Thursday, February 4, 2010

JJ Abrams Loves his Time Warps.

So is it just me or is the time warp that's going on in Lost basically the same thing that happened in the new Star Trek?

In Star Trek, everything that has happened in the show and previous movies stays the same, but Nero drives his ship through a blackhole and kills Kirk's father and destroys his ship, which creates a new timeline running alongside the original one. Nothing from the first timeline changes, the history is all still intact, but basically starting at Kirk's birth, there's a whole other reality where anything could happen. Nothing from the first timeline has any effect on this one (save for Spock slipping through the blackhole and interacting with new Kirk).
So the same thing totally happened on Lost, right? Granted, there's been a whole lost of wacky time travel going on prior to the Event, but as far as we know, that was all contained in one timeline, and characters just happened to be jumping around inside it. But then, at the end of Season 5, they set off the bomb in 1970's which seems to have split one timeline into two. The first is the one they were already a part of: Dharma folks are on the Island, they hit that pocket of energy, which means Desmond has to push the button for years, and then the plane crashes and our fun little TV show begins and craziness ensues. The second timeline seems to indicate that the bomb worked, the pocket of energy never got tapped, somehow the Island ended up under water, and the plane does not crash and the survivors are going on their merry way.

The Star Trek timelines did not affect each other except for Spock slipping through the blackhole (but he was smart enough not to do anything crazy). We've yet to see if the Lost timelines have any effect on each other (prior to the bomb going off), but I'd be really curious to see if there is a blackhole situation on Lost in which someone can slip through and have an affect on the other timeline (and though Spock is super logical and didn't mess with anything, I can't see our castaways being so smart).

Point is, I'm really excited to see how all this works out. I find time travel (especially when done well) super fascinating but also incredibly difficult to wrap my head around, which is a lot of fun for me (Primer had me working shit out in my head for days). I'm totally in for the ride.


  1. Interesting point, though from all accounts, Abrams has had nothing to do with Lost since the pilot. I think what Star Trek was saying as far as time travel goes, is that it doesn't really matter what you do because, just by being there you're creating an alternate time line. This is different than the popular theory that going back and killing Hitler would destroy reality. Both have their merits.

    Also, Primer is awesome.

  2. The Star Trek comparison just sort of struck me because both it and Lost created alternate timelines via some disastrous event. It's not like someone just showed up and it altered things; they blasted freaking holes in time.

    I was also sort of reeling after the premier; down was up, up was crayon, and for some reason the 'alternate reality' didn't sit well with me. Then I remembered how Star Trek worked it all out, and it put my mind at ease. I feel better knowing that both timelines are potentially equally real and independent.

  3. The Star Trek plot/time-loop came across to me as a literary trick by which Abrams can write whatever he wants for the Star Trek franchise. Now, he doesn't have to adhere strictly to previous lore, like so many nerds might demand him to. He now has the opportunity to pick and choose what he likes from the archives and reinterpret as he sees fit.

    As for LOST, I think he just likes that particular concept, and reworks it as an artist. He may not have worked on the actual show and scripts for a while, but didn't he define the basic story arc and the core elements of the story, when he started this project?

    Lastly, 'Primer' is indeed one of the most solid time-travel movies ever.