkyrie, the unsuccesfull attempt to kill Hitler.
    • Many present day plots involve Duncan trying to stop another Immortal from attempting to shape history through an assassination or terrorist plot.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • In "The Gang Wins the Super Bowl", Dee, suffering from red-eye, rubs her face with a towel. That towel is passed to Tom Brady, who's thus infected, causing him to miss a key pass that allows the Eagles to win the Super Bowl.
    • "2020 A Year In Review" reveals that Mac and Dennis' attempts to fire up support for Kanye West caused the voter slowdown; Frank was the one who gave Rudy Guilliani his infamous "melting" hair dye; and Dee and Charlie made the costumes for the January 6 Capitol rioters.
  • According to Jack of All Trades, there was no Louisiana Purchase. Napoleon lost all the territory in a card game with the Daring Dragoon.
    • Also, the Daring Dragoon prevented Napoleon from using a certain statue he planned to give to the US as a Trojan Horse while distracting the French with a friendly game of American football... which wasn't invented until over 80 years later.
      • This didn't prevent Jack from claiming that it was an American tradition to play football during Thanksgiving. Given that there were no TVs then, he couldn't very well say "watch football", but still...
  • In Just Shoot Me!, Nina Van Horn's A&E Biography had her responsible for busting Studio 54, breaking up the Eagles, and a historic answer to Wheel of Fortune, among other things.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Common, especially after season 1.
    • Sara seduces the queen of France and later becomes the central target of the Salem Witch Trials for "corrupting" the local girls. She also turns out to be Lancelot of Arthurian Legend.
    • Mick becomes friends with George Washington, resulting in there being a statue of him in DC during the present day. He also gave Ishiro Honda the idea for a movie about a giant lizard.
    • Ray leaves footprints behind in the Jurassic period (though paleontologists assume it is a hoax) and becomes Sir Galahad of Arthurian legend after the original one dies.
    • During the Apollo 13 incident, Stein distracts the entire control room at a crucial moment by singing the Banana Boat song.
    • Even the JSA gets into the mix. Stargirl went back in time to found Camelot as Merlin.
  • Leverage: The 2008 financial crisis was caused by a huge number of Morally Bankrupt Bankers and other Corrupt Corporate Executives. Years and years of insider trading, market manipulations, and every other form of fraud imaginable took their toll until the entire world economy collapsed, at which point the people who had caused this collapse were able to exploit it to steal billions more. What's more, all the major police and regulatory agencies know this, having done all the investigating necessary after 2008 to identify the culprits. They chose not to prosecute anyone responsible, or reveal what they'd found to the public because they were afraid that it would cause so much disruption at the top of the business community, "the world's economy would never stabilize."
  • In the flashbacks of Lost's fifth season finale, the infamous Jacob appears repeatedly in other peoples' flashbacks, always being responsible for something important in those characters' lives: he buys Kate the lunchbox she uses for her time capsule, gives Sawyer a pen with which to write his letter to the real Sawyer, preventing Sayid from being hit by the car that kills Nadia, saying hello to Sun and Jin at their wedding, asking Ilana for help with an unspecified task, speaking to—and possibly reviving—Locke after he is thrown out a window, giving Jack a candy bar after his first surgery, and convincing Hurley to return to the island.
    • In a simply "stumbling through history" case, Nikki and Paulo's episode shows them discovering the Beechcraft and the Pearl station before the other castaways, and seeing major events of the show (the plane crash, the "live together, die alone" speech, and in a deleted scene, the discharge).
  • Played with in Murdoch Mysteries' season 10 opener "Great Balls of Fire", in which both a firebomb hurled by the Killer Of The Week and a carelessly tossed cigar belonging to Constable Higgins are suggested as possible sources of the Great Toronto Fire of 1904. Neither were actually responsible, though.
    • Played straight in the Season 8 episode "All That Glitters". A heavily criticized landscape painting by Inspector Brackenreid proves inspirational to one of the assistants at an art exhibition: famed landscape painter Tom Thomson, whose style is similar to the Inspector's.
    • Played straight in Season 9's "Unlucky in Love", which implies that L. M. Montgomery based her character Anne of Green Gables on Constable Crabtree. Promptly lampshaded in the end title card:
      Despite the story you have just seen there is no evidence to suggest that Lucy Maud Montgomery met Constable George Crabtree or that her work was influenced by him. (He's not real).
    • Regularly played with in the later season appearances of James Pendrick, who is portrayed as developing an electric car prototype (and being cheated out of his invention by Henry Ford), inventing the airplane, becoming an early silent film director (and butting heads with Thomas Edison), and building the first space rocket.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000 it was shown that The Great Fire of Rome was caused when they were sent back in time to Ancient Rome and Bobo knocked over a candle while he was stealing a cheese wheel.
  • The New Addams Family episode "Granny the Happy Medium" had Grandmama's brother Uncle Jester imply that he's responsible for Amelia Earhart's disappearance and the sinking of the Titanic.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin is present throughout most of the different fairy tales, even replacing the role of the Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella"note  and the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast".
  • Primeval: A recurring concept is that legends of mythological creatures and cryptids were the results of animals from the pre-Anthropocene past and the future coming through Anomaies into ancient human history — the Egyptian goddess Ammut was actually a Pristichampsus, Medieval English tales of a dragon being slain by a knight were apparently inspired by a Dracorex that Sir William de Mornay pursued, and Sisiutl was actually inspired by Titanoboa in the Canadian spin-off. Also, Spring-Heeled Jack was actually a raptor.
  • Quantum Leap often had Sam Beckett being responsible for a great many things while in the guise of various people. Creator Donald Bellisario referred to these as "kisses with history," giving Sam a chance to slyly affect the world more than just what the main plot required. Among the many things that Sam is responsible for are teaching The Twist to Chubby Checker, performing the Heimlich Maneuver on Dr. Heimlich, giving a young Stephen King ideas for some scary stories, encouraging Buddy Holly to continue with music (even helping him write "Peggy Sue" by trying to catch a pig), and teaching the Moon Walk to a young Michael Jackson.
    • By the last season, these became less subtle. Sam leapt into Marilyn Monroe's personal bodyguard (keeping her alive long enough to make The Misfits), Lee Harvey Oswald (where it turns out that Jackie Kennedy died in the original history), and Elvis Presley (having to ensure the King of Rock and Roll would get his big break).
    • Occasionally subverted as it seems Sam might be linked to a major event only to simply be caught up in it. In "Black and White on Fire," Sam leaps into a black man on the eve of the Watts riots. At first, he thinks his task is to stop the riots but Al tells him the key arrest that set it off has already happened and that the riots themselves were going to occur one way or another.
  • In an episode of Red Dwarf, Lister ends up playing a part in the JFK assassination, thanks to time travel abuse. (He doesn't actually pull the trigger, he merely convinces JFK to go back in time and assassinate himself.)
  • Vorenus and Pullo on Rome have been described as the Forrest Gumps (Sylvanus Gumpae) of Ancient Rome. They are the direct cause of, or at least heavily involved in, several key events during the late republican years through the rise of Augustus. A few examples include: Pullo actually fathering Caesarion (Caesar's son by Cleopatra), the results of one of Pullo's barfights leading to Caesar crossing the Rubicon, saving Octavius from captivity, finding Cleopatra, Vorenus helping Marc Antony commit suicide, Vorenus' departure from the senate house making it possible for Brutus and company to murder Caesar, Pullo killing Cicero... And that's just a few examples.
