fans of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure I love the goofy jokes and sci-fi elements of the classic 80s movie. However, did you know that there’s a pretty big gaffe in the movie? Here’s what you need to know about bootstrap paradoxes.
‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Character Intro Creates Error in Movies
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure hit theaters in 1989, and viewers fell in love with the hilariously silly Bill and Ted, played by Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter.
The film follows Bill and Ted as they travel back in time to bring together a group of historical figures to help them pull off a historical presentation. The couple are given the time machine by the mysterious Rufus from the future. According to him, Bill and Ted must pass their history class so that they can continue to create music that will inspire the world, leading to the utopian future that Rufus came from.
Rufus, played by comedian George Carlin, is a pretty big character in the movie, but some eagle-eyed fans noticed there was a bit of a slip-up when it came to his introduction.
In a Reddit post about the paradox, one user pointed out: “In Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Rufus never shows up. His name is given to current Bill and Ted by future Bill and Ted, creating a priming paradox as the information has no traceable origin.
In the movie, future versions of Bill and Ted appear alongside Rufus to tell current Bill and Ted about their time travel. The future Bill and Ted are the ones who introduce Rufus in the current versions. However, if Rufus never introduced himself to the couple, how did future Bill and Ted know his name?
What is a bootstrap paradox?
This creates what some call a “bootstrap paradox”. The bootstrap paradox is a theoretical time travel paradox that occurs when an object or piece of information is sent back in time and trapped in an infinite cause-effect loop. This loop means that the element or information no longer has a point of origin.
According astronomy trek, the term “bootstrap paradox” was coined by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein for his 1941 book “By His Bootstraps”. In the book, the main character is given an information notebook that helps him travel through time. At some point, it copies the information from the original notebook into a new one. He then realizes that the new notebook is the one given to him earlier, so where did the original notebook come from?
Other movies with priming paradoxes, like “Back to the Future” and “Donnie Darko”
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure is not the only film to create a bootstrap paradox. Donnie Darko, a film about a teenager who learns he can manipulate time, also creates this paradox. The titular character discovers that he can alter time, but only because his future self has already altered time.
Another famous time travel movie, Back to the future, has the same problem. In a now famous scene, main character Marty McFly plays Chuck Berry’s hit song “Johnny B. Goode” – three years before it was created.
In the film, Chuck Berry’s cousin hears the song and tells Berry about it, which presumably leads to the song being created. If the song originated from Marty’s performance, then how did Marty know about it in the first place?
Time-traveling movies are popular, whether it’s light comedies like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or darker movies like Principle. Looks like the writers are still hard at work on creating a plotless time travel movie!
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