Science Fiction is some of the coolest stuff we can watch, read, or listen to. It’s cool to see how accurate or nearly accurate it can be. Likely the best example of this is Jules Verne, who wrote tremendous novels like The Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870). Verne discusses several crazy concepts for the time. Some of the ideas brought up were thought to ve impossible back then. In fact, Verne mentions what we’d one day call the submarine, Space Travel, the jukebox, and the holograph. While Verne was right about a lot of amazing things in his books, he wasn’t perfect. In fact, in his book From The Earth To The Moon, he was terribly wrong about how we’d get to the moon. He claimed we’d shoot people into space as projectiles with a big gun. Obviously we aren’t journeying to the center of the Earth anytime soon either.
No matter how accurate some writers are about the future, they are victims of the time they live in. It’s not Verne’s fault that he wrote his books in the 1800s and lacked the knowledge we have today. Yet this is what happens when you write about the future. Those future people can look back to see how accurate you were. Verne is one of many amazing writers who were both right and wrong about his future predictions. Yet some were completely wrong, and this involves far more than books. That is what our article is about, the science fiction out there that ended up getting the future very wrong. Enjoy!
40. 2012 Film (The World Is Ending)
The movie 2012 came out in November of 2009. The movie randomly threw us a few years into the future where we’re led to believe the world is pretty much ending. 2012 throws out the fact that the Earth’s core has heated up far too much, thus causing earthquakes, plate shifts, tsunamis, and more.
However, the biggest is perhaps the Yellowstone Volcano being affected and erupting as a result. All of this came about due to the real Mayan Calendar having an end date of December 21, 2012. The Mayans had been in place since around the 5th Century BC. While the Mayans never claimed the world was ending on this date, conspiracy theorists ran with it.
Timecop is a 1994 movie that stars 90s action phenom, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The movie is set only 10 years into the future, in 2004. The writers hoped for too much by 2004, but probably the biggest the movie pushes through is the self-driving car. They claimed it would be in use all over the place by then.
On top of this, Timecop also claims they will react to voice commands that could get pretty specific. To be fair to Timecop, places like Google do have their own self-driving car. However, none of these were made by 2004. Some cars react to voice commands, however. Although, this typically is only useful for navigation or phone calls.
The Science Fiction movie, Heatseeker, was so 90s that it’s sad. Actor/Martial Artist Keith Cooke is the main star of the movie. While he’s a real martial artist with a massive background in kickboxing that helped make the fights realistic, the movie itself never made sense. Released in 1995, it claims that somehow by 2019, the biggest sport in the world will be Cyborg Kickboxing.
Considering Kickboxing was not even that big in the 90s, it seemed more hopeful than accurate. The movie centers around a corporation that makes cybernetic implants for athletes. They apparently make a kickboxing tournament where they utilize these cybernetic kickboxers. The main star, Chance O’Brien (Cooke), has to be blackmailed to enter it. It’s a lot.
37. Death Race 2000 (Population Control Via Hitting People With Cars)
We hope Death Race 2000 never becomes a reality. Released in 1975, the movie pushes that a new style of racing will be a huge form of entertainment. For drivers to get points, they must run over a pedestrian ideally killing them. The society wanted more population control, hence the “Death” Race part.
We’re on multiple continents running over people in this film! While this never happened in 2000 or anytime after. Yet they also claim that racing will be one of only a few forms of entertainment for people. NASCAR can’t even keep a 2.0 on FOX & NBC, and we have literally hundreds of things better to watch today.
36. Strange Days (Memories Filmed By Brain Recorder)
Weird science fiction film, Strange Days, released in 1995, was written and produced by James Cameron. His ex-wife Katheryn Bigelow directed it. While Bigelow was praised, the movie fell flat mostly. The main issue was the future Cameron envisioned.
The movie is set less than 5 years into the future, in 1999. Apparently, Los Angeles has become a war zone and some people were now wearing something called a SQUID. It’s a device that people wear on their cerebral cortex that films daily activity and downloads to a MiniDisc of sorts for people to play. While police & security cameras exist today, nothing like this exists nor do we want it to.
