By Traveling Into The Past, Did Franklin Richards Alter The Timeline?

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

Time travel in comics is as common as capes and tights. Often the concept of going back in time to change an integral part of a character's timeline can make for entertaining stories -- but these actions don't come without consequences. Back in January we talked a little bit about time travel and how it is used in the Marvel universe; for more on that you can check out the article here.

Basically, time travel in the regular Marvel Universe can't actually happen. If a character goes back in time, that act of time travel automatically creates an alternate reality. This means that another, alternate version of that character will appear. At least that's the way things have been in Marvel comics for as long as we can remember -- that is until recently.

Take for example one of the very first issues of the Fantastic Four's ongoing series. In issue #5 of FANTASTIC FOUR the team was sent into the past by Doctor Doom to retrieve Blackbeard's treasure. When they got there they discovered that the Thing who had been posing as Blackbeard really was Blackbeard the pirate. By going into the past the Fantastic Four created another alternate reality for themselves.

Yet what we saw in one of the very first issues of Fantastic Four is very different from what we've been seeing lately. Anyone who has been keeping up with the Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation probably noticed a huge discrepancy between what usually happens in the Marvel Universe when a character travels back in time, and what happened in the FF and Fantastic Four books.

In the current series future versions of both Valeria and Franklin Richards travel back into their past in order to defeat the Celestials. An older Franklin meets a young Franklin Richards and not only helps him to nurture and unlock his full powers and capabilities, but also acts as his guide. See, the grown-up Franklin already knows what's going to happen; and he completely gives all of that away.

We see this play out in issue #15 of FF where older Franklin keeps reassuring young Franklin that he must "hold on" to his power and not use it because he will "need to use it later." The question is, how is this happening? How is the older Franklin Richards able not only to travel back in time to a crucial moment in FF history, but also act as a guide to young Franklin. He tells him what to do, how to harness his powers and how to do it.

He reveals to him that the trouble they've run into is virtually nothing and that he will need all the power he has got later on. How is this older version of Franklin able to reveal all of this to young Franklin without creating an alternate reality? Not only that, but how is he able to travel back in time, influence the events of the past, and manage to do that without altering any of the timeline in his own universe, whatsoever?

Additionally, does this mean that if this older version of Franklin had never traveled into the past, that Franklin never would have learned to unlock his powers? We will have to wait and see if the actions of this future Franklin really will affect or alter the timeline in some way or whether his influence will create an alternate reality. What do you think of all of this? Have you been reading the FANTASTIC FOUR and FF? How do you think Franklin's actions will influence the timeline?

#1 Posted by TheCheeseStabber (8071 posts) - - Show Bio

Time will never cease to confuse me

#2 Posted by Dru_zod (213 posts) - - Show Bio

Intersesting.......reminds me of that Doctor Who episode when the tardis exploded

the only way he could help Rory was if he did what his future self did.

#3 Posted by Lt_Cmdr_Kicker (71 posts) - - Show Bio

Doesn't Franklin have the powers of an Omnipotent god? I always assumed that with his powers he could halt the alternate timeline rule for the 616. However, we haven't seen the future yet, have we? 616 could be or always has been the "divergent timeline."

#4 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

Man Franklin needs to be put on leash I swear!

Onslaught saga and bringing Valeria back to life, this kid has no boundaries!

#5 Posted by carnivalofsins00 (938 posts) - - Show Bio

It's one of those things that was meant to happen. It's all a big loop. Young Franklin will grow up, and as an adult will travel back to his younger self, as we were shown. It's fate, man!

#6 Posted by windcaster (228 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe he learned to do it from the  Askani. Cable and Rachel did that on a couple of occasions.   

#7 Posted by Deadcool (6810 posts) - - Show Bio

Frankling Richards is above the omega level mutant, and he is a reality warper, and also his sister is helping him, and he said that she is already smarter than her dad, I am pretty sure that they made sure that nothing happened.

#8 Posted by frozenedge (1209 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe its just a fragment of his power thats leaking out and warning him about a future battle he'll have. seeing as how Franklin's more comfortable meeting a supposed future version of himself so thats what his powers took the form of.

