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A plot consisting of multiple parts (episodes, chapters, acts, etc.), with large time gaps (over a year) between them. Good for authors who want to tell a long, epic story while saving narrative space and showing only the interesting bits. Very often combined with This Is My Story, where the narrator only tells about the key points of their adventure or life.

Distinct from a regular Time Skip in that a Time Skip is usually a singular event in an otherwise continuous story, while this is about skipping years of characters' lives repeatedly.

A form of "elliptical storytelling", where non-essential details of the plot, setting, or characterization are deliberately left out for the reader to think up on their own. Contrast Immediate Sequel, a work that starts right after the other ends. Generational Saga is a subtrope that typically requires this to tell the story in a reasonable timeframe, making any aversions notable for that detail.

Not to be confused with a storyline peppered with those dashed Stock British Phrases, wot?


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Mnemosyne consists of six episodes, with the second episode taking place one year after the first, the third 20 years after the second, the fourth 14 years after the third, and the fifth and sixth 30 years after the fourth.
  • The primary continuity of the Lyrical Nanoha meta-series thus far spans 18 years of the title character's crime-fighting career, from an underage vigilante in season one to a legendary test pilot for the galactic military in Force. Though, of course, Nanoha has never been the main protagonist in any of her shows.
  • Occurs frequently in Dragon Ball, with multiple timeskips ranging from a year to two thirds of a decade. As the story was written on the fly and pretty much arc-by-arc, all but two of the skips come completely out of nowhere, and grow in number once you add Dragon Ball GT and Dragon Ball Super. The various skips are:
    • 8 months during Goku's training with Roshi leading to the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai.
    • 3 years between the Baba and 22nd Budokai arcs.
    • 3 years between the Piccolo Daimao and at the 23rd Budokai arcs.
    • 5 years between the 23rd Budokai arc and the arrival of Raditz.
    • 11 months training for the arrival of Nappa and Vegeta.
    • 1 year between the Namek and Android arcs.
    • 3 years training for the arrival of the Androids.
    • 7 years between the Cell and Buu arcs.
    • 4 years after the Buu arc where Dragon Ball Super begins, with 1 year each before the Goku Black and Universe Survival arcs.
    • 10 years between the Buu arc and the Distant Finale that concludes the manga storyline.
    • 5 years between the Distant Finale and GT, with 1 year between the Baby and Super 17 arcs.
    • 99 years between the Baby Arc and the Distant Finale with Goku Jr.

