Lately, I've been comparing how futuristic-set TV shows and movies have evolved over time, and while doing so, I became curious about the following…

What's the furthest-forward-in-time time period that's ever been depicted, in either a TV show or movie? 

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    You should clarify what you're asking. Is it, as the title says, Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them **is set furthest in the future**? - or as in the question text, What's the most futuristic time period that's ever **been depicted**, in either a TV show or movie?. They are actually quite different questions. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:29
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    @Charles Sure. Red Dwarf is set 3 million years in the future, with some episodes and/or scenes set in other times. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy is set in the "present day", but features a scene at the end of the universe. So, for a story set furthest in the future Red Dwarf might well win. For a story which simply at some point depicts the far future, HHGTTG is a better candidate. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:53
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    @GrimmTheOpiner I'm inclined to say then, that Red Dwarf would be a potential winner. I am most interested in how the future is portrayed, which may include the scenario humans find themselves in, their relationship with Nature, everyday technologies used, ideals/philosophies, type of government, etc. If it's just a single scene that doesn't really show much of anything (e.g., Matt's answer) then that's not too revealing. So, how do you suggest I edit the question to be most accurate to this?
    – Charles
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 14:56
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    @Charles Instead of editing the question and invalidating existing answers, you should make a new question that specifies that the show is set the furthest in the future, not just has scenes or single episodes, and perhaps modify the title of this one to say "depicts a time" instead of "is set". Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 15:52
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    @Charles your title really nails it. "Of all the movies and TV shows ever made, which of them is set furthest in the future?" The question body need say little more than you "want the show or movie where the majority of the story is set in a future time, and that future time is later than any other". Maybe also that "single scenes or episodes in the far future do not in themselves qualify an entire movie or series for consideration" I might also ask that it's best if the actual date or years-into-the-future is explicitly stated. Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 16:02

7 Answers 7


More of an adjunct to the existing answers - if you're looking for an example where the "usual" setting of the movie or show is far in the future (as opposed to a specific episode or segment) then I'd suggest Red Dwarf as the bulk of the show is set over 3 million years in the future.

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    I find this to be the best answer despite other answers which are technically further in the future. It feels like cheating to count shows/movies where the characters time travel to "the end of time" Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 18:50
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    Well, the Futurama episodes after "The Late Philip J. Fry" are technically set two entire universes (and about 10 feet lower) in the future due to the events of that episode, even though that future looks pretty much identical to the "regular" future in just 1000 years
    – Suppen
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 17:41

In Futurama episode "The Late Philip J Fry", some of the crew travel to the very end of time itself (and back around again... TWICE).

They most likely go through the heat death of the universe which is on the order of 10100 years!

However, the furthest "known" date shown on the time machine's indicator is 1 × 1040 AD: when the "last proton should be decaying".

The furthest date in history

  • 36
    Love this answer. I expect it'll be unbeatable, too - most fiction stops at the end of the universe. Only Futurama would keep going forward to double it... and then some! Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 13:50
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    "The end of the universe" is hardly unique to Futurama, as we can see. The real winner will be the one with the longest-lasting universe. Which it looks like is still Futurama.
    – Nacht
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 4:10
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    The video only covers going to the next universe, not 2.
    – Yakk
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 18:51
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    I couldn't find the full full version, but the following scene is them going fast forward again but this time the professor doesn't slip. You can read it in the info sphere script I linked or better yet, use it as an excuse to rewatch the episode!
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 13:43
  • It has not to my knowledge been adapted in a movie or show but Tau Zero by Poul Anderson and in a weaker sense The Last Question by Asimov also experiment the end of the universe.
    – WNG
    Commented Dec 13, 2017 at 19:35

It's Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe as depicted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Referenced in the 2005 Movie, and makes an appearance in episode 5 the 1981 TV series

YouTube of Arthur Dent eating here.

Milliways, also known as The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, can only be visited practically by time travel, as it exists at the end of time and matter. Marvin the Paranoid Android is one character who manages to reach Milliways without the use of time travel, merely by being very patient. One of the restaurant's major attractions is that diners can watch the entire universe end in a Gnab Gib from the windows of the restaurant as they eat. The terminal moment is followed by dessert. Reservations are easily obtained, since they can be booked once the patron returns to his or her original time after their meal, and the restaurant's bill can be paid by depositing a penny in any bank account of the present time: by the end of the universe, the compound interest on that penny over the course of time after 170 quintillion years (short scale) will be enough to pay the extremely high bill. Near-instant transportation to the restaurant can be achieved in certain rarefied circumstances, such as being next to an exploding hyperspatial field generator on the planet where Milliways will eventually be built several billion years after the explosion occurs.

I'm pretty sure you can't get further into the future than this, since you eat dessert after the end of the universe. There's probably coffee and petit-fours after that.

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    You can go further into the future if you go to the next universe ;)
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 9:59
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    It seems people can point at other depictions also at the end of the universe - but TRATEOTU did it first. Plus, it's HHGTTG, so, winner. :-) Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:26
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    Wouldn't this You can't beat the end of time answer also be matched by any number of other movies/shows like Dr Who in the year 100,000,000,000,000 5 minutes before the heat death of the universe?
    – WernerCD
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 12:34
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    For those who might otherwise wonder: "I've seen [the End of the Universe]. It's rubbish," said Zaphod, "nothing but a gnab gib." — "A what?" — "Opposite of a big bang." Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 8:13
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    The End of the Universe is (wioll on-be) "I believe five hundred and seventy-six thousand million years" futurewards of the time Zaphod, Arthur, et al. departed (willan on-depart) Frogstar World B. I'm not immediately sure how far in our current future (or past) that was supposed to be, though. If they were still at that point in our "present" (roughly circa 1980 — anyway, it was sometime when there were Thursdays and the Earth still existed), then Milliways would have been temporally located in only about A.D. 576,000,001,980 — peanuts to Futurama. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 8:20

The Doctor Who Episode Utopia is set in the Year 100 Trillion, at literally the very end of time and space itself (according to the show)

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 15:00

Adaptations of "The Time Machine" (H. G. Wells). At least two of them (1960 and 2002) depict quite detailed the year 802,701.