#9 Posted by EpicMeltDown (64 posts) - - Show Bio

There is a Russian physicist named Igor Novikov who came up with a theory (Novikov self-consistency principle) which in part deals with the idea of altering time. The view in most fiction seems to always deal with a fluid present-centric view of time. (ie: Now is the most important time and anything can be changed). In Novikov's theory, time is set and 'now' isn't any more important then the past or the future since any time you pick is someone's present/past/future. So the idea as it pertains to the Fantastic Four would be that future Franklin's existence in the present doesn't change his future because this is always how the timeline existed. He knows to go back and help his past self because he remembers the event from when he was a child. The information that he receives as a child and later shares with his younger self has a consistent timeline. It's just that the timeline for that information is a circle rather then a straight line. (Novikov referred to items or information with circular timelines as Jinn's). It's consistent but it's just not how we normally view time. Where time is relative a static self-consistent timeline makes more sense to me.

#10 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

I look at Marvel's approach must like I do DBZ. When trunks came back and saved Goku his timeline still existed as is. He had only created a divergent time line in which the present cast continued in. As far as Franklin/Val's actions go, they'll never matter...period. As we all no tomorrow never comes in Big Two comics. Change is bad for business.

#11 Edited by Primmaster64 (21138 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes he did alter the timeline. See these scans where Mr. Fantastic himself says time can't be changed.




#12 Posted by DATNIGGA (1189 posts) - - Show Bio

When I saw grown up Franklin take down celestials & resurrect galactus... man that kids is strong I wonder if he will ever one day take down the Living tribunal

#13 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio
How is this older version of Franklin able to reveal all of this to young Franklin without creating an alternate reality?

Because he came from an alternate timeline into 616.

Not only that, but how is he able to travel back in time, influence the events of the past, and manage to do that without altering any of the timeline in his own universe, whatsoever?

Because he's not traveling into his past, he's traveling into the past of another universe

Additionally, does this mean that if this older version of Franklin had never traveled into the past, that Franklin never would have learned to unlock his powers?

Most likely no, Old Franklin most likely activated his powers thanks to a period of extreme duress, and by coming to the main universe, this Franklin will be able to achieve his full potential earlier.

#14 Posted by The Impersonator (5395 posts) - - Show Bio

How is this older version of Franklin able to reveal all of this to young Franklin without creating an alternate reality? Not only that, but how is he able to travel back in time, influence the events of the past, and manage to do that without altering any of the timeline in his own universe, whatsoever?

Because Franklin Richards is the most powerful mutant on the planet and he can influence the past without creating an alternate reality or create one. It's his wish.

#15 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

thats why i hate time paradoxs and grandfather loops!! time travel in a nut shell: if you leave your own space-time, the result is an alternate timeline from wherever you land/return to. you cant influence what already happened thats bloody rule of relativity number one

#16 Posted by Inverno (13197 posts) - - Show Bio

HOLY CRAP!!

You know after reading all of this, something came in mind

Yep, Franklin Richards is Marvel's awnser to Superboy-Prime.

#17 Edited by CATPANEXE (9368 posts) - - Show Bio

The observation of time travel in the Marvel Universe is actually incorrect. Take the Age Of Apocalypse for example. Sugar Man and Dark Beast had been taken from their relative present in the skewered AoA timeline and dropped into the 616 in the past around the time Legion would have first encountered past versions of Xavier, Magneto and Gabriel. So both those characters were left in the past, completely. That should have by your reasoning destroyed the current Marvel Universe correct? But it didn't, and it didn't even create a new paradigm either. That is because time isn't linear, only human perception of it is. Past, future, right now is the same difference as for as chronos is concerned. The event of Dark Beast and Sugar Man had already happened, as had their personal effects on the pasts future and present now, like the Morlocks, the Mutant Massacre, Genosha, ect. and had always been. It was only that we the reader were now becoming aware of this, or for comparison, " the world isn't becoming a worse place, it's that the veil is slowly sliding back and people are now seeing more of the picture, the darkness illuminated. " I'm making light of that for two reasons concerning F4/FF. One is because that is the way Hickman writes everything. We see details now that will later be explained to have happened because said event, be that time travel effects or otherwise. Either way they always were, it's not we're now looking at an alternate reality as opposed to the one we saw issues earlier. Same goes for the Blackbeard thing (and Thing, literally). That isn't something that came into being, Ben always was Blackbeard, and Blackbeard was always Ben, and this had always happened (and side noting this isn't new news either, that's been a piece of F4 trivia since before Hickman and highlighted in other books already). The assumption/confusion that what your looking at is a different timeline is the error in the equation (I've noticed since there's been a few time travel threads, the one you linked is wrong as well BTW, that there seems to be a running notion that time travel the nature of time travel is a solidly established fact, and that stated mechanic doesn't include contemporary quantum mechanics, much less proir?).

