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Meet Your Early-Installment Weirdness

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See the differences?
2003 Garfield: How did I see out of those itty-bitty eyes?
1978 Garfield: First explain how you stand on those two spindly legs.

Sometimes, especially if a franchise is a Long Runner or is about to have a Milestone Celebration, the creators might find it fun to do an episode or TV special in which the newer versions of the characters meet their past selves, before their Art Evolution or Character Development took place. This is usually accomplished either through Time Travel if the franchise all takes place in one timeline or if the franchise is made up of several different continuities then it will be stated that the past selves will be from an Alternate Universe.

This will usually be handled one of two ways; the show might view the old incarnation of the characters with a level of respect and maybe with only a few tongue-in-cheek jokes at their expense (with the older versions of the characters having some critiques of their own), or it can go into full-on Self-Deprecation, poking fun at how "bad" the show used to be and Flanderizing the earlier versions, sometimes to the level of Shallow Parody. No matter how even-handed the trope is played, though, it will rarely if ever make the old incarnation of the franchise look outright better than the new (after all the new one is more in the selling game).

The second type is more likely when a different writer is handling the newer installments of the franchise, though having it be used as an outlet for Creator Backlash by the same creator is also possible. As such, use of this trope may either bring fans of all incarnations of the franchise together and be a celebration of the franchise as a whole, or it could just entertain new fans while alienating older fans.

Related to Era-Specific Personality, Art Evolution, Retraux, and (of course) Early-Installment Weirdness. Future Me Scares Me, I Hate Past Me and Other Me Annoys Me may also come into use. Compare Revisiting the Roots, Back to the Early Installment.


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    Comic Books 
  • During the Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! Crisis Crossover, Alfred Pennyworth and Robin have to contend with the Bumbling Sidekick Defective Detective version of Alfred from The Golden Age of Comic Books.
  • This was the point of the Justice League of America/Justice Society of America crossovers in general. One of them, in issues 91-92 of the Silver Age JLA series, deliberately paired the Silver and Golden Age counterparts up to emphasize the differences between them.
  • A few issues of Archie Comics have Archie and his pals (2008s versions) run into the 1950s versions of themselves while walking down "Memory Lane".
  • During the Avengers/Invaders crossover (Marvel's World War II and modern hero teams) Namor the Sub-Mariner was the only guy who was alive for both of them (the Steve Rogers Captain America was dead at this time). Modern Namor is a little annoyed at his younger counterpart, who is brash and hotheaded.
  • The cover of one collection of the early issues of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) has the three different versions of Sally Acorn (her regular appearance, her orange furred – blonde haired appearance from the pilot mini-series, and her pink furred – black haired appearance from the early issues) staring at each other in confusion.
  • In the earliest issues of Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm a.k.a. The Thing was lumpy and scaly, entirely humorless, and spoke in a slightly elevated tone reminiscent of Frankenstein's monster. In the fiftieth issue of the Thing-centric team-up comic Marvel Two-in-One, the rocky, Noo Yawky, Deadpan Snarker we all know and love traveled back in time to meet his earlier self. He also undid the earlier Thing's transformation, but this turned out to be a separate timeline so he was unaffected in the present. The consequences of Ben doing this, especially regarding the outcome of The Coming of Galactus, were explored in the hundredth issue.
  • Issue 184 of Wonder Woman Vol 2 has the classic and modern versions of Wonder Woman staring at one another in shock on the cover. (The actual story is Diana travelling back to World War II and meeting the version of Hipolyta who had previously travelled back to World War II and became the Post-Crisis Golden Age Wonder Woman, without the clash of styles implied by the cover.)
  • An issue of the Genis-Vell version of Captain Marvel involved Rick Jones encountering his young self from his very first appearance in The Incredible Hulk. Not only is he still an irresponsible kid (since he hasn't learned his lesson from getting poor Bruce hit by the Gamma Bomb yet), but he's drawn with his early 1960's clothes and hairstyle, making him look like a complete dork. Naturally, present day Rick can't stand him.
  • The Ultron Forever miniseries featured a number of characters being plucked from across time to resolve a threat, of which one was the Hulk - specifically, the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk (1962). As a result, he has a lot of the signature elements of Hulk in those days; his design is noticeably simian, he's a fair bit more articulate (about on the level of a Lower-Class Lout), he's not as mountain-smashingly powerful, and he suffers from odd mutations as a result of having used an experimental ray to switch back and forth between the two identities.
  • In one issue of the Animaniacs comic book, the Warner siblings hold a seance to summon the "spirit of old comedy", and end up bringing their old, silent, black-and-white selves from 1929 into the present. (Although, unlike most examples, those "early installments" don't really exist.)
  • Occurs sometimes in Monica's Gang. Some examples are when Franklin switched places Present Day Monica with the 1960's Jimmy, or when Jimmy and Smudge used a magical pencil, and even when they tried to make Monica's parents never met.
  • In the Mighty Mouse parody of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the role of Golden Age Superman is taken by Supermouse, the Silent Protagonist proto-Mighty Mouse who appeared in seven cartoons before being reworked into the more familiar version.
  • The third Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover has the IDW Turtles and Rebirth Batman needing to break away their Merged Reality and respectively rescue the Mirage Turtles and Golden Age Batman from Krang, a task that's instigated by the Mirage Raphael's miraculous escape from the latter.
  • Spider-Man: One issue of Spider-Verse has Miles Morales travel to the reality of Spider-Man (1967) with the Peter Parker of Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), which at the time was the current cartoon, allowing the two different animated Spider-Men to meet. 2012 Spidey can't even hide his laughter when 1967 Spidey mentions his villain Dr. Noah Boddy has escaped and in general seems to find the 1967 reality amusing. 1967 Spidey meanwhile finds his 2012 counterpart annoying and like Miles is baffled by his fourth wall breaking comments. Neither is especially impressed by how the other dresses either.
  • A story in Adventures of Superman involved a righteous old journalist friend of Clark's writing a novel about a "Champion of the Oppressed" based on Superman. Inexplicably his character comes to life, depicted like Superman in his Silver Age appearance with a desaturated, flatly shaded appearance like an old comic strip, described by witnesses as resembling a circus strongman. Having the same heedlessly destructive attitude while fighting injustice with extreme prejudice as that era's Superman, he attracts military intervention while Clark, characterized as a pacifist trying to minimize collateral damage in his current arc, tries to talk him peaceably after persuading his author to delete the draft novel that manifested him.
  • Supergirl volume four has the second Post Crisis Supergirl Linda Danvers meet the original Silver Age Supergirl Kara Zor-El, whose very presence is the result of a Cosmic Flaw. The Spectre tries to send Kara back to Crisis on Infinite Earths to die like she's supposed to but Linda Danverse switches places with Kara, believing the more optimistic Supergirl to be more deserving of life. The Spectre isn't fooled though and when it comes time for Linda to die switches her and Kara back.

