Freddie Stroma Reveals 9 Ways Time After Time Expands on The Time Machine

The star of ABC's adaptation of the sci-fi film talks about Easter eggs, time-travel rules, and what else we can expect from the new series.

by | March 5, 2017 | Comments

If the makers of the 1979 film Time After Time traveled to the future of 2017, they might be surprised to see a TV series based on their movie on the air. Or maybe not, because time travel always makes a compelling story. What if you could go back and change things? What if you could visit the future and see how things turn out?

The twist is that Time After Time makes H.G. Wells the main character, as the author of The Time Machine travels to the present day to stop Jack the Ripper from continuing his killing spree. Malcolm McDowell played Wells in the movie and David Warner was Jack.

In ABC’s adaptation for TV, Freddie Stroma (the Harry Potter films, UnREAL) takes on the role of Wells while Josh Bowman plays John Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper. Stroma spoke with Rotten Tomatoes recently and explained the nine ways his show goes beyond not only the original movie, but Wells’ literature itself.


Like the movie, Time After Time ponders what would have happened if H.G. Wells really did invent a time machine. But Wells wrote a lot of other provocative sci-fi books. Series creator Kevin Williamson said on a panel that The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Invisible Man would weave their way into Time After Time.

The Invisible Man is self-explanatory, but for those unfamiliar, Dr. Moreau is about a scientist who turns animals into people; they retain some of their animal characteristics, making them monsters.

Dr. Moreau is heavily involved in the first season,” Stroma said. “Aspects of Invisible Man [are]. We could delve more into it in the next season if we get one.”

If Wells invented time travel, invisibility is certainly not out of the question, but Stroma hinted that The Invisible Man is more of a metaphor.

“The way I see it is the invisible man is the man they can’t catch who’s constantly going around killing people, which is pretty similar to Griffin in The Invisible Man,” Stroma said. “That’s maybe the comparison we’re drawing. There might be more though.”


Williamson also promises a lot of Easter eggs for the devoted H.G. Wells reader to notice in Time After Time. They won’t leave out new fans who are tuning in for the first time, though; they want to make sure everyone is in on the fun.

“We do explain them throughout as we go along,” Stroma said. “If you know the books well, thematically there’s some stuff going on. A lot of the Dr. Moreau stuff will be pretty self-explanatory. There might be some Easter eggs in earlier episodes but then it kind of unravels later on.”


The Time After Time movie was about one trip to the present. With a new show every week, the series’ time travel could get pretty complicated.

“We made up a few rules that will hopefully help out with that,” Stroma said. “We also have some time travel stuff that we have visits from future H.G. Wells that we never actually clear up in the first season. So if there’s another season we might be clearing them up.”

“Future H.G. Wells” doesn’t mean Stroma wearing old age makeup. Think of it this way. Wells left the past to come to the present, but he still went on to write all his books. While visiting the present, Wells can check into his own future.

“We hear stories of him having come back,” Stroma said.


In the movie, Wells’ modern day love interest was a banker (Mary Steenburgen). In the show, Wells teams up with museum curator Jane Walker (Genesis Rodriguez). Stroma assures fans that sparks will fly by the season finale.

“The show will definitely have a love story between those two, as it was in the film,” Stroma promised, “but we have 12 episodes to expand that.”


One of the characters on Time After Time is a descendant of H.G. Wells. You’ll have to watch the first hour to find out exactly who it is, but that gives Wells an additional partner in time.

“They start to help each other out a lot,” Stroma said. “As H.G. Wells comes back, people know about him and they know about The Time Machine. So he’s not alone, and that’s when you start to realize that it’s not just him and John Stevenson in the picture. There are some other people involved including [her]. She’s definitely going to be a confidante.”


H.G. Wells really thought the world would have worked out all its problems by 2017. Seeing a world arguably more violent and inhumane than his own gives Wells the sads.

“He expected everyone to be living harmoniously through technology and all the advancements of mankind,” Stroma said. “Then he realizes that, if anything, it’s just helped people kill quicker. Nothing’s changed, and that’s definitely his biggest surprise.”

Look for a powerful moment where Wells watches TV news and reacts emotionally to the international conflicts and environmental ravaging of the planet.We may be even worse off than we were in 1979, and the show acknowledges that he doesn’t get over that right away.

“I think he’s still mournful for a good few episodes and he’s still upset about it,” Stroma continued. “He’s really set in his ways with how he would like the world to be. It takes him a while to get over that, and it’s not quickly either.”


In the movie, Wells was in pursuit of Jack the entire time. With a new episode every week in the series, Stroma suggested there could be an enemy even bigger than Jack, requiring them to form an uneasy alliance to stop him.

“That might be the case for some of the show,” Stroma said. “We’re chasing each other but we might have a common enemy at some point where we have to join forces.”


Arriving in 2017 offers Wells more avenues than ever to learn too much about his own future. Back in 1979 he pretty much only had to avoid libraries. Today, he has to stay off the internet and social media.

“No, he doesn’t get Twitter or Facebook,” Stroma said. “I don’t know if he even hears mention of social media. He sees a lot of phones but no social media, which is kind of similar to me. I’m not very big on social media.”

He does watch TV, but that wouldn’t seem too far-fetched to Wells. “He did have a degree in science, don’t get me wrong, but in this he created a time machine so he’s quite the technician,” Stroma said. “Things like a television, he can wrap his mind around it.”

One big “no-no” though: he will not Netflix the movies of The Time Machine or The Island of Dr. Moreau. “He has moments where he sees his books and he’s intrigued to pick them up,” Stroma said. “He’s very strict with his rules. He doesn’t want to affect the timeline so he doesn’t do it.”