  • Sins of the Fathers opens with attack on the Southern Air Temple and explores the lives of Sozin, Azulon, Iroh, Ozai, Lu Ten, Ursa, Zuko and Azula. Not bad for a oneshot.
  • Ghosts of Evangelion tells Shinji and Asuka's life story since the Third Impact (2016) to their deaths (2080) in non-chronological order. The time elapsed between consecutive chapters may range from several days to several decades. As an example, the first three chapters are set in 2020, 2018 and 2016.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger does this with the chapter "Legends" which follows the Mask of Nihilus's journey throughout the Star Wars Legends timeline and oversees a period of four thousand years. The chapter begins with the Exile defeating Darth Nihilus aboard Nihilus's flagship. It then skips to three centuries later, during the Galactic Cold War between the Old Republic and the True Sith Empire. The second major time skip jumps ahead 3600 years during the reign of the Galactic Empire. The third major time skip takes place many decades later on the planet Remnant, around the time that the Great War between the four kingdoms had ended. The final time skip is set in the present day, approximately eight decades after the end of the Great War.
  • Son of the Sannin covers Naruto's life from shortly after his birth all the way to the Fourth Ninja War. Most of this time is covered in the first 14 chapters, which go from his adoption by Tsunade and Jiraya as an infant up until his graduation from the academy at twelve and each Time Skip being represented by a caption at the beginning of the chapter saying how long it's been since the Kyubi attack.note 
  • Dear Journal: I'm Crazy: Extremely downplayed, as the story takes place over the span of a few months, and some entries in Doug's journal are only a few days apart, The biggest Time Skip was between April and July 1994. Justified, as Doug was at the psych ward at the time, and he wasn't allowed to have pencils or anything that could be used as a weapon.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • The second duology of Arcia Chronicles is prone to multi-year skips between parts.
  • The Belgariad/Malloreon prequels can skip centuries between chapters. Having main characters who are immortal makes this almost essential — a biography of Polgara that tried to cover everything would make the Oxford English Dictionary look small, and her father's over twice as old as her.
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz: The three major sections of the book are each separated from one another by centuries of history.
  • The first half of part two of The Death of Achilles, which describes Achimas' life until his Moscow assignment, jumps many years between significant events in his youth, his turn to crime, and major assassination missions.
  • While some gaps are only a few months or less, years-long gaps happen between some works in the Deryni cycle:
    • In the Legends of Camber trilogy, the third volume (Camber the Heretic) takes place a decade after the second (Saint Camber).
    • In the Heirs of Saint Camber trilogy, there's nearly three years between the first and second volumes and nearly six between the second and the third.
    • There's two years between In The King's Service and Childe Morgan.
    • About three years elapse between the end of The Quest for Saint Camber and the start of King Kelson's Bride.
  • The Dresden Files tend to take place several months apart; the plots take place in two weeks or less. Ghost Story plays with this a little bit- while from Harry's perspective the beginning occurs within a few minutes of the end of Changes, for the other characters it's been about six months. Peace Talks and Battle Ground (2020) are the first time in the series that one book clearly continues from another (they were originally intended to be written as one book, but it was becoming a Door Stopper).
  • Although each book in the Harry Potter series takes place over the length of a year, most of the days - where the characters are simply going about their regular wizarding classes and not doing anything that's particularly plot-advancing - are skipped over.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • Each portion of the series shares the overall setting of the Foundation on Terminus as it made its way toward becoming the second Galactic Empire. With the sole exception of Hari Seldon’s recordings, characters are rarely followed from story to story, as decades to centuries usually pass between each one. As the series expanded into Prequel and Sequel tales, those stories tended to be more directly related, but still leaving a sizable gap between events.
    • Forward the Foundation: The first part, "Eto Demerzel", starts eight years after the end of Prelude to Foundation, when Department Head Seldon is 40 years old. The next part, "Cleon I", is ten years after that, when First Minister Seldon is 50. The third part, "Dors Venabili", takes place during Professor Seldon's 60th birthday. The last part, "Wanda Seldon", begins ten years after that. The book ends with an epilogue, describing the death of 81-year-old Hari Seldon.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Each book takes place a year after the previous one, but only focuses on a single summer (or winter in the case of The Titan's Curse). Camp Half-Blood is a summer camp, after all.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan, particularly between the series' four trilogies.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Catalyst, written by James Luceno, takes place over four years.