    • Lampshaded in that one of the aforementioned episodes is even called "How Titus Pullo Brought Down the Republic".
    • In another they have a chance to capture Pompey after the Battle of Pharsalus but let him go. Caesar is not amused but concludes they must have "powerful gods on their side" considering how much unlikely shit they've gone through and decides not to punish them.
  • Dr. Helen Magnus from Sanctuary (2007) is 160 years old, has lived through the 20th century (give or take a few decades in Victorian London), and has had various run-ins with various historical figures including most U.S. Presidents and world leaders. The last time she was shipwrecked was "April 1912." The opening theme has shown photographs of her with Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, and Gandhi. She and a couple of school chums were directly responsible for the success of the D-Day invasion at Normandy — and the school chums in question were Nikola Tesla and James Watson (Sherlock Holmes himself). Oh, and her fiancé was Jack the Ripper.
    Helen: There is such a thing as before my time!
    Will: [skeptical look] Really?
    Helen: Cheeky monkey!
  • Star Trek:
  • In Supergirl (2015), the arrival of the Leviathan wiped out the dinosaurs, and Rama Khan has been responsible for a number of "natural" disasters throughout history, including the destruction of Pompeii.
  • In the Supernatural episode "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here", an angel who recently fell to earth says she wants to visit the Grand Canyon she last built when on earth.
  • Viudas e hijos del Rock and Roll: Roby, Gaby, and Pipo, leaders of the "La Z Rock" radio, have met all the musicians of Argentine Rock, been present at all their concerts, and attended all the major events. The radio is filled with photos of Roby with musicians, and he is treated as "THE" greatest figure of Argentine rock ever.
  • A non-immortal or Time Travel example in Warehouse 13 with Hugo Miller, whose brain was split in half between him and a computer many decades ago and, thus, he missed out on all those decades, spending them in a mental institution. After being reintegrated, he asks Artie if that boy Bill Gates, whom he advised, ever got his little project off the ground. He's also supposedly set Steve Jobs on a different path, as a joke.
  • According to the Russian mini-series Wolf Messing: Seeing through time, the Real Life psychic Wolf Messing was responsible for the peaceful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis. When Khrushchev asked Messing if there will be a war as a result of this, Messing explains that he doesn't see one... as long as Khrushchev backs down and takes the missiles out of Cuba. When indignant Khrushchev claims that the great Soviet Union cannot back down, Messing assures him that the Americans will reciprocate by removing their missiles from Turkey. Additionally, Messing supposedly accurately predicted the month and the year of the Soviet victory at Stalingrad and of the surrender of Germany. He also has a vision of Stalin's younger son's death in a plane crash. However, Stalin only chooses to save his son, deciding to test the prediction. When Messing finds out about the plane crash, he has a Heroic BSoD.
  • The X-Files: Like Forrest Gump, the Cigarette Smoking Man has been responsible for the JFK assassination, rigged the Oscars, sabotaged the Soviet Union's goalie to allow for the US comeback in the 1980 Olympics, arranged a change of venue for the officers involved in the Rodney King beating, and has vowed that the Buffalo Bills will never win a Super Bowl and has taken steps to make that happen. Lampshaded when CSM delivers a long, cynical speech that begins with "Life is like a box of chocolates..."
  • Played with by Years and Years, a miniseries that takes the Forrest Gump style of storytelling and applies it not to the nostalgic past, but a dystopian future history stretching from The Present Day of 2019 to 2033. The personal drama and growth of the Lyons family happens against the backdrop of the rise of Vivienne Rook, the populist leader of the Four Star Party who grows in popularity as various crises afflict the UK and the world during the troubled 2020s.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles:
    • Befriending T.E. Lawrence and helping him take Jerusalem, drinking with Picasso, losing his virginity to Mata Hari, inspiring the Red Baron to paint his plane red, killing Dracula himself, and hunting Al Capone: just some of the less extreme contrivances in young Henry Jones Junior's life. If he or she's famous in the 20th century, Indy has probably befriended, fought, fallen in love with, and/or slept with that person.
    • The book series added a bit more. For example, Indy was discussing the origins and bases of the character of Sherlock Holmes with Arthur Conan Doyle shortly before returning to the United States. Aboard the Titanic.
    • And in a reversal, Jenny Sparks from The Authority is said to have known Indiana Jones. It's somewhat justified there, in that Jenny is the "spirit of the 20th century" — being Been There Shaped History is part of the job description.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Patch, a Modem, and a Zantac", it's shown that Sheldon's notebook inspired Elon Musk to successfully land a rocket on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean on April 8, 2016.

  • In Australian singer-songwriter Iain Campbell-Smith's song, Century Girl, the narrator (possibly the "Spirit of the 20th Century", see Jenny Sparks above) describes his life of having participated in every important moment of the 20th century, from fighting in Gallipoli to being a hippie. My ass got burned when Saigon fell, re-education was another kind of hell, uh huh!
  • The music video of Wir sind Wir. The photographer is there during the reconstruction post-World War II, was at a famous soccer game, and the fall of the Berlin wall (he even took pictures of it going up).
  • The folk songs "Passing Through", "Biggest Thing Man Has Ever Done", and "I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago" involve humble "common man" narrators witnessing many of the myths and historical events associated with Western civilization.
  • Sympathy For The Devil later used the same approach, with the twist being that the narrator is Lucifer (interpreted to be either literally Satan or humanity itself).
    • Inverted in OK Go's response, "A Good Idea at the Time," where Lucifer admits being present at several of these scenes but pins the blame for them entirely back on humanity.
  • "We Were There", the signature song of musical comedy duo Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden, makes fun of their own age by claiming they've been involved in all of history.
    When Adam ate an apple in the Garden of Eden, we were there.
    We've been to Sodom and Gomorrah, and we're going back tomorrow Ryanair.
    We met four boys from Liverpool who liked to shake their hair,
    They said "We're gonna make it big" and we said "Yeah, yeah, yeah."
    Just check your history, and you will plainly see we were there.

  • Played straight and subverted in the 2021 Radio 4 comedy-drama The New Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Over the course of his year-long adventure, the Baron gets involved in a few of the major news stories of 2019-20, most notably his work saving animals from the Australian bush fires, but his fear that the bag of cholera miasma that he accidentally released in the first episode may have mutated into a new form is roundly squashed by one of his friends in the final episode, who points out that cholera bacteria aren't even the same kind of organism as coronavirus.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dark•Matter (1999): Aliens and other oddities are responsible for much of Earth's inventions, such as the printing press, and demons are partly responsible for World War II. Some inventions (the printing press, advanced photographic technology) were disclosed in the Expanded Universe novels.
  • Delta Green has less tendency of this happening in-universe, as it's stated the unnatural is rare (albeit extremely dangerous), but this trope comes from time to time.
