Time Stands Still

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "Stand still, you ever moving spheres of heaven,
    That time may cease, and midnight never come."

    Faustus, Doctor Faustus

    Time freezes (or seems to) for everyone and everything in the entire universe, except for the main cast of the story. The characters find themselves in an eerie, calm, silent world where the people and objects around them have become motionless statues. In some stories, this phenomenon happens by accident; in others, the heroes can stop time by using magic, a super power or Applied Phlebotinum.

    In some cases, a world frozen in time is depicted in deliberate monochrome, perhaps evoking a visual analogy of a still photograph. When time starts moving again, expect colour to gently flood back into the world. Another color pattern often used is color reversal—whites become blacks, greens become reds, and so on.

    Occasionally Handwaved by saying that the characters aren't really stopping time, they're just speeding themselves (and their minds) up to a point where everything else seems stopped. To emphasize this, sometimes you'll get a shot of something that should move really fast, like the wings of a hummingbird, moving very slowly. This means that the illusion of time standing still can be achieved with enough raw Super Speed. And sometimes it goes the other way, with time manipulation being the explanation for a character's Super Speed. Of course, if they're really going that much faster than everything else, they would need lots of Required Secondary Powers to move normally.

    More rarely Handwaved or semi-justified if the character's power behaves like a personal alcubierre drive, allowing time to progress normally within a set radius around the character while it has stopped or slowed for the rest of the world. This also gives an excuse to have projectiles fired or thrown by a character stop in midflight at the edge of the zone of normal time.

    Tends to require (often contrived) reasons for the character not being able to win every fight they ever participate in... which, depending on how Super his Speed really is, could be every single fight in a city, country, or planet. Usually doesn't offer any reason whatsoever for the character being able to move through and breathe time-frozen air, see despite the time-frozen light and such.

    Compare Super Reflexes and Year Inside, Hour Outside. Can be a result of Caffeine Bullet Time. Not to be confused with Frozen in Time. Also not to be confused with the Degrassi episode. Sometimes may be visually represented as a Color-Coded Timestop. Can be used to justify an extreme Speed Blitz. Often ends with Un Paused. The Air Not There is a related trope.

    Not to be confused with the songs by Blind Guardian, Rush, or The All American Rejects.

    Examples of Time Stands Still include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Dio Brando's Stand, The World, from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure can do this. An interesting example, in that this is played up as every bit as dangerous a power as it seems. Most of the cast is terrified of him, good and bad. Only Jotaro comes out of the fight with him still able to stand on his own, and that's only because his Stand, Star Platinum, is the same type as Dio's.

    ZA WARUDO! Toki yo tomare.