    Comic Strips 
  • A joke comic strip was published in an issue of Wizard Magazine featuring the Super Friends teaming up with their modern Justice League of America comic counterparts.
  • Done in the 25th anniversary strip of FoxTrot as well, with Peter and Jason looking at scans of 1988 strips and commenting on how weird they look.
  • Funky Winkerbean: Part of a story arc involving the title character being seriously injured in a car accident (caused by a woman talking on a cell phone while driving). While unconscious, Funky had a dream where he was taken back to 1980, where he interacts with the teen-aged versions of himself, Crazy Harry and Holly Budd. The flashback ends when he regains consciousness in the present day.
  • The old version of Garfield (which, unlike the newer model, actually was fat, had small beady eyes, and walked like a cat) met the newer one during the strip's 25th anniversary, which allow them to indulge in some Lampshade Hanging.
  • One strip of Luann had Luann, Delta, and Bernice commenting on how juvenile several new freshmen looked, unaware that those three freshmen looked exactly like their earliest designs.
  • Alley Oop did a storyline where Alley's "no good cousin" Early Oop (who looks like Alley before any of his Art Evolution) shows up and starts making trouble for Alley by impersonating him. All the more frustrating for Alley because he can't see why everyone says they look alike.

    Fan Works 
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC has Superman and Batman briefly turn into their Super Friends/Silver Age selves. They were a lot nicer to each other and had a lot of Ho Yay (but counteracted with blatant Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? -ing). While it scared Spider-Man and annoyed Batman, Superman found himself wistful.
  • In episode 56 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Yugi and his friends get trapped in their memories and have to relive the first episode. They comment on how bad the audio is and how what they're saying doesn't match their mouth movements, plus their out-dated jokes.
  • One My Little Pony Meets video involved the Scootaloo from generation 3.5 of MLP. Sure enough, nopony distinguishes G3.5 Scootaloo from G4 Scootaloo, causing her to take the blame for what her older counterpart did. Spider-man meets My Little Pony ends with 60s Spider-Man (the focus of the video) meeting 2012 Spider-Man, who gets promptly beaten up.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld tale Gap Year Adventures, an older, wiser, and more mellow Johanna Smith-Rhodes is talking to a recent Assassins' School graduate who has come to realise what an idiot he was at school. She describes a girl arriving in Ankh-Morpork from Rimwards Howondaland when she wasn't even twenty, who was an attitudinal bumptious idiot with a lot to learn, a complete pielkop and something of a bliksem, who was hard to love, and who was really hard work for the people around her, who nevertheless straightened her out and helped her get a completely different outlook on life.note 
    I often wonder what would have happened to that young idiot, if she hadn't changed.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Direct-to-Video film Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans involves the Titans crossing over with their 2003 incarnations, pitting them against each other until they have to settle their differences to defeat the 2003 and 2013 versions of Trigon. Except for the two versions of Robin, the Titans eventually come to admire their counterparts and accept their similarities and differences. The main conflict derives from the fact that the 2003 Titans consider their 2013 selves silly and jerks with Robin mockingly calling his counterpart "Bobblehead Robin", while the 2013 versions feel a desire to prove themselves as heroes and find their counterparts to be somewhat arrogant. This leads to the 2013 versions being happy when they encounter the even more childish Titans of Tiny Titans and the incredibly serious Titans of the DC Animated Movie Universe, which to them counts as proof that their aren't the baby Titans and their counterparts aren't as cool and serious as they think they are.
  • In Turtles Forever, the 2003 Ninja Turtles meet the (somewhat exaggerated) 1987 Turtles, and later, the Mirage Comics Turtles as they were in the very first issue of the comic, which was grim-n-gritty taken so far past eleven that it loops around to parodynote. The 2003 Turtles find their 1987 counterparts to be annoying and childish though eventually they accept them as brothers, but ironically find that their Mirage selves consider them to be sellouts and aren't really impressed with either of their counterparts which disappoints 2003 Raphael who found himself enjoying the Mirage world.
  • The 2001 Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase had the gang encounter digitized versions of themselves from back in the 70s. Though since Shaggy had long reverted to his original green shirt and brown pants, his digital counterpart had his 80s red shirt and blue jeans instead. The two versions of Daphne aren't sure about each other's fashion choices ("Did I really wear that years ago?" "That jacket with that skirt?"), but New Fred likes Old Fred's ascot.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox sees Artemis returns to the past and encounter his younger, less nuanced self. Although his younger self is actually two years younger than the first book. Nevertheless, he does show elements of first-book Artemis that later Artemis has outgrown, namely being evil and much more smug.
  • In an illustration for The Road to Oz, John R. Neill lampshades how different his drawings of Dorothy and Toto are from W. W. Denslow's by showing them examining a statue of their earlier selves in the Tin Woodman's garden: see it here.
  • In the modern Land of Oz book Paradox in Oz, while time traveling, Princess Ozma meets her past self Tip, from back when she was magically disguised as a boy and didn't know herself that she was actually female, as seen in The Marvelous Land of Oz. She decides to put the idea in his head to run away from the witch Mombi, his caretaker.
  • The cover of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Arthur's Nose, the very first Arthur book by Marc Brown, shows the modern Arthur reading the book's original edition—and reacting with shock upon seeing his original incarnation, who was a much more realistic aardvark with a long, protruding nose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) features characters from the Arrowverse series of shows encountering characters from other DC live-action properties, including alternate versions of themselves. The 2014 Flash meets his counterpart from the 1990 show, which is somewhat odd considering his 90s self is played by the same actor who plays his father, while the Superman from Supergirl (2015) meets the versions of him from Smallville and Superman Returns with the latter looking like another superhero called the Atom who he meets. Since the entire multiverse is in danger the characters don't spent a massive amount of time together, but the physical differences between all the characters is noted.
  • Doctor Who:
    • This trope is in play any time two incarnations of the Doctor meet each other since often the show goes through Retool with each regeneration.
      The First Doctor: So, these are my replacements. A dandy and a clown.
    • This is also brought up in "School Reunion", when Rose meets former companion Sarah Jane, and comments that K9 "looks a bit disco".
    • The "round things" in the War Doctor's TARDIS are mentioned with amusement from the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, who don't remember what they're even for (a later episode reveals that the First Doctor kept some brandy behind one).
    • Both the game "The Eternity Clock" and the episode "The Name of the Doctor" contain Eleventh Doctor companions talking to the First Doctor, Edwardian clothes and granddaughter and all. River in "The Eternity Clock" makes fun of the Doctor's frequent line flubbing and is (understandably) disconcerted by the idea of him having a grandchild, and Claranote  in "The Name of the Doctor" more affectionately steers him onto his present road.