#18 Posted by Wowlock (208 posts) - - Show Bio

The time-travel theories only boggles the mind the more your think about it.

All it does is create paradoxes and constant shifts in the timelines....

I mean after all those travels, I doubt we can count how many times Earth-616 altered and those are what, 500th copies of the characters ?

It is kinda hard to keep track of all this. As for guys like Franklin and Superboy-Prime....they can create one big mess.

#19 Posted by vincethekid (69 posts) - - Show Bio

All I know is, these two books are amazing. Why do we need to know the subtle nuances and under tones. Who cares if the time line is messed up? The FF and Fantastic Four rock! Hickman has knocked it out of the park with these two books. The stuff with Val, Franklin, Johnny, and Doom alone make this book number #1! Then there's the big stuff with Mr. Fantastic. The Reed stuff alone is money too. Why does everything need to be defined now? I think we need to let things play out and see how they end. Then we can question the timeline being altered.

#20 Posted by thveej (203 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonesDeini said:

I look at Marvel's approach must like I do DBZ. When trunks came back and saved Goku his timeline still existed as is. He had only created a divergent time line in which the present cast continued in. As far as Franklin/Val's actions go, they'll never matter...period. As we all no tomorrow never comes in Big Two comics. Change is bad for business.

Yah to me it looks likes the DBZ rule here. They came to a past to make a divergent reality where Reed doesn't die (like how Trunk made a reality where Goku didn't die). Although it is interesting to note that Future Franklin/Val were able to observe multiple possible timeliness and came up with the best case scenario. So I would assume they have already taken any negative effect into account, the whole FF run was so precisely planned by the Franklin/Val from future that I would assume that they taken the negative part into account.

To me the interesting part is if future Franklin/Val are aware of what present Val did to doom (or more precisely gave), and if that is still part of their larger plan or if that is a huge divergent from their master plan. It be really cool if it was part of their plan, and during a future crisis Doom comes to everyone's rescue...... or more likely he will just invade the earth lol.

#21 Posted by VioletPhoenix (300 posts) - - Show Bio

hold up..so someone explain to me what the implications of the Cable Hope Bishop chase for "thousands" of years. They timeslide all the time. Yeahbutwha..?

#22 Posted by saoakden (1040 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm so confused. It was easier to get it when the article was about stopping a villain before they do anything. Stop the guy or kill him you either A) Make a perfect utopia and everyone is fine and life is perfect or B) That person unleashes a greater evil or a big threat comes sooner then they're suppose to, like in Flashpoint when Atrocitus kills Black Hand and unleashes the Blackest Night prematurely. The the guardians have to fight the Manhunters & the Black Lantern Corps.

My guess is because of Franklin's Reality Warping powers changes things. Having an older Franklin teach his younger self to control his powers is good but he can reveal his future to him and have no surprises like when the Terminator went back in time to kill Sarah Conner so John Conner couldn't be born to fight Skynet. or Have the Terminator protect John Conner when he was kid and a young adult. He already knew he was going to be a great leader because of the people from the future. Only catch, the world has to end.

#23 Posted by perry_411 (428 posts) - - Show Bio

Why are we asking about time travel? The big shocker is that Franklin and Galactus will survive the end of this universe, and that Galactus is Franklin's herald

#24 Posted by papad1992 (6829 posts) - - Show Bio

Franklin Richards is just another time-warping-ticking-time-bomb like the Scarlet Witch was only he's just waiting for adulthood or just a good enough reason... or puberty!!

#25 Posted by nonfiction91 (1704 posts) - - Show Bio

I stopped reading this article out of shock when I saw a woman wrote it :P which is a breath of fresh air if that came out sexist to anybody

well, what changes will be franklin's relationship as well as the entire "future foundation", with galactus, he will be more of an ally than anything else now I think. Seems in the past issue he realized in someway his own mortality, and like anything that realizes that, he put his objectives into a new perspective.