And in the 2002 adaptation, there are also landscapes of the year 635 427 810. It is more than six hundred million years from now.


And the winner is...

A many-way tie!

The time for this tie is "the end of time," also sometimes portrayed as "outside of time."

There are multiple movies and TV shows, as well as literature and video games, which depict things such as the end of time, the next universe after the end of time and then time restarts, post-time time has run out and now we are in a timeless 'place' where time is some singularity or nonexistent or other weird thing, and other variations of this theme.

All of these have in common that they are at the farthest extent of time or even beyond time, therefore they all tie for first place for this answer and none of them can be beaten.

The Winners

Some examples have already been given: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Dr. Who, and Futurama.

In "Red Dwarf" season 5, episode 2 "The Inquisitor" the crew encounter an android who has lived to "the end of time." Once at the end of time, the android decides that there are no gods or afterlife, so the android builds a time machine and goes back to the past.

Another one is the TV series 12 Monkeys. 12 Monkeys had a cult which worshipped The Witness, a person who was born outside of time by two time travelers. Two time travelers conceived the child while in a temporary "pocket timeline," for lack of a better term, which was the result of their tampering with history and which should not have happened but did due to the many accumulating paradoxes. The traveler is worshipped as the one who lives outside time and who will bring an end to time. Although "outside time" does not always necessarily mean "after time," in this case the "outside time" quality is brought about through actions taken throughout history and it brings an end to time, so it is effectively "after all time."

There are also time-travel movies and shows in which people are trying to stop "the end of time" from becoming reality, but which I do not know enough about to know if anyone actually "goes there." Example: Quantum Break

Special Notes

These go beyond the scope of this question but are likely of interest to most people asking this question or reading it.

There are a lot of contenders if you were to include other story media such as literature and video games...

There was a video game, Chrono Trigger I think, in which you had to travel back and forth through time as part of the plot, with the farthest time being a place at "The End of Time" which used the concept "All time is spent and this is now a 'timeless' post-time place. Time is essentially frozen in place, though you can still move, talk, and perform other actions."

And there was a choose your own adventure book which involved a time-travel cave (go in one time, come out another exit at another time) which had a special "post-time" room as well which worked the same way.

In "The Time Traveler's Almanac" one of the time-traveling short stories had time-travel technology invented, and there was also an "end of time" there, but most people avoided it because nobody ever returned from it, so its properties are unknown to those in "normal time." Sorry, I do not recall the title of this short story.

In Dungeons and Dragons there is an elf-like race called the Le Shay. In at least the 3rd edition of D&D (not sure about other editions), the description of the immortal Le Shay suggests that they are already in such a situation relative to their home-time. Due to tampering with the universe, which produced a catastrophe that could not be fixed, the Le Shay managed to, somehow (they are secretive, so this part is unknown), get themselves beyond the end of time and into the next instance of a habitable timeline. So, if those rumors are to be believed, then the default setting is a "future" timeline that is beyond the end of time of a previous timeline. Also, D&D is available as movies and TV shows, however I am not aware if the Le Shay have made any appearances on the screen - I am only aware of their existence in literature, hence mentioning this in the special notes section.

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    Most of your suggestions are either repeats of things have been mentioned in other answers or books. This is a Movies and TV SE and the question specifically asks about those two formats.
    – Darren
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 15:35
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    I specifically mentioned "Some things have been provided in other answers, such as...", so yes, those are repeats, as intended; that is both acceptable and even expected in good answers according to StackExchange policy. As for the books, yes, and I specifically stated that those are additional information going beyond the question since that information is very relevant to anyone interested in this. That information on its own would be an off-topic answer, but it is merely additional notes to an otherwise on-topic answer - another thing which is often done in good StackExchange answers. @Darr
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 15:44
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    I didn't downvote, but I have to admit, this doesn't really add anything. The first three examples, as you noted, have already been given. The next two (Red Dwarf and 12 Monkeys) feature characters who have been to the end of time, but the stories don't actually take place at the end of time, so they don't count. And the non-movie/TV show examples naturally don't count because they aren't movies or TV shows.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 17:47
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    I downvoted this answer, because it contains to much overhead, i.e. does not get to the point (I am not interested in what you did and why, just provide examples with plot summaries) and is not well structured for random access. And I don't understand parts of it. What is "many-way tie"? Commented Dec 6, 2017 at 22:17
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    @motosubatsu Also, even if I added zero new content (which I disagree with, but for the sake of argument...), it is still suggested by StackExchange guidelines that coming in to make one answer that is more complete by combining the information of other answers is desired for the SE format. In that regard, SE policy still dictates that my answer is good; of course, that does not disallow you from voting your conscience, as you should.
    – Aaron
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 14:53

The Babylon 5 Season 4 finale, The Deconstruction of Falling Stars, is broken into a number of segments showing events affecting the Interstellar Alliance at different stages in its future. The final segment is set one million years into the future and shows

the destruction of the Earth by the Sun going nova.

The Doctor Who episode The End of the World is set in the year 5 billion.

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    it's down to whether the question is strictly about baseline series setting or inclusive of one-shot 'visits' to a 'later' time.
    – N. Presley
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 1:38

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