Theory of time travel in Trunks saga
Posted 8/9/10 , edited 8/10/10
You may know that whatever Trunks altered the past does not change his future. But there are possible theories of why and how did it happen. When Cell killed Trunks and the other Trunks arrives in the past as if he is still alive and you must be thinking huh?

ok, here is my possible theory of how did this happen. This theory may not be 100% accurate but it gives a possibility of what actually happened. I'll explain this in a simple way.

There are two timelines, Timeline A (original timeline) and Timeline B (new timeline)

Timeline A- Trunks goes back in time and gives the medicine to Goku. In this timeline, Cell has not arrived in the past yet and he's not awakened yet. After saving Goku, Trunks goes back to his future and his mother, Bulma created a device to deactivate the androids. Trunks successfully shuts down the androids. Later, Cell has awakened and finds that the androids were malfunctioned. Before Trunks tells the good news to Goku and the rest of the gang, Cell squares off against Trunks and kills him. Cell takes his time machine and travels to the past before Trunks arrives in the past. Now the device that Trunks used against the androids came in handy because he would have used the device to deactivate the androids in the past as well.

Timeline B- A new timeline is created when Cell has arrived in the past. His presence leads to sudden changes in history. In Timeline A, Android 16 was not activated yet. Somehow, he was activated in this timeline. Trunks have arrived in the past. How's he still alive? You maybe thinking this is another Trunks. No, it's not. This Trunks is the same Trunks that Cell killed in Timeline A. Whatever happens in the past, it happened. If Trunks from Timeline A haven't arrived in the past then Trunks would already be dead. Period. The Z fighters found the lab where Cell's incubated self is being created and destroys it. But the older Cell is still alive. Because, whatever you changed the past does not affect the future. As a result, it did not affect the older Cell because he is from the future. After the Cell games, Trunks goes back to his future and now is stronger due to the effects of the Hyperbolic Time Chamber. Without the device, Trunks manages to defeat Android 17 and 18 easily. When Cell comes by, Trunks easily defeats him. Imagine, Trunks was not in that Hypebolic Time Chamber, he would not have been strong and Cell would have killed him and goes back in time. As a result, it would have been a time loop.

What do you think of this theory?
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Posted 8/10/10
if he tried to change his own past then he wouldn't exist to try to change his own past. your theory of different timelines is correct in a way but still a little off. there are many different futures but they can lead to the same past, you know like every decision creates a parallel world, thats how I figure it anyways.

future Trunks came from a world where there was no Goten (I think thats how you spell it), and Gohan didn't reach Super level till his late teens or early 20's and lost an arm. that being said there were probably many different versions of this future such as one were Cell was killed before traveling through time and one where he wasn't.

One version of future Trunks died because he lacked the knowledge of Cell from his version of the future, while another knew of Cell and prevented a past that had Cell becoming perfect and thus creating another parallel timeline for better or for worse.
GVman 
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Posted 8/10/10
It's stated in the show that the timelines diverged at some point. By Trunks himself.
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