I wrote something FF forums awhile back, about how in Earth X Franklin became galactus, I still feel this will happen if not something similiar, being that he wouldn't become his herald because he's at par or even more powerful than Galactus.

#26 Posted by Primmaster64 (21138 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini: That's another way of putting it. The whole time- travel thing I have see it in different ways. The past can't be changed and the moment you enter the past you create a divergent timeline. Or....It was supposed to happened that way.
#27 Posted by pspin (891 posts) - - Show Bio

Who cares that issue was awesome... Besides Franklin can literally do anything so it doesn't really matter does it?

#28 Posted by chaosimpact79 (12 posts) - - Show Bio

franklin has been the most powerful earth born cosmic being for a long time its just everyone over looked that fact because he's just a child.but what everyone fail to realize is that he's this powerful as a child and will only get more powerful.its no surprise that his future self or what i believe is a figment of powerful imagination is guiding him along.i see this as a more powerful version of his ability as tattle-tale i.e . being able to see future events and naturally seeing the most proable future plus add in his astral projection and it makes sense that he would guide himself because no else on his power level can

#29 Posted by jloneblackheart (5507 posts) - - Show Bio

I think him coming back was part of the timeline that made it all possible in the first place. They reference that 616 Reed was the only one that chose to leave the Council for his family, and the adult Franklin was the result of that decision. I believe that Franklin is an older version of Franklin from the same time line, not an adult Franklin from an alternate reality (as is usually the case with time travelers). After all, they had Nathaniel, an expert time traveler, and Valeria, a super genius, to help plan the whole thing and avert disaster and ensure their future.

My question is - is 616 Reed the last Reed in the multiverse like his father is the last of the Nathaniel's?

Moderator
#30 Posted by CATPANEXE (9368 posts) - - Show Bio

O_o

#31 Posted by Aarsilade (15 posts) - - Show Bio

That's why all these stories with "Omega" level characters give me hives. They function as one-shot "Deus Ex Machina" plot devices, but to incorporate them into the daily lives of the characters creates a lot more problems than it solves. The X-Men have done this ad nauseum with Phoenix, and it seems like half their roster are Omegas. What does it really add to the story? I guess it's good for getting a writer out of a jam if he's in a corner or something.

Still, this story with future Franklin was outstanding. Now, hopefully, we won't ever see him again.

#32 Posted by TheMess1428 (2176 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe Franklin and Valeria are immune to the effects of altering time or the future versions aren't really their future versions...

#33 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, I think for the most part it can be explained by the fact that Franklin Richards is quite possibly the most powerful Omega level mutant ever, and therefore through his powers of reality warping and manipulation are able to bend the rules and keep things int he normal 616-verse without going to an alternate time route. That and the fact that when one looks into ideas such as predestination paradoxes and temporal causality loops, it would make sense then to assert that older Franklin needed to go back in time to influence his younger incarnation to unlock the full potential of his powers. The same idea applies to Kyle Reese needing to go back to the year 1984 in order to protect and impregnate Sarah Connor and give birth to the future leader of the Human Resistance against Skynet.

#34 Posted by DIOMJK (155 posts) - - Show Bio

Theres actually an arc of X-factor that deals with the EXACT same thing (Layla Miller having gone back in time and gives her memories to herself), except Dr. Doom invented a device allowing for a timeline to be changed sans paradox. So if that's what happened here, it would make total sense

#35 Posted by JamDamage (1114 posts) - - Show Bio

He didn't change the timeline because this isn't DC comics. Marvel wants to keep their mainstream line (616) in tact. When they want a NEW universe they create a seperate universe all it's own. Like the "Ultimate Universe" DC on the other hand has a character go back in time and change their mainstream universe in order to sell comics and say it's so new readers can follow along altho some titles are not really changed at all......................like Green Lantern and Batman...............................yes this is a dig at how shitty I think DC's new 52 revamp is. But DC is taking a note from Marvel and creating their own Ultimate line, and no it's not called "ALLSTAR" they gave up on that, they are calling it................Earth 2.