    • "Twice Upon A Time" makes a point of how the First Doctor still insists on calling his TARDIS a ship, and how he hasn't yet come to see himself as a full-time protector of the Earth. He also calls the sonic screwdriver a "ridiculous buzzing toy", and is bewildered by his future self's tendency to make dramatic speeches about how unstoppable he is. The Twelfth Doctor is also deeply embarrassed by his past self's casual sexism (which was exaggerated a couple of notches for the story), though he is also impressed by how the First Doctor's more calm approach to problems means he notices things the Revival era Doctors would miss.
    • In the Big Finish audio drama "The Wrong Doctors", an Older and Wiser version of the Sixth Doctor, who's already undergone massive Character Development, is forced to interact with his far more aggressive and loquacious past self due as they must work together to get to the bottom of a time paradox involving his companion Mel. In fact, due to a momentary lapse of forgetfulness, the younger Six doesn't believe the other Doctor really is him until confronted with evidence in the form of telepathic contact.
    • "Time Crash" shows the Fifth and Tenth Doctors meeting, and calls out the differences between the Classic era of the show during the early 80s and the Revival era. While happy to meet him Ten is somewhat embarrassed by Five's clothes and also notes how he abandoned the sonic screwdriver during this time, while in contrast the Fifth Doctor finds Ten's constant running about annoying and dislikes the modern TARDIS interior. The different music is also contrasted as well as the tone, with Five speaking rather dramatically while having a more electronic sountrack played until Ten casually interrupts both by revealing that the TARDIS exploding will simply create a hole the size of Belgium which Five finds underwhelming which reflects the Revival era's more casual and at times even humorous approach to time paradoxes unlike the Classic era.
  • In the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode "The End Of The Beginning", a powerful stone sends Hercules and Autolycus back in time a few years. While Herc has his own adventure to worry about, Autolycus encounters his own past-self. The experience is less than thrilling for either one of them.
    Past Autolycus: Oh, you know what? You're pathetic. You're cynical, cautious. What happens to me that turns me into you?
    Present Autolycus: Y'know, it's a wonder that I ever survived my reckless youth to become the master knave that I am.
  • The inherent problem with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is that the Gokaigers were going to, at some point, have to turn into the older Super Sentai teams. The suits have not aged well at all, both in a literal sense (some looked like they were going to fall apart) and in a design sense, particularly the human-looking suits from Battle Fever J.
    • Though the costumes have been remade, they were spot-on remakings with better materials, though, instead of "modernized" suits. The pre-spandex suits hang looser, and the helmets that originally had visible eyeholes or latches still do. The bizarre attacks some of the early teams have are used as well. The very first episode gives us a Goranger Hurricane, which involved kicking a(n American) football between the team members, the final member sending it at the opponent, whereupon it would transform into something (wacky) that the opponent hates.
  • Kamen Rider
    • Whenever Shocker, the first evil organization of the franchise, reappears in the recent crossover movies, they almost always use the same monster designs that appeared in the original series. This results in modern looking heroes fighting against ridiculously designed and unconvincing monsters.
    • In an interesting twist, Kamen Rider Decade has the villains get remade (most obviously, the new Ten-Faced Demon looks much more Mayincatec), but for the heroes, we get faithful reproductions of the old suits instead of updates like Kamen Rider: The First or Kamen Rider: The Next. Kamen Rider Stronger still has his highly visible eyeholes and overall poofier design, and Riderman's mask still doesn't cover his whole face. No changes are made to bring some of the more un-riderly-looking old-school heroes in line with what a Rider "should" look like.
      • There's one exception (and there were nearly two): The Grand Finale movie features an alternate version of Electro-Wave Human Tackle who wears a fully modernized version of the classic costume. The same thing almost happened to Riderman in All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker, but the suit wasn't completed in time, so instead he appears in his civilian identity (albeit played by GACKT) while the classic suit appears in the final battle.
    • Kamen Rider 1 plays with this trope by pitting the original Shocker, complete with their old monster designs, against a modernized offshoot of them, called Nova Shocker. The original Shocker is portrayed as a simple organization of Card Carrying Villains, openly fighting against the good guys with not much else in terms of plans, referencing how the villains operated in the early days of the franchise. Nova Shocker, on the other hand, disguise themselves as a legitimate company and use a convoluted hidden scheme to get what they want, which is how most of the villains of the modern Heisei generation of Kamen Rider operate.
  • Star Trek:
    • "All Good Things...", the finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation, has Picard drifting through past, present and future timelines. The first brings him back to the show's pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint", and recreates the show's first season and its peculiarities — a nerdier Data, no one character established as the chief engineer, a clip of a clean-shaven Riker, and Troi's cheerleader-like hairstyle and uniform — with uncanny precision (except that past Worf doesn't have his completely different forehead ridges, which is understandable given that the entire reason the ridge was changed was because the original piece went missing). Picard even mistakenly orders past Worf to conduct a security scan, even though Tasha Yar was Chief of Security during much of season 1.
    • The same goes for other flashback situations. You won't be able to tell the archival footage from the new footage in Deep Space 9's "Trials and Tribble-ations", and the TOS-era ship seen in Enterprise's "In a Mirror Darkly" is also faithfully TOS. Original Trek is very Zeerust-affected, with its bright primary colors and blinking lights and high-pitched noises coming from everything, and never fails to clash with later interpretations, but the Trek producers know that when you want your original Trek back, you want your original Trek back. (For "Trials and Tribble-ations", the production team went so far as to use 1960s film stock because the color saturation properties were different!) "Trials and Tribble-ations" also does this trope straight with Worf (late continuity ridge-head Klingon) acknowledging Original Series Trek Era Klingons (a bunch of guys with swarthy makeup, shaggy hair and mustaches, and bubble-wrap belt-buckles). "Yes, they are Klingons... It is not something we discuss with outsiders."
    • The 2009 movie gets away with modernizing things because it's an Alternate Continuity; blame Nero for everything! Yet even it has the old-school uniforms, with relatively minor changes and/or updates.
    • Enterprise also played with this trope with respect to the Klingons. While they had used the ridge-head design as was used in TNG onwards, they did have one episode attempt to explain the original Klingons and thereby suggest that both types were a consistent part of continuity. So there were 'modern' Klingons (technically from before TOS) sharing an episode with Klingons whose descendants would be the type from TOS (not that many were actually shown). The short version is, the Klingons tried making Khan-style supermen and accidentally caused a virus; those afflicted and their descendants lost their ridges. However, reconstructive surgery is a thing (hence specific TOS Klingons having the modern Klingon look in later appearances.)
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has one episode where the gang tries to recreate the events of very early episodes in the series. Charlie gets confused when the plot requires Mac to be interested in having sex with female strippers, since he's an Armored Closet Gay. He then recalls that Mac was still interested in women back then.