35. Foundation Series (World Empire Reigning For 12,000 Years)
The Foundation Series, written by brilliant science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, is tremendous. While Asimov came up with some ideas that eventually became a reality, he did not get certain things right with the Foundation Series. The books were written from 1942 to 1993, so this is understandable. Asimov wrote in the series that a major Galactic Empire had been reigning for 12,000 years.
The series is set thousands of years into the future. However, the main setting of the series is within the same universe as Pebble in the Sky, which took place about 10,000 years before The Foundation Series. This is critical, as it means that we’re beyond the year that the World Empire would have begun its reign by now.
34. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Travel To Jupiter)
2001: A Space Odyssey is an incredible movie that most would rank as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. However, we must address the elephant in the room. The Stanley Kubrick film came out in 1968, so a lot of this movie has issues scientifically based on now known material about our planets.
In the movie, by 2001, the U.S. Discovery One crew travels to Jupiter. We know today that there is no way we’d send people to the big red gas planet. There are multiple issues in doing so. The biggest may very well be the lack of landing possibilities and severe gravity levels that would crush everyone. That’s the least of it too!
The I am Legend film is based on a novel of the same name that was written in by Richard Matheson. The novel released in 1954, around 53 years before the film released in 2007. To their credit, they kept the 2009 year in the movie that Matheson had in his novel.
In the film, we’re led to believe that New York City has become a post-apocalyptic zone where Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) is one of the few humans remaining. Apparently, a virus released in 2009 that impacted the area and turned several humans into some vampire/zombie hybrid now called Darkseekers. The good doctor has to come up with a cure while also trying to survive himself. Obviously, none of this happened in real life.
The Island is a 2005 big-budget Michael Bay film that starred Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor. The movie centers around two people, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta who live on an isolated compound. It’s claimed that the world around them has become too terrible for human life, yet a mysterious island is perfect.
Therefore each week, a lottery happens where the winner can leave the compound for the island. It turns out that the rich want to continue to live for years to come, but how could they do this? Well, by harvesting clones of these humans, of course! All of this takes place in 2019 and full human clones don’t exist as of yet.
31. Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century (Her Parents Weightless Jobs)
Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century is one of the most popular Disney Channel Original Movies ever. The original came out in 1999, with two more following. However, it’s set in 2049. In the movie, Zenon lives on a massive space station with her parents. They work as scientists for a corporation led by a man named Parker Wyndham.
We’re then told during the story progression that her parents cannot be sent back to Earth because their scientific work is too important. They need the weightlessness of space to do their experiments. However, we’ve had rooms that can simulate weightlessness for years now. Meaning, her parents will never be sent into space in 2049.
30. Fahrenheit 451 (Firemen Burning Books In 1999)
The book Fahrenheit 451 came out in 1953, well before the internet was even a thing. In the book, written by Ray Bradbury, we’re given a dystopian future 1999, but they never really offer a specific place. We’re led to believe it’s the American Midwest, however.
Guy Montag, the main character, is a fireman that is employed to burn what is deemed as “outlaw” books. We later find that people like Montag are employed to burn books that promote any independent-minded concepts. Essentially, the people in charge want to remain there. Obviously, none of this happened in 1999. Burning books also wouldn’t really do as mentioned in the real 1999.
29. Videodrome (Cable TV That Changes Us Mentally & Physically)
Videodrome, released in 1983, is set in the Canadian 1980s mostly. The story surrounds Max Renn, the President of CIVIC-TV who is tired of their current programming and wants a change. One day, he comes across Videodrome, a Malaysian plotless TV show. Upon watching it, Renn sees brutal murders happening to anonymous victims.
He thinks it’s awesome and wants to license it for his network. This does not settle well with people, so he has to defend his choice on a talk show. Renn claims on the show that the future of television will supplant real life. Videodrome essentially controls people, has real murders take place, and more. It’s not exactly possible for TVs to do this and he was very incorrect about the future of television.
