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Future Me Scares Me

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"Our future, Liu Kang, it is insane!"
Kung Lao, Mortal Kombat 11

So you're a travelin' in time, as you do, when suddenly! Ooh, it's future you! Only... you're different. And not in a good way. If you were cool, maybe The Hero (or the Alpha Bitch/Jerk Jock), then you discover you've become really lame. Conversely, if you're the Plucky Comic Relief or someone similar, older you is a badass... a scary badass. Or worse, your future self could be evil. Milder versions simply result in a personality change that bugs you.

Alternatively, you're the same as ever, and boy, can meeting yourself make you see why others are annoyed by you. Maybe it's not you that bugs you so much as your change in social standing. This may lead to you arguing with yourself.

Moral of the story? If you're a time traveller, never meet up with yourself. (And were you always that fat?)

Commonly used in concert with Bad Future Ominous Message from the Future. See also Mirror Universe, Evil Me Scares Me, Future Badass, Future Loser, Future Self Reveal. Compare Amnesiac Dissonance, Other Me Annoys Me, I Hate Past Me (where your own past shocks you).



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  • A few of the Montana Meth Project ads have serious examples of this (i.e. Bathtub, Laundromat, and That Guy).

    Anime & Manga 
  • The title of this trope fits Noein perfectly (the series is even subtitled "To Your Other Self"). Karasu, the Future Badass version of the present-day Yuu, is disgusted by his former cowardly self. Yuu, on the other hand, is scared by how intense and cold Karasu is. However, both are able to reconcile their differences when it comes to protecting/rescuing Haruka.
  • In Mahou no Iroha:
    • Chapter 8, Rikka Naoki, a normal human, is scared of his future self aka King of the Magician.
    • At the end of chapter 8, it clearly shown his future-self is actually a good man.
    • He tell his past-self and daughters the reason behind his "evil" doing in chapter 16.
  • In one chapter/episode of Urusei Yatsura Shutaro Mendō travelled back in time and very literally scared his younger self — the child Mendō acted like such an obnoxious brat to his future self that he provoked the latter into attacking him with a sword. The young Mendō hid in a jar until the older Mendō returned to his own time, but that experience was what gave him his claustrophobia and fear of the dark. And what's more, the reason he travelled back in time in the first place was to prevent himself from getting that claustrophobia and fear of the dark.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • In an OVA, the heroes travel back in time. When Natsu meets his child self, he becomes disgusted by how weak he is and beats him up. His child self does not recognize him and is terrified of the "stranger" beating him up.
    • On a more serious note, Rogue is horrified to learn his future self has killed his best friend for power and unleashed dragons on the city.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • Present Trunks finds Future Trunks unsettling, especially when Future Trunks freaks out and attacks Goku. He gets over it, and the two end up becoming like brothers. Present Trunks does become upset that his crush Mai becomes more attracted to his future version.
    • Downplayed example with Android 18 - While she isn't scared by her future timeline incarnation (indeed, the two never met) she doesn't seem to be bothered by the fact that Future Trunks had killed her, briefly teasing him about it before dropping the subject.
  • My Monster Secret generally avoids this, even though characters coming back in time to change history becomes more commonplace as the story progresses (mainly because the future versions of the main cast tend not to interact, leaving things to their grandkids instead). The big exception for this is Nagisa Aizawa, whose 10-years-future-self shows up to Kill and Replace her, claiming she wants to make up for the stupid mistakes her younger self made. It's made even worse when Future Aizawa reveals that she erased her own memory of her past, meaning she doesn't have any real motivation for her actions. Ultimately subverted; Future Aizawa was only playing the villain (and lying about things like erasing her memories) in order to strengthen her younger self's resolve and she sticks around to help the protagonists after Present Aizawa returns to her homeworld in the final stretches of the series.
    • A lesser version happens earlier in the manga due to a misunderstanding: Yuka Momochi, one of the aforementioned grandkids from the future, refers to Asahi and Shiho as "Grandpa" and "Grandma" respectively. The problem is that Asahi is dating Youko (and they're both very much in love), so when Shiho hears this she's utterly distraught at the idea that she would do something so loathsome as stealing her best friend's boyfriend, especially knowing how much the relationship means to both of them. Thankfully, Yuka clears things up by explaining that Asahi is only an Honorary Grandfather, to Shiho's great relief.
  • Subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. Yusei battles Z-one, a man from the future who is trying to destroy Yusei's home, Neo Domino City. Z-one's mask eventually breaks, and his face is revealed to look like an elderly version of Yusei. Everyone is horrified and Z-one initially claims to be Yusei's future self, who was broken by his experiences and decided the only solution was to destroy everything. But after Yusei and his friends angrily declare there is no way Yusei could ever become like him, Z-one admits he was lying. He's really a Yusei fanboy who got plastic surgery to look like him. He was still broken by his experiences and believes he has to destroy everything, though.
  • Invoked by Orochimaru in Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth, where he disguised himself as an old and weak Rock Lee from the future to trick him into accepting a Doramon-expy (really Kabuto in disguised). To sell the illusion, he also disguises himself as Naruto's, Tenten's, and Neji's future selves (respectively an overweight ramen eater, a wrinkled old maid, and a transgender), which horrified them.
  • Tokyo Revengers: In the videotape he puts in the time capsule for Takemichi to view in the present-day, Mikey tells him about his inner darkness, and how he wants Takemichi to promise him to not find him so that he won't be harmed and live a happy life. Takemichi does so anyway, and Mikey turns out to have become the leader of Bonten and fatally shoots Takemichi, only surviving because Takemichi's insistence on saving him leads a suicidal Mikey to break down ask to be saved as well, time-leaping Takemichi one last time.

    Audio Plays 
  • From Big Finish Doctor Who:
    • In "Season of Fear", the Doctor and Charley is being followed through time by the immortal antagonist, Sebastian Grayle. At the end of the story, the original Grayle (before he was made immortal) meets his future self, and he is scared and disgusted by the way the older him acts. So much so, that he saves the day by killing his future self.
    • In "100 Days of the Doctor", the Sixth Doctor reveals that he is on some level aware of how his seventh incarnation will behave, and he is not looking forward to that change:
      The Doctor: From what I've heard he was always blowing up planets. And they call me the aggressive one!
  • In a Bad Future timeline of Doctor Whooves Adventures, Twilight Sparkle turns out to be the ruthless, evil empress. Her present-time version is understandably upset.