  • Post-Punk band Magazine reformed in the 21st century, and one of their new songs, "Of Course Howard (1979)", incorporated some text written by lead singer Howard Devoto during their earlier period of operation. Devoto maybe gets a little ironic at his younger self — but the younger Devoto was quite capable of irony himself.
  • A never-released video for his 1999 song "The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell" would have shown David Bowie encountering his previous personae. The idea was later revisited in a bottled water commercial of all things, which revealed that they all lived with him in New York. Including the Diamond Dog. Two of the persona puppets from the "Pretty Things" video would later appear in Bowie's 2013 video for "Love is Lost".
  • The video for Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" shows scenes with multiple Taylors from public appearances and music videos, from her earliest country music days until the 1989 era, along with many guises she assumes in the LWYMMD video. In the end, they are all arguing and sniping at each other.
  • Eminem occasionally likes to dredge up one of his old characters to reference the past or mock them.
    • Eminem's revived some of his old characters in his music videos, most prominently for Continuity Porn in "The Monster", which ends with the middle-aged Eminem finding the young Slim Shady locked up in a cage in a Journey to the Center of the Mind. In the video for "Godzilla", he swats aside the straitjacketed Slim Shady from "My Name Is". The video for "Gnat" has him reprise his The Host character from "My Name Is", now being attacked by weird bats.
    • The trailer for the 2022 Super Bowl Half Time Show showed the modern Eminem Battle Rapping with the 26-year-old Slim Shady.
    • The song "Jimmy, Brian and Mike" is based on a song from 2000 that Eminem made demos of but never finished. It's introduced by a verse from the modern Eminem, until the old Slim Shady shows up to hijack proceedings.