The concept of the original Terminator movie was that a Terminator robot would be sent back in time from the year 2029 to kill Sarah Conner. She’s apparently a crucial problem in the future, meaning her past death prevents her future existence. The Terminator released in 1984 and gave themselves a huge window to time-wise.
Sadly, they continued the series, writing themselves into a problem. 2009’s Terminator Salvation depicts a war against several advanced machines that takes place in 2018. However, we’re given the impression that this war had been raging for years. Due to this timeline, we’re to believe that essentially Terminator-like beings were thought to be possible before 2018. They weren’t and still aren’t.
27. The Running Man (World Economic Collapse & Criminal Game Show)
The Running Man takes place after a World Economic crash in 2017, which results in the United States becoming a totalitarian police state. They are able to censor any cultural activity they want, thus giving us game shows to entertain the population. “The Running Man” is one of those game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives.
These “Runners” have to escape from “Stalkers,” armed mercenaries, all in a huge arena where most criminals will die. If you survive the game, the state will pardon you of your crime(s). By 2019, forced labor camps are put into place where criminals, both framed and guilty, are sent. None of this happened nor could, but of course, this film did come out in 1987.
26. Escape From New York (Manhattan Becomes A Huge Prison In 1988)
Escape from New York came out in 1981 and stars Kurt Russell. Yet the movie is panned for being unrealistic. Apparently, in 1988, there is a 400% increase in crime. This results in the U.S. turning the entire city of Manhattan into a massive maximum-security prison. A 50-foot wall surrounds the prison and all bridges have been blown up.
By 1997, we find out that NATO is involved in a possible nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Air Force One is randomly hijacked by a domestic terrorist, who somehow knows the U.S. President has the secret to Nuclear Fusion in a briefcase on his person. A lot of this is just crazy. Manhattan, Nuclear Fusion, etc. Also, there’s still a “Soviet Union” in 1997? Who knew?
25. Back to the Future Part II (Food Hydrators In 2015)
The original Back to the Future, starring Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox came out in 1985. The movies were all released within 5 years in real-time but they had to always return to the year of the original film, 1985. Instead of the past, the second film focused on the future.
In this film, we see a Future 2015, where they have an entire world we almost wish was real. One of the impressive futuristic inventions in the film was a Food Hydrator by Black & Decker. Any food you wanted could be made with it, cooked quickly and ready to go in seconds. We never saw this in 2015, and we’re still upset about it!
24. Lost In Space (Mission To Colonize Alpha Centauri)
The Lost in Space TV series ran from 1965-1968. The series mentions a few things that are problematic. First, the show is set in the year 1997. They predict a lot of impressive yet still nonexisting material.
Yet one of the biggest things they mention is a mission to colonize Alpha Centauri. To be fair, they never really managed to do this either. Hence the “lost” portion of the name. Yet we likely won’t send people on a mission to colonize this area. Just to get to Alpha Centauri, it’ll take around 100 years!
Soylent Green came out in 1973 and stars Charlton Heston. It’s actually based on a science fiction novel called Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, published in 1966. The main plot is that by 2022, we’re going to be living in a dystopian world. However, this all begins at the tail-end of the 90s as we head into 2000.
They claim that overpopulation and global warming will have brought as a shortage of food, water, and housing. That results in the need for Soylent Green. The entire concept of the movie goes on its ability to convince you of the dystopian society, which simply never occurred.
The 12 Monkeys movie stars Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt and was released in 1995. They gave themselves an over 20-year window but missed the mark a lot. The plot of the film is that a virus is released in 1996, which is now wiping out mankind heavily by 2035.
Time travel is somehow invented then, resulting in the main star James Cole, going back in time to 1996 to stop the virus from ever being released. He gets mixed up through different times sadly, from 1990 to the early 1900s and more. He eventually makes it and stops the virus. We’re around 25 years in the future and no deadly virus has happened, so we’re likely good.