    Comic Books 
  • Teen Titans:
    • In a story arc, the Titansnote  get dropped ten years in the future, and are more than a little disturbed to find that, in addition to replacing their mentors and becoming Darker and Edgier, their future selves are the dictatorial rulers of half of what used to be the United States. The future Titans are equally disturbed by meeting their "naive" past selves.
    • This leads to a sequel arc where those future selves go back in time to Make Wrong What Once Went Right and stop their timeline from being erased.
    • In Detective Comics (Rebirth), Tim Drake meets another version of himself from a similar Bad Future who claims that as bad as he is, Damien was apparently worse.
      Present!Tim: A few hours ago, I saw him hold his own against Doomsday. I don't mean to be blunt, but I promise you that he could kill you one on one if we don't prepare. This is like all the worst parts of me in one person, with two decades more intelligence and experience.
      Batwoman: Sounds charming.
      Tim: I'd say you should meet the guy, but I'm literally redesigning the blast shield doors so that never happens.
  • In 2015's Justice League of America series, Rao was the god of Krypton, who led ancient Krypton into an age of peace, reason, and prosperity, and offers to do the same to Earth. His appearance is met with great rejoicing. Except that it turns out that he's not a god, and was once an ordinary if charismatic preacher, whose followers used 'the Stones of Life' to volunteer a few days of life to keep him going in order to get the job done. 250,000 years of Motive Decay later, he believes he's a god, using Sufficiently Advanced Technology (plus behavioral modification and powers boosted by feeding off the lives of billions to sell the impression. When the original Rao - a genuinely decent man - meets him, he is utterly horrified at what he has become, and ultimately kills his future self, before going back in time, burying the stones, and living out his natural life.
  • In Supergirl Vol. 6 issue #19, Supergirl meets her older, alternate self Power Girl and gets upset because she feels pathetic and inadequate compared with her more intelligent, stronger and more mature adult self.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes:
    • Played for all it is worth in a post-Zero Hour issue when the Time Trapper confronted the Legion with just about every possible future and alternate reality version of themselves imaginable. Most of the duplicate Legionnaires get along fine, but others are either villainous, harder and more cynical than their counterparts, or just plain embarrassing.
    • Subverted in pre-Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! issue of Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #40 wherein the younger "temporal duplicate" of sweet, shy, and very feminine Salu Digby, aka Shrinking Violet, is initially horrified at the sight of her older counterpart, a (very) butch lesbian. Once they get to talking, though, the younger Salu decides that "I guess I do hope I turn out a lot like you, after all."
    • In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Superboy-Prime met and attacked his future self, because... he didn't like his old face and beard.
  • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk once had to overthrow his tyrannical future self, the Maestro. Ever since then, Bruce has had a fear of becoming the Maestro, one way or another.
  • Similarly, when Iron Man and Doctor Doom were stuck in 2093, they were not at all pleased with their future namesakes. The villainous future Iron Man was just a relative of Tony's, but the future Doom was Doom himself, a century older and much the worse for wear. Doom killed him without hesitation and walked away vowing never to become "that".
    • Victor wasn't pleased when he also met Doom 2099.
  • Most extreme version of this is done by the author Dan Abnett, and can be summed up as "Future self comes back to kill me", seen in both the Durham Red comic and a special edition of Warhammer Monthly comic with the main character of the Malus Darkblade series.
  • Adam Warlock was captured by his mad future self The Magus; after escaping, he soul-sucked a nearer-future self to make sure The Magus was definitely dead. However, by the time he helps found the modern Guardians of the Galaxy, he's still scared of that future. And then causes himself to become the Magus to save all reality.
  • A long-running story in Black Panther had a sort of subversion and played straight with. The future Black Panther was an intentional throwback homage to a Silver Age characterization by creator Jack Kirby during Panther's original solo series, which was more light adventure than his at the time serious personality. The problem was that said future Black Panther was at the final stages of a fatal brain aneurysm ailment, losing his mind, and Panther at the time himself was just starting to get the same symptoms.
  • Young Avengers:
    • The Young Avengers owe their whole existence to this trope. Iron Lad is a teenage Kang the Conqueror, who ran away from his future self because he didn't want to become a villain. He went looking for help from the Avengers, only to land the same year the team briefly disbanded, forcing him to recruit several legacy heroes. Inverted in that his older self is the more established character, rather than vice versa, and it turns out that all the characters have to let him become evil, as to even attempt to change his future would cause irreversible damage to the timestream.
    • In Avengers: The Children's Crusade, Iron Lad is still determined to Screw Destiny on this point, convincing himself that his timeline has been messed with sufficiently that he's not from the same history as his apparent future self. So he's particularly worried when he visits a timeline with a version of his villainous persona who still works with the former Young Avengers.
  • Darkseid once met his future self. And was disappointed enough to kill him with Omega Beams.
  • The Flash: Impulse is not at all pleased to discover his future self in Dark Tomorrow is a violent, Darker and Edgier hero who is no longer on speaking terms with his then-girlfriend and seems to be more lenient about the Thou Shall Not Kill rule than present-Imp.
    • Although even evil future versions of Impulse (he's met several) tend to be nicer than the evil versions of his companions.
    • The "Year One" storyline has Barry meeting a version of himself from a Bad Future. Barry isn't too taken with him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: The Future Willow has fallen to the dark side, greatly resembling Dark Willow from Season 6.
  • As revealed in Youngblood: Judgment Day, though they haven't met, when young Marcus Langston got his hands on a book that contains all stories of everybody in the Universe, he read his own story and was horrified with the revelation that he was going to become a junkie and criminal, so he rewrote it, making himself a superhero and member of Youngblood - Sentinel.
  • In Ed Brubaker's The Authority run, Midnighter is contacted by a future version of Apollo and warned that he has to leave the team or he will kill Jack Hawksmoor, go insane and become the undisputed genocidal ruler of future earth. It turns out to be part of an Evil Plan by Henry Bendix to disband the Authority, but still...
  • Subverted in Runaways: Most kids would be thrilled to hear that they're destined to lead The Avengers, but Gert calls her future self boring and insists that she'll never become that woman (and since she ends up getting killed by a group of kids trying to become the next Pride, she turns out to be right). Victor would be a straightforward example of this trope, except that he's never actually met his villainous future self. Just hearing about him is enough to give the boy nightmares, though. When he dies in The Vision (2015), he's actually glad that that future will never come to be.
  • Back to the time-traveling warlord Kang the Conqueror, for the longest, er, time, he shudders at the thought that he will eventually become the "doddering old scholar" Immortus. In the Avengers Forever limited series, this changes when Immortus is killed and then is brought back as Kang's alternate self and no longer as his future self. Needless to say, Kang is pleased by the turn of events.
    • Battling with his past and future selves seems to be Kang's biggest motivation most of the time. If it's not Immortus, it's the Scarlet Centurion, or Pharaoh Rama Tut, or Iron Lad.
    • And this trope is even played further by the limited series as particular characters aren't too happy with how things will turn out for them, or how they will turn into. Of particular note is Rick Jones, who meets a one-armed future version of him who is bonded with a Captain Marvel he doesn't like too well. Another version of this trope is how the Avengers find out the possible not-so-pleasant aspects of the legacy they will leave for the rest of the galaxy.
  • Subverted by Franklin Richards in Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four - Present Franklin and Future Adult Franklin get along great, happily calling each other Kid Franklin and Mister Franklin. Then again, Franklin has the power of being superhumanly well-adjusted, far more than any kid who's been repeatedly kidnapped, has seen every one of his relatives die at least once, sometimes possesses godlike powers, and was once trapped in hell has any right to be.
    • Played straight with his sister Valeria in the same story and her very similar adult self.
    • Played straight in one crossover with the X-Factor, New Mutants, and the Fantastic Four where the ghost of the Franklin Richards from Days of Future Past goes on a rampage of Reality Warping.
  • Captain Marvel: Rick Jones once met a version of himself called "Thanatos", who dressed like some kind of Spartan warrior and wanted to remake the entire multiverse in his image, in the most literal way possible, all because he thought he was so great. Rick responded by rubbing his temples a little bit.
  • X-Men:
    • Early on in All-New X-Men, several of the original 5 X-Men from the past get this reaction upon seeing their future selves.
    • Cyclops wasn't impressed when he was told his future self cheated on his wife and had become a terrorist. He reconsidered his position when he found out the future X-Men had omitted several key details regarding adult Scott's actions and motivations, and comes to decide that his future self isn’t so bad.
    • Jean Grey was disgusted when she found out her future self bonded with a cosmic being, got corrupted, and blew up a planet. Later on, she met a future alternate self in Battle of the Atom. She wasn't impressed. In her solo book, she meets the ghost of her then-dead adult self and blatantly says nobody would want to be her.
      Adult Jean: How do you think I got ready?! How do you think I became me?!
      Teen Jean: I don't want to be you! Why would anybody ever want to be you?!
    • Warren is horrified to find out that, somewhere down the line, he'll degenerate into an amnesiac Manchild with techno-organic wings and, even after they both save Avengers Tower from an out-of-nowhere HYDRA attack, teen Warren messes with present Beast's time-travelling device in the middle of a Heroic BSoD just so he can go back to the past. He's only stopped because Jean mentally manipulates his emotions just in time.
  • Young Loki's biggest fear is to become like their past self, so everybody can imagine their horror when the Big Bad of their solo series turned out to be a future version of them, who did just that. Except that they lost the aversion to technology and became more pop-cultured... which arguably made them worse.
  • The Wonder Woman villain Genocide is the corpse of a future version of Wonder Woman brought back to life and dedicated to killing everyone.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (Boom! Studios):
    • The comic's Greater-Scope Villain is a Bad Future version of Tommy - one who kept working for Rita even after her spell was broken. While this should mean the good one has already proven himself different, he's disturbed all the same.
    • Played up even more so during the Shattered Grid event. The Ranger Slayer, an evil version of Kimberly from the same timeline as the above guy, travels back to the events of the prequel comic, horrifying her younger self. Subverted when it turns out that Ranger Slayer was Brainwashed and Crazy; once she’s returned to normal, the two Kimberlys get along just fine.
  • In Lori Lovecraft: The Dark Lady, Lori finds herself unnerved by the presence of her future self and flees even before she discovers her pursuer's true identity.
  • The Futurama comic book had a story involving Leela's baby, teen, and older selves. Current Leela has this effect on Teenaged Leela, who can't believe she grew up to be so "boring" and "bitter."
  • Invincible: When Mark is sent back in time to an Alternate Timeline, he meets the past selves of all his friends and gladly talks about their futures in his native timeline with the exception of Robot, who betrayed the Guardians of the Globe and became the Big Bad. The past Robot quickly notices how awkward Mark is around him and how he refuses to discuss what becomes of Robot, surmising (correctly) that it is because he will pull a Face–Heel Turn; he is saddened and distressed, but not surprised, confessing that he has always feared that he would drift out of touch with his humanity and become a monster.