    Print Media 
  • Parodied in MAD with a review for the fictitious graphic novel Batman: When Worlds Contrive. The story features the Dark Age's Batman and the Golden Age's Robin fighting against the Silver Age's Penguin. MAD called it a "rurdosk."
    MAD: "Rurdosk" is a phony slang word we just made up, and it means you can kiss continuity goodbye.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • During his title shot against Jeff Jarrett at WCW Halloween Havoc 2000, Sting was attacked by past incarnations of himself.
  • There were certain elements of this in a 2006 WWE storyline in which Kane feuded with someone that dressed and acted just like he did when he first debuted in 1997, even down to performing his moves and displaying the same mannerisms. The storyline wasn't given much conclusion though, after Kane defeated him and took back the mask that the imposter wore.
  • John Morrison dislikes his old Johnny Nitro persona so much he traveled back in time on The Dirt Sheet to mock him.

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Generations has the current Sonic, Tails and Eggman bumping into the versions of themselves from the 16-bit era. Classic Tails and Eggman can talk, but classic Sonic is The Voiceless unlike modern Sonic who is fully voiced. Classic Sonic also lacks some of the abilities that modern Sonic has that modern players would normally expect, such as the air dash.
    • This happens again to a lesser degree in Sonic Forces and some spin-offs.
  • It occurs in this promotional art for the Mickey Mouse game Mickey Mania. In the actual game, each level is an older Mickey cartoon, and modern Mickey meets his older self in each one.
  • Kingdom Hearts II: The game does this between the classic and modern incarnations of Pete in the stage based on Steamboat Willie. Although it's more "Meet Your Mentor/Leader's Early Installment Weirdness". It also has an interesting boss battle where you fight modern Pete... with the aid of Steamboat Willie's Pete.
  • In Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers, Roger does some time travelling, and part of the game is set during the first Space Quest game, with everything except Roger depicted in the original more primitive graphics.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush can walk into the sea and into an underwater scene from The Secret of Monkey Island in which Guybrush has drowned. This is possible to do in the original game but most players never saw it because it required waiting there for 10 minutes. Guybrush wants to get out of there pretty quickly due to it being a paradox.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 has Mario/Luigi occasionally visit planets shaped like 8-bit versions of themselves.
    • In Super Mario RPG, there's a room in Booster Tower where walking behind a curtain turns Mario into his 8-bit self, and Paper Mario pulls the same gag with a pot in a haunted house. Then there's Super Paper Mario, which includes a powerup that transforms Mario into an enormous 8-bit sprite rampaging through the level. That last one also works for the rest of the party and their NES sprites, which looks very strange for Peach given that her NES sprite does not have any walking animations. As if that wasn't enough, on one occasion you will find this powerup, but a Koopa Troopa will grab it before you, reverting to an enormous 8-bit version of itself who then tries to chase you down.
    • In Super Mario Odyssey, one of the unlockable outfits turns gives Mario the blocky, polygonal look he had in Super Mario 64, and, when worn, allows Mario to access the castle's courtyard from the same game, similarly rendered in its Nintendo 64 style. A later update also added the 8-Bit Mario Cap, which transforms Mario into a static, floating, 3D representation of his classic NES sprite posed identically to 30th Anniversary Mario amiibo.
    • Super Mario Maker lets you use the styles of several games, including the original, reverting things to design styles not seen since the beginning. Even Super Mario Odyssey's 2D-mode sections have him in his modern, tweaked colors, but this will give the old red overalls with brown sleeves, as well as the original less-stylized mushroom.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations essentially touts this as a selling point. The game has a majority of the characters of Naruto Shippuden "meet" their younger versions of themselves from Part 1 of Naruto (pre-Shippuden). However, Young Naruto and Modern Naruto don't really meet aside from the introductory video, promotional artwork, and the multiplayer mode.
  • Max Payne:
    • In Max Payne 2, where Max's appearance is based on Timothy Gibbs rather than lead writer Sam Lake, Max can be heard rambling during a dream sequence that "I didn't used to look like this!"
    • Much fun is had with Max's "constipated" expression from the first game.note  The third game involves Max seeing a TV report about his recent exploits, including a facial composite... that comes out as a dead ringer for his "old" face. He is less than pleased.
      Max: Oh Jesus, look at that...
  • The Simpsons Game has the current game's Simpsons meet 8-bit versions of themselves. The early Bart and Homer are confused by the lack of lives and high scores, and both sets of Simpsons are uneasy about their present/future obsolescence.
  • Occurs in Super Robot Wars Z where Super Dimension Century Orguss's interdimensional weirdness brings the kid-friendly 1970s anime version of the Getter Robo team face to face with their violent Sociopathic Hero counterparts from the Shin Getter Robo OAVs. Needless to say, neither side is particularly happy about this.
    • The franchise also pulls a Meta twist on this with Ryusei Date. When first introduced in Shin Super Robot Wars, he was such an arrogant Jerkassnote  that it was hard to imagine anyone putting up with him; Super Robot Wars Alpha subsequently re-introduced Ryusei with a much friendlier personality that would become his "default" attitude from then on. The first Super Robot Wars: Original Generation game gave Ryusei a rival named Tenzan Nakajima, who effectively had Ryusei's old Shin SRW personality; as a result he's shown to be a colossal prick with no redeeming qualities who gladly joins the villains because he thinks it'll bring him fame and glory. Needless to say, the good-guy Alpha version of Ryusei doesn't like him at all.
  • One mission in Saints Row IV has the simulation spit out the default version of the Playa (from the first game) and the Boss (from the second game). Kinzie is deeply confused, but the Boss seems more irritated than anything. Rescuing Shaundi from her own simulation also ends up spitting out two versions of herself, the actual person as she appeared in Saints Row: The Third, and a simulated copy of her from her more laid-back hippie days back in Saints Row 2, which the game helpfully labels as "Fun Shaundi".
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • The playable character Donkey Kong is based off of his Donkey Kong Country incarnation. On the stage 75m, his incarnation from his 1980 debut Donkey Kong appears. If you play the character on the stage, they can meet each other.
    • Averted with King Dedede. In the Dreamland 64 stage, he is seen in the background in pixelated form. But when the stage reappears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, where he is a playable character, he only appears in the background when he isn't present as fighter.
    • King Dedede is still able to see a picture of his incarnation from Kirby's Dream Land by playing at the Dreamland GB stage from the 3DS version.
    • Since Mr. Game & Watch as a specific character originated in Super Smash Bros. Melee, created as a Composite Character from the several unnamed characters from various Game & Watch, he has a design that's different from the original Game & Watch games. But in his stages Flat Zone and Flat Zone X, the original characters also appear in their original designs.
    • In the Super Smash Bros. Melee stage Mushroom Kingdom, Goombas appear in the background in their 8-bit designs from Super Mario Bros.. But occasionally, a Goomba in the 3D-design from Melee appears out of an item crate, even on this stage. 8-bit Koopa Troopas also walk in the background, even if 3D shells are a common item.
    • Pac-Man has a 3D-form with face, arms and legs, but he reverts into his 8bit version when he uses his Final Smash. Also, for some moves, he loses his limbs and face but stays in 3D.
    • In his down attack, he summons a fire hydrant, which is also rendered in 3D. But the same hydrant appears in the stage Pac-Land in an 8bit version.
  • In an example taking place in another game, a sidequest in Rakenzarn Frontier Story involves teaming up with the characters from DIDNapper. During the course of the quest, Suki and Carol from the game's final version, v1.8, run into alternate versions of themselves from v1.6, represented by distinctly different face sets and attitudes.
  • Street Fighter II had one of its later re-releases accomplish this with Hyper Street Fighter II. It uses Super Turbo as the basis for balance and features, and then allows you to select not only every character in the game (besides Akuma, still locked behind a cheat code), but every prior version of them all the way back to the initial World Warrior release, with sprites, sounds, moves and most balance restored. You could have a Mirror Match between two different iterations of the same fighter like Hyper Fighting Ryu versus Super Ryu, or have World Warrior M. Bison face off against Super Turbo Sagat, and so forth.