#36 Edited by thatlad (594 posts) - - Show Bio

Good article …I really enjoyed this Hickman arc, as with Secret Warriors he likes to introduce new concepts (and challenge old concepts). I just hope when he moves on at the end of the year they don't ignore a lot of his work, like they did with the Howling Commandos PMC that Daisy was supposed to be running.

Ah, Secret Warriors. How I miss that series

#37 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

@JamDamage said:

He didn't change the timeline because this isn't DC comics. Marvel wants to keep their mainstream line (616) in tact. When they want a NEW universe they create a seperate universe all it's own. Like the "Ultimate Universe" DC on the other hand has a character go back in time and change their mainstream universe in order to sell comics and say it's so new readers can follow along altho some titles are not really changed at all......................like Green Lantern and Batman...............................yes this is a dig at how shitty I think DC's new 52 revamp is. But DC is taking a note from Marvel and creating their own Ultimate line, and no it's not called "ALLSTAR" they gave up on that, they are calling it................Earth 2.

Rage much?

Relax bro, it's just books! For fun you know!

#38 Posted by Ijan092 (117 posts) - - Show Bio

@DATNIGGA: Or One Above all......

#39 Posted by Ijan092 (117 posts) - - Show Bio

Basically If Franklin is beyond an omega level mutant or toke down a celestial he can do anything even break the laws of time traveling

#40 Edited by wmwadeii (3248 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm currently catching back up with Marvel and I'm currently in 2009. Two books come to mind. One is the whole 2009/2099 Timestorm. In this issue Wolverine does say that he knew he was coming from the past and this was the past Wolverine, but when they fight the Hulks, "Future" Wolverine says this didn't originally happen. Now this did have something to do with the time divergences that were being created. This leads into the issues of X-Factor where Madrox is in the future with the Summers Rebellion. They talk to Dr. Doom who says the future can only change it they have a device he has created. When they as about using it he says you have to be mechanical because it merges with the host.

I'm not done either store arch for the time being and both may just turn out to be "New" alternate time lines. And anything they do causes a "New" 616 that was destined to happen anyways. Why because the 616 is just an alternate timeline as well, it just happens to be the one we are reading.

@DIOMJK said:

Theres actually an arc of X-factor that deals with the EXACT same thing (Layla Miller having gone back in time and gives her memories to herself), except Dr. Doom invented a device allowing for a timeline to be changed sans paradox. So if that's what happened here, it would make total sense

#41 Posted by Mucklefluga (2549 posts) - - Show Bio

Why's he white with a black outline??

#42 Posted by catfightfan (585 posts) - - Show Bio

Long live Valeria Richards!

#43 Posted by Miss_Garrick (1757 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course the timeline will be affected. Any time travel will AUTOMACTICALLY change 'the present'. Whether it's an alternate reality or whether it's as subtle as one random stranger's sneakers go from black to red. Something will be affected.

#44 Posted by MetallicMercury (82 posts) - - Show Bio

Perhaps the older version of Franklin was visited by an older version of himself when he was young and so on and so on. Maybe it's in a loop where the old visits the new. It might even be that this was a fixed point in time.

#45 Posted by djotaku (441 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm pretty sure an earlier issue of FF or F4 had Franklin and Valeria's reality disappearing as the wave came from the changes they made in the past

#46 Posted by KenjutsuMaster13 (5 posts) - - Show Bio

Trust me, it gets easier.

#47 Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd (384 posts) - - Show Bio

@EpicMeltDown: uhhhh....huh

#48 Posted by frochez (194 posts) - - Show Bio

My guess is that its a stable time loop where the older version of Franklin visits his past self in order to save the world. When the current Franklin grows up, he, in turn, goes back to his own childhood.

So the future that Frankin creates isn't an alternate timeline, but the correct, 'true', one. His actions didn't make a new or diverging history, but rather maintains the time-space continuum. If Franklin HADN'T travelled to the past, then we would have seen a new alternate timeline.

Alternately, it could be that Franklin's powers are just so entirely powerful that he's able to change the past without creating a different timeline.

#49 Posted by 00 Raiser (442 posts) - - Show Bio

They wear Chrono Condoms?

#50 Posted by KidSupreme (829 posts) - - Show Bio

@CaioTrubat: agreed :)

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