    Fan Works 
  • Indirectly occurs in "Breaking the Window"; when a fae window allows Hermione (re-taking her seventh year after the end of the war) to meet with Bellatrix Black while Bellatrix is still at school, the young Bellatrix is horrified to see the 'Mudblood' scar left on Hermione's arm, proclaiming that she can't imagine doing something like that to anyone in a million years (although unaware that the person who did that is her future self).
  • In Children of Time, it turns out that calling the Doctor "Valeyard" is an incredibly effective weapon. A Heroic BSoD-inducing weapon.
  • Child of the Storm both plays this straight and Subverts it when Harry gets a look at a slice of the multiverse in the sequel, specifically, some of his possible futures. One of them, where he becomes a Winter Soldier-style assassin, disturbs him. Another, where he becomes the Dark Phoenix leaves him in a serious Heroic BSoD - especially since it's very heavily implied that he killed all of his friends and family. However, it also subverts it, as in observing these possible futures, he sees more pleasant futures as well, and observes them alongside an alternate future version of himself, who goes by Nathan, and aside from some back and forth snarking, they get along very well.
  • In Civilization V Peace Walker, Snake/Big Boss runs into this when he encounters, in addition to an array of historical conquerors, people from even further down the timeline than 1979. Since this Snake is from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker and hasn't completed his Protagonist Journey to Villain, he's understandably shaken by what he learns about his destiny.
    Snake: Being called a bloodthirsty maniac and admired for it by a guy from the future is... it's really making me rethink things.
  • Crimson Dawn: in this Warhammer 40,000 fic, young Karl freaks out when he peers into the future and learns that he is the future God Emperor Of Mankind (that, and also learning just what a Crapsack World the future is).
  • In the Doctor WhoPast Imperfect”, when the Sixth Doctor makes telepathic contact with the Tenth Doctor to try and wake him from a coma, the Sixth basically has a panic attack when he unintentionally reads the Tenth’s memories of destroying Gallifrey to end the Time War.
  • In The Flash (2014) fic "Ice cold deception", Team Flash learn that, in Nora's future, Iris killed Caitlin after Caitlin and Barry had a daughter when a metahuman with the ability to lower inhibitions led to them having an affair, going so far as to poison Caitlin while she was pregnant (the baby, Allison, survived). While Team Flash all consciously acknowledge that they can't "blame" Iris for something she hasn’t done yet, Killer Frost is naturally angry at the revelation and Barry divorces Iris because he can't cope with the idea that she's capable of such a thing, even as Iris herself is disturbed at the idea that she would try and kill Caitlin and an innocent child.
  • In Forgiveness is the Attribute of the Strong, young All for One travels forward in time and meets himself. Young Hisashi is terrified that he'll grow up into All for One, especially after learning that All for One accidentally killed his younger brother.
  • In the Angel fic “Impact”, this is initially a good description of past-Cordelia’s view of her future self when she’s relocated from just after “I Will Remember You” to near the end of Darla’s pregnancy (“Offspring”), regarding her future self as a ‘junkie submissive freak’ who gives in to everyone’s demands, still isn’t famous and has a mass of medication in her bathroom. However, as she learns more about what happened in the intervening years, such as inheriting Doyle’s visions and Fred’s description of her as the heart of the team, past-Cordelia comes to accept that her personal relationships in this future are worth preserving.
  • A Crown of Stars: In the first chapter, Shinji and Asuka met their six-months-older selves. They got frightened, especially Asuka since she was seeing herself happy, pregnant, and in a loving relationship with Shinji. And she was so traumatized that she could not wrap her head around the idea that she could be happy.
  • Eggman Generations continues from where Sonic Generations left off, with the past and future versions of Robotnik stuck in a white void. Robotnik actually loathes his older self, even starting to understand why Sonic fights him all the time since Eggman is the person Robotnik grows up to be.
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Days Of Future Smurfed", Empath of the present time in the series encounters his future self from 1000 years later appearing in his bedroom and becomes a little fearful, up until his future self touches his past self and gives him a thousand years worth of future memories for him to store away in a memory crystal. As it turns out, though, it actually isn't his future self that visits him, but his future great-grandson who becomes Traveler Smurf, who disguises himself as Empath's future self.
  • Inverted in Forewarned is Forearmed. In the story's adaptation of Persona Q, Akira runs into his future self. After getting over the initial confusion, both Akiras think it's awesome and the younger Akira is eager to ask all kinds of questions about the future, only to be dismayed when Lavenza informs him that he's likely to forget all this since the older Akira doesn't remember any of this happening.
  • George Weasley and the Computational Error has a 40-year-old George Weasley who terrifies the 11-year-old versions of himself and Fred, mostly because Old George isn't allowed to say who he is yet and he has the ability to possess his younger counterpart.
  • The Stargate SG-1 fanfic Guilt Undone features Sam meeting a version of herself from five years in the future, and she is shaken to witness this other woman, who looks several years older rather than just five and has witnessed the death of virtually everyone she knows after Anubis gained access to an Ancient repository, to the point where Samantha is willing to be erased from history so that Sam can have a chance to hit the Reset Button and avert this future altogether.
  • Harmony's Warriors: In the revised version of Iron Mare, during Rarity's captivity, she has a dream of herself sent by Nightmare Moon after her release as a despondent, reclusive old mare who's lost all her friends. She's horrified by the very concept, and swears to never let herself become like that.
  • During Clark and Lois' wedding in Supergirl fanfic Hellsister Trilogy, Kara sees Power Girl, who is still wearing black and mourning her own cousin, and is frightened at the possibility of finding herself in the shoes of the Supergirl of Earth-Two.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kyon's future self is consistently rude and derogatory toward him. Of course, that's only because his past self is incompetent.
  • In Mega Man Recut, Proto Man in "Future Shock" has mellowed out a bit after 30 years. Roll, on the other hand, has become violent and ruthless.
  • In Protect and Survive, the Seventh Doctor's investigation of whatever force triggered a nuclear war in 1962 leads him to the horror that the war was caused by his own future self, the Thirteenth Doctor (an original, male incarnation) having gone insane after the losses of the Time War, to the extent that he destroyed Earth's history so that his past self will never travel with humans and become a ruthless warrior who can make the universe the way the Thirteenth wants it to be.
  • In A Mother's Love, while Fred isn't exactly scared of her future self as a person, it's naturally unnerving for her to learn that Illyria's resemblance to her is because Illyria's essentially possessing her future corpse.
  • Ninja Wizard Book 1 has an example without time travel. Harry uses a spell that places your thoughts on paper to make animated drawings of eleven-year-old, teenage, and adult Voldemort. The teenager goes into the eleven-year-old's drawing to rescue him from a fit of anger on adult Voldemort's part, and when the eleven-year-old is told that the adult version is what became of both of them he's visibly horrified.
  • In Ouroboros, Anakin Skywalker's reaction to Darth Vader, naturally.
  • In Soul and Sanity, the Fifth Doctor expresses outrage at the Ninth’s carelessness when he becomes involved in the events of "Father’s Day" and learns how Rose changed her own history because of the Ninth's carelessness.
  • The Pony POV Series Dark World Series has this happen with Twilight when confronted by Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox, her potential future self and the true Big Bad. She became She Who Fights Monsters by trapping Discord in a "Groundhog Day" Loop to torture him, in the process deleting Dark World and everyone in it enough times to add up to several hundred million years. Twilight quite reasonably shudders the moment she sees her Cutie Mark, as due to Discord showing her his memories, she's seen just what a monster Paradox has become. The following Wham Line really makes the whole thing hit home.
    Nightmare Paradox: I remember wondering if these were the lessons Celestia had intended for us to learn-
    Twilight: -and wondered why our coat was turning gray.
    • Rainbow Dash has the same reaction to Nightmare Manacle, one of Paradox's Psycho Rangers and her own future self.
  • In Return of the Primarchs, after being zapped to the 41st century, Horus is absolutely terrified of what his future self did, and when Fulgrim confronts his daemonic future version, he has a Heroic BSoD.
  • The Coven of Reformed Supernaturals series opens with Cole Turner of Charmed (1998) being drawn into the future from a point when he was still Belthazor to join the Coven in fighting his own future self, now driven insane from the magic he has absorbed over the intervening years. Future Cole is killed at the story's conclusion and Belthazor!Cole is returned to the past with his memory erased, but the good aspect of Cole's soul is later reborn as a Goldlighter (basically the warrior version of Whitelighters, created to actually fight evil rather than just advise others).
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic "Stronger Together" has a case of 'Theoretical Future Me Scares Me'; faced with the possibility of being turned by Spike and Darla, Buffy tries to discourage this approach by arguing that her vampire self would only want Angel, but is privately concerned that Buffy the Vampire's first priority would be to get rid of Angel's soul so she and Angelus could live 'evil-y ever after', and stops herself thinking about what they would subsequently do to her and Angel's loved ones.
  • The Second Try: Discussed in this Peggy Sue fic. Asuka thinks her younger self would hate her since during her Character Development she forsook all that she had lived for during her childhood and became a very different person who does not mind showing her emotions, letting others close and loves being a wife and a mother. Shinji disagrees, though. But he thinks his younger self would be shocked and surprised at seeing him (since he had become more emotionally stable and less timid).
  • In One Piece's Tomorrow's Romance Dawn, while Zoro isn't explicitly afraid of his two year older self and future crew, he admits he doesn't like what they might represent. He doesn't trust his future self because Roronoa is hiding something from them (though with good reason) and keeps glancing at Luffy with a guilty look.
    It was the gaze of a man who had been cracked in several places and welded back together. A man who had not quite been broken but came pretty close. And that alone shook Zoro down to his very core.
  • The Jackie Chan Adventures fanfic When I Grow Up has Jade being sent to the future (again), only to find that her adult self has become the Ax-Crazy leader of a Cult/criminal organization who does things like try to cause The End of the World as We Know It, all because there were no more bad guys left to fight. Needless to say, she's very disturbed by this.
  • Though it's never outright addressed in the canon during a real meeting between the two versions, in some Heroes fanfiction, both Peter Petrelli and Claire Bennet are depicted as mildly disturbed and/or fearful of their future selves, especially sometime during Volume 3. Conversely, Gabriel Gray (i.e. Sylar) has calmed considerably by the time the episode Butterfly Effect rolls around, and even has a beloved son.
  • In Karma in Retrograde, Dabi gets nailed with a de-aging Quirk that both physically and mentally reverts him to his 16 year old self- Touya Todoroki, Shouto's older brother, prior to his Face–Heel Turn and taking on the Dabi identity. Touya at 16 attended UA's general studies course and aspired to join the hero course (much like Shinso in canon), and is absolutely horrified that he ended up becoming a remorseless murderer who attacked the current class 1A and tried to kill his younger brother.
  • The Ouroboros: April, Casey, and the turtles are thrown off balance by how rude and dismissive their future selves can be at times. Sure, maybe they've got be a little evasive in order to preserve the timeline, but maybe they could have hinted about Raphael's counterpart having a relationship or about the whole war they may have kickstarted? And all of that comes before the realization that they lied about there being a time loop to preserve in the first place, and have stolen their lives back on Earth.
  • Time for a Change: Zeref from X363 is a young scholar who hasn't received the Contradictory Curse, and is justly horrified when he hears his future self talk about killing their younger brother Natsu.
  • one day at a time: Tim has the canonical 'Titans of Tomorrow' version and Future Tim, another evil version of himself from a Bad Future where Blight went nuclear and destroyed half of Gotham, who served as the Arc Villain for the second flashback arc. The latter, after the death of his predecessor Dick Grayson, proceeded to murder Damian Wayne for the Batman mantle, slaughter the rest of the Bat-Family for opposing him, and then tried to brainwash the world via Brother Eye. After the Justice League of his time started hunting him down, he went back in time to implement his plan instead, brainwashing his younger self into helping him, and then after being exposed, tried to have him murder Damian while he tried to murder Dick. The entire incident was so traumatic for Tim that he banned himself from ever becoming Batman, which is partly why Jason got stuck with the job.
  • A Flower's Touch: Sephiroth comes to have a very low opinion of his One-Winged Angel self, especially with regards to Aerith's death, the notion of stabbing an unarmed woman who is no physical threat to him in the back while she's kneeling in prayer being particularly distasteful. He notes this when he and Angeal are discussing whether Aerith's had visions of the future or is actually from the future. Seph hopes it's the former, as that's just a possibility, whereas if she's from the future, it means his actions were so grievous time itself had to be rewritten.
  • Vicious Circle: While talking with Starscream, Megatron, who is currently a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, is horrified to learn that in the future the Seeker comes from, he (Megatron) is a tyrant who treats his men like cannon fodder and abuses Starscream to the point where Starscream has become the trope he named.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Lost Christmas has Goose and Anthony. Goose thinks Anthony is a nutter because of his powers, but they're really there to make sure Goose (good future) exists and Anthony (bad future) doesn't.
  • The Lost in Space movie had Doctor Smith who thought he was rather evil until he met himself 20 years in the future as a half-mutated spider bent on destroying all of humanity. His future self is also less than impressed with him: "I never liked me, anyway."
  • Back to the Future Part II:
    • Jennifer unwittingly runs into her future self and passing out in shock after gasping "I'm old!" Also, Old Biff meets his teenage self. Even funnier, Jennifer's future self happens to pass out in shock gasping, "I'm young!"
    • Old Biff is pretty scary, given that that version of Biff has just as much of a temper as young Biff, with bitterness that's been marinating for decades added in, and actual intelligence to replace his thuggishness.
    • Jennifer also has a similar reaction to the sight of her future boyfriend/husband, Marty - he is unbelievably different than the guy that she's in love with in 1985. Marty himself never sees his future self, but he learns enough in Part III to avert the accident that sent him down that path.
  • In Click, Adam Sandler's character is disgusted when he sees his future self cold-heartedly dismiss his father (twisting the knife even further, this is the last time he saw his dad, not even being there when he died). He even calls his future self "pathetic".
    • It seems that it's subverted in Click since Adam Sandler's character's body goes into "autopilot" in the jumps where he fast-forwards to the future. While his conscious self comes back into his body at short intervals, he becomes horrified at how things turned out while he was "away", and his unconscious body acts mechanically and treats his loved ones callously. It's more of a Future Me-When-Not-Me Scares Me.
  • Triangle is pretty much made out of this trope. A woman on a boat trapped in a series of time loops becomes convinced that time only loops whenever everyone else on the ship is dead, so to save all her friends she has to kill all her friends. Naturally, Killer Jess comes off as an utter nutball to First-Time Jess, yet it seems like the Sanity Slippage is inevitable...
  • In Looper, Joe's dislike of his future self becomes outright fear and disgust when Old Joe starts murdering children in an attempt to avert Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act. Taken to its greatest extreme in the ending, where Young Joe makes a Heroic Sacrifice to Grandfather Paradox his future self out of existence.
  • Disney's The Kid is about a guy meeting his eight-year-old self, who can't believe he grows up to be a Workaholic Jerkass.
  • Timecop 2: The Berlin Decision: The villain scares his past self. So much that he may change his future.
  • Played with in 13 Going on 30: Jenna's future doesn't explicitly scare her, but as time goes on, she realizes that she doesn't like what she's become, such as abandoning her best friend, cutting off nearly all ties with her parents, cheats on her boyfriend, had an affair with a coworker's husband, became a toxic influence, and sabotaged the magazine company she works for by working for its rival magazine company.
  • The Adam Project: Played straight with Maya Sorian, who started off uneasy about her future self's previous interference in her life and got progressively more alarmed at her callous misanthropy; zigzagged with Adam himself, who at first admires his future self's achievements, gear, and physique but is later disappointed by his relative cluelessness, and shocked enough by the emotional damage his future self shows to start working against it in his own life.