    Web Animation 
  • A gag in Super Mario Bros. Z has Mario (whose sprite is from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga) emerge from a pipe, and see three other pipes with an earlier version of Mario (going back to the 8-bit version).
  • Homestar Runner:
    • The Strong Bad Email "alternate universe" involved Strong Bad meeting several alternate universe versions of himself, including one based on the storybook the website was based on, The Homestar Runner Enters the Strongest Man in the World Contest. Downplayed in the email "kids book", where he edits his Early Installment Weirdness into the book Strumstar Hammer and makes his early self win, and played with in other shorts where he becomes the Lemony Narrator to their universe.
    • The remakes of the original storybooks ("Strongest Man in the World" and "Where My Hat Is At?") have the characters in their modern incarnations frequently make jabs at the plots. The short "Homestar Runner Goes for the Gold" takes it further, as Homestar and Strong Bad riff on a previously unmade book.
    • The Homestar on the main page uses voice clips from early in the site's history, and has never changed. Main Page 23 has a duplicate of Homestar greet him with his current voice.
  • In SMG4 video "Mario goes to Didney Worl" when Mario, Toad and SMG4 visit The Haunted Mansion and when they see their biggest fears, it's revealed that SMG4's biggest fear is his early videos from 2011 (a scene of "The Cake was a Lie" was used to represent it).
  • This is the premise of the short film Rebooted as it features two versions of a Batman Expy named Owl Guy meeting when the two issues of their respective comics are placed together in the real world: one is a light hearted costumed hero who relies on his physical abilities and very simple gadgets while the other is a Darker and Edgier antihero with advanced equipments who struggles to not become a killer. Modern Owl Guy mocks his Classic self's costume and clearly considers him unimpressive, while Classic Owl Guy is horrified that his Modern Self is tempted to kill while also noting how the action in the Modern world moves much faster than his. However the two are able to work together to stop a villain and become friends.