  • Star Wars Legends: Darth Plagueis, also by James Luceno, takes place over thirty-five years. The book is split into thirds (roughly speaking), each denoted by a major time skip. The second part takes place ten years after the first and the third takes place twenty years after the second. The plot inside each of these thirds takes place over roughly two years.
  • Thais of Athens has skips one-to-three years between most chapters, culminating in a nine-year skip in the middle of the last chapter.
  • Semiosis: The story follows the first seven generations of a human colony on the planet Pax over more than a century, with long time skips after the first, second, and third generations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 does it not with episodes (since each episode picks up exactly where the last left off and is set over the course of an hour), but with seasons, which are separated by several year intervals.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Forest of the Dead": Donna's life inside CAL is a subversion. It looks like we're only being shown selected scenes that take place years apart, but then it turns out that Donna is only experiencing those scene changes as well...
    • The Twelfth Doctor's Myth Arc has at least two big stretches of time between Series 9 and 10 that are not depicted onscreen: a 20-plus-year gap between the 2015 and 2016 Christmas episodes, followed by his 70-plus year tenure at St. Luke's University as he guards the Vault beneath it with Nardole, during which he apparently never ventures far beyond Earth. While the Flashback scenes of "Extremis" do depict the event that connects the two time skips, what happened during those gaps is never depicted on screen. In addition, it is not clear how much time passes for the Doctor between the events of "Hell Bent", the Series 9 finale, and those of "The Husbands of River Song" to begin with. The Expanded Universe, particularly the two comics lines Twelve has appeared in (Doctor Who Magazine and Doctor Who (Titan)), has worked to fill in the gaps between "Hell Bent" and "Husbands" and, less frequently, "Extremis" and "The Pilot".
    • Due to Time Dilation affecting the spaceship they're on, Bill Potts' story on one end of the ship in "World Enough and Time" unfolds over several scenes spanning ten years total, while the Doctor, Nardole, and Missy's story on the other end (as they try to figure out how to rescue her) takes about 30 minutes.
  • Downton Abbey: each season is stretched over two or three years.
  • House of the Dragon: The first season covers 19 years that lead up to the Succession Crisis and Civil War known as the Dance of Dragons, with many a Time-Shifted Actor.
  • Rome, which covers about 20 years in its two seasons, though oddly enough the two main characters, and even more oddly Lucius' kids, still age in real time. This was due to the series being cancelled part-way through Series 2, so the showrunners had to fly through history at an accelerated pace to get to where they'd wanted to finish the series.
  • Scenes from a Marriage follows Jonathan and Mira's disintegrating marriage over the course of seven years, which it manages to do in five episodes by employing large time gaps between them, the biggest of which being the four-year gap from the penultimate episode to the finale.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Inner Light" the Enterprise finds a probe which takes Picard through an entire lifetime as a member of an extinct civilization in the span of just a few minutes on the Enterprise; this is shown through several timeskips of about ten years each.
  • Inside No. 9 episode "The Twelve Days of Christine" is composed of scenes set on a different holiday or event in each month of the year, but each in a successive year, spanning 13 years of the protagonist's life in total. There's a reason for the montage of important life events — she's dying after a car accident, and we're seeing her life flash before her eyes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ars Magica encodes this as a gameplay mechanic: players are assumed to have a "troupe" of alternate characters who can play Lower Deck Episodes while their mage Player Characters spend seasons or years doing lab work, researching leads, maintaining their status in Magical Society, Renovating the Player Headquarters, and so on, any of which can be helpful or even necessary for a given segment of a story line.
  • The One Ring: Each story is broken up into "adventuring phases" of active gameplay and off-screen "fellowship phases" where the characters use a few months of downtime to do things like visit their homelands, recover from a strenuous journey, research obscure lore, undertake minor Sidequests, and so on.

