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The Top 13 Alternate Universes In Pop Culture

Science fiction fans, start your engines. Thanks to seven plus years of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures the minute rays of energy left over from the Big Bang, we now have more evidence than ever to believe that alternate universes may coexist with our own. Compiled by cosmologists at University College London, these findings draw on a theory formally called "eternal inflation" – that such universes are popping into and out of existence while constantly colliding.
Whether evil, mustached versions of ourselves are housed within these bubbles of space and time has yet to be proven. But with any luck, any or all of them will contain some of the fantastic things found in this list. *Because the recent scientific development centers around multiverses forming and colliding, I have only considered fiction where characters have encountered other worlds that exist independently to our own. Excluded from the examples are any universes that were created via time travel, are drug-induced, mental delusions, or exist as magical realms within our own plane. Also, be forewarned, there be spoilers ahead.
  • 1

    Fringe's Universe B - Home of the Walternate

    Video: YouTube

    No one in Fox’s epic sci-fi drama about governmental investigations surrounding the obscure, bizarre, and inter-dimensional happenings around Boston is really sure how or why a parallel world so close to ours came to exist.

    What we do know is Eric Stoltz starred in Back to the Future, they use zeppelins as a regular mode of transportation, and no one has ever heard of U2. Unsightly cell phones are replaced with fashionable "ear cuffs", Martin Luther King, Jr. is on the $20 bill, and the sexy doppelganger to one FBI agent, Olivia Dunham, known in our world as "Faux-Livia," has an overall more appealing hair cut. If you ignore the small pox outbreak, the only thing from making this universe any more superior is the yet-to-be-discovered joy of Peanut M&Ms.
  • In this Futurama episode, the professor attempts to destroy a mysterious box that almost kills him by blasting it like Herme’s zombie mother into the sun. However, the curiosity surrounding the contents of the cardboard receptacle is too great for Leela to bear, so before she delivers it to her fiery destination, she flips a coin to decide whether or not to risk unleashing, unknown terrors upon her and the Planet Express crew. The coin lands in her self-destructing favor, and she peers inside only to fall into an alternate reality where coin-flips in our universe have the opposite outcome.

    The result is a slightly different color scheme for the characters and the sky (apparently even God flips a coin to decide things), Fry and Leela are happily married, and we get to see an alternative Bender with a glorious golden ass. "The Farnsworth Parabox" also allows us to delve into some of the other awesome alternate universes, including a robot world, a hippie inhabited world, and a bobble-headed world, for some reason.
  • 3

    Marvel Exiles

    Video: YouTube

    Refugees from space and time, the Exiles are mutants from the X-Men realities who have been recruited to help repair cosmic abnormalities which have resulted in adverse effects across universes. A veritable mashup of the Marvel world as we know it and a series of "What-If" happenings, the Exiles, originally comprised of Blink, Mimic, Magnus, Thunderbird, Nocturne, and Morph, take us on a world-tour of the Marvel multiverse, indulging us in the good and bad, although mostly bad, alternative outcomes of some of the best of the "X-Men" series.

    While much of what the Exiles themselves experience is disturbing, the worlds they uncover present well-constructed and thorough interpretations of alternate realities, which add depth and intrigue to an already intricate cast of worlds and characters. In addition, we as readers get to experience things we might not ever get to without the Exile universes, such as Dr. Doom being a hero, how worlds can be saved by buying a danish, and Sabretooth’s one-night stand with an alternate world's Invisible Woman.
  • 4

    South Park's Imaginationland

    Video: YouTube

    This three-part episode of "South Park’s" tongue-in-cheek chronicle of political anxiety begins with a search for a leprechaun and develops into the discovery of a land that is inhabited by all the fictional characters ever dreamed up in movies, television, and literature. I don’t think I need to explain the awesomeness of having a world where you can rub elbows with the likes of Buddha, Count Chocula, and Jason Bourne at the same time simply by singing the ridiculously simple "Imagination Song."

    Sure, it’s bordered by a world that’s inhabited by the evil manifestations of our darkest fears, but until terrorists unleash havoc upon our dream world, we get to enjoy the thought of Gandalf the Grey, Luke Skywalker, and Jesus kicking it together on a regular basis.

    Imaginationland also offers us the opportunity to view constantly s**t-upon Butters as the key to world salvation, and the unsettling satisfaction that comes with seeing the payment of a bet actually come into fruition in the form of imaginary Kyle sucking real-world Cartman’s balls.