  • Similar to the Live Action TV examples above, The 10 Doctors inevitably has some of this. After all, when the plot starts out with nine of the then-ten incarnations of the Doctor running unexpectedly into each other with no idea or recollection of why (or why one of them is missing, for that matter) and team up to solve the mystery, it's only to be expected.
  • In Adventurers!, a flashback to a conversation between Khrima and Cody is drawn in the way author Mark Shallow drew when he first started the comic several years earlier. Shallow's drawing had improved tremendously over that time.
    Khrima: My head was not that square, and I believe you had fingers.
  • In Breaking Cat News, Elvis, trying to comfort Sophie during a move, brings up an old comic based around his own moving worries. The rest of the strip is the other cats commenting on how weird it looks compared to the present comics.
    Lupin: Wow, the old footage was shot WEIRD.
    Puck: What happened to my whiskers?
  • The Gamercat, while discussing Ash's redesign for Sun and Moon, is shown a picture of his early-strip appearance by Pixel to prove a point. He's considerably embarrassed by this.
  • Shortpacked!:
  • In The Order of the Stick, close to the end game, the Order find themselves in a dungeon that looks identical to the one they started in, and immediately revert to walking single file while having a Seinfeldian Conversation about how the rules work, much to the bewilderment of their companions, who only joined the strip once the Cerebus Syndrome kicked in.

    Web Videos 
  • The Nostalgia Critic, while reviewing Christmas with the Kranks, became determined to put as little effort into his review as had been put into the film, prompting him to get Santa Christ to send him back to 2007, before he filmed his reviews in a studio with skits and special effects and instead filmed them in his parent's home, while his 2007 self went to 2015. He quickly became unnerved by the forced memes and unrelated clips from other movies that often appeared in his old reviews. His 2007 self is likewise annoyed by skits being in the newer reviews. In the end, the modern Nostalgia Critic learns to accept his past self rather than be embarrassed by him, while his past self learns that one has to adapt with the times to stay relevant.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd did this in his Mega Man review, celebrating the tenth anniversary of his YouTube debut. In it he quits being the Angry Video Game Nerd, and travels back in time to warn his past selves against playing the frustrating Mega Man games he was reviewing, traveling to 2007, 2006 and ending up back in 2004.
  • ''Lego Batman: Time Travel revolves around the stereotypical portrayal of Batman in Lego videos (a Sociopathic Hero who takes drugs, uses guns to kill criminals and mistreats Robin and Alfred, essentially Batman In Name Only) and teams him up with a mostly faithful take on the Adam West “Bright Knoght” version (albeit, the latter being a product of the 60s is subjected to Deliberate Values Dissonance).
  • The Music Video Show:
    • In its 3rd season finale, the host of that season meets her first season self but ignores the body of her second season self. Her first season self lampshades the fact that she has to sit against a wall.
      First Season Kiara: How come you get the chair and I don't?
      Third Season Kiara: Honestly, I didn't think of the chair at the time.
    • And again, in the second part of Episode 100 before The Reveal that the body that is from season two is not dead.
      Third Season Kiara: changed your clothes...
      First Season Kiara: Yeah, I'm from the first season. I change my clothes a lot.
    • Arguably, when her season three self is talking with her season two self.
  • This video from Nicholas Damiani features a clone from Star Wars: Clone Wars joining a clone squad from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and naturally, the differences of the clones of both series are pointed out, like how before the latter show clones wore an all white armor and had the same haircuts, and were aware of Order 66, as opposed to clones in post-2008 Star Wárs media, who personalize their armor and personal appearance, and had no idea they had been created to kill the Jedi.
    • A follow up video would show Rex meeting the 2003 clones and Anakin. The less mature padawanless Jedi and how Alpha was a massive brick naturally get brought up.