  • Serves as the main plot of William Sleator's The Green Futures of Tycho. Tycho finds a Time Machine, doesn't like his future and tries to fix it by changing the present and the past, only to make it worse. He repeats this until his future self is a tyrant selling out humanity to the aliens and planning some sort of invasion through time. He finally realizes why (the time machine and the power it gives him over events is corrupting him), but not before the tyrant version (who still has the time machine) starts chasing him through history, to prevent him from fucking up the tyrant's plans.
  • Defied in The Time Traveler's Wife. Henry DeTamble rarely travels forward in time, but he is often zapped into the past randomly and without warning. On one such trip, he meets up with his future wife, then-girlfriend. He begs her to have patience with him because he remembers how shallow and immature he was as a young man. Seeing how mature future-Henry is, Clare is reassured.
    • Also played straight: on one of his rare travels forward, Henry speaks with his now 10-year-old daughter (who his wife is pregnant with in the present) and learns that he's already dead in the future.
    • For a subversion, see The Time Traveler's Wife's entry under Screw Yourself.
  • Older Than Radio: Ebenezer Scrooge is not so much terrified at the sight of himself in the future, but by the realization that, upon his death, the only emotional reaction to the news will be happiness (with some mockery thrown in).
  • Doctor Impossible of Soon I Will Be Invincible mentions meeting "the original villain team" The Delinquent Five when they came from the Fifties to seek help from their present selves, assuming they would be wealthy, powerful rulers by now. Dispiritingly, the heroes and governments are still in charge. He notes "Maybe that was the beginning of the end for them."
  • In Woken Furies, Takeshi Kovacs finds himself up against an illegal copy of himself made when he was a good deal younger. More vicious and less world-weary, 'young' Kovacs is noticeably unimpressed that his future self has quit the military, become estranged from his family, and apparently lost all direction in life. "Old" Kovacs challenges him to see if he can do better with his second chance. Minutes later, "young" Kovacs is gunned down by the girlfriend of one of the people he killed while tracking "old" Kovacs down.
  • Averted in Simon R. Green's "Nightside" books, since even though Suzie Shooter (a.k.a. Shotgun Suzie, a.k.a. Oh Christ, It's Her, Run)'s future self has had half her face ripped off by a spiked mace then cauterized with a flamethrower and one arm replaced by a grafted-on gun, nothing scares Suzie Shooter.
    • Done straight in a case where Taylor must help a man who's being pursued by his apparent past selves, who are disgusted by how his life turned out, and by future selves who either want to ensure he'll become them, or prevent him from doing so. For the past selves, he's this trope; for the future ones, he's its inversion.
  • Of Two Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman. It's established from the beginning that the protagonist is a Jerkass, and becoming more so as she exploits her Reality Warping abilities. The Big Bad is another reality warper, with an oddly familiar appearance . . .
  • In Animorphs number seven, The Stranger, the Ellimist transports the main characters to the future in order to influence their decision on an offer he made them. In the process, they meet their current enemy, who's been promoted, and future Rachel, the present version of which is narrating, and she's been infested by a Yeerk. *cue dramatic music*
    • By the end of the series their enemy does get promoted before being defeated and getting put on trial, but Rachel is killed, rather than infested.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 spin-off novel "Relativity", the team discover that the current apparent attack on the SGC is led by Jack’s future self from a timeline where an upcoming alliance with the space-faring Pack allowed their old foes, the Aschen, to mount an attack that led to the near-genocide of the human race across the whole galaxy. While Jack isn’t outright scared of his future self, he is disgusted that the older Jack has reverted to the ‘whatever it takes’ mentality of his black ops days, willing to at least risk killing Sam and Teal’c in the name of stopping the Aschen.
  • In Pursuit of Bark's Finest contains a downplayed example; at one point an archived backup of Captain Fuller from fifty years ago is activated and interrogated. He's somewhat confused and concerned about his future self becoming a space pirate but all in all doesn't seem too broken up about it.
  • A sci-fi anthology contained a short story with an interesting subversion of this trope. The protagonist lives in a near-future world which experiences time-travelers from farther in the future. The premise is that adults from the future occasionally travel to the in-story present to impart some words of wisdom or practical advice. This is considered a highly desirable occurrence, and children live in anticipation of meeting their future selves. But the main character receives a visit from an alcoholic bum future self who turns out to be the boy's father in disguise, trying to help his son make better choices and become a better person than he ended up being.
    • Another SF anthology (The Year's Best SF 3) featured "The Nostalginauts" by S. N. Dyer. The story was about two high school outcasts waiting for their graduation. The SF element? Some 20 years in the future someone will invent a way to send a soundless and spectral image of oneself back exactly 25 years, and a trendy use is to go to your 25th high school reunion with pictures of your life's successes and then go back as a group to show them to your past selves at the senior prom. Turns out most of the kids are more horrified by their future baldness, paunches, and obvious plastic surgery than they are excited by their cars and big houses. And then the outcasts get the last laugh when it turns out the geekier of the two INVENTED the time travel technology, and is far richer than any of his former classmates. After all the other images have vanished, the geek sends back not only his image but the images of everyone at the party he's throwing, so they can all have a laugh at the kids who teased him when he was younger.
  • In Harry Harrison's The Technicolor Time Machine, the protagonist is approached by his future self with an important message. He notices that his future self has a nasty-looking bandage covering his right hand but when he asks his future self what caused the injury his future self just gives him an evil grin and ignores the question. He spends much of the rest of the book frightened about what's going to happen to his hand. Then, near the end of the book, he gets a bad sliver that a field medic has to use a scalpel to extract, and then the medic discovers that she doesn't have band-aids available and tells him she'll need to use gauze. The protagonist realizes that his future self tricked him into thinking he'd be facing a terrible injury and decides to get revenge on himself for being such a bastard by pulling the same deception. When he goes to visit his past self and we hear his internal monologue from the "other side" of the conversation he takes great joy in making his past self squirm. He's fully aware that his vengeance doesn't make logical sense.
  • Tim Powers' Three Days to Never features a lot of time wonk based on the central MacGuffin, a method of time travel (and Ret-Gone) devised by Einstein himself. At one point, the protagonist's future self shows up in 1980s Los Angeles after the protagonist saves his daughter from choking to death in an Italian restaurant; he's pissed that the timeline where the daughter died, he remarried and lived a happy life got erased in favor of a timeline where the daughter lived and grew up to resent him bitterly. He's come back to a) set the timeline right, and b) get his younger self to buy into Microsoft. His younger self has... issues with this plan, to say the least.
  • In the 9th Betsy the Vampire Queen book, Undead and Unfinished, Betsy & her sister Laura travel 1000 years into the future, where future Betsy is coldly presiding over a frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland. Present Betsy is more pissed off than scared, but the reader learns that Betsy has skinned her husband and literally bound him into The Book of the Dead , which is plenty scary.
  • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels gave us Grandfather Paradox, who plays this role to everyone. As in, he is literally the Anthropomorphic Personification of this trope.
    The Grandfather was his future self. He was everyone's future self... He was what you swore you'd never become when you were an adventurous youth, and he was always watching, waiting to strike.
    • Also happens to Fitz in the Eighth Doctor Adventures... well, sort of. He's a clone, and he meets the embittered, decrepit, thousand-year-old original, now known as Father Kreiner, who's spent all that time waiting for the Doctor to come back to him. He's not too happy to find out he's been replaced and threatens to kill Fitz before deciding he'd rather let him live to find out how untrustworthy the Doctor is.
    • In "The Roots of Evil", the Fourth Doctor visits a planet whose entire culture is based on hatred of the Eleventh Doctor (their names being abbreviations for phrases describing how they'll make the Doctor suffer, for example). The story subverts it, however, in that outside of lambasting his future self's taste in clothing, he knows he would never do what he's being accused of and gets to the real source of the trouble.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant has Darquesse, a mysterious figure who has been seen by many seers to destroy the world, and it turns out she's Valkyrie (or at least Valkyrie's true-name empowered alter-ego).
  • In the "Secret Series", (not that you should know anything about it), Max-Ernest sees their future self in a mirror. They're described as looking half-mad, and Max-Ernest is unhappy about it. Later, it's revealed that MAX-ERNEST's future self is the AUTHOR of the whole Secret Series. Shocking, indeed.
  • In Gates of Rome, Rashim is horrified to discover that he has become an aged madman due to Caligula's treatment of him.
  • In Patricia Duffy Novak's Robes, the would-be white mage Kaitlyn is shown a vision of herself as a ruthless Knight Templar presiding over a sunny but desolate wasteland. Needless to say, she chooses a different path of study.
  • In All Our Yesterdays, this trope plays a huge part in the book. Em, future Marina, scares her past self, but it really comes into play when James learns his future self is the doctor.
  • The Franny K. Stein book The Fran That Time Forgot has Franny use time-travel to change her Embarrassing Middle Name while also taking the time to tell her infant self that there's nothing worse than being laughed at. Out of curiosity at how she'll be when she's older, Franny decides to visit the future before returning to the present but is horrified to see that her teenage self is creating an army of elephant monsters to terrorize everyone because changing her middle name did nothing to prevent people laughing at her and telling her infant self that there was nothing worse than being laughed at exacerbated how much the embarrassment affected her.
  • In The Night Room, Grahamn suffers badly from this when Argus predicts that he will turn out an abusive alcoholic like his father, who is in jail after killing a man in a bar fight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Season 2 of Dark (2017) reveals that Adam, the sinister leader of the Sic Mundus cult and main antagonist of the series, is an aged, heavily scarred Jonas Kahnwald, who, after crossing the Despair Event Horizon, gave up on all his ideals and is now determined to destroy the entire universe just to end the pain of his own existence. Naturally, the younger Jonas is absolutely horrified when he comes face to face with his older self.
  • In the "multi-Doctor" episodes of Doctor Who, you often get this friction between regenerations:
    • In "The Three Doctors", the three incarnations of the Doctor don't get on (especially not Three and Two; the First isn't impressed by either, but they appear to respect him).
    • Not so much in "The Five Doctors", where most of the past Doctors like Five, but Three and Two still bicker.
    • Usually subverted when the First Doctor meets with any of his future incarnations. Despite being the youngest and least experienced of them all, the first Doctor is somehow able to command great respect from his future selves, so much that they accept his leadership and generally follow his orders without issues. Imagine yourself at eighty taking orders from yourself at five! On the other hand, they have a very good reason to do so. After all, the First Doctor was indeed known as the most emotionally mature of them.
    • The primary villain in "The Trial of a Time Lord", the Valeyard, is an "amalgamation of the darker sides of [The Doctor's] nature, somewhere between [their] twelfth and final incarnation". Interpretations and depictions vary on whether this makes him a normal case of a Future Evil Self or a time-travelling Enemy Without from the future.
    • "The Family of Blood": While human, the Doctor completely forgets who he used to be and who he's supposed to turn into again after his stint as a human is over. When his Motor Mouth accidentally kicks in and starts rambling in Time Lord mode, he's horrified to hear himself talk. Becoming the Doctor again is essentially suicide, which he's fully aware of.
    • In the 2007 Children in Need special "Time Crash", the Fifth Doctor is initially weirded out and irritated by the Tenth Doctor, not realising that it's his future self. Eventually, Ten impresses him, at which point Five takes to him. The Tenth squees at his past self throughout.
    • Used to great effect in the 2010 Christmas Special, an awesome Yet Another Christmas Carol. The Doctor has tried to be The Ghost of Christmas Past, befriending the young Kazran Sardick and visiting him every Christmas for years in order to change him from the bitter shell of a man he is in the present. Amy then does her best being Ghost of Christmas Present, but to no avail. Kazran challenges the Doctor to be his Ghost of Christmas Future.
      Kazran: Why are you here?
      The Doctor: Because I am not finished with you yet. You have seen the past, present. And now you need to see the future.
      Kazran: Fine. Do it. Show me. I die cold, alone, and afraid. Of course I know, we all do! What difference does showing me make? Do you know why I am going to let all those people die? Not a plan. I don't get anything from it. It's just that I don't care! I'm not like you, I don't even want to be like you. I don't and never, ever will care!
      The Doctor: And I don't believe that.
      Kazran: Then show me the future! Prove me wrong!
      The Doctor: I am showing it to you. I am showing it to you right now. [to someone behind Kazran] So what do you think?!
      [Kazran turns around and sees his twelve-year-old self looking back at him, with eleven different types of freak-out written on his face]
      The Doctor: Is this who you want to become, Kazran?
    • Amy, when meeting her ruthless, cynical, Future Badass self in "The Girl Who Waited".
    • "The Day of the Doctor" has the War Doctor being unnerved that the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are future versions of him.
      War Doctor: Am I having a mid-life crisis? (He probably is, at least by the time Eleven shows up.)
      • This episode also plays it seriously. The War Doctor sees how hard the Tenth is trying to run away from his past, while the Eleventh has chosen to forget it. It's not until he realizes that they are still the Doctor that he comes to believe they're better men than him for continuing forward even after making the decision he's hesitating over.
      • At the same time, Ten is horrified by Eleven apparently forgetting how many Time Lord children died when he used the Moment to end the Time War. He demands to know what could possibly have happened in the 400 years following his regeneration that could make him forget something like THAT.
    • "Deep Breath": The Eleventh Doctor isn't too thrilled to learn that his next incarnation has gone gray.
    • "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls": The Harold Saxon Master is rather concerned about his next incarnation Missy turning good and actually wanting to help the Doctor, as well as the fact that he's going to turn into a woman.
    • "Twice Upon a Time": The First Doctor is a little alarmed to find his future self is an utterly bonkers Disco Dan who runs around playing the guitar and wearing sunglasses indoors. More seriously, he also learns he's destined to become a Walking Disaster Area feared across the entire universe.
      Twelve: To be fair, they cut out all the jokes.
  • The Farscape episode "My Three Crichtons" features a variation on this, with hyper-smart, vaguely-reptilian, highly evolved Crichton being sociopathically self-interested in his own survival, rather than the logic he claims to employ to help the rest of the Moya's crew.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Used for a major twist late in Season 3: Savitar is revealed to be a version of Barry who's gone crazy from Iris' death and is now carrying out a Stable Time Loop to ensure his own existence.
    • A variant of this happens in season 5. Although Iris never actually meets her future self, Nora, her and Barry's Kid from the Future, reveals that she and future Iris don't get along because, among other things, Iris hid Nora's superspeed from her. Iris is devastated and is worried that she is destined to become that person.
  • Hiro Nakamura and Ando of Heroes have the following conversation in "Five Years Gone". This is the basis for the trope's name, with a clarity tweak.
    Hiro: I look upset.
    Ando: Go talk to yourself.
    Hiro: No way! I scare me; you do it.
    • Most of the future heroes are pretty scary. The exception is Sylar, who is considerably nicer...and is rather afraid of reverting to his past self (in one future, anyway; in another, he's President, and has just about everybody else's powers, and is about to top even himself by committing super-genocide.
  • The Movie of Kamen Rider Den-O (well, the first one...) features Ryotaro meeting his past self. Much like Jennifer in Back to the Future Part II, they both faint upon first seeing one another.
    • Second Rider Yuuto Sakurai has a very uneasy relationship with his Mysterious Watcher future self. The series treats them as separate entities for the most part, referring to the younger by his first name and the older by his surname.
      • During the episodes leading into the first movie, we have several moments where "Yuuto" yanks Ryotaro away seemingly at random and then drops him back where he came from. Ryotaro is obviously pretty upset, but when confronted Yuuto insists he hasn't done anything. Then it turns out that the version of Yuuto from a few days in the future is the one to blame, and he confronts his slightly-more-past self to explain the situation.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O: In 2018, Sougo Tokiwa is an unassuming and good-natured high school student whose one quirk is his unwavering belief that he's destined to become a king someday. On his 18th birthday, he meets a pair of time travelers who tell him that in 2068, he's become a nigh-omnipotent evil overlord; Sougo is naturally spooked out by this and sets out to become "the kindest, most beloved overlord in history". It gets even worse when Kamen Rider Decade sends him to 2068, bringing him face-to-face with his future self. Not only does this confirming that he is the evil overlord in question, but that his efforts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong have seemingly done nothing — Future Sougo honestly believes he's kind and beloved despite the fact that he's killed billions of people and has practically sent humanity back into the Dark Ages.
    • Another example in the movie Over Quartzer, where the leader of the Quartzers is the original Sougo Tokiwa: Kamen Rider Barlckxs and the King of Time, who views both the heroic Sougo & Oma Zi-O as nothing more than Kagemusha. Unlike Oma Zi-O, SOUGO doesn't care about how his actions have affected anyone, even going as far as attempting to kill Krim Steinbelt so the events of Kamen Rider Drive never occur, leading to the Grand Zi-O Ridewatch never being created.
  • A variation in Legends of Tomorrow. The Bounty Hunter Chronos is eventually revealed to be Mick Rory from the future after Snart leaves him behind at an unspecified point in time and space rather than killing him. Months later, Rory is found by the Time Masters and trained to be their attack dog, before sending him after Rip Hunter and the team... at the point in time where Past!Mick is still a member of said team. Later, he has this with Child!Mick... who burned down his house, killing his family.
  • An episode of Nikita had this happen to Alex when, while under the influence of ibogaine (and in withdrawal from heroin), she hallucinated a version of herself that had beaten Division and taken back control of her father's company Zetrov.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Breaking Point", Andrew McLaren is terrified that he may be the one who kills his wife Susan two days in the future, especially since he saw himself drive away from the scene of the crime. It turns out that he was right.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • Inverted in "Timeslides", Lister tries to make his past self super-rich by giving him the idea for a hit invention before the real inventor patents it. His younger self doesn't want to be rich and says he'd rather be a broke musician.
    • Played straight in the later episode "Out of Time", where the crew meet themselves from fifteen years in the future. The future Dwarfers, having complete access to time travel, have become Drunk with Power and spend their time partying with the worst people in human history. The two sets of crew hate each other so much that they end up killing each other (with the "present" set surviving through Temporal Paradox). Even Rimmer, under most circumstances a Dirty Coward, volunteers to fight without hesitation.
    Rimmer: Better dead than smeg!
    • And in trying to explain the paradox to the audience, the camera melts, as it can't handle the paradox.
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures story "The Mad Woman in the Attic", the title character is a future version of Rani, who is appalled at the sight of her.
  • On the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Time Squared", Picard encounters a future version of himself who, according to the camera footage from his shuttle, (seemingly) abandoned the Enterprise in its hour of need. The Enterprise was destroyed, leaving Future Picard as the sole survivor. This is hardly the first time Picard's judgment has been questioned; the last thing he wants is living proof that he's a lousy Captain.
    Picard: Are you still convinced he's me?
    Troi: Yes, but you're not convinced.
    Picard: Not in the slightest. Except for his features, there is nothing about him I find familiar!
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Children of Time"), Dax's curiosity about a Negative Space Wedgie accidentally caused the Defiant to crash-land on a distant planet decades in the past. The descendants of the Defiant crew founded a settlement on the planet's surface; when Jadzia Dax died of old age, her symbiont was passed down to another (male) Trill, Yedrin, granting him the thoughts and memories of the Jadzia host. This gives Jadzia the unique experience (thanks to Timey-Wimey Ball) of confronting her future self and seeing the consequences of her mistake.
  • In Star Trek: Voyager: the episode "Fury" has a pissed-off and powerful Kes return to Voyager after several years' absence and travel back in time to when she was still on Voyager. She replaces her younger self rather than meet her, but afterwards, Janeway tells Young!Kes what happened, who records a hologram to years later talk her older self down and prevent her from traveling back in time to attack ''Voyager''.
  • On Star Trek: Discovery ("Through the Valley of Shadows"), Captain Christopher Pike experiences a vision of his future while retrieving a "time crystal" from a Klingon monastery, and literally screams in terror when he sees his future self - a wheelchair-bound, horrifically-scarred wreck of a man, as seen in the original series. Though he is given the option to escape that future, his Starfleet training and the necessity of his mission ultimately lead him to accept it.
  • Supernatural: Dean Winchester gets sent into the future in Season 5, and meets his future self. They're more or less alike, except that the future one has finally completely snapped under the pressure of all the crap that is constantly raining down on Dean, and abandoned all his remaining morals and standards. Seeing as Dean is already a quite pragmatic and cynical person, you can imagine what that looks like. (He meets future-Castiel too, who also scares him, having gone from a guy who wouldn't know a joke if it bit him to a drugged-out sex guru.)
    • Not forgetting that in that episode, Sam has been possessed by Lucifer for the last 5 years and is orchestrating a full-on Zombie Apocalypse.
    • It is however unclear if this is really future Dean or merely a concoction created by Zachariah in an attempt to get Dean to do things his way.
  • In Timeslip, Liz and Simon both meet future counterparts of themselves. Neither of them thinks much of Liz's first counterpart, who has become inhumanly cold-hearted and clinical in the "Ice Box" research center of the far-off year 1990. Liz prefers her "hippie" future self from the alternative "Burn-Up" future of 1999, though she's troubled by her future self's seeming inability to act responsibly. Simon's future counterpart has given up his name in favor of a number and has become opportunistic and ultra-rational to compete in the emotionless clone-dominated scientific community of the future. Simon, for some reason, likes and respects this future version of himself, until he turns out to be a bit of a tool.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Walking Distance", the future (our present) man scares his younger self so much that the boy falls off the merry-go-round and injures his leg. The man immediately walks with a limp from then on.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The Girl I Married", Ira and Valerie Richman are visited by the spirits of their late '60s hippie selves in 1987. These younger versions are very disturbed that their older selves have become boring, corporate sellouts and think that they have betrayed all of their ideals in order to make money. The younger Valerie tells the older Ira that he is a "stone drag" and reminds him that they used to laugh at people like him while the younger Ira thinks that they have wasted their lives.
  • In Ugly Betty, Betty sees a vision of her past self. The earlier Betty is horrified by her future counterpart's lack of optimism and the morally questionable things she does since joining MODE.
  • The Whitest Kids U' Know: Time Travel Skit. Notable in that Present him is not afraid of Future him (seeing him as more of a Future Loser), but Future him is afraid of future Future him who's going to beat Future him's kneecaps.

