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In Edge of Tomorrow William Cage is reliving the same day over and over again.

  • The time loop always starts with Cage waking up at Heathrow, after his meeting with the General.

      Bill Cage waking up

  • But in his last jump he wakes up in the helicopter, en route to the General.

      (the images are from the trailer)

My Question:

  • Why did killing the "Omega" change the starting point of Cage's time jump?

    (I'm guessing the difference is only a couple of hours: Cage meets with the General, blackmails him, gets arrested and is transported to the military base at Heathrow)
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At first I thought he jumps back in time 24h, but the fight with the Omega happened while it was still dark, and the helicopter flies by Big Ben at 8:40 a.m. –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 10:28
Because it's a cop out of an ending that just seems really lazy to me! –  hmmmm Jun 8 at 10:43
@Oliver_C The climactic attack at the Louvre takes place a few hours before the invasion was going to start. The helicopter is 2 days prior. 1 day prior is when he usually woke up. –  user209 Jun 8 at 17:21
@Keen - When Cage tries to run away from the General's office he gets tasered. I'm guessing he was out for a few hours the most, which would mean that the helicopter ride and waking up at Heathrow happen on the same day. –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 18:11
@Keen - That's another question, why did Cage restart at that exact moment? He died at different times, sometimes the day after, shortly after landing on the beach (or hours after the landing), sometimes he died on the same day (trying to sneak away and getting run over by a truck, or during training with Rita). Yet he always restarts at the same time, so it's not a simple "24h back in time". –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 18:42

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It's because the time loop works for roughly 24 hours. As Rita said, the Omega would 'reset the day', which meant roughly 1 day prior would be as far back as the Alpha/Cage would go. Cage's day before the invasion goes roughly like this:

  1. Wakes up in the early morning on helicopter. Meets General, gets tazed.
  2. A few hours pass.
  3. Cage wakes up in the mid to late morning. This is where the time loops reset to throughout the film.
  4. Day of training on the military base.
  5. Day ends.

The next day, the invasion occurs. During that day, they wake up, get in gear, and ship out; hours would have passed during all that. Then Cage manages to kill the Alpha, and get its blood mixed with his own. This must have happened 24 hours after step 2 above, during the hours that Cage was out. Alternatively, it happened to occur exactly 24 hours after step 3, but the hours of him unconscious provides a nice window where if time is reset he wouldn't be able to alter his fate of being sent on the invasion.

Now, why did he go back to earlier when the Omega was destroyed? I offer these two assumptions:

  1. Omega blood functions the same way as Alpha blood.
  2. The time reset is still only 24 hours.

We don't know that 1 is true, as no one in-universe knows this. 2, is able to be true while still enabling what we see in the film. The attack on the Louvre occurs earlier in the day than the invasion. During the attack on the Louvre, it's still dark out. J squad had been recruited for this mission during Step 4 above, the day of training. They then get convinced to go, and head out. They arrive during the evening/early-morning. The mission is a success, and the Omega is defeated. This would have happened 24 hours after a point in time prior to Step 1 above, while he was asleep on the helicopter. It would have triggered the start of a new time loop from that point it time.

Ergo, Cage was sent back 24 hours prior to when the Omega was killed, which means he wakes up in the helicopter.

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It did occur to me that there might be a ~24h rule, but Cage dying at various times and still "respawning" at exactly the same time made me think that time jumping is more flexible. - Sometimes he lives longer than 24h, e.g. when he and Rita escape the beach, or when he actually reaches the dam in Germany (at one time he suggest to Rita that they stay the night at that abandoned house, so if he had died the next day, he would have jumped back 2 days). –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 20:57
What also occured to me is that since the Omega was dead, it must have been Cage who triggered that last reset. Maybe subconcioulsy he wanted to go back to a time where he wasn't yet exposed as a coward –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 21:13
@Oliver_C It seems that when a time loop is established, that hard codes a start time for future resets. –  user209 Jun 8 at 21:22
I thought so as well, but why does Cage killing an Alpha create a "spawnpoint", whereas a Mimic (or Rita) killing Cage does not? - Did Cage actually lose the abilitly when he got the blood transfusion? Because that in turn would mean that the Omega had regained the ability, which begs the question, why didn't the Omega reset the day to save itself? But if Cage never lost the ability then he should have woken up at Heathrow, unless the Omega blood changed something. –  Oliver_C Jun 9 at 8:38

Possibly because the effect of resetting caused by an omega is bigger than the effect caused by an alpha.

In the original explanation of the time resetting effect Cage is told that the effect is only triggered by the blood of an alpha when it is killed. Alphas are rare (only something like 1 in 6 million creatures are this leadership caste). When they die it is a sign that the human enemy has done too well in the battle and the day needs to be refought to counter the threat.

There is only one omega. We are not told (and probably can't know because of their uniqueness) what powers the omega actually has. But it doesn't seem unreasonable that, whatever it is, it is more powerful than an alpha. So, perhaps, on its death its bllod has a bigger effect on time.

And it makes a hollywood-friendly ending where the heroes don't die (though that might have made a more satisfying story where gain comes from sacrifice not just luck.)

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As far as I understand it, it's the Omega who has the ability to control time. - As you say, the death of an Alpha is just a trigger, a signal that tells the Omega it has to reset the day. - Cage somehow ceased control of that ability by getting Alpha blood on him (the Omega could no longer restart the day, only Cage could). - So I'm not sure about your first sentence, because I don't think Alphas have any time control powers. –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 18:29
@Oliver_C Some of those details are not clear in the movie. Is the death of an alpha a trigger for omega or a cause or an automated process: unclear. Is the omega's ability usurped by Cage or could another alpha death still trigger a day reboot: unclear. To me most of the time reboots are automated as if the omega is a machine not an independent entity choosing to reboot time. –  matt_black Jun 8 at 18:35
I think it was said that the Mimics are actually part of one big organism, with the Alphas being the central nervous system, and that it is the Omega (the brain) who has the ability to reset the day. –  Oliver_C Jun 8 at 21:07

Based on the other answers I came to the conclusion that when cage killed Alpha it set a spawn point for him that was placed 24 hours prior to Alpha's death. In other words he respawns at the military base. Later on he loses the ability, but regains it after killing Omega. This event sets a new spawn point which is 24 hours prior to Omega's death. Since he managed to kill Omega earlier during the day than he killed Alpha, his spawn point is also earlier. In other words he wakes up in the helicopter.

This leaves some problems. If Alpha had this time-loop ability, wouldn't Omega have it as well and be alive after the reset? And if it was just Omega which had the ability (and let both Cage and Alpha travel in time), wouldn't killing Omega prevent Cage from going back in time at the end of the movie? The only answer I can think of would be, that the Omega send Cage back in time for the last time when it was still dying. So after the last respawn in helicopter Cage does not possess the time travel ability anymore.

But this leads to another question, if it was Omega which controlled the time travel, why couldn't it prevent Cage from respawning? If we assume it was because he had Alpha's blood, then one might start to wonder why did he gain the ability again from coming in contact with Omega's blood? I mean clearly Omega couldn't time jump itself, which allowed to have it die once and for all. But that would also suggest that coming in contact with it's blood should have no effect...

The other answer would be. The authors needed a happy ending and it wouldn't work otherwise. Meaning, the authors expected people not to care too much about the little details.

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