21. Demolition Man (Great Earthquake Combined Cities In 2010)
Demolition Man was released in 1993, based on the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, released in 1931. In the movie, by 1996, we’ve found ways to cryogenically freeze people. We apparently decided to use this concept for the California Cryo-Penitentiary. This results in most prisoners being put on ice until 2032.
Yet the main timeline problem is that an earthquake happens in 2010 that apparently tore through California. It then resulted in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego becoming one city called San Angeles. Of course, this never happened, but earthquakes have occurred in California since 1993. Yet the biggest crime in this movie is all the Taco Bell stuff. We can’t let that be our future!!
20. Robocop: The Series (Police/Corporate Controlled State)
Robocop: The Series reportedly takes place around 4 to 5 years after the original movie, yet it ignores the events of Robocop 2 & 3. We never get exact dates but we’re led to believe its set in the late 90s and early 2000s. This can vary from episode to episode. The show features a future Detroit that has a severe financial collapse due to high crime and financial issues.
The city then agrees to a deal major corporation Omni Consumer Products where they’ll run Detroit’s police department in exchange for getting to rebuild a section of the city to make it a Utopia. Officer Alex Murphy is killed while on duty, but Omni claims his body and turns him into Robocop. He then helps Omni’s PD, which the series follows. None of this ever went down in the 90s or 2000s.
19. A Scanner Darkly (Extreme Police Monitoring In Drugged-Up 1994)
A Scanner Darkly is a pretty weird but well-liked science fiction film. It’s unique in how it looks and feels, but the story has some flaws. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by brilliant science fiction author Phillip K. Dick. It was published in 1977 but the movie came out in 2006.
It’s critical we mention times as the movie takes place after the novel’s setting in 1994. In the novel, we’re somehow in a dystopian Orange County that seems to be hooked on drugs, mostly the books Substance D. All of this with extreme police monitoring. What is so weird is that the movie remained loyal to the book’s timeline despite being 12 years removed, in the future!!
Daybreakers, released in 2009, made a bold prediction about what would happen 10 years later. While the movie claims that a random virus released in the 2009 year, we’re sent forward 10 years in the movie. The virus apparently causes humans to essentially become vampires. As a result, the human population decreases constantly, leaving vampires lacking blood and becoming psychotic.
Now, humans are being treated like cows or chickens as they are harvested in laboratory farms for their blood. All while an attempt at making a synthetic blood substitute is being developed. Obviously, none of this happened from 2009 to 2019. Also, Vampires aren’t real. Someone needed to say it!
The original Blade Runner came out in 1982 but is based in 2019. Going over 30 years into the future usually is smart, but their future seemed a bit too “optimistic” with tech and progress. Meanwhile, it’s behind on other things.
Blade Runner is terrific but there are tons of things wrong in this movie, now that we have the benefit of hindsight. The movie claims that by 2019, we’ll have robots so advanced that they can pass for actual humans. Today, likely the most advanced android is Sophia the Robot. Despite her advanced ways, no one confuses her for a real person.
16. A Clockwork Orange (Forcing Psychological Treatment On Criminals)
A Clockwork Orange is a really weird yet slightly creepy science fiction 1971 Stanley Kubrick-led film based on the book of the same name. The book was written by Anthony Burgess and released in 1962. The timeframe of the story isn’t given but we’re led to believe, based on what was present, that we’re somewhere around 1995.
In the film, Ludovico, a psychological treatment, is given to criminals who are incredibly violent. The treatment works by making them sick at the very thought of violence. We do often have counseling for violent criminals or those who have violence problems. However, near 20 years removed from the 1990s, nothing like this exists. It also likely never could in the way Ludovico is presented.
It seems science fiction media will never tire of robotic enhancements. This happens when someone perhaps has a critical injury that brings them near death. Perhaps a government agency is involved too! They’ll be given replacements for their body to cybernetically enhance them then go out on random world-saving adventures.
However, most of these futuristic cybernetic upgrades haven’t happened. Every movie that uses them goes heavily overboard. You don’t have to look much further than the Six Million Dollar Man to see this. Others like Upgrade, Ghost in the Shell, and much more use similar concepts in future versions. The cybernetic technology comes off advanced but not as much as people seem to think. Look back at older films that use this and you’ll see some odd-looking tech.
14. Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (Nuclear War In 1987)
The TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century aired from 1979-1981. The show centers around NASA/USAF Pilot, Captain William Anthony “Buck” Rogers. He launches into space via a spacecraft in May of 1987 but issues arise once he gets there. A life-support malfunction in the aircraft essentially freezes Buck.
He is then discovered adrift in space in the year 2491, around 504 years after his mission launched. The 25th Century has cryopreservation, and gases from Buck’s aircraft have a formula within that closely relates. Thus, they can unfreeze and revive Rogers. Upon doing so, we’re made aware a nuclear war broke out in November of 1987, 6 months after he went into space. Of course, we know that nuclear war never broke out in the actual 1987.
13. Escape From Los Angeles (Just So Much From 1998-2013)
After the surprise success of the first of these films, Kurt Russell and the crew returned for Escape from Los Angeles. This movie came out in 1996, making even less sense than the original. In 1998, we see a crime-ridden Los Angeles that is now governed by the new United States Police Force. In the year 2000, an earthquake causes Los Angeles to break apart and become its own island.
A Presidential candidate claims that LA was being punished by God and then is elected President for life. We then find out the President made LA essentially a prison. In 2013, the President’s daughter Utopia is seduced via a holographic system and…wait, we’re pretty sure that we’ve written enough to prove our point here.
There original Rollerball came out in 1975 and takes place in a dystopian future. It’s actually set in 2018 where somehow rollerball has become a major sport in a world run by corporations that replaced governments. Jonathan, a famous rollerball player, is asked to retire. His sponsors think he’s overexposed.
He refuses. becoming too threatening to them and their attempts to kill individualism. Therefore, they make the game more dangerous to force him to retire. Of course, while money in politics can be an issue, corporations do not run countries. We also do not have a big television with three others on top of it either. There is so much wrong with their 2018 that is kind of surprising how off they were.
Set in the year 2015, the Back to the Future II‘s main premise is that Doc and Marty originally go to the future to fix a few issues with Marty’s future kids. This seems weird, as it’s the future and could be altered simply by Marty knowing in 1985. In any case, this future is then messed around with when “Old Biff” sees the time-traveling Delorean.
He goes back in time with a future Sports Almanac to make his younger self richer. Now Marty has to find a way to fix it. However, despite how good the movie might be, we have yet to see the numerous flying cars. We have especially not seen a flying Delorean, and that’s the biggest crime.
While 2001: A Space Odyssey may be a terrific science fiction movie, it still does get a lot wrong about our future. To be fair to the film of 1968, we’d obviously love to see their version of 2001 in part. In fact, one major thing we’d love to see is the colonization of the moon.
In some ways, this was nice to consider. Their movie came out just one year before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped foot on the moon in 1969. To some, it seemed like the next logical step was colonizing the big rocky thing. However, it has yet to occur. Here’s hoping it happens in the 2020s!
9. Warriors Of The Wasteland (Nuclear War In 2019)
Warriors of the Wasteland was released in 1984 but actually came out in Italy under the name “New Barbarians” the year prior. On top of this, it was actually the first of three movies in a series. They were all shot in 6 months, which tells you the true care put into all three projects.
In the film, we’re led to believe that the world experiences a nuclear war in 2019. This makes what was once the United States into a wasteland that cults or gangs are trying to take over. One gang, The Templars, attempt to kill off all the survivors. The reception of the film(s) is heavily mixed.
8. Children Of Men (Human Race Dying Out Due To Infertility In Men)
Children of Men was released in 2006, starring a prime Clive Owens. The concept of the movie seems compelling. Plus, the movie went another direction by telling us that the human race is slowly dying out due to decades of infertility. Owen plays the only baby born in decades and has to try to figure out what is going on.
All of the infertility issues began in 2009, resulting in a near collapse for the human race by the movie’s setting of 2027. Currently, we do see a falling birth rate happening but nothing this severe. Just from 2009 to 2019, we’ve seen over 43 million children born in the U.S. alone.
7. Clothing (Multiple Science Fiction Films, TV Shows, & Books)
Have you ever seen anything from science fiction media and then began to think, this looks weird? The entire idea of most people who make science fiction content is that we are going to see a future of wild clothing styles. Unless they were trying to channel the 1980s, wild styles seem to be the last thing the future will head toward.
There is still some clothing people wear that channel the 1950s, 1970s, and other eras due to the love of “retro” concepts. While hairstyles can be a bit wild at times, clothing rarely has ever gone in that direction. In fact, throughout most of the 2000s, we’ve minimalized and went toward darker coloring most of the time.
6. Geostorm (Weather Satellites Keep The Planet Habitable In 201
2017 science fiction film Geostorm started out with a good concept. They mention climate change is so bad that it affects the world heavily, but they only picked 2 years into the future. In the movie, the Earth will be impacted so badly in 2019 that we will have to rely on a global system of weather-altering satellites.
They will be used to keep the planet habitable, but if they fail to work, a major “geostorm” will hit. This is apparently a worldwide hurricane/major storm. This movie makes no sense most of the time, making Geostorm one of the worst future predicting films ever.
5. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (Eugenics War 1992-1996)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is simply spectacular. It takes place in the year 2286, so how did it land on our list? Star Trek is one of the most accurate movies/television shows to ever exist. The original version of this film (there’s a 2013 remake) came out in 1982. Sadly, there’s a glaring hole.
During one point of the film, we’re told that a Eugenics War between 1992 and 1996 wiped out most of Khan’s people. Khan and his followers were among the last of their kind due to being genetically-altered. However, we’re pretty sure a Eugenics War nor Genetic Altering of humans happened in the 90s.
The original Blade Runner came out in 1982 and did attempt to give itself a more than 30-year cushion into the future. However, they get so much wrong in the movie that we had to highlight a few. The movie is set in 2019, allowing us to know pretty well if any of their concepts ever came to pass.
While we’re not really sure completely if there is life on Mars, we are sure that Earthlings have not colonized it. At least, we do not know of any colonization that has happened. Is this possible? In the distant future, it could happen. As of 2019, not so much.
While a lot of science fiction media has given us a setting that looks odd or tends to look bad for random reasons, Mad Max took a different approach. The series was always hard to put a timeframe on due to the series attempting to avoid the very thing we’re doing with it now. However, an interview with George Miller in 1984 gave us a clue.
It’s supposedly set somewhere between the 1990s and 2018. Miller gave us more than a 20-year window with that. How did their desolate world come to be? We’re led to believe nuclear war and climate issues were the main cause. Yet by 2019, we’re pretty sure this isn’t our reality.
More than anything else, this is what really makes us upset about Back to the Future II. The hoverboard, at least the type we see in the film, still does not exist. Several people have made their own version of one, yet most of them tend to be really large and ultimately aren’t as impressive.
The movie depicts kids and eventually Marty riding the hoverboard like a skateboard. While “Future Biff” also has a hoverboard, he also has some nice booster rockets on his. Look science, we’re not asking for what Biff has, just give us that 80s-style hoverboard sometime soon!
1. Time Travel (Multiple Science Fiction Movies, TV Shows, & Books)
Time Travel has been used in tons of science fiction media. We mentioned a lot of them on this list like The Terminator and Back to the Future. Yet others also exist that we did not cover such as Dr. Who, Interstellar, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Star Trek IV, The Butterfly Effect, Planet of the Apes, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Yet the worst part about all of this is that no matter what science fiction connection we see with this, time-traveling is not possible yet. It angers us that it isn’t, mostly because there is so much we’d want to change or see. Plus, science fiction media tends to get a lot wrong about the future. We hope to see it eventually!
Sources: [Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Columbia Pictures, Trimark Pictures, Orion Pictures, New World Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM), AVCO Embassy Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, & Warner Bros.]