'Interstellar' timeline in one convenient graph


It’s a pretty picture but I still feel like there’s a huge paradox to the film that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Science or no.

You’re right, the film has an acausal loop, it doesn’t make sense. But then no film containing time travel has ever made any sense, so I’m not going to blame it too much on that one. The only way for time travel to work in a logically consistent manner is if you are prevented from interacting with instances from your own past light cone. The only possible ways around these kinds of paradoxes are by creating alternate universes, but in that case you’re not actually changing the past, just creating alternate futures, there will still always be the past(s) where everyone dies, which doesn’t make for a particularly satisfying narrative.

Another flaw in the graph is that the gravitational waves couldn’t have originated from Gargantua directly, it’s in a different galaxy, would take far too long to get to earth (they can’t travel faster than light), they would have to have come via the wormhole.

I’m pretty sure that Interstellar depicts a “double closed time-loop” or whatever it should be called. I prefer “Matroishka Stacked Paradoxes”, or maybe that’s worse.

Paradox #1 is Cooper interacting with his past self and initiating his own journey into space. The information that Future Cooper sends back is information that Past Cooper gets from Future Cooper. There is no external data entry point in the loop. Or, to put it another way, Cooper goes into space because Cooper told Cooper to.

Paradox #2 is Future Humanity interacting with Past Humanity to save Future Humanity. Again, there is no external force or effect that manipulates Humanity in that loop. Or, to put it another way, Humanity survives because Humanity saved Humanity.

Didn’t watch Interstellar yet. Do you need graphics such as these to understand and analyze the film or can one see the film and enjoy it without it…

I thought it was decent, and not at all confusing.

That’s the same thing, I called it acausal because the prime cause was the effect of that cause, therefore there was no original cause.

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No infographs are necessary. I thought it was mostly pretty great, looks amazing, wonderful score, a few temporal paradoxes and occasionally over-sentimental dialog didn’t ruin it for me.

The concepts are explained to a great detail in the film itself… to the point where it was frustrating to me.

My biggest complaints about the movie have nothing to do with understanding what is going on.

So, how does he get from Cooper Station to Edmund’s Planet at the end… driving a Ranger? The planet’s ‘a few months’ from the far side of the anomaly… using Endurance’s bigger engines and fuel supply and hypersleep to cut down on resource consumption. Seems a tad optimistic…

Not to mention that fact that she’s raising 3000 babies single-handed… and it’s not clear how many years it’s been for her.

Just not sure he’s thought this one through.

Bit like the writers, really…

Maybe the Ranger does have enough fuel (the two prior to that had their fuel depleted due to their proximity to Gargantua, they might well have had enough without having to worry about that), or maybe it’s not the same model Ranger as from the original mission, an upgraded version with a fancy anti-gravity drive or something that was built along with Cooper station.

She wouldn’t have experienced any time dilation in relation to Cooper (or at least not much, just the bit from after she left him until she escaped Gargantua’s gravity well), and what he experienced was all during his descent into Gargantua after they separated, once he was spat out by Saturn he’s back on the same clock as she would have been. So he probably ‘lost’ about 40-50 years on her in total - a guess based on his daughter’s age pre-black hole to death (less whatever she ‘lost’ coming out of Gargantuas gravity well).

Interestingly, if he were to go back and look at where he fell into Gargantua it would look like he was still falling into it, and it would take an infinite amount of time for it to happen, despite the fact that he had already been spat out.

edit: actually, my 2nd paragraph is wrong, there was actually very little time dilation between the two of them at all, it was only 40-50 years (plus the original 20 or so years from the trip to the crazy tidal planet) relative to the Sol side of the wormhole, the final scenes showed Cooper and Amelia in roughly the same time (so presumably there wasn’t much more dilation from where they separated). So he would have arrived there quite shortly after he left her (from their POV), only months later.

I find a few issues with the graphic but it’s a nice start.

A theory I have on how the story might work…

They mention beings that have evolved past the constraints of a single dimension (humans?). If at least one possible reality and timeline of humans survive and evolve in this way, they would be in a position to see and potentially alter any human reality and timeline. They’d be able to look at and exert influence on all of the timelines that have existed or possibly could exist. For some unknown reason, these beings wish to preserve/promote the timeline and reality represented in the movie. The theory posed in the film is that these beings would be able to alter the timeline(s) at any point using gravitational anomalies and could have created conditions to get Cooper and TARS into Gargantua the first time. The beings eventually create the quantum “gravity injection machine” Cooper and TARS use to communicate. We are seeing an iteration of the loop that occurs after the first time this happened.

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