The One Problem That Sci-Fi Time Travel Movies Never Resolve

Do you like sci-fi movies? Especially the one with time travel? They are just fantastic. Time travel has always been a topic of interest to many of us. We always have wondered how it would be like to travel to our past or the future; the idea itself is very thrilling. Scientists are trying to find a way to make it possible for hundreds of years. And movies are making them real for us, on the screen, obviously. But are films doing it correctly? Time travel is the other side of science. It might sound cool and fascinating, but the science behind it is extremely complex. Therefore scientists only have theory till now, but no experimental proof. So what are the complexities that these sci-fi movies failed to resolve? And were they acceptable even as fictional stories? In this article, we will talk about science, time travel, and sci-fi movies. And we will try to understand the explanation behind it. So let’s dive into the world of science.


Understanding Time

Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events. Some people also define it as constant and unidirectional. But physicist Albert Einstein explained that time is an illusion. He defines time as relative, which means it can vary according to the observer’s speed through space. He also added that time is the “fourth dimension.” We live in a “three-dimensional” space, with coordinates length, width, and height- showing the location. Although time also provides another conventional coordinate in our world, it only moves forward.

Einstein’s theory of relativity states that time can be slowed down or sped up and depends on the observer’s speed relative to something. He also explains that if an astronaut travels with the speed of light in a spaceship, he/she will age much slower than his/her twin at home. Although his equation shows that if an object travels with the speed of light, it would have both ‘zero’ length and infinite mass. In this famous theory, “Theory of General Relativity,” he said gravity can bend the time. In a  fourth-dimensional fabric, which Einstein defines as space-time forms a curvature of space and that curvature is known as gravity.

According to the NASA scientist, in our universe, we have wormholes, allowing travelers to travel back in time. However, these all are yet some theories.


Is Time Travel Possible?

When we look at the stars at night, we are looking at the past. The light from stars or the galaxies takes a long time to reach us from faraway galaxies. So when we look at them, we are watching the stars from a very long time ago.

Looking in the past is cool, but can “time travel” be real? Science says, yes! You can experience the slowing of time on Earth too. Even the GPS satellites you use to reach someplace experience the slowing down of time. NASA scientists use high accuracy GPS to keep track of the satellites. The GPS satellites orbit around Earth with a speed of 14,000 kilometers per hour. The speed slows down GPS satellite clocks by a very small fraction of second. Scientists have also compared two clocks. The clock of the fast-moving airplane was some millisecond behind the clock on the ground. Fascinating! Isn’t it?

But can we use time machines to travel hundreds of years back? Well, no, not yet. And the mathematics of time travel affects the things we use every day, which are known as paradoxes. There are many such paradoxes that scientists are also trying to find the answers.


Time Travel Paradox

Time travel paradox, also known as Temporal paradox, which is a logical contradiction associated with the idea of time travel and time. In quantum physics, the paradoxes are of many types. The few very known or generally been spoken of are grandfather paradox, casual paradox, Fermi paradox, and Newcomb’s paradox.


Sci-fi movies Ignore the Paradox

Almost all sci-fi movies suffer from the causal loop paradox. But not all succeed in giving logical explanations to the idea, or some simply ignore it. The film-like Triangle and Predestination use the paradox as the big twist. At the same time, other movies like The Terminator and Back to the Future leave it untouched.

In the movie “The Terminator,” one of the central characters, Kyle Reese, goes back in time to save Sarah Connor from an assassin. The assassin was also from the future. Sarah was saved and gave birth to a child who later became the leader, John Connor. John was the son of Sarah and Kyle. So the question arises if John has sent his father back in time to save his mother then how did he take birth in the initial timeline. The movie, though, simply ignores the question.


Hollywood has been making sci-fi movies for a long time, and audiences also love fictional ideas. But it has ignored the science in that process many times. Some viewers love it even as it is, while some raise questions.


Elina John is a self-professed security expert; she has been making the people aware of the security threats. Her passion is to write about Cyber security, cryptography, malware, social engineering, internet and new media. She writes for webroot security products at

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