2002 Time Traveler

Alexander Hartdegen, also known as The Time Traveler, as he appears in The Time Machine (2002 film).

The Time Traveler, also known as George, Moses, Alexander Hartdegen, and other names, is a scientist who is the inventor of The Time Machine. He's also a temporal explorer, using his time machine to explore different times and realities.


Early Life

As a young man, The Time Traveler, who at the time called himself "Moses", was a disorganized scientist, whose interests had him following optics. He was approached by a man named Gottfried Plattner, who offered him a mysterious substance called Plattnerite. With this material, he was able to start looking into the construction of a working Time Machine. ("The Time Ships")

According to another account, the substance was found in a meteorite, which the Time Traveler purchased from a farmer. ("The Wee Time Traveler")

This discrepancy is likely due to temporal alterations or two separate time streams. This is especially likely since the one described in The Time Ships is a time loop, with no known origin of the material.

Invention of the Time Machine

The Time Traveler was able to assemble a complex machine using the plattnerite. Upon its completion, he arranged a get-together with some of his friends to discuss the invention the following evening. However, before that time, he tested the machine, taking it all the way forward into the year 802,701 AD. ("The Time Machine")

Morlocks & Eloi

In that year, he explored the future world that at first seemed paradisaical to him. He soon encountered the playful Eloi, a humanoid species descended from modern-day man. He imagined them to be quiet masters of the world, having perfected technology so that they needn't do any work. However, he soon discovered that his Time Machine had gone missing, and the Eloi seemed ignorant. After further exploration, he soon encountered the Morlocks, subterranean nocturnal creatures, also descended from humans, who fed, dressed, and later ate the Eloi. The Time Traveler befriended Weena, an eloi girl who accompanied him on many of his explorations across the world. Unfortunately, in the end, he was unable to protect her from the Morlocks, who made off with her in the forest. Finally, the Time Traveler discovered his machine, which the Morlocks were using as bait to get him into the Morlock Sphinx. The Time Traveler took the bait, knowing he could dematerialize the machine by traveling in time. Although the Morlocks ambushed him as he boarded the machine, he was able to fight them off and travel into the future. ("The Time Machine")

Far Future

He proceeded further into the future, seeing new animal forms, such as hairy, grey mammals which he theorized might have been descendants of the Eloi. These creatures were preyed on by a gigantic centipede-like creature. ("The Grey Man")

In another era, he saw a race of red crab-like creatures pursuing giant mammalian butterflies. Finally, he witnessed one side of the Earth come to face the sun, with no more day and night cycle. As the Earth's atmosphere thinned, The Time Traveler could go no further and decided to return to his own time, where he recounted his adventures to his friends at the dinner party. Shortly thereafter, he decided to return to the future to find and rescue Weena; he was never seen again by his friends. ("The Time Machine")

Morlocks of the Sphere

When the Time Traveler boarded the Time Machine again, this time more prepared, having brought along matches and supplies and tools, he discovered that something had changed. As he traveled through time, he saw the sun go dark long before the world of the Eloi and the Morlocks. Stopping at an earlier era, he investigated the year 657,209. There, the sun was dark and the Earth was kept warm by heat eminating from a series of vents that resembled the Morlock Wells he'd seen in his previous voyage to futurity. He was soon surrounded by several Morlocks, and bashed one of them in the head, causing severe injury. He was then subdued and taken into custody aboard a massive Morlock Sphere surrounding the sun, which was the new primary habitat for Humanity. There, he was questioned by one Morlock who identified himself as Nebogipfel. Nebogipfel soon made it clear that the Morlocks of this era were a civilized species who certainly didn't make a habit of cannibalism. Nebogipfel gave the Time Traveler a tour of the future world, after which The Time Traveler decided he could never live in this future and attempted escape. With Nebogipfel, he returned to Earth, where he jumped onto the Time Machine and escaped. Nebogipfel, who tried to stop him, fell onto the machine in the struggle and was taken, too. He thus reluctantly became the Time Traveler's new companion. ("The Time Ships")

Return to the Past

The two returned to the 19th century, though slightly earlier than the Time Traveler's time. There, they met a younger version of the Time Traveler, who used the name Moses. Soon after their meeting, a Time Tank appeared from the future and abducted the three time travelers. They were all taken to a future in which World War I had never ended and was becoming a perpetual war, devastating every country in the world. London was covered by a massive, bomb-proof dome. However, the three time travelers planned their escape from this dark era. Finally, they found a prototype Time Car and stole it. Moses didn't survive, however, having been mortally wounded in an attack on the city. He didn't make it to the time car. The two travelers then went much farther into the past. ("The Time Ships")

Prehistoric Times

They then went back in time to far before the rise of Humans. There, they met the inhabitants of a crashed Time Tank from the era they'd just come from. The vehicle was unusable, and everyone was trapped in this era. They all formed a new colony of Humans, with Nebogipfel teaching science to accelerate the colony's development. Finally, he was able to repair the Time Car, using components from both wrecked time machines. He and the Time Traveler finally left that era, after the Time Traveler made one last contribution - by having sex with one of the women in the colony, he added to the tiny gene pool. Then, they traveled forward in time to see what had become of the human colony they'd planted far in the past. ("The Time Ships")

A Changed Home

The Time Traveler decided to return to his home era, the 1890s, to see what it would look like in this alternate reality created by the colony they'd planted in the past. However, as they approached, the atmosphere became cold and unlivable. The Time Traveler died, as did Nebogipfel, before the Time Machine stopped. There, a race of highly advanced machines called the Universal Constructors had repaired the damage to the Time Traveler and Nebogipfel, cell by cell. They accommodated the two, who soon learned that the Universal Constructors are made of nanobots, all cooperating with one another. They planned to build a fleet of time ships to explore beyond the local set of realities. They invited the Time Traveler aboard the fleet due to his historical significance. To survive the journey, both men had to be converted into Universal Constructors. Then, the ships traveled back through time, beyond the beginning of the univers, to find another universe- an infinite one. In that universe, they were able to form a sentience that filled that entire universe. The Time Traveler and Nebogipfel were witness to this, before the sentient universe returned him to his own timeline. ("The Time Ships")


There, he met himself in the past, and, calling himself Gottfried Plattner, gave his younger self the Plattnerite, thus causing a time loop in his history. He then decided not to return to his own age and instead went forward to 802,701 to complete his original mission. There, he rescued Weena and went about teaching the Eloi to build a new civilization. He finally got up the courage to descend into the Morlock tunnels to try and help them, as well. No account exists of his return. ("The Time Ships")

Alternate Histories

In alternate continuities and timelines, The Time Traveler has many separate histories. For detailed biographies for his alternate histories see:

True Name

The Time Traveler's real name was never given in the original novel, and so various adaptations have given him many different names.

In Continuity

Sources that try to maintain continuity with the original novel have given him the following names:

Other Continuities

Alternate versions of the time traveler include:

In "Time Kid", the character of the Time Traveler is split into two characters: the father, who invents the Time Machine, and the son, Tom Spender, who uses it to visit the future.



In the Novels

In other media

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