    • In 1969 Delta Green organizes an unsanctioned raid on Cambodia, where 300 Marines paradrop on Cambodia attempting to stop the summoning of a Great Old One, the operation fails spectacularly. When the US and South Vietnam invade Cambodia later, they meet stiff resistance from well-prepared Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge, the military's Joint Chiefs consider the intervention in Cambodia a failure due Delta Green's shenanigans seven months prior. This is the final nail in the coffin and Delta Green is officially deactivated in 1970.
    • Adolph Lepus, future leader of NRO Delta, participated in Operation OBSIDIAN and ended up as one of the few survivors, he was the one that killed Colonel Satchel Wade and his mistress as revenge for organizing the mission.
    • The The Vietnam War-era Delta Green game The Fall of DELTA GREEN implies that the legendary MACV-SOG might have been inspired by Delta Green.
      "DELTA GREEN uses a similar principle, combining operatives from several different agencies and units both civilian and military. The two share so many similarities, including Top Secret classification and deniability, that it's quite possible that the Pentagon is deliberately attempting to replicate DELTA GREEN in a war-fighting context."
    • In 1993 Delta Green discovered information about what they thought was a mythos cult in Waco, Texas. The agents organize the ATF and FBI to raid the cult's compound resulting in the now-infamous Waco Siege. They were wrong, there was nothing particularly unnatural on Waco. 76 people died due Delta Green's faulty intel.
    • During the Katrina hurricane, there were a lot of reports of gunfire shots in New Orleans after the levees broke. Much of those were agents part of Delta Green death squads sent to hunt down and execute Ghouls of the DeMonte clan.
    • In the scenario Khali Gati it is implied that the god-priest that sleeps in the mountain around Khali Gati inspired the pre-Islamic god Zun, at least that's what the village elder tells you.
  • In Nomine: Archangels and Princes tend to be quite old, and you don't rise to such a position of prominence in the Host or the hierarchy of Hell by sitting around all day. As such, quite a few of them were directly or indirectly responsible for several major historic events.
    • Eli, the Archangel of Creation, has been walking the Earth for a long time, and providing inspiration to mortals for almost as long. He was the one who delivered Zoroaster's original revelation, for instance.
    • Zadkiel, the Archangel of Protection, is a later-generation angel, having been "born" as a lesser spirit when history was already well underway, but she is old enough to speak on historic events from personal experience. She spent most of her early career in central Italy on the plain of the Tiber, and knew Romulus and Remus when they walked the world (Heavenly rumor to the contrary, she was not the wolf that raised them). Her personal efforts in preventing the Rape of the Sabine Womennote from degenerating into war was what earned her promotion to the Angel of Protection. Her later work in guiding Roman cultural growth were what saw her rise further to her current seat as an Archangel.
    • Belial, the Prince of Fire, has a habit of wandering the Earth in search of interesting things to set alight. As such, he has been present for a lot of famous conflagrations: he was there for the Great Fire of Rome, the burning of the Library of Alexandria, and the Great Fire of London, started the Great Chicago Fire outright, took efforts to confuse and disorganize firemen after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake to help its resulting fires spread out of control, and was a cheerful spectator at the atomic bomb droppings and the Chernobyl disaster.
    • Fleurity, the Prince of Drugs, originally obtained his Word after goading the British into selling narcotics in China and starting the Opium War, rose to fame by inflaming the United States' drug panics and eventual passing of disproportionate control laws, and earned his Princedom on the twin impetus of the crack epidemic and the War on Drugs.
    • Valefor, the Prince of Theft, claims resposnbility for a number of world-changing thefts in the last millennium or so, such as setting up the Templars' disgrace to loot their treasuries, stealing the sealant for the Spanish Armada's gunpowder barrels, and filching Nikola Tesla's electrotherapy cure for cancer.
    • Played with regarding Baal, the Prince of the War. He has fomented his share of bloody conflicts, but he is always quick to point out the many, many wars that he had no hand in. Baal likes to emphasize these specifically because they help support his point that humans are pathetic and unworthy beings — if all historic disasters were made by Princely intervention, then it might seem that God's belief in the worth of the human spirit might be onto something after all. The fact that the apes don't need any external encouragement to slaughter one another, Baal says, is all the proof he needs that he was right all along.
  • Time and Temp lets the time-traveling PCs do this if they do a good enough job.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The (not yet at the time) God-Emperor of Mankind was born some 8,000 years BC, and has secretly (or not so secretly) influenced human history since. Older editions occasionally implied that he was Jesus, while he is still all but explicitly stated to have been Saint George.
  • Witch Girls Adventures has a lot of it. Most gods, mythical heroes, legendary monsters, and the like are somewhat distorted accounts of witches and otherkin; witches were major players in the Underground Railroad and were responsible for starting the American civil war; open Witch and Otherkin influence was pivotal in the flourishing of science and the arts in the late 19th and early 20th century and Allied victory in World War II — but was later erased from records and memory by the witches; the Flower Power movement was the result of a large-scale spell cast by the counselor and several students at Coventry school for girls... it goes on like this for a bit.
  • The World of Darkness:
    • This is quite common among different game lines, and taken collectively can result in... interesting situations. For instance, among the Cherusci of Arminius were Brujah vampires Get of Fenris werewolves, Verbena mages, and probably a half dozen other supernatural creatures — that never met each other. In more modern times, you can have a mayor in any given city that is ghouled by the vampires, bribed by the werewolf Big Bad Pentex, mind-controlled by the Technocracy, and puppeteered by the wraiths...
    • It was Lucifer, of all people, who started the Scientific Revolution. And while he didn't actually create it he was a big reason for the early spread of Christianity in order to use it as a weapon against the Earthbound.
    • Although still present this was scaled back for later editions of the gamelines after the writers realised how out of control it had gotten, with the attitude then being that most major events and social movements were of human origin but supernaturals would then take advantage of them. There were still some examples though, such as the Punic Wars being at least partly a struggle between the Ventrue and Bujah vampire clans and a running gag of multiple different supernatural factions claiming Rasputin as one of theirs.
    • The New World Of Darkness takes a few steps away from this, for the most part. For the most part. Requiem for Rome implies that Rome's vampires were pulling a lot of strings during the Roman Empire's height — and that the first one was Remus. All in all, the supernatural generally moves along with human developments rather than setting them off... which makes a good deal of sense when you think about it, as there are more mortals than Supernaturals, and most Supers are too busy handling their own stuff to really mess around with human society too much. Throw in the Masquerade, Veil, and the general "don't let the normals know what's really going on" approach that the varying splats take, minor influence and the occasional nudge is about all the Supernatural does to influence the wider world... there are exceptions, such as Tunguska being caused by SOMETHING involving the Quasmalilim, and Dracula having been a very powerful Kindred, but these are exceptions rather than the general rule of thumb.
    • Promethean: The Created hints that a Promethean was "the Person from Porlock" who prevented Coleridge from finishing "Kubla Khan", and that a Qashmallim inspired it in the first place.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade: Vampires are usually behind the scenes in most of the biggest scenes in recorded history, right down to the first of all vampires being Cain(e)'s curse after slaying Abel. Although sometimes it is hard to tell what's truth and what's a lie; for instance, no fewer than three of the clans proudly claim to have Rasputin among their numbers. The clanbooks usually imply that the Storyteller is free to decide which, if any, claims are actually true.