  • Abe Lincoln in Illinois: Act 1 deals with Lincoln in New Salem in the 1830s, Act II finds him a fledgling politician in Springfield in the 1840s, and Act III dramatizes his career on the national political stage 1858-61.
  • Champion uses several time skips. The first act, after the beginning How We Got Here scene, takes place in the late 1950s before skipping to 1962 when Emile Griffith boxes with Benny Paret and ends up killing him. The next act skips from the mid-to-late 60s to the early 1970s and then finally returns to older Emile.
  • Hamilton starts in 1776 with the title character as 19 years old, then skips ahead several times during the revolution and afterward, has a major Time Skip between the first two acts, and continues to have lots of time skips into the second and ends up covering three decades.
  • Saint Joan is subtitled "A Chronicle Play in Six Scenes and an Epilogue", with each Scene depicting a significant event in the life of Joan of Arc. The gaps between the Scenes run from a couple of weeks to a couple of years, culminating in a twenty-five year gap between the last scene and the epilogue.
  • Strange Interlude has nine acts. The time elapsed between consecutive acts is at least half a year, sometimes a little over a year, sometimes a decade or slightly more.

    Video Games 
  • Agarest Senki, its prequel, and its sequel have this in a manner similar to Phantasy Star III over a decade before it, taking place over three generations. You play as the child of the PC, and what they end up like stat-wise is dependent on who you choose to marry as their father.
  • Assassin's Creed is based on the premise of using Genetic Memory to relive the lives of one's ancestors. As such, the memory sequences tend to skip over parts that are less interesting or relevant. The degree to which this happens depends on the game.
    • Assassin's Creed is vague about the timeline over which it occurs and there are few dates given other than the year in which it starts. The only way to really be sure of when a memory takes place is by knowing when events depicted or mentioned occurred in Real Life, such as the Massacre of Ayyadieh. The game frequently lampshades this trope by explicitly skipping over memories of Altaïr sleeping or traveling between cities, with the animus noting that a memory is being skipped for a more recent one.
    • Assassin's Creed II takes place over a good twenty years, much of which is skipped for purposes of the story. It is implied that Ezio's actions in the game are compressed versions of things that took him months or years in reality. There is also DLC that fills in the gaps.
    • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, while more compressed, does skip over several periods of time, most notably toward the end; for example it takes Ezio several years to track down the Big Bad in Spain.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations is the only game in Ezio's franchise that is implied to have occurred more or less contiguously, although there are minor skips between sequences to account for travel and the like.
    • Assassin's Creed III covers the lives of two protagonists, and as such there are several massive time jumps to account for the second one, Connor, to grow up and complete his Assassin training, in addition to the typical skips of months between memory sequences.
  • Dragon Age II. The prologue takes place pretty much concurrently with the beginning of Dragon Age: Origins, with the Hawkes fleeing Lothering just as it is being overrun by the darkspawn horde. Act I then cuts to a year later, after the darkspawn have been defeated, but rather than return to Ferelden, the Hawkes establish themselves in Kirkwall, culminating in the Deep Roads Expedition that restores them to riches at a great cost to everyone involved. Act II jumps forward another three years and ends with the Qunari crisis over, the Viscount dead and the elder Hawke being proclaimed the Champion of Kirkwall. Act III then skips forward another two years to the events that directly lead to the Annulment of the Kirkwall Circle of Magi, which, in turn, kicks off the Mage-Templar war, alluded to in the Framing Story, which takes place yet another three years after that and isn’t dealt with until the next game.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty: World at War has both of its campaigns start in late 1942 for one mission before jumping ahead a few years, the American one to late 1944 and the Soviet one to mid-1945.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops is a series of flashbacks of various missions, some of which have a significant amount of time between them, the longest case being the jump from "Executive Order" in November 1963 to "S.O.G." in January 1968.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops III starts in 2065, then after two levels (a mission gone bad and then you getting acclimated to your replacement prosthetics) jumps ahead five years. Then it's played with, in that the whole game after the second mission turns out to be a Dying Dream version of events which actually occurred in 2064 - Taylor and his team take the role of the group they hunted in reality, while you and Hendricks take their original role to hunt them down - with the final mission in reality taking place only a week after the second.
  • Eternal Darkness consists of various people (recorded in The Tome Of Eternal Darkness) who've fought against the Ancients at different points in history with... varying success.
  • Firewatch picks out individual days of Henry's almost-three-months-long tenure at Yellowstone National Park, omitting weeks at a time. It can be inferred from the dialogue, however, that he continues to bond with Delilah even when we are not controlling him.
  • Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven is a collection of various episodes of a long Mob War spread over the years, recounted by the Player Character.
  • Phantasy Star III, true to its name, Generations of Doom, takes place over three generations, with the child of the previous player character taking the helm as the new player character.
  • Many years pass between each level of Oedipus in my Inventory, shown by the changing color of the shepherd's hair/beard.
  • Wildermyth campaigns take place over three to five chapters. Between each chapter, there is usually a time skip of about 10 years before the enemy forces make their next move. This is the primary source of causing the player characters to age, pretty much guaranteeing that your starting party will be elderly or retired by the campaign's end. Certain campaigns have much lesser time skips, but they are a small minority.

    Web Comics