  • The Garfunkel and Oates song "29/31". It follows a woman at the ages of 29 and 31; her 29-year-old self is an idealistic Naïve Everygirl while her 31-year-old self is a cynical Deadpan Snarker, having realized her life didn't go as well as she expected it to. Her older self (played by Riki) is annoyed by her younger self (played by Kate), while her younger self is horrified by what she has become.
  • Played with in the Vocaloid song "Meltdown." It's never answered if the girl singing it jumped into the nuclear reactor, or if her future self talked her out of it.
  • In The Ballad of Lost Hollow trilogy, the plot is driven by a group of formerly-human AI finding a message from the future that they'll eventually end up with a total Lack of Empathy. When they do, they'll decide to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, which will require the nuclear annihilation of a city to provide enough energy. This puts them at war with their future selves, and since the future AI are smarter and know the tactics of their past selves, the illogical strategies needed to win such a war give rise to the situations that the protagonists find themselves in throughout the albums.
  • The protagonist of They Might Be Giants' "2082" goes forward to the titular year and is shocked to discover he's still alive (but with a hook for a hand). So he keeps going further and further, all the way to 3415 — still alive. He decides the best thing to do is to return to 2082 and murder his future self, accepting the fact that he won't know what his older self knows until that moment in the future.
  • "Look At Me Now" by Caroline Polachek is structured as a dialogue between Caroline's older and younger selves in which her younger self hopes that she'll be more mature and self-assured in the future and her current self reveals that she hasn't grown much at all.

