Sunday, July 23, 2017

Let's Do The Time Warp Again!

The new trailer for Season 8 of The Walking Dead premiered this week at the San Diego Comic-Con.

There's not much of note in the trailer until the very end, when we see a long, lingering, gauzy shot of a visible older Rick waking up in bed, complete with a comical Rip Van Winkle beard.

Predictably, many fans have taken to the internet, announcing that this shot confirms the ridiculous "The Entire Series Is A Nightmare In Rick's Head As He Lies In A Coma In The Hospital" theory that's been going around for many years.


Anyone who thinks that has obviously never read the comic. The trailer means the show's doing the "Time Jump" that happened in Issue #127 of The Walking Dead comic. See, after the events of the "All Out War" storyline (between Rick's and Negan's forces), the book jumped ahead approximately three years. I won't get into spoilers here, but let's just say a lot of things had changed for the characters during that time.

And just in case you don't believe me, the shot of the cane right before we see Older Rick confirms the Time Jump storyline. In Issue #127, Rick had to start walking with a cane for reasons. So there you go. Time Jump, not Coma Dream.

The Time Jump has quickly become something of a cliche in serialized TV shows the past few years. It's generally used when the writers want to change the status quo of a series, but have neither the time or the talent to show the audience how the characters got there.

The most famous example of the Time Jump occured in Battlestar Galactica, which skipped ahead an entire year during the final moments of its Season 2 finale. That "One Year Later..." caption was a shocking, game-changing WTF moment, and made a huge impression on the audience and Hollywood writers alike. Suddenly dozens of other series were using the Time Jump trope, hoping to capture some of that same magic. It rarely if ever worked.

Doctor Who famously did a "One Year Later" jump in Last Of The Time Lords, although it was undone by the end of the episode. There've been many other actual Time Jumps during Steven Moffat's tenure as showrunner.

Fringe may hold the record for furthest time jump, as it leaped ahead to 2036 in its fifth season.

Many other shows have used it as well, including The 100, 24, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Angel, Hannibal, House, Mad Men, Once Upon A Time, One Tree Hill, Parks & Recreation, Supernatural, True Blood and The X-Files.

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