    • Werewolf: The Apocalypse:
      • The Silver Fangs married into many of Europe's royal families and shaped history as royal leaders.
      • The Wendigo initiated the migration of humans from northern Asia to North America. Closer to the present era, Wendigo Garou were among Tecumseh's followers.
      • According to Rage Across New York, the Black Furies protected the early American suffragettes. Black Fury kinfolk encouraged leaders of the early women's movement to take refuge near New York's Finger Lakes (a Black Fury stronghold), which lead to the 1848 Seneca Falls convention.
      • Rage Across New York also states that the Children of Gaia contributed followers and protection to historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony.
      • The Seventh Generation was responsible for several historical calamities. When Socrates discovered Seventh Generation activity in Athens, the cult arranged for his trial and execution. When Freud discovered that several of his patients experienced childhood abuse, the Seventh Generation forced him to revise his theories. According to Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth, Charles Manson and Gilles de Rais were Seventh Generation devotees, and their crimes were in the service of the Wyrm.
      • According to Rage Across Australia, Black Spiral kinfolk were behind the creation of Australia's Aboriginal Protection Board in the 19th century, as part of a strategy to destroy the Bunyip's human kinfolk.

  • This is a major theme in the works of Stephen Sondheim, as he focuses on the events (often heavily fictionalized) that shaped the history of the world. Sondheim often deconstructs the trope, choosing to focus on everyday people and the small things they were doing, and how it is those seemingly unimportant moments (the word "Moment" is practically a Running Gag in Sondheim's works) that truly capture the essence of the major movements, days, and ideas studied in history books.
    • Assassins features Being There, Shaping History as a key theme. Since the musical tells the stories of people who tried to kill Presidents of the United States, each of them is depicted as changing the course of American history with their actions regardless of success or failure. The same musical features the song "How I Saved Roosevelt," which features everyday people humorously exaggerating how their presence in a failed assassination attempt on Franklin Delano amounts to them being superhuman heroes that single-handedly saved him from death. Later, the same song gets a Dark Reprise in "Something Just Broke," which strips away the humor and focuses instead on the precise moment when those same everyday people heard the news of successful presidential assassinations—"I'll remember it forever...where I was, what I was doing..."
    • Pacific Overtures summarizes Sondheim's take on this trope with the Act I finale "Someone in a Tree." The musical, which focuses on Japan's forced opening to the Western world, describes how the Japanese government originally planned to deny that ambassadors from the United States were ever in the country by ensuring that they never set foot on Japanese soil, then burning down the specially-built treaty house the emperor had built for the occasion. The government then destroys all records of the event and claims that it never happened...but one little boy and a single samurai soldier were present on the scene, and share what they saw and heard. This is therefore the only (in-universe) authentic account of what happened on that fateful day, and thus is the history of that first meeting.
      I'm a fragment of the day.
      If I weren't, who's to say
      Things would happen here the way
      That they happened here?...
    • Sunday in the Park with George is more localized, as it focuses on the (fictional) creation of Georges Seurat's masterpiece A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Each of the figures in the painting is imagined as a real person whose presence shaped Seurat's own perceptions of the world; the painting only exists because they were there to bring it to life.
  • In Fly by Night, it's implied that the North-East Blackout of 1965 was caused because Crabble plugged a lightbulb into his shop's sign.
  • In the one-man show Peter Fleming Meets Doctor Who, everything that went wrong with the production of classic Doctor Who was caused by the eponymous creator of long-forgotten children's programmes, who resents the show's success and has been sabotaging it for years.

    Video Games 
  • Sly Cooper: The titular character's ancestors have had some pull in history, as revealed in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
    • Sly's Ninja ancestor, Rioichi, was not only a renowned sushi chef but was also its inventor.
    • Furthermore, his Arabian ancestor, Salim Al-Kupar, was a member of the 40 Thieves.
  • Aldo Trapani, the main character from The Godfather: The Game, serves as the Corleone Family's personal Gump. He is responsible for helping Rocco in removing Khartoum's head and placing it in Woltz's bed, beating the two kids who raped the Bonasera's daughter, assassinating both Paulie Gatto and Salvatore Tessio for betraying the Family, hiding the pistol Michael would use to kill Solozzo and McCluskey, and participating in the assassination of the heads of the Five Families.
  • City of Villains:
    • A character can run missions that set up events for heroes at the equivalent level. For example, a heroic story arc starts off when a gang gets their hands on a powerful spellbook and accidentally summons a major demon. A villainous contact at the same level range offers a mission to steal a spellbook and plant it for members of a minor gang to find...
    • One villainous badge mission involves spreading some drug called Outbreak around Paragon City. That is the drug that caused the contaminated infestation of the heroes' tutorial zone.
    • With the introduction of Ouroboros time travel arcs, villains can assist the rise of the Big Bad and heroes and villains can become key figures in the Council overthrow of the 5th Column.
  • DC Universe Online often has parallel missions between Heroes and Villains. Usually the Villain mission would logically occur before the hero missions (for example: a villain mission about stealing weapons from the military and distributing them to local thugs will lead to a hero mission to stop thugs armed with military-grade weaponry).
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
    • The Boss. By the very end, it is revealed that she participated in major Nuclear Bomb testing, became the first human in space before Yuri Gagarin, and participated in the Normandy landing, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and Project Mercury.
    • Sigint, due to being a member of ARPA/DARPA and one of the founders of the Internet. Hideo Kojima did his research; the MGS timeline syncs up with the same year and organization that started the Internet in Real Life.
    • Another in-universe example with The End, the Cobra Unit's centenarian sniper, who multiple characters call the father of modern sniping. In another sense, his remains would later provide the basis for Code Talker's parasite research.
    • Furthermore, in an optional Codec conversion during MGS3, it's revealed that Naked Snake/Big Boss, Sigint, and Major Zero actually gave the Hind D its name. In-game, he also created the infamous "hide in a cardboard box" trick used by Solid Snake and Raiden.
    • In-universe, Johnny Sasaki, by sheer coincidence, winds up getting involved as a minor mook in all of Snake's missions note , and his grandfather (also named Johnny) personally met Big Boss while serving as a guard at Grosnyj Grad in Metal Gear Solid 3. Despite his stupidity and general bumbling nature, he's one of the few recurring characters to actually survive all that insanity — which Snake happily lampshades.
      "How the hell did you ever survive ten years?"
  • Galen "Starkiller" Marek, the Villain Protagonist of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. If it is to be believed, he is the one responsible for bringing together the various Rebel faction leaders in order to form the Alliance. To top it all off, the design of his family's crest is posthumously adopted as the symbol for the new Alliance.
    • It was really Kota who did most of the important work. He was the one who located and contacted all of the Rebel leaders, and Galen never would have gotten as far as he did without his guidance. The future Rebel senators were not only already familiar with each other, but that their plans for an Alliance went back as far as before the Empire was declared. The main reason Galen got all the credit is probably that he did most of the fighting and heavy lifting, was chosen to be the original leader at the signing of the Corellian Treaty, along with his Heroic Sacrifice aboard the Death Star I to save and free the future leaders of the Rebel Alliance, who then chose his family emblem, the Starbird, as their symbol of hope to rally behind and honor him with. It would be more accurate to say that Galen, Kota, and the rest of the Rogue Shadow crew were collectively this trope.
    • A lesser example would be the star of a manga, Vader's second and younger secret apprentice, Tao. Tao, apparently, was responsible for re-awakening remorse in the Dark Lord.
    • There are actually a lot of these in Star Wars Legends. Any time someone makes a game and they want to set it during the movies, if they don't stick with the movie characters, they will make important new ones. There is a whole mess of people responsible for getting the Death Star plans to Leia, for example, like Bria Tharen and Kyle Katarn.
    • Shadows of the Empire 's story starts around the same time as The Empire Strikes Back. As such, the protagonist Dash Rendar took part in the Battle of Hoth; this was only mentioned in the novel, but an actual level in the game. It was the first time a Star Wars game allowed the player to take part in a movie battle like it (excluding the Death Star trench run from A New Hope), and nearly every classic-trilogy Star Wars game since has had a Hoth level if the developers could find an excuse to add one. One problem, however, is that the second level starts with Dash witnessing the Millennium Falcon's escape from the base just before snowtroopers pour in - and yet Dash somehow manages to completely miss encountering Darth Vader, who also saw the Falcon fly off. Also, in a double-example, Dash was a pivotal member of the team that captured the supercomputer containing the plans to the second Death Star - an event so important that the player gets to see him do it again in a mission from X-Wing Alliance, setting the player as the "Blue 6" who shouted at the team to scatter after the freighter with that supercomputer launches a diamond-boron missile (of course, since the XWA protagonist never speaks, someone ends up shouting his line).
  • Compilation of Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis and Crisis Core are undisputedly lord and master of this trope, as it turns out Zack was responsible for Yuffie's Materia obsession, the bar where Tifa works being named Seventh Heaven, Aeris wearing pink and is now the only reason Cloud took up the persona of a SOLDIER First Class due to "passing on his memories" to Cloud. The Turks meanwhile turn out to have been present for Cid's failed rocket launch, the burning of Barret's hometown, the burning of Cloud and Tifa's hometown, Cloud's first fight with Sephiroth, they are responsible for Azul ending up in Deepground, Red XIII being able to procreate and are the reason for why when you visit the Midgar model in the Shinra building, one part of Midgar is unlike the rest. Finally, Genesis has become one of the primary reasons why Sephiroth went crazy, while Angeal has his place in the story as the origin of the Buster Sword.
  • In Castlevania: Bloodlines, Elizabeth Bartley, the vampiric niece of Dracula, orchestrated the assassination of an Austrian noble to kickstart World War I and use the souls of everyone who perished in the war to fuel Dracula's resurrection.
  • In Mortal Kombat X, Kotal Kahn met the pre-Mayan people and helped guide their civilization, including teaching them to eat the hearts of their fallen enemies. This has the unintended consequence of wiping out the Mayan civilization due to their contracting illnesses from the Spanish invaders whose blood they drank.
  • Baldur's Gate III has a key character in the game's late story, who had been around for a long time and made waves in the history of the city of Baldur's Gate. This is because the character in question, the rogue mind flayer who introduces himself simply as "the Emperor", is no less than Balduran, himself: the founder of Baldur's Gate!
  • In Dragon's Lair II, Dirk is partially responsible for the Fall of Eden. Seriously. Stage 4 takes place in the mythical Garden, where his actions lead to Eve eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
  • Alex Mason, the protagonist from Call of Duty: Black Ops, fights in Havana during the Bay of Pigs invasion and assassinates Castro (actually a body double). Once captured, he is sent to the infamous Vorkuta gulag. Upon his release, he receives his orders from Robert McNamara and JFK themselves. He almost single-handedly saves Khe Sanh in the precursor to the Tet offensive. And it is later revealed that he was the second shooter who killed JFK.
    • An in-universe example from Modern Warfare 3: after it is exposed that Makarov knows Yuri, Yuri tells Price about his involvement in various affairs earlier in the series - he and Makarov were in the jeep that got Zakhaev safely away after Price shot his arm off in Pripyat from "One Shot, One Kill", they were there to personally detonate Al-Asad's nuke in "Shock and Awe", and Yuri was meant to be a sixth shooter in the massacre from "No Russian", though he was shot in the gut after having second thoughts and ended up trying to stop the massacre, only to fall unconscious from blood loss.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II has this both in and out of universe. The Afghanistan level sees Mason saving a contingent of Mujaheddin from a Soviet assault, along with his friend Woods and a Chinese agent working with them, thus inadvertently saving the life of one Mullah Rahman, a real-life figure who went on to become a notorious commander in the Taliban. When they're betrayed and nearly killed, Mason and Reznov, maybe saves their lives. The Chinese agent is Tian Zhao, who later becomes the head of the Strategic Defense Coalition and a minor antagonist, with the Strike Force missions needed for the best ending culminating in him being assassinated by JSOC troops commanded by Mason's son, David.
  • In the good ending of Saints Row IV, the Saints discover that the Zin have time-traveling technology and use it to have wacky misadventures throughout history, ranging from participating in famous battles, inspiring famous works of art or just generally messing with historical figures.
  • Ulysses from Fallout: New Vegas has a hand in influencing the stories of each of the DLC add-ons. Aside from Lonesome Road, where he takes center stage as the main antagonist, he was the one who led the White Legs during the sacking of New Canaan (their dogged pursuit of Joshua Graham bringing them to Zion during Honest Hearts), he also explored Big MT and met with the Think Tank where he inadvertently almost set them loose from the Eternal Recurrence imprisoning them, and finally, he set the events of Dead Money in motion by telling Elijah the location of the Sierra Madre as well as rescuing Christine from a Big MT medical facility. To top it off, Ulysses was also the frumentarii scout who discovered Hoover Dam and brought it to the attention of Caesar and his Legion, bringing them into conflict with the NCR and causing the First and Second Battles of Hoover Dam in the Mojave Wasteland.
    • Speaking of Lonesome Road, it's known that after the First Battle of Hoover Dam, when the NCR was giving chase to the defeated Legion who were retreating back east, all groups tried to cross through a region called The Divide. The Legion would have been completely vanquished if it wasn't for a sudden and unexpected catastrophe that annihilated the Divide and its surroundings, dealing a crippling blow to NCR operations and allowing the Legion's leaders to escape and begin rebuilding their strength for the future. Who or what caused the disaster? Your character, the Courier did. They unknowingly delivered a package containing launch codes for the military ICBMs stored in underground silos, resulting in them detonating and destroying the landscape.
  • MACV Cpt. Daniel Boone and his team in Vietcong 2 participated in and single-handedly help the Americans/South Vietnamese win the Battle of Hue.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Laguna was such a badass that he overthrew the tyrannical sorceress who ruled Esthar and was appointed President in her place. However, his badass abilities were actually those of the protagonists from his future; most of the time, he was just an ordinary soldier.
  • The protagonist of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger claims to have fought every single legendary outlaw in The Wild West. He even claims to have had a gunfight with Jesse James (once someone brings up Bob Ford, he immediately claims to have "wounded him" even if you managed to make him shoot James in the head) and another one with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (who, whaddya know, really DID escape the Bolivian Army)... at the same time. However, it's heavily implied he's making A LOT of this up.
  • A factor in both Dark Souls and its sequel.
    • The DLC to the first game has you return to the last days of Oolacile and rescue Princess Dusk from Manus. These tasks had, by the time of the game proper, been attributed to Knight Artorias, who attempted to rescue her but was corrupted by the Abyss into a mindless husk and then slain by you.
    • Towards the end of Dark Souls II, you travel back to the Giants' invasion of Drangleic via the Ashen Mist Heart and the memories of the fallen Giants. Turns out the reason the Giants never made it past what is now called the Forest Of Fallen Giants was that you personally beat the crap out of their leader, the Giant Lord. You might remember him as the Last Giant, a.k.a. the first boss of the game. You know, that decrepit, almost-dead Giant who took one look at you and instantly got so pissed that he dug himself out of a pile of rocks and charged you at top speed? Now you know why he was so pissed.
    • In the Crown of the Old Iron King DLC, there is an optional area where you can again use the Ashen Mist Heart to travel back in time via a memory, this time to Iron Keep at the height of the Old Iron King's power. You have a boss battle with his best knight Sir Alonne, who is said to have mysteriously disappeared around that time. Mystery solved.
  • The majority of events that occur in each character's campaigns in Resident Evil 6 is due to Ada being involved with other matters.
  • The 23rd Century Captain in Star Trek Online's Agents of Yesterday expansion ends up saving the Babel Conference, causing the USS Defiant (the original Constitution-class) to get caught in the spatial interphase and participate in the Battle of Caleb IV.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Lilia Vanrouge is a Long-Lived fairy who had participated in important wars and observed historical changes. Other characters remark that there are pictures of him in history textbooks.
  • In Vampyr (2018), several calamities that afflicted Britain such as the Black Death and the Spanish flu in 1918 were caused by the Morrigan to torment humanity by spreading disease through her female servants known as Disasters. In fact, the Great Fire of London was caused by William Marshal (who was a vampire) when he fought against a Disaster, and he only defeated her by locking her up inside St. Paul's Cathedral and setting it on fire to make sure she was dead.
  • Yakuza 0, which is set in 1988 during the peak of Japan's economic bubble, reveals that by giving a politician some advice on introducing new taxes, Goro Majima may have accidentally caused the massive recession in the '90s known as the "Lost Decade". It takes a turn for the hilarious when in Yakuza Kiwami, which takes place in 2005, Majima uses this as a Pre-Asskicking One-Liner of all things.
    Kiryu: Fine then. But my fights don't come cheap. And I'm going to make sure you pay the tax!
    Majima: I INVENTED the tax, so bag this fight up and put it on my tab, Kiryu-Chan!
  • This is a plot point of the second Destroy All Humans! game. In it, the Tunguska event of 1908 was caused by a Blisk warship crashing into a small, remote community in Russia. Due to their mass amount of intelligence and being able to disguise themselves as humans, they ended up causing the Russian Revolution to succeed and seized control of the USSR.
  • All over the place In-Universe in Xenoblade Chronicles 2:
    • It's central to the plot that Mythra was one of the two biggest forces responsible for the Aegis War that most of the backstory hinges on. Equally, it's a recurring minor obstacle that she doesn't remember a lot of the finer details - it all happened centuries ago to her, and Pyra inherited the memories second-hand so she isn't any help.
    • Azurda is a subversion, he was definitely present, but by his own admission found human/Blade conflicts beneath his interest at the time. The one useful thing he does know, he was sworn to secrecy on, and has a good reason not to divulge.
    • Brighid was also present for the Aegis War, but as a Blade, lost her memories as she reincarnated. She relies on a personal journal she kept - and is painfully aware that, being a personal journal, her account could be biased.
    • In the present, this is Morag's motivation for joining the party. She senses "great things" are bound to happen around Rex and wishes to see them with her own eyes.
    • In Torna: The Golden Country, Jin, one of the main game's Big Bads, invented the main game's battle system of Drivers fighting with their Blade's weapons while the Blade empowers the Driver with his Driver Lora mainly because the two were broke and couldn't afford a seperate weapon for Lora.
  • Echo: Secrets of the Lost Cavern: The game centers on Arok, a young Homo Sapien living in the Paleolithic period who, among other things, helped create the paintings seen in Lascaux.
  • In Age of Empires III, the Black family seems to intentionally or unintentionally insert itself into historical events.
  • The basic plot of Road 96. The various hitchhikers you play as are just random teenagers, drifting along and trying to cross the border. But along the way, they have a big impact on events of the story while just trying to get to their next destination.
  • A cutscene in Uncle Albert's Magical Album implies that Uncle Albert inspired Americans to build rocket ships for space travel.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • In the SPECWEAPS story series, a lot of events throughout history and the modern day have apparently been caused by the weaponization of and warfare between Eldritch Abominations. Specifically, the originals.
  • The collective story of the Eternals strays into this. The immortal named Gregorios has so far served as an ambassador for the Emperor Anastasius, been a trader on the Silk Road, lived as a farmer (and charged as a witch) in Anglo-Saxon England, been "executed" by the Sassanids, fought in the Battle of Septimania, inspired the writing of Beowulf, worked as a merchant in Tang China, lived as a Yakut nomad, served in the Byzantine navy, defended Paris against a Viking invasion, circumnavigated medieval Ireland, fought in the Welsh armies against the invading Anglo-Saxons, went with Leif Ericsson to discover Vinland, became a tribal chief in the Miqmaq nation, served as an interpreter in the Crusader States, became Balian of Ibelin, was sold as a slave after the Venetians sacked Constantinople, served as interpreter and guide for Marco Polo, inspired the image of The Grim Reaper, fathered the Romanov dynasty, fought at the final fall of Constantinople, sailed with Christopher Columbus to the New World, got painted into "The Last Judgement Day," fought with the Catholic League during the French Wars of Religion, took part in the first production of Romeo and Juliet, became one of the founding members of the Plymouth Colony, served as a professor or languages at Harvard, rode circuit as a doctor in colonial Virginia, dumped tea at the Boston Tea Party, and fought in both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. And he's only told his story up to 1827.
  • The "Sarkozy Was There" meme does this to French President Nicholas Sarkozy. This was done in reaction to having falsely claimed a photo of him taking a hammer to the Berlin Wall was taken on the day that it fell when it was actually taken a full week later.
  • SCP Foundation: Although the write-ups usually try to hint rather than state things outright (it's more fun that way), several SCPs are implied to have been involved with or caused various historical events, including what we thought was the atomic bomb. In particularly bad incidents, entire geographical formations have been blamed on SCPs, and had to be passed off as natural by way of massive amnesiacs distribution.
  • In the Seinfeld spec script Seinfeld - "The Twin Towers", one of the minor subplots revolves around Cosmo Kramer discovering that he lent the box cutter that Mohammed Atta used to hijack one of the planes that brought down the Twin Towers… and going on a crusade to get it refunded by the government, alongside a bunch of fellow Cloud Cuckoolanders who are organizing a Frivolous Lawsuit to the City of New York for the destruction of the Towers inconveniencing their lives.
  • Jitter, the protagonist of the SPQR game series, is definitely this; among other things, she's a major Unwitting Pawn in the assassination of Julius Caesar. (More specifically, she was used to distract General Antonius so he wouldn't be there to defend Caesar.)

    Web Videos 
  • The Phantom is a recurring character in the Hardly Working original videos. He's an all-around Comedic Sociopath and implied immortal, which gives rise to a number of claims.
    Phantom: You'd best watch yourself or I'll do to you what I did to Amelia Earhart.
    Dan: Amelia Earhart?
    Phantom: Flying is a man's game!
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Apparently, Donald Trump's claim that windmills cause cancer can be traced back to a lie Allen told him to stop him from trying to take Comicron-1 from Linkara.
  • An April Fool’s day video from Overly Sarcastic Productions in the form of a YouTuber Apology Parody sees Red and Blue apologize for causing several historical and mythical events — Red for sinking Atlantis by pressing a random button, causing The Tunguska Event by plugging a power bar into itself, not crying when Balder died because she doesn’t like crying in public, and telling Pandora she dropped her keys in the box; and Blue for drunkenly explaining monotheism to Akhenaten, sarcastically recommending guillotining everyone to Robespierre, telling Virgil that no one would notice if he copied off of Homer, stealing the Horses of St. Mark from Constantinople because he wanted to pull his weight during The Crusades (which he’s also sorry for), kidnapping Tripitaka once, and stealing the Library of Alexandria while burning the foundation to cover his tracks.
  • At one point in Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, the centuries old vampire Alucard casually mentions having "unknowingly shot Archduke Ferdinand and blamed it on some other guy", thus making him responsible for the events of World War I, and, indirectly, World War II. It's also retroactively implied that he was responsible for Pope Benedict's retirement via all the death threats he'd been sending.

    Western Animation 

  • Aaahh!!! Real Monsters:
    • The episode "History of the Monster World" has the Gromble giving a lesson on how monsters have shaped human history, like Krumm's dad Horvak losing one of his eyes when it was used to fire the Shot Heard 'Round the World, and monsters inspiring the Boston Tea Party and FDR's famous line "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
    • In another episode, an elderly monster recounts a story about how he scared a brunette Albert Einstein while he's trying to figure out the theory of relativity, giving him his famous hair.
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan discovers Principal Lewis' childhood was the basis for Diff'rent Strokes. Stan calls him out for abandoning his friend Dudley to getting molested by the bicycle shop man, with Brian mentioning the real Dudley is messed up because of it.
    • In the episode "The Best Christmas Story Ever", Stan buys Roger a "Best of Disco" cassette. Stan has it on him when he goes back in time to 1970 but unknowingly drops it. However, Roger (who was on Earth in 1970, working at a restaurant) winds up finding it, opens a music studio, and uses the cassette to invent the disco music craze of the '70s.
      • Roger does this all the time, actually. Another Time Travel episode showed him inventing meth. "The Return Of The Bling" also showed him help America win the 1980 Olympics hockey game, albeit with steroids.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long invokes this trope in at least two episodes.
    • "Fu and Tell": While fighting for an artifact belonging to Fu's family, Fu Dog and Yan Yan got involved in several historical moments. They caused the Sphinx' nose to break off, put the lean in the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and sent the Titanic into an iceberg.
    • "Hero of the Hourglass": Fu Dog made Atlantis sink.
  • The Warner Bros, and the Warner Sister, due to their ability to exist in several time periods, have had run-ins with several historical figures and had a big influence over their achievements. They've inspired Albert Einstein to write E=MC, helped Michelangelo Buonarroti paint the Sistine Chapel, and inspired Pablo Picasso and Beethoven. One particular episode shows how they influenced many 20th Century events during the times they had to leave the Tower for it to be fumigated, including the Yalta Conference and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
  • An episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries has Archie traveling through time and bringing about several events of his series, including the founding of Riverdale and being responsible for Veronica's family moving there.
  • Archer:
    • Mallory Archer has been involved in Operations Gladio and Ajax.
    • In "Blood Test", Woodhouse is revealed to have shot William S. Burroughs' wife in Mexico, in a bet for heroin. It's implied Burroughs ended up taking the fall for it thanks to Mallory's intervention.
  • The cold open for the Arthur episode "Arthur the Wrecker" shows Arthur in different time periods accidentally smashing off The Sphinx's nose, breaking the Venus de Milo's arms, and cracking the Liberty Bell.
  • The 1953 Disney cartoon Ben And Me was about a mouse who was responsible for most of Benjamin Franklin's greatest achievements, and had an indirect role in the writing of the Declaration of Independence. It was based on a book by the same name. There was also Mr. Revere and I, by the same author, though that's less of a case of this, and more just an onlooker at many of the events, since it's narrated by Paul Revere's horse.
  • Blue Eye Samurai: In the final episode the battle between Mizu and Fowler indirectly results in (a version of) the Great Fire of Meireki in 1657. Of course, the history of the series is somewhat different to real life ( case in point, the show's version of the fire destroys the Shogun's palace and happens concurrently with the death of the Shogun, neither of which happened in real life) so it's more like "Been there, shaped alternate history".
  • In a "what if" episode of The Boondocks (in which Martin Luther King, Jr. awakens from a coma), it is revealed that Robert "Grandad" Freeman was originally part of Rosa Parks' bus sit-in, but was completely ignored. Ever since then, Grandad felt that Parks "stole his thunder" and left her harassing phone calls right up until her death. Oh, and he never did get his five dollars from Malcolm X.
    • And he was supposed to be one of the protesters Bull Connor turned firehoses on, but he went home to get a raincoat and missed the march. Robert gets a lot of these related to the civil rights movement.
  • Code Monkeys:
  • Episode "Infinite Realms" in Danny Phantom had Danny and his friends traveling through time via natural ghost portals in pursuit of Vlad, both triggering the Great Fires of Rome and ensuring the landing of the Wright Brothers' plane in Kitty Hawk during their chase.
  • In one episode of Dudley Do-Right, Snidely Whiplash hypnotizes Stokey the Bear to cause fires. After Dudley captures him, he thinks that a trip and some home cooking would help break his hypnosis, and takes him to his friend in Chicago. There, Stokey causes a massive fire while Dudley and his friend Mrs. O'Leary agree to use her cow as The Scapegoat.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Cosmo sunk Atlantis nine times, caused the volcanic eruption that destroyed Pompeii, and George Washington used his head as a cannonball to win a battle. (But Cosmo didn't wipe out the dinosaurs - that was Sylvester Calzone.)
    • In the episode "Hassle in the Castle," Maryann, one of the former godchildren of Cosmo and Wanda wished Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be assassinated, which caused World War One. This in turn, led her to lose Cosmo and Wanda.
  • Family Guy is practically made of these. Every episode the viewers are nearly guaranteed a reference to when any of the Griffins or their ancestors did something that altered history in some way.
  • Futurama:
    • The classic "Roswell that Ends Well" episode of features the stars traveling back in time and arriving in Roswell, New Mexico. Zoidberg is captured by the army, along with Bender's shattered body, making them the alien and "spacecraft remains" secretly held inside Area 51.