    Video Games 
  • Silent Hill:
    • In Silent Hill 2 James stumbles into a room with a man in a chair, staring into a tv that has nothing on it. Upon examination, he looks and sees it's him, brutally murdered. The creators said they put this there to scare players by showing that this could very well happen to James.
      • Other people on the team, however, have claimed they simply reused James' model for the man in the chair because they were lazy and didn't think anyone would notice.
    • In Silent Hill 4: The Room Young Walter is terrified when he meets the serial killer he will eventually become.
  • In Sam & Max: Freelance Police, the duo travel 100 years forward in time to find that Sam is then wheelchair-bound and suffers from dementia. Although present Sam is not visibly perturbed, he does remark later: "Good. Just wanted to check my dementia wasn't setting in early."
  • In Mega Man II for the Game Boy, Wily travels to a peaceful future and kidnaps a de-weaponized Mega Man, brings him back, and reprograms him into the villainous Quint. One wonders what would have happened to the space-time continuum if Quint had successfully destroyed the present Mega Man...
  • World of Warcraft has a quest in which you meet Future You (who is wearing the same gear you are, of course). After the success of the battle he tells you to "get better gear," which one could find annoying.
    • Bizarrely, one of Future You's comments is, "I can't believe I used to wear that."
    • Future You can say other things as well, like "When you get to the party with the gnome and the furblog, DON'T DRINK THE PUNCH!"
    • Past You can say stuff like "Ew. Look at your gear. Have you even been raiding?" and parts with you with "Thanks. No offense, but I'm gonna make sure I turn out better than you."
    • Other random conversations have Future You admit to a drinking problem because of how much a loser they were at your level. Inversely Past You may complain about how bad your gear is still and say they're gonna get drunk.
    • It is possible to do these two quests immediately back-to-back. WoW characters are vigorously and formidably psychotic.
    • Another example is the Infinite Dragonflight, who are bronze dragons corrupted by the Old Gods after a Bad Future. Their leader is Murozond AKA Nozdormu, driven insane by being cursed to see the future up to and including his death.
  • A similar case in the fourth Final Fantasy XI expansion, Wings of the Goddess, in which Lady Lilith is an evil alternate dark future version of Lilisette and her fourth Spitewarden is you, wearing the same gear from the waist up.
  • Played with in Retro Game Challenge, where a young Shinya Arino is shocked when you go back in time and tell him about the Evil Overlord-lite he grows up to become in your era.
  • Averted in Jak II: Renegade. Old Samos and Young Samos never stop arguing, and young Jak is one of the few people to get along with older, Phlebotinum Rebel Jak.
  • Bayonetta: Cereza, Bayonetta's past self, alternates between admiring and being scared of Bayonetta depending on the situation. For her part, Bayonetta unexpectedly found herself caring after a child that mistook her for her mother and treats her with strictness. Neither of them knows who the other really is until Bayonetta finds out near the end of the game.
  • In inFamous, just before he dies, the Big Bad Kessler reveals to Cole that he's actually Cole from the future. This shocks Cole, for obvious reasons.
  • In BlazBlue, there are very few people that give the cold as ice Jin Kisaragi pause. One of them is the Knight in Shining Armor, Hakumen, who's been around for the last century or so: a being that Jin became in an alternate version of the "Groundhog Day" Loop. In another way, Ragna the Bloodedge also has this issue. He's actually one of the two components of the Black Beast, the Eldritch Abomination that destroyed half of the world in the distant past. When he's sent back in time in one of the side stories, he dies by being absorbed into it while keeping it at bay for a whole year.
  • In the first Marvel Ultimate Alliance game, Doctor Doom — in addition to being the Big Bad—is also a downloadable character or can be gotten through the Gold Edition (both exclusive to the X-Box 360). If you have the playable Doom in your party when you meet the boss Doom, it's revealed that boss Doom is from the future. As mentioned in the examples in "Comic Books", playable Doom wasn't happy with his future self.
  • In Spider-Man: Edge of Time, the Big Bad is revealed to be Peter Parker's future self, who has gone insane due to the death of all of his loved ones and the use of an anti-aging drug he used to allow himself to be alive in 2099. He planned on reshaping the universe in his own image in order to fix his past mistakes.
  • A bizarre variant occurs in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: the villain is a Raidou Kuzunoha from a post-Shin Megami Tensei II future, trying to prevent said future from coming about by turning Taisho-era Japan into a world superpower through supernatural means.
  • In Super Robot Wars Z, during the Dark History reveal, Ryoma Nagare from Getter Robo sees a fearsome machine that resembles a Getter, and a wild-eyed, ferocious version of himself who actually scares him. The prevalent fan theory was that he saw Batshit Ryoma and Shin Getter from Getter Robo Armageddon; this was confirmed when Armageddon was announced for the sequel.
  • In Tales of Maj'Eyal when playing as a time warden, your psychotic future self shows up to kill you. If he succeeds it also counts as a Grandfather Paradox.
  • Even Dr. Robotnik/Dr. Eggman gets this in Sonic Generations. Even though the two of them are working together and are collectively the game's Big Bad, Robotnik looks at Eggman's behavior with puzzlement and asks "Wow. Will I really get that crazy?" At the very end of the game when Robotnik learns that Eggman has never defeated Sonic, he gets depressed and decides to go for a teaching degree instead.
  • Played for Laughs in Yoshi's Island DS: Baby Bowser throws a tantrum upon learning that, when he grows up, he'll still be a loser wanting to take over the world.
  • In Star Trek Online, a Federation player will confront the Klingon B'Vat during the Star Trek: The Original Series era. He reveals that he met the version of himself from your time frame and is greatly embarrassed by his appearance (and expresses something like fear when wondering what could have happened to turn him into that). He asks you to go kill him, as it would probably be the most honorable thing.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2, Elle's father, Victor, is an alternate future version of Ludger. Victor turns out to have murdered all of that timeline's incarnations of Ludger's friends, used his daughter to lure Ludger to his timeline, and intends to kill Ludger and then commit murder-suicide with Elle so they can be reincarnated together in the prime dimension. "Future me scares me" is a bit of an understatement.
  • Played for Laughs in Fire Emblem: Awakening if Chrom marries Sumia. Apparently he used to/is going to call his daughter Cynthia his pega-pony-princess. Played straight with the Avatar. Of course, they do become a demonic dragon bent on destroying the world...
  • As shown in the page quote, Mortal Kombat 11 has this happen to many characters, including Kung Lao and Liu Kang. Nobody has it worse than Raiden, of course, and he does his best to ensure that Dark Raiden never comes into existence.
    Young Kung Lao: I die at the Koliseum? You on a rooftop, fighting Lord Raiden? Our future, Liu Kang... It is insane!
    Young Liu Kang: Obsessing over it will not change it.
    Young Kung Lao: Neither will accepting our destiny as evil undead warlords.
  • In Soul Calibur VI, Cassandra's Soul Chronicle has her come across Astral Chaos, and this causes her to meet the version of herself from the original timeline of I-V, now driven mad by all of the suffering she and her family went through during those games and fully Malfested. After defeating her and receiving a message about her future, she resolves to make sure that timeline never comes to pass and immediately causes divergences in the timeline.
  • The final boss of the Jedi Temple bonus level in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed can be seen as this. Starkiller has a vision in which he fights an initially masked figure, that alternates between a Sith Lord and a Jedi Knight but during the duel, he knocks the mask off revealing his own face. At the end when Starkiller exits the vision, he looks down at his left hand to see it distorted by the dark side as a disembodied voice whispers, “You’ll never escape me.” Of course, the two forms the warrior in the vision will take represent the two potential endings of the game. If Starkiller chooses to fight Darth Vader a second time instead of coming to the rescue of the rebels, he will become the masked cyborg warrior.
  • Star Wars Battlefront II (2017): If Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader end up in a cross-era match, Anakin's reaction shifts from sensing something "wrong" about his opponent, to insisting this must be some Sith trick, to utter horror as he realizes what he's looking at.
    Anakin: No. No, no, no, NO!