    Western Animation 
  • For Alvin and the Chipmunks, the 1990 series "The Chipmunks Go To The Movies" did an episode that was a parody of Back to the Future called "Back to Our Future" in which the 90s Chipmunks go back in time to meet the 1960s Chipmunks and try to stop them from quitting music and preventing the 90's chipmunks from being created. It was complete with a Limited Animation Art Shift. It even goes beyond the Chipmunks themselves by having the person responsible for the time travel be 1960's Chipmunks cartoon character Clyde Crashcup.
  • Ben 10:
    • One episode of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien had Ben meeting his 10 year old self. Ben quickly discovers how annoying he had been while his past self is shocked to learn that Kevin 11 eventually reformed.
    • Ben 10: Omniverse episode "Ben Again" does this, but with a twist; the time-traveling villain Eon uses his powers to swap the minds of Classic!Ben and Omniverse!Ben, leaving Classic!Gwen really weirded out on how much nicer Ben is suddenly being to her, while Rook has difficulty keeping the suddenly hyperactive Ben out of trouble. Both time eras meet in the climax.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • One later drawing of Bugs Bunny by Chuck Jones (which can be found in one of his biographies, Chuck Amuck) has Bugs reacting in horror at the sight of a picture of an early version of himself from Elmer's Candid Camera (a 1939 cartoon that Jones directed and considered one of several Old Shames).
    • An episode of The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries has Tweety meeting a bird named Orson, who looks just like Bob Clampett's original featherless design for Tweety (where he was called "Orson" on his model sheet).
  • The 1995 movie based on Casper the Friendly Ghost got a cartoon show in 1995 or so. In one episode, Casper was trying to learn how to scare people, and at the end, he figured out his Nightmare Face form: what he looked like back in the 1940s cartoons.
  • DC Nation: One of the New Teen Titans shorts features the Titans getting sent back in time to their previous selves. In particular, Starfire gets mad at the ridiculous length of her past hair and general lack of clothing.
  • In-universe example: In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, "The Crimson Chin meets Mighty Mom and Dyno Dad", The Crimson Chin meets several of his old personalities, from 30s pulp-fiction Chin, to edgy 1985 Chin, who got cancelled for swearing. They all fight crime together.
  • Family Guy has the episode "Back to the Pilot" where Brian and Stewie time travel several years into the past so Brian can find the ball he had buried. The past contains the art style and technical oddities that the pilot episode had (including 4:3 aspect ratio), which Brian and Stewie lampshade repeatedly. Stewie also meets his past self and notices how said past self has a lot more cool gadgets back when he was trying to take over the world. He also notes that Meg, reusing voice samples from the first season where she was voiced by an uncredited Lacey Chabert, sounds like "someone who missed out on an opportunity".
  • An episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy had the main trio tell Irwin about how they first met. Billy and Grim's stories are completely made-up, but Mandy tells of what really happened, complete with flashbacks to the pilot. When she finishes, Grim calls her story BS, given how little they resemble the characters in the flashbacks (which is due to art evolution).
  • A music video seen in House of Mouse had Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto walk on top of a bridge made from a fallen log, causing them to turn black and white (similar to Simba becoming an adult during the song "Hakuna Matata" from The Lion King (1994)).
    • The Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color episode "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show" had a segment with Mickey encountering the pie-eyed, rubber-hose version of himself from his earliest cartoons like Plane Crazy.
      60s Mickey: Hey, you!
      20s Mickey: SQUEAK?
      60s Mickey: Heh heh, are you the first original Mickey Mouse?
      20s Mickey: SQUAWK!
      60s Mickey: (confused Aside Glance)
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: Red Action 3: Grudgement Day sees Red Action going back in time and confronting her past self, providing a great contrast between her original design and personality.
  • There is a Quack Pack episode wherein Donald Duck is de-aging. Teenage Donald is actually how he appeared in his debut in The Wise Little Hen, way back in 1934.
  • ReBoot:
    • A third season episode had the older, teenage Enzo encountered a game containing Mainframe, in a strange homage to The Prisoner (1967). It was much cheesier and more in-line with the first episodes.
    • At the end of the third season, a system reboot results in a younger duplicate of Enzo appearing and pouncing on Bob. Matrix, who is Enzo all grown up, is speechless.
    • In the fourth season a second Bob shows up who is much more like the Bob of the first two seasons when compared to the Bob that came back from the Web. As a catchphrase spouting, Butt-Monkey he reminds everyone of the early days at a time when they are desperate to feel more at ease following all that they have been through. Meanwhile the first Bob fused with Glitch and sporting deformed clothing and hair is a living reminder of what they had to become to survive it all. It's eventually revealed that the new Bob is actually Megabyte using his new powers to impersonate Bob with his pristine data before being warped in the Web. Glitch takes Bob's data back to end the charade and restore him.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Couch Gag for the season eleven episodes "Beyond Blunderdome"note  and "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" note  have the Simpsons as they're currently drawn meeting their crudely-drawn counterparts from The Tracey Ullman Show and all ten of them freaking out.
    • The 2011 Simpsons wall calendar features three versions of the family all fighting each other.
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror XIII" short "Send in the Clones", Homer clones himself. One of the clones looks exactly like the Tracey Ullman-era Homer, who utters the line "Let's all go out for some frosty chocolate milkshakes!", in the Walter Matthau-esque voice he was known for having back then.
    • "Treehouse of Horror XXV" features a segment parodying The Others (2001) where the Simpsons meet ghostly versions of their original Tracey Ullman-era selves.
    • It happens again in the thirty fourth season when one of the fake episodes involves Future Bart going to the very first episode in order to tell the family about how things will play in the future.
  • The South Park episode "A Very Crappy Christmas" has the protagonists make their very own animated Christmas special, which turns out to be the 1995 "Spirit of Christmas" pre-series short. Actual footage from the program is shown on in-universe displays.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) cartoon had the Turtles briefly watch their 1987 counterparts from a dimensional window. Michelangelo describes them as dorks, but Donatello notices the nice jumpsuit on April. A proper crossover occurs in the episode "Trans-Dimensional Turtles", in which the 2012 and 1987 Turtles team up to stop Krang from destroying the Ninja Turtle multiverse, also running into the Mirage Comics Turtles at one point. The episode also comes complete with an Art Shift between 2D and CG animation.
  • Teen Titans Go! had the Titans meet their 2003 counterparts during some Comic-Con promo art... only for the old Titans to readily hand them their keisters. The two versions of Starfire get along with one another nicely, though.
  • For Disney's D23 Convention in 2017, an official piece of artwork was released celebrating the 30th anniversary of DuckTales (1987) by showing the cast of the 2017 series running into their 1987 counterparts, with the latter group surprised at how much they've changed.
  • The episode "Time Share" from Justice League Action essentially drops Batman and Blue Beetle into an episode of the 1992 animated series when they travel back in time: not only are there several references to the show in regards to how Gotham looks and past Batman saying the iconic "I am vengeance" line, but past Batman is shown to be doing stake outs in his car while also using a grappling hook which is what he did in the show, as opposed to using more high tech surveillance and a grappling gun like modern Batman. This leads Batman to be a little embarrassed by his younger self while Beetle is surprised by past Batman's lack of technology and skill, but also still impressed by how cool he looked when he said the line.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Meet Your Early Instalment Weirdness


Meeting Steamboat Mickey (Mickey Mania)

In the first level of Mickey Mania, you can interact with Steamboat Mickey, who runs away from you scared of his future colored self

How well does it match the trope?

4.97 (30 votes)

Example of:

Main / MeetYourEarlyInstallmentWeirdness

Media sources: