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Within the mythology of the series Fringe what is the relationship between a timeline and a universe?

For example, does one Timeline have many Universes or does one Universe have many Timelines?

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I think it's best thought of as, one timeline has many universes.

It's a little wishy-washy due to how the Observers have been interacting with them, but 3x22, The Day We Died provides the biggest clue: Walter talks of altering the past to save both universes. Doing so would not create new universes, it would alter the currently existing one, hence why he mentioned they had to be careful about creating a paradox.

Despite what he explained earlier in the series about our choices splitting off to create alternate universes (by way of the Many Worlds Theory), this isn't how the Fringe universe works in general. It's a little closer to the Back to the Future style of timeline, where alterations will actually rewrite the future.

"Closer to" that style because it's not exact. 250,000,000 in the past, the two universes were one, and somehow got split since then. This was why, despite there only being one machine in The Day We Died, two exist by the time the series starts - one in each universe.

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    I think it's clear that we're supposed to take the one-timeline-many-universes approach. In particular, the multiple universes exist simultaneously, but there's only ever one current timeline at any given point in the show.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 22:07
  • Could you provide reference to where 250,000,000 years ago was defined as the point of divergence between our universes? I don't recall it being mentioned.
    – Iszi
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 16:29
  • @Iszi I don't know if it's the point of divergence or not; it's due to 3x22, The Day We Died, that we know at that the two universes were one at that point. The divergence happened between the exit point of the Central Park wormhole and our time. There was only one machine to send back, but when the split happened, it became the two that were used by Walter and Walternet.
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 17:33
  • I think I do remember it being stated that the universes used to be one, but I don't remember an exact point of divergence being specified - are you not saying that 250M years ago was that point? It seems at least somewhat implied in your answer.
    – Iszi
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 17:44
  • @Iszi 250M years ago is when the Central Park wormhole went to. In that era, the two universes were one, and got split at some point between then and now. This much we learned from The Day We Died. Whether or not 250M years ago/when the machine arrived in the past was the exact point it diverged is unknown (and the answer says "somehow got split since then").
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 2, 2012 at 17:48

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