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Archer is the protagonist's future self. He's a legendary hero of mankind - the kind that murders average individuals or entire cities because they threaten the future of humanity. As a veteran time-assassin, he’s an abusive, anarchistic asshole who rants at his past self about how being "the good guy" screwed up his life and the lives of others, all against their will. Notably, Shirou had enough reason to be scared of/hate him even before he learns the truth.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: There's no time travel involved, but the characters have been given Laser-Guided Amnesia, reverting them to how they were just before they entered Hope's Peak. The twist at the end of the game reveals they became members of Ultimate Despair two years into their school life, and proceeded to cause the collapse of human society, plunging the world into an apocalyptic wasteland. Hinata in particular learns that his future/past self is the result of an experiment done by the Steering Committee, giving him every conceivable Ultimate Talent and getting rid of his emotions, resulting in an unfeeling genius who masterminded the events of the game out of boredom.
  • In Thousand Dollar Soul, if Future Todd insists on having some alone time with Angela, Todd can have this reaction and fight back against him. Understandable, since he's either going to peep on her while she's using the toilet, or rape her.

  • In Superosity, character Boardy (an amnesiac super-being who isn't sure if he's an alien or a robot) has met a future version of himself who is a crazy, obnoxious jerk, and a further future version who is pure unadulterated evil. He was alarmed to find out the first future him is, according to it, from a very near future, and there have been signs recently in the comic that his sense of right and wrong is beginning to slip. These are only a couple of the futures the cast has visited; Boardy always seems to be either evil or dead. He's remarked on how annoying this is.
  • Subverted in Fans!, where the present-day characters encounter their past selves, and their past selves mistake their present selves' character development as being a Face–Heel Turn. The present characters then wipe the floor with the past characters, taking advantage of everything they've learned.
  • Happens in a future arc of Coga Suro with Steve and his grimmer future self.
    Steve: I don't wanna be scarred and stubbly!
  • Narbonic parodies this with Mell's reaction to her future self. She wants to avoid that future happening not to save the world, but because she thinks that her future self looks lame with contacts.
  • Played with on multiple occasions in TRU-Life Adventures. First, upon meeting his alternate older self, Bob's disturbed most by the fact he's bald. Later, even Old Jack gets annoyed by his younger self.
  • In the fanmade online comic special The 10 Doctors, the Ninth Doctor at first refuses to believe that Ten is his future self ( "Where's Rose?"), the First Doctor has no respect for any of the others besides the tenth, Three thinks Seven and Two are complete dunces, and nobody likes Six. The First Doctor is from after he left Gallifrey but before the show actually started — not having met his first human companions, he's a little aghast to learn of his future career.
  • In the Bad Karma arc of Magellan, time-traveling superheroes come back to Magellan Island to stop two supervillains. The first-year cadets are impressed. But these time travelers are some of the main characters, just aged and tempered. Bill is horrified to meet his future self and discover chronic hair loss. Kaycee Jones finds out that her future self went Darth Vader and killed a supervillain, was discharged from the team, went rogue, had half her face burned off in a superbattle, ...
  • During the 'Surreptitious Machinations' arc of General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart encounters her future self - a ruthless empress who rules the world with an iron fist. While she IS scared by what her future shows she is capable of, her first reaction - much to Empress Trudy's annoyance - is to be horrified by how OLD she's gotten.
    Trudy: I have to start coloring my hair... and a diet, got to lose weight... plastic surgery... facelift... got to fix THESE...
  • More like "Alternate Me Scares Me", but here's Lord Tedd. Courtesy of El Goonish Shive.
  • Averted in Homestuck: Dave takes meeting his future self entirely in stride. It doesn't hurt that he gets awesome stuff from it.
    • It also helps that, contrary to the usual reasons for this trope, future Dave immediately explains himself and is willing to stand down rather than cause trouble.
    • Karkat however hates his past and future selves. Karkat is an especially ludicrous example since the time difference is usually a matter of minutes. It got to the extent that he thought he was his own kismesis. (A weird version of Troll romance based on hate).
  • Zeno of Charby the Vampirate threatens to kill himself to protect his friends from the spirit possessing him that believes itself to be his future self. It turns out to be his past alternate self from another timeline, but still a grade-A jerk.
  • This kid.
  • In a sort The Legend of Spyro fan comic, Cynder's Final Battle? presents a situation where it turns out Spyro's evil future self is really the Dark Master come back in time needless to say Spyro doesn't take this well.
  • In the "younger self" comics in Hark! A Vagrant, Kate's younger self is very unimpressed with her.
  • A strip of GastroPhobia decides to make the feeling mutual and combines this trope with I Hate Past Me. After Philia finding out that everything was gonna turn out ah-okay, she is kind of upset about her future self not telling her sooner.
    Philia-from-the-Future: [thoughts] Gods I hate myself.
  • In Tower of God, "Hidden Floor", the main characters encounter the "data" versions of young Jahad and Khun Edahn in a virtual world. Both have become Physical Gods and rulers of the Tower in the outside world, Jahad being the King of the Tower, and have also become rather nastier than their younger selves. Jahad's data reveals that when he met his God-Emperor self, he was weirded out by how he was no longer a Thrill Seeker like he was when younger, but rather sought to secure his power absolutely; he even sends The Hero out to grow more powerful and fight the present Jahad so that he may experience adventure again. Meanwhile, Khun Edahn wonders out loud just what happened to the two of them and the rest of their companions to make them the way he's heard they have become.

    Web Original 
  • Classic Amy is shown to be less than pleased with her modern self in this CRYOCH Machine animation.
  • Glove and Boots: In their "10 Reasons Why Time Travel is No Good" the first reason they give is that you can meet yourself. Mario demonstrates by time travelling and meeting his past self and future self.
    Present Mario looks at his future self
    Present Mario: Oh, man! I'm gonna look like crap!
    Future Mario: This is the worst!
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's Grand Finale review of Scooby-Doo, his younger self gets grossed out when he catches a glimpse of his present self's sexual tastes.
    Past Critic: Do I have to become you?
  • This is the twist in the Creepypasta "The Tundra".
  • In Bravest Warriors, Chris's future self is. . . crazy. He's an Emotion Lord that can travel through time. Chris is also not pleased to figure out that he's going to be bald in the future. Chris thinks that he is a Future Loser, and Future Chris is hurt by this.
  • Subverted in Journeyquest. One of the rooms in the Temple of Select Dooms contains a moment from Glorion's childhood. His childhood self is initially horrified by his future actions until Glorion gives him a sword, points him at their childhood tormentor and tells him to aim for the knees.
  • In Tribe Twelve, Noah has run into several different future versions of himself, one of which being an insane psychopath who cuts Present Noah's hand open with a knife in the video Sisyphus, and the other one being a "scary god demon", in Noah's words.
  • Parodied in one Danny Gonzalez Vine, where the only issue is that Future Danny has gotten uglier.

