Total Nerd

What The Year 2020 Should Look Like, According To Science Fiction 

Stephan Roget
1.9k votes 439 voters 40.8k views 14 items

List Rules Vote up the things you are grateful are a ways off from what 2020 actually looks like.

The year 2020 may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s now upon us, and now might be a good time to start looking for forewarnings in the portrayals of 2020 in fiction. Various films, TV shows, books, and video games set in the year 2020 have made predictions and wild guesses about what the dawn of the newest decade would look like, and some have definitely proven more accurate than others.

As one might imagine, many of the best stories set in the 2020s consist of dystopian or downright apocalyptic futures, and some days it seems like they weren't too far off. There's also some reason for optimism hiding in the popular fiction set in 2020, however, and perhaps some hope that the world isn't doomed - or, at the very least, that we'll all have robots when the end days come.

A Quiet Place is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list What The Year 2020 Should Look Like, According To Science Fiction
Photo: Paramount Pictures

The postapocalyptic future depicted in 2018's A Quiet Place is a horrific one - monstrous aliens with oversensitive hearing haunt the Earth, and humanity is forced to either live in silence or perish. It’s a pretty grim picture of things to come, and there may be reason to worry in the immediate future, as the majority of the population will be wiped out in the first few months of the year 2020.

To be entirely fair, the full plot of the film also portends the secret to destroying those monsters will also be discovered sometime in 2020 - but most of the world won't be around to learn about it.

Happy this isn't the real 2020?
Edge of Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list What The Year 2020 Should Look Like, According To Science Fiction
Photo: Warner Bros.

The events of Edge of Tomorrow take place in 2020, and the fact that they seem outlandishly dystopian is kind of the point. The lore of the film states the alien invasion of the "Mimics" came all of a sudden in 2015 and quickly ran rampant across all of continental Europe. In the film, 2020 represents the point at which humanity developed the mech-based technology to finally fight back.

Though the armed forces of the world are becoming ever more mechanized, they're still a long way off from the sort of super-suits being sported by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow. That being said, the current era doesn't have the motivation of an extraterrestrial incursion for motivation.

Happy this isn't the real 2020?
Pacific Rim is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list What The Year 2020 Should Look Like, According To Science Fiction
Photo: Warner Bros.

Though the bulk of 2013’s Pacific Rim takes place in the year 2025, its opening scene - which features the destruction of Gipsy Danger and the death of Yancy Becket - occurs five years earlier. According to the franchise timeline, the year 2020 marks the point at which the conflict between the Jaeger mechs and the invading Kaiju starts to turn in favor of the monsters.

It's not a tale that foretells much in the way of happiness for the first half of the 2020s, though it does promise more peaceful days after several dark years. For some experiencing the current era, that might sound like a best-case scenario.

Happy this isn't the real 2020?
Doctor Who is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list What The Year 2020 Should Look Like, According To Science Fiction
Photo: BBC

By their very nature, episodes of Doctor Who take place all over the timestream, including futures that have already come and gone. Such is the case for the 2010 episodes "The Hungry Earth" and "Cold Blood," in which the Doctor and his friends travel to the year 2020 and encounter a planet being wracked by manmade earthquakes.

Though the tale does make for an obvious analogy to the modern issue of fracking-related tremors, Doctor Who's version of the problem is significantly more sci-fi in nature. In this case, the earthquakes are caused by a race of subterranean reptilians who have been disturbed by dubious mining operations. People are free to draw their own conclusions for this subtle allegory.

Happy this isn't the real 2020?