H.G. Wells was a literate, scientific thinker and writer. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine a movie where he solved the mystery and caught Jack the Ripper. TV’s Time After Time kicks it up a notch, though, and Stroma has to kick some butt, too.

“There’s a lot of action,” Stroma said. “I did a lot of running around, a lot of running, jumping, swimming, fighting. Didn’t know H.G. was such an action hero, but apparently in this, he is.”

Stroma added that whenever possible, he let the stunt people do the action to make him look good.

Time After Time premieres Sunday, March 5 at 9/8C on ABC

Tag Cloud

singing competition Sundance robots cults Nickelodeon Syfy Sneak Peek worst El Rey toy story documentaries a nightmare on elm street romantic comedy fast and furious The Purge Baby Yoda Warner Bros. reboot DGA Thanksgiving Disney Plus miniseries Winter TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt First Reviews universal monsters sitcom Amazon Studios First Look Black History Month CBS All Access mission: impossible Women's History Month dogs batman Amazon Prime Video Super Bowl Valentine's Day Box Office Film Festival comiccon canceled TV shows Tomatazos tv talk Schedule sequel politics science fiction Reality Certified Fresh Comics on TV zombie The Witch screen actors guild reviews YouTube Elton John chucky Biopics theme song Vudu BBC animated IFC police drama foreign Set visit Character Guide Sci-Fi FOX cancelled TV shows Columbia Pictures strong female leads Calendar cats anthology game of thrones Lifetime Christmas movies dragons Trivia YouTube Red Hear Us Out series Television Academy FXX Britbox stoner Western Black Mirror quibi spain Podcast technology Mary Poppins Returns RT21 disaster Avengers elevated horror ABC GoT binge book movie Paramount Network 2019 award winner Nat Geo blockbuster Binge Guide National Geographic franchise DirecTV Nominations VOD screenings American Society of Cinematographers 4/20 Awards Tour classics south america Christmas Spring TV President travel Winners Brie Larson children's TV Ovation natural history A24 cancelled television criterion sports Superheroe San Diego Comic-Con indiana jones streaming TCA zombies Marvel obituary all-time VH1 Rom-Com parents video on demand TV Land TCA 2017 Masterpiece Star Trek historical drama cinemax nbcuniversal news Music diversity TBS Netflix Logo Trailer Freeform Song of Ice and Fire Walt Disney Pictures Hallmark FX Acorn TV Disney streaming service Awards Country rotten movies we love die hard A&E christmas movies anime Comedy scary movies Best and Worst spinoff Pirates Turner Classic Movies TLC justice league Lionsgate Rock Cannes stop motion critics ABC Family Musicals Rocketman Mindy Kaling CNN Mary poppins Ellie Kemper Holiday crossover adaptation war Teen Comedy Central comedies SDCC slashers MSNBC medical drama Tubi Mudbound 2016 SundanceTV romance hollywood mutant Captain marvel Rocky Comic Book AMC NBC Cartoon Network WarnerMedia nature spanish language RT History Sony Pictures Hallmark Christmas movies 007 MCU SXSW Universal Writers Guild of America Sundance Now Shudder Apple aliens Film name the review indie E! richard e. Grant films Tumblr Spike kids breaking bad biography Starz crime thriller Apple TV Plus boxoffice Cosplay Red Carpet CW Seed Fox News Amazon Star Wars Disney docudrama psycho Epix Marvel Television Interview crime drama Crunchyroll LGBTQ blaxploitation HBO teaser Ghostbusters comics golden globes OWN Opinion APB renewed TV shows TNT TruTV laika doctor who jamie lee curtis asian-american cancelled TV series Oscars LGBT TCA Awards rotten 71st Emmy Awards Lucasfilm Mary Tyler Moore ESPN ITV dceu Creative Arts Emmys hist Chernobyl child's play Showtime Lifetime Animation Countdown Hulu canceled 2015 Martial Arts Superheroes Sundance TV Pop The Walking Dead space OneApp Amazon Prime DC streaming service supernatural revenge sequels USA Network Emmy Nominations Disney+ Disney Plus Election festivals Premiere Dates Mystery E3 Shondaland X-Men HBO Max CMT latino free movies Discovery Channel serial killer zero dark thirty documentary The Arrangement Emmys Travel Channel Pop TV Drama Marathons thriller Dark Horse Comics transformers cops Action independent 24 frames Turner versus Adult Swim Funimation discovery superhero dc Quiz finale Arrowverse 2020 Paramount video Family composers stand-up comedy Extras Fall TV Crackle USA History social media 2017 ratings Pet Sematary Infographic Trophy Talk PaleyFest green book cartoon werewolf WGN DC Comics concert movies harry potter 20th Century Fox NYCC IFC Films 72 Emmy Awards best based on movie Reality Competition television Watching Series Photos Spectrum Originals Academy Awards game show VICE 45 GLAAD Horror crime Chilling Adventures of Sabrina unscripted comic Stephen King dramedy Toys witnail adventure period drama BET Awards mockumentary Peacock ghosts satire facebook true crime YA directors Polls and Games Kids & Family vampires GIFs Endgame sag awards hispanic Tarantino twilight 2018 Marvel Studios Food Network TIFF BET BBC One cancelled The CW spider-man Apple TV+ Netflix Christmas movies halloween dark Anna Paquin DC Universe Disney Channel Holidays HBO Go Classic Film Musical cooking Summer TCA Winter 2020 See It Skip It Television Critics Association Grammys YouTube Premium Heroines Esquire PBS talk show MTV BAFTA spy thriller psychological thriller TCM emmy awards New York Comic Con Video Games CBS what to watch TV Pixar joker political drama TV renewals Fantasy PlayStation FX on Hulu BBC America cars Bravo 21st Century Fox Pride Month casting Year in Review