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10:
  • Something similar happens in the second future Jade episode of Jackie Chan Adventures with a one-off character; Jimmy grows up to be evil, but Jade changes this by bringing his past self, who is horrified to see what he'll grow up to be and helps defeat him. In the first future Jade episode, it happened with Jade herself. Both episodes offer a different version of Jade, the first being a badass and the other punished for being too much of a badass.
  • Taken to extremes in the second Made-for-TV Movie of Danny Phantom, where the eponymous boy travels 10 years into the future and finds that his future self has turned into the biggest and baddest of all Ghosts, who also happens to be a mass-murdering psychopath more than willing to kill his own family in order to preserve his existence.
    • "Dark Danny", after original Danny's family dies, he goes to Vlad, the only one who could understand him. Vlad then separates Ghost Danny from his human half, somehow keeping all the compassion and whatnot in Human Danny. Ghost Danny then rips Ghost Vlad from Human Vlad and combines with him, then kills Human Danny and goes on a rampage that lasts ten years!
  • Gargoyles:
    • Demona uses the Phoenix Gate to return to the past, where she tries to convince her younger self to Kill All Humans before the gargoyles are sealed. Young Demona is horrified and cries out, "And I do not wish to be you!" However, it turns out that using the Phoenix Gate for time travel results in You Already Changed the Past, so your trip is part of the past and thus has always happened. Present Demona even states that she remembers being on the other side of that conversation, and realizes at the end of the episode that she had doomed herself.
    • A variant is the episode "Future Tense," where Goliath has a horrifying vision of a future dystopic Manhattan about to be put under the control of an older, megalomaniacal Lexington. Fortunately, the whole thing was just an illusion, and series creator, Greg Weisman, has stated that he is safe from turning into that in the true future, however his clone, Brentwood is liable to go that way instead.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are disappointed by their elderly selves in an episode of the first animated series.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory Made-for-TV Movie "Ego Trip" involved a weak, wimpy future Dexter that the present Dexter is greatly disappointed by. Later in the future, though, he finds that he transforms into a Future Badass — but then degenerates into a feeble, senile old man, albeit one revered by the entire world. (Interestingly, we actually get to see the point of badassification.) Of course, the whole reason Old Dexter is so revered is due to Badass Dexter having saved the entire world! He lost his muscle-clad Action Hero physique because it wasn't needed anymore in the scientific Utopia he created.
  • In the fourth season of ReBoot, Enzo (who grew up into the Darker and Edgier Matrix in season 3) has a younger version of himself restored from a backup. At first, Little Enzo looks up to Matrix and wants to be just like him, while Matrix is irritated by Enzo as a reminder of how weak and naive he used to be. As time goes on, Enzo despises Matrix for the bitter and cynical Anti-Hero he's turned into, and Matrix realizes how much he has strayed from his more idealistic youth.
  • Although it was technically a Mirror Universe when Coop meets his alternate self in the last episode of Megas XLR, it's still a dimension a decade or two in the future relative to his own — and Coop is a tyrannical (and muscular) despot. However, the regular Coop is unconcerned about turning into him — maybe just a little too much so.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy is shocked to find that his future self is not a renowned scientist as he had hoped, but a stay-at-home slacker who, worst of all, is married to Cindy! Of course, this is because he accidentally changed the timeline to create a dystopia.
  • In Rick and Morty, Rick unwillingly teams up with a memory of his younger self during a Journey to the Center of the Mind and the two constantly trade verbal barbs with one another as his younger self is put off by what a pessimistic old crank he becomes, while his current self looks down on his past idealism. His past self is also disgusted by his usage of Replacement Goldfish for his family, and when Rick offers him a chance to exist in the real world Memory Rick is so disturbed by the thought of eventually becoming like the real one he turns it down.
  • In the Family Guy movie, Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, Stewie visits his future self and finds that he has become a lame momma's boy.
  • When Batman and a few Leaguers end up in the future on Justice League, it's discovered that the only thing more brooding and scary than Batman is an aged, cane-wielding, cruel Bruce Wayne. (The same one seen in Batman Beyond, in fact.)
    • A variation shows up in another episode after the League meet their Alternate Universe counterparts, the Justice Lords, who took over the world and rule it with an iron fist. The Leaguers are unnerved, but take down the Lords and don’t give the incident much thought — but the rest of their world is terrified when they find out, and the US government starts to take action to destroy their world's version. This ultimately ends as up the focus of Justice League Unlimited's second-season arc.
  • The South Park episode "My Future Self 'n' Me" is based on this trope. Several of the kids are visited by their future selves, and they all happen to be drug-addicted unemployed losers. It turns out that they are actually actors hired by the kids' parents to scare them away from ever doing drugs. Ironically, at the end of the episode, Cartman learns An Aesop and vows to clean up his act, lose weight, and be nicer to people. Then a man in a suit approaches him claiming to be Future Cartman, congratulating him on making this decision and telling him that because of it, he will be much happier and grow up to become a very successful CEO of his own time travel business. Present-day Cartman thinks this is just another actor and, in a fit of pure anger and spite, immediately vows to act even worse than he did before, then storms off. Future Cartman then transforms into a fat, grease-stained auto mechanic, and curses the fact that he just screwed himself over by bothering to go to the past in the first place.
  • In an episode of Duckman, Duckman meets his future self, who warns him not to go to his sons' science show, telling him something bad will happen. Then another future version of him appears and tells him something bad will happen if he doesn't go. This happens several times, back and forth, until finally, he's afraid to do anything. Inverted when a past self drops in - namely, the version from his wedding day, asking if he's making the right decision by marrying Beatrice.
  • An inversion is done in Static Shock when Static is sent to the future by mistake. After hearing so much about how responsible and powerful his future self is, he begins to feel rather inadequate. Until he manages to save the day and win approval and all.
  • One episode of the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series has Donatello be transported to the future, where the Shredder has taken over. It's more "My Future Brothers Scare Me", especially when he sees that Mikey, laid-back and sweet in the present, is a badass with several mechanical limbs. One episode of the Fast Forward season has a future journal suggesting that robot butler Serling might be Donatello's future self. Donnie and his brothers are grossed out by the idea. Fortunately, the journal is a fake set to discourage the turtles from trying to learn too much about the future.
  • Teen Titans: Averted in a fairly typical Bad Future episode. While all the Titans (except Starfire) have fallen into decay (much to the dismay of their past counterparts when Starfire recounts her solo adventure), Robin is fairly pleased with his future (unlike Beast Boy, who is upset when he finds out he's going to go bald).
    Robin: So... "Nightwing", huh?
  • American Dad! had an episode where a cyborg Stan came back from 1000 years in the future to steal Francine from his past self. He first tries to do so by making Stan look like an (even worse) Jerkass, but when Stan realizes what he's doing, Cyborg Stan decides to just plain abduct Francine, and ends up getting thrown into the world's largest hot chocolate, yielding the immortal line "You choc-blocked me!" The "scares" part comes along when Stan hears his future self talk and realizes he's speaking in a strange mix of Mexican and Canadian accents. Future!Stan reveals that Mexico and Canada have annexed the US at some point in the future. Given Stan's "red-blooded American" personality, this probably horrifies him most of all.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle encounters a future version of herself with a messy mane, torn unitard, bandanna, eyepatch, and even a scar. The future self has no time to explain the events that caused her to be this way beforenote , so Twilight becomes obsessed with figuring out what's going to happen. Eventually, through her attempts, she ends up resembling the future self and realizes that there's no apocalypse at all. Then she tries to go back in time and tell herself to not worry, but this causes her past self to become obsessed in the first place.
  • Young Justice: Blue Beetle learns from Impulse that he would be the vanguard to the Reach's invasion, where he becomes a super-muscular version of Black Beetle.
  • The Secret Saturdays: This is Zak's reaction to the visions of the Bad Future Tsun 'Kalu shows him in "The Return of Tsun 'Kalu".
  • Downplayed in Steven Universe. In "Steven and the Stevens", Steven finds a time-travel relic on a mission, and collects enough alternate versions of himself to start his own band. "Steven-1" is elected leader, but becomes so bossy that the other three rebel. A battle across time ensues, drawing in more and more Stevens, until they eventually show up at the beginning of the episode when "Steven-0" was getting the relic. This Steven is so freaked out by his bullying future selves that Steven-1 has a Heel Realization and smashes the relic, erasing himself and the other time-clones from existence.
  • A case of this happens in The Simpsons Halloween segment "Bart and Homer's Excellent Adventure". Bart travels back to when Homer was in high school and keeps him from marrying Marge. Younger Homer follows him back to the present, where he meets his adult self and is clearly not pleased by what he sees.
    "I gotta ask. What happened? Was I in a forest fire or something?"
  • In the 3-2-1 Penguins! episode "Wise Guys", Zidgel gets scared of his future self and avoids him due to him becoming fat, bald, and toothless.
  • In the Wacky Races (2017) episode "Race Against Time", some racers meet their respective future selves and don't like what they see.
    • Peter Perfect is okay with his future self until he finds out the latter is bald and refuses to wear a wig to hide it. After giving up to convince his future self to wear it, Peter puts it on and vows never to take it off so it'll appear on Future!Peter's head. The plan works but Future!Peter becomes a fat slob, making Peter afraid people in the future never heard of sit-ups.
    • Dick Dastardly is upset that his future self forgot the fun of cheating.
    • Penelope's future self is afraid of racing or doing anything else that's exciting.
    • Bela's future self lost his sanity.
  • Although technically an illusion rather than her true future self, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy movie "Big Boogey Adventure" has Mandy confront a vision of her future self as her worst fear. Future Mandy is a plump, happy and friendly woman who has gotten together with (a much more handsome) Irwin. Upon seeing the two kiss, Mandy screams and runs away.
  • In the Mortis Arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Anakin receives a vision of his future as Darth Vader, along with all the pain, misery, and destruction he would cause. He takes it... badly. (Un?)Fortunately he has all memory of it erased from his mind not long after, and before he has a chance to act on it or tell anyone.


Video Example(s):


Glove and Boots

"Oh man! I'm going to look like crap!"

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / FutureMeScaresMe

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