      Bender: That's no flying saucer. That's my ass!
    • Futurama did it a second time in the direct-to-DVD Bender's Big Score. The story involves Bender being sent back in time to the year 2000 to kill Fry. Unable to find him, he tracks down every Philip J. Fry in the country. One of them happens to be in Florida, counting ballots from the recent election. Bender enters and begins firing a laser gun, and one of the stray blasts destroys a large stack of ballots labeled "Gore", causing George W. Bush to win the election.
    • In-universe (er) example: When Bender goes back in time to steal the Nobel Peace Prize, in his escape, it is revealed he is the cause of the first destruction of New York City, an event seen briefly through a window in the pilot episode.
  • Pretty much the modus operandi of Hector Heathcote, which showed how the titular hero witnessed and took part in all the events of the American Revolution (and beyond), from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Similarly, Histeria! had a group of kids who would appear in every era, interact with several historical figures, and somehow inspiring them. They've given Benjamin Franklin several of his famous proverbs, invented the Franklin Stove, and helped him discover electricity in lightning. They also inspired Rosa Parks not to move to the back of the bus, inspire Thomas Edison to invent the lightbulb, among other things.
  • In the I Am Weasel episode "Time Weasel", Baboon goes back in time to change history and become king, only to trigger the extinction of the dinosaurs and the invention of onion rings. As a result, Weasel sees this as Baboon's destiny to correct history and praises him as a hero.
  • Liberty's Kids has the titular kids manage to meet every important Revolutionary War figure and be at every important event from 1773 to 1789 (without aging). Justified in that the kids are portrayed as working for Benjamin Franklin's newspaper, which kind of gives them an in.
  • Milo Murphy's Law has time-traveling agents Cavendish and Dakota; the latter made sure the Louisiana Purchase ended up happening and created the leap year, and the two of them together blew up Earth's second moon and were the inspirations for a popular in-universe series.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, according to Master Fu, Plagg was responsible for the leaning of the Tower of Pisa, the sinking of Atlantis, and even the extinction of the dinosaurs.
  • Phineas and Ferb played this for laughs in a few Elseworld episodes, many of which also fall under Real Event, Fictional Cause.
    • "Tri-Stone Area": Phinabunk and Gerb invented the wheel, then the car, and then English, while Can-Tok discovered fire.
    • "Doof Dynasty": The Great Wall of China was Princess Isabella's idea, and apparently Phineas and Ferb spent the next several decades building it together.
    • "Excaliferb": A particularly strong throw-down during an epic monster battle created Stonehenge.
    • "Phineas and Ferb and the Temple of Jutchadoon": The Panama Canal was created by an earthquake after Ohio Flynn popped the evil Corn Colossus.
    • "Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars": Evidently, all of the characters were just out of frame during the events of A New Hope. For example, Rebel Spy Perry the Platypus retrieved the Death Star plans, and Darthenshmirtz designed it in the first place with his trademark Self-Destruct Button.
  • Done in Pinky and the Brain. When Pinky runs for President, his small third party (the "Pink Party") only has one guy on the staff: "Sweaty Pete", who takes credit for many major failures of US Presidents and their campaigns. He claims to have suggested Nixon's nervousness on camera, the Bay of Pigs Invasion, and the infamously dorky shot of Dukakis poking his head out of a tank. He is seemingly oblivious to how badly all of these things backfired.
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Rick and Morty when the titular Mad Scientist accidentally screws up time bad enough to attract the Time Police, who he then beats the crap out of when said cop tries to send him to Time Prison for eternity. The Post-Credits Scene has said cop and his partner skimming across history looking for him to take revenge, undershoot it a little, and beat the crap out of a different elderly scientist while yelling at him not to mess with time. After the beating, said scientist says "I vill mess vith time!" and begins writing the theory of relativity on a blackboard.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Feisty Geist", one of Heffer's past lives caused the Tower of Pisa to lean.
  • Rugrats: Apparently Grandpa slept through Pearl Harbor.
    Grandpa: I sounded the alarm as soon as I could!
  • Two animated shorts starring Scrat were actually about him accidentally causing the continents to break up and move to their current positions while attempting to bury an acorn. And for some reason, the Earth's continents move to their current locations twice.
  • The Secret World of Benjamin Bear: Edgar of Old is the Teddy Bear that was given to Teddy Roosevelt, which, in the world of the series, makes him the origin of the term "Teddy Bear".
  • The Simpsons:
    • Grandpa Simpson's increasingly bizarre backstory seems to indicate that he was somehow involved in every negative chapter of US history.
      Grandpa: I haven't felt this relaxed and carefree since I was watch commander at Pearl Harbor!
    • The same seems to be true of Mr. Burns. Being impossibly old, his influence extends to all negative chapters of world history.
      Mr. Burns: ...And that's how you win an Opium War.
    • In a related example to Mr. Burns, his teddy bear Bobo (its origin story being a reference to Citizen Kane) was also involved in inspiring Charles Lindbergh to cross the Atlantic Ocean in his plane, and upon arriving in France, he threw the bear at the crowd cheering him, where it was picked up by Hitler inspiring to do all the stuff he did (and Hitler blamed it for everything going wrong during his final minutes at his bunker) and was also stuck in the periscope of the US submarine which first reached the North Pole underwater, where it got frozen and was recovered by an expedition sent there to collect ice bags for Apu to sell. A deleted scene showed it involved in the Kennedy assassination.
  • South Park: Randy Marsh having sex with a pangolin with the encouragement of Mickey Mouse as they were stoned during their trip to China is what sparked the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), the Shredder is in fact an alien who is Really 700 Years Old. In "Return to New York Part 3", he claims to have conquered Japan for the Tokugawa Clan.
  • Time Squad invokes this trope by going back in time and helping major historical figures do what they're supposed to do.
  • In the Tom and Jerry cartoon "It's Greek to Me-ow!", it's shown that Tom was responsible for the Venus de Milo's arms going missing.
  • It is mentioned that Blinky, Aaarrrgghh!!!, Vendel, Kanjigar, Draal, and many of the other trolls that eventually found Heartstone Trollmarket in Trollhunters came to America on the Mayflower. Trollhunters: The Secret History of Trollkind even reveals that the pilgriming trolls eventually met Lewis and Clarke.
  • The recurring Uncle Grandpa segment "Moments in History With Mr. Gus" shows that the eponymous long-lived dinosaur was present in the lives of key figures in history, including George Washington, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoléon Bonaparte, and Fryderyk Chopin.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: Xavier, Yadina, and Brad are all present at famous moments of history, such as Amelia Earhart flying across the Atlantic.
  • In the episode of Xiaolin Showdown where Dojo turns into an evil, two-headed monster, the reason why Dojo had to be locked in a cage whenever he becomes this form (in which Omi accidentally freed) is because, according to Master Fung, the last time Dojo became evil, he sunk Atlantis.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Gump


Mary Anne starts WWI

Mary Anne, an evil former godchild of Cosmo and Wanda's, is revealed to be the reason World War I happened.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeenThereShapedHistory

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