I was just wondering if anyone could think of any reasonable reason as to why in Looper the loopers have to kill their older selfs? I mean why not just send the older looper back to a different looper to kill and nobody would be any the wiser? It seemed to cause them a lot of problems....

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    Here's another question: the only person that really cares about time paradoxes, with a very good reason, is Abe. Why he's not in charge of killing people that comes from the future? Oh, he needs more people to help? Then send more mob people from the future! It makes much more sense than letting people from the past learn that time travel will exist (and killing then afterwards...)
    – user4908
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 17:54

3 Answers 3


Shamelessly copied from my answer over on sci-fi & fantasy.SE:

In an interview with Slashfilm, the director, Rian Johnson, addresses this:

Why is it essential for a looper to close his own loop?

This is another one of those questions Johnson had answered in his head but didn’t put in the movie. In fact, he even conceived a scene with Abe addressing it but never shot it.

“People in the future, all they know about time travel is to be afraid of it. So they’re trying to keep it as tight as possible. So the initial reason they set it up this way was to keep the causality loop as tight as possible,” Johnson said. Because, for example, if someone else kills your older self and you have to exist with your own murderer for 30 years, what’s stopping you for murdering them or doing something to screw everything else up? ”Every bit of evidence is gone from that loop when you kill yourself,” he said.

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    Yeah, I think with this film it is best not to bother asking questions as the answers just aren't there. closing your loop (having to kill yourself) seems to me like it might change you a lot (you would still be existing with your own murderer its just it would be you) Surely a lot of looper end up killing themselves? That would seem like a problem
    – hmmmm
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:10
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    @hmmmm Every Looper ends up killing themselves that's the whole point. As it's stated it's not really a job for forward thinking people as you can see when each Looper is shown celebrating his loop closing as if it's the biggest promotion possible. The also know for sure when they are going to die which means they never have to worry about it for at least the next 30 years. For certain individuals (Loopers) it's sex and drugs and partying non stop until then and that is the best life possible for them. Commented Feb 14, 2013 at 18:36
  • @ I mean they commit suicide as they have already killed themselves.
    – hmmmm
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:02
  • @KevinHowell Also what difference would it make if somebody say X, killed you at year 0 and then 10 years later you kill X, X would have still killed you at year 0 and everything would be fine
    – hmmmm
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 14:05

This is a good example of how Looper's premise is shaky in terms of logistics -- too many unanswerable questions, such as:

  1. Wouldn't it be better to have the FIRST person each looper kills be the looper's future self? Then each loop would be closed from the start.

  2. Given their drug-addled, crime-ridden lifestyles, how many loopers will actually live a full 30 years after "retiring"?

  3. If a given looper did live 30 years, wouldn't he go into hiding in year 30? Or maybe start cooperating with the authorities in an effort to save his life?

  4. Overall, if they're all running around for 30 years, isn't there a risk that one or more loopers would alter the timeline significantly, changing what the world would look like in year 30?

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    Yeah, I got another one. Why bother with all the time travel madness in the first place? Don't tell me anyone could identify old Joe and pursue them if they just put him into a large furnace instead of a time machine right in the future, they didn't have any problem kidnapping him (and killing his wife with a good old gunshot) anyway.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Mar 26, 2013 at 23:54
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    IIRC the movie establishes (either from Abe or from Joe's narration, I forget which) that in the future, there's some technology that lets the government know when anyone dies. (Though, it seems, it doesn't let them know if they disappear via time-travel. <shrug>) So there is an explanation--though a very contrived one.
    – user24353
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 13:35

Because when you kill yourself you have no one to blame but yourself.

To answer the four questions asked from someone below your question;

  1. If it would be better they sent yourself to kill first to close the loop from the get-go and erase all traces you’ve ever existed, then so would be your contract closed and you could walk free by doing just one job. Of course, they don’t want that. They want that loopers do a pretty amount of work before retiring.

  2. That’s unknown. Joe states that IF someone lives those 30 years, they’ll be found and sent back in time.

  3. Yes they would go hiding and that’s what Joe kinda did. They’ll be found nonetheless. I don’t think anyone who’s a criminal will go to the authorities asking them for help. Why would they help them?

  4. That’s a basic time travel question that shouldn’t be asked. Maybe it’s a movie where little things such as one person don’t affect the grand scale of the future. Maybe it isn’t. The movie shows however that it can change the outcome of the future for one person (the little kid) who’s known to be the Rainmaker.

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