‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ tells the story of Clare and Henry, who have a relationship unlike anyone else due to the latter’s propensity to uncontrollably time travel. Henry’s condition makes him occasionally disappear from his own time period and appear in another year. As his relationship with Clare deepens, the two face considerable and often bizarre challenges to keep their romance going.
The HBO show draws from Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel of the same name, which also spawned a romantic science fiction film in 2009. As complex as the temporal back and forth makes the story, we decided to take a look at whether the series is a sequel to the film. The series also differs from the movie in a few subtle ways. Let’s take a closer look at ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Is The Time Traveler’s Wife Series a Sequel to the 2009 Movie?
No, the 2022 HBO series is not a sequel to the film. Since both are based on Niffenegger’s novel, the narratives of both the series and the film follow broadly the same pattern. The story opens with Henry and Clare meeting “organically” for the first time when he is 28, and she is 20. Before this, Clare has met older versions of Henry on multiple occasions and therefore recognizes him, even going so far as to say that they will be married in the future.
Even the rest of the narrative of the show and the film follow the same pattern of slowly revealing how Clare met Henry as a child and grew up knowing that the two of them would be together. Similarly, the stories likely close around the same point, with Henry’s death due to a time-travel-related accident and Clare growing old waiting for him.
However, it is worth noting that the series could have multiple seasons and possibly continue the story for longer than the film. Henry and Clare have a daughter, who is also inflicted by the same condition as her father. The series could delve into the daughter’s story to an extent, following the next generation time traveler and possibly telling the story of her parents’ romance from her perspective (since she can travel back in time, like Henry). This could give future seasons of the show a semblance of a sequel. However, for the most part, the series and the film follow a parallel narrative.
How is The Series Different From The Film?
Compared to the film, the series attempts to pull away from the inherently romantic nature of Niffenegger’s story and take a slightly more comedic and practical approach to time travel. The opening episode features middle-aged versions of Henry and Clare giving testimonials about the day-to-day struggles they face because of the former’s time-traveling condition. There are also multiple comedic instances connected with Henry disappearing and reappearing naked. Lastly, the series also keeps a healthy banter alive between the central couple, whose conversations often take a bizarre turn.
The cast has also been completely revamped for the series, with Rose Leslie and Theo James stepping into the roles of Clare and Henry, respectively. Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana essay the roles in the film. The series is essentially another adaptation of the source novel by a different director, which is why most of the story’s major plot points are kept unchanged while the tone and minor details have been updated.