    • Through expert use of the time-travel device in Mahou Sensei Negima to repeatedly jump to the same time and space at super high speed, it is possible to obtain a very brief "pseudo time stop" effect.
    • As you might expect from the Guardian of Time, Setsuna Meiou/Sailor Pluto in the Sailor Moon canon has this ability. However, she is not allowed to actually use it: if she does, then she forfeits her life. (She does it anyway- multiple times, if you count the manga, anime and musicals—and always gets reincarnated in the end.)
      • In the SNES RPG. Another Story, this is a costly (taking all 12 of her EP) but not fatal special ability that prevents the enemy from doing anything for three rounds. Given that the cost can be trivially recovered in one round, and the fact that no enemy has any defense against it, it quickly becomes a Game Breaker. The Fighting games also have it as well which if it hits freezes the opponent long enough to land a few extra hits in.
    • This was what the villain did in The Movie of Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash Star to get the magical girls after him.
    • Shakugan no Shana's Phantom Zone (fuzetsu) freezes everything in place (except non-Muggles) and turns everything gray. Time doesn't really stop, and events proceed normally outside the barrier, but it certainly makes a good imitation.
    • Joe Shimamura/009 of Cyborg 009 accessed this ability by pushing his tongue down on one of his molars. In one episode, he temporarily lost the ability to switch it off, so he had to stop the Monster of the Week without being able to interact with it.
      • In said episode of the 2001 version of the anime, 009's accelerator got stuck in a far higher speed than he had ever reached before (or since), causing him to initially think time has actually stopped. There was no monster in that episode, but he did save a bunch of people from an explosion that had begun just as his accelerator got stuck. The trick was that he couldn't simply carry them to safety, because if he touched anything while super-accelerated, the friction he generated would have caused it to catch fire. And as he couldn't turn it off and continued stuck in that sort-of loophole, his Heroic BSOD continued escalating and 009 almost went insane, until the effect wore off by itself.
        • It is implied in that episode that 009 was stuck in that state for years, even though it were seconds in real-time. He made a big fuss of seeing 003 close her eyes for over a week (he remembered them being open when time "stopped"), then start thinking he was mad when he looked again weeks later and her eyes were open, without realizing she blinked.
        • Gully Foyle from The Stars My Destination activated a similar ability the same way (by pressing down on one of his teeth), and briefly wound up in a similar position of being unable to turn it off.
    • Rolo Lamperouge's Geass ability from Code Geass doesn't stop time per se but affects others' perception of it. The effect is about the same (to the subjects) but it isn't the target of usual contradictions with physics. Instead of stopping time and space indefinitely, Rolo affects only living beings (save himself) within a certain radius from him for a few seconds: the subjects are paralyzed and lose consciousness until the effect wears off, which Rolo uses to kill them. It also has the unfortunate side effect of stopping his heart for the duration, which is why he cannot and does not use his Geass back-to-back. In the end, it's what actually killed him, when he voluntarily overused it to save Lelouch's life.
      • Strangely, the show is rather inconsistent about depicting this. When shown from Rolo's point of view, they tend to get it right. People stop moving but everything else keeps going. For example, some flight-capable Knightmares drop out of the sky when the pilots suddenly stop flying them. From an outside perspective, however, things that should have kept moving in the interim don't, making it look like teleportation. The biggest offender is the first episode, where he fights other Knightmares at high speeds, which never go crashing into walls when suddenly deprived of a pilot.
      • In Code Geass Nightmare of Nunnally, his Geass, "The Ice," allows him to slow time to the point where it's infinitely close to stopping within a certain area. Alice manages to defeat him by achieving infinite speed.
    • Cardcaptor Sakura has the Time card, which can perform this function. The downside is that it requires lots of magic energy to use, as demonstrated by Syaoran using it when Sakura is under the effects of The Dream.
    • Joshua Christopher of Chrono Crusade gains this ability when Chrono's enemy, Aion, bequeaths Chrono's demon horns to Joshua in order to "grant him perfect health." In actuality, in addition to the ability to freeze time, the horns gradually drive Joshua insane since they were never meant to be infused with a human. Thankfully, by the end of the manga, at least, he gets better. In the anime, on the other hand...
    • Erio's first usage of Sonic Move in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha was depicted as him moving in a world frozen in monochrome.
    • Used as a Nightmare Fuel-tastic weapon in Bleach, where a Mad Scientist inflicts this on an opponent via being Crazy Prepared- he hid a vial of super-serum in his daughter, in case of chestbursting- and totally incapacitates the victim of the time slowdown. It is then explained that the serum speeds the senses up to the point time seems to be frozen, but ability to move remains the same. Cue stabbing the guy through the heart for what feels to him like millennia . One second realtime on this "super-serum" was said to be perceived as over a century, and the aforementioned Mad Scientist spends a couple of minutes explaining this to the nearly paralyzed victim, before slowly stabbing him with his sword.
    • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and her love interest find themselves in such a frozen moment near the end of the movie.
      • It is implied that this is the fate of any time traveler who cannot or does not return to their own time. In order to preclude any possibility of the traveler surviving to meet themselves, the universe simply removes them from the time stream altogether.
    • Erika from Hime-chan no Ribon does this to prevent the secret from being discovered, with disastrous consequences.
      • Himeko also freezes time in several instances.
    • Hanyuu, from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, has the power to stop time.
    • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni it is said to happen that every time a Voyager enters a kakera.
      • Anime adaptation also presents meta-world in a similiar fashion.
    • Yuki Nagato, the Sufficiently Advanced Alien / Artificial Human from the Suzumiya Haruhi franchise, is also capable of freezing time. And if she wishes so she can hold time and everything within a defined place in the space-time continuum, yet the time not in this area is still flowing (as she did in Season 2, Episode 1, "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody" or in the same-titled Light Novel Chapter in book 3).
    • Foxy the Silver Fox from One Piece can fire beams that slow down whatever they hit for 30 seconds, allowing him to get some free hits in. Once they return to normal pace whatever momentum they were subjected to hits all at once.
    • The Dragonball Z villain, Guldo, could do this, but only while holding his breath.
    • In Bakugan Battle Brawlers, this happens whenever anyone starts a Bakugan battle. The players are transported to another realm whilst this happens, whilst everything outside the playing field is frozen.
    • Adventures of Mini Goddess: on Gan-chan's birthday, the goddesses got him a robot able to grant three wishes before midnight. The first two were wasted when the other goddesses spoke too loudly, and the time drew ever and ever closer to the deadline. Finally, in a fit of panic, he wished the day would never end.
    • From Trigun, Dominique pretends to be able to do this. In fact, she uses hypnosis to suspend the awareness of anyone in her line of sight and make them freeze in place.
    • In one of the myriad different Tenchi Muyo comic continuities, the driving force behind one story is a pair of headbands Washu has invented which she says slow time down to the point of nearly stopping it for the wearers, but in practice really acts more like heavily-enforced privacy; it works by "slowing the synapses" of everyone within a certain radius, forcing them to perceive time as moving at a highly accelerated rate while they move imperceptibly slowly to the people wearing the headbands. So, naturally, they end up on a toddler-shaped Ryo-Oh-Ki, and an actual toddler the gang is babysitting.
    • Yggdrasill does this in the Tales of Symphonia OVA when the party battle him in the Toize Valley Mines.
    • In Darker than Black, Amber can stop time (among other things) and allow anyone she chooses to move through it with her, at the "price" of aging backwards.
    • Homura Akemi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the ability to do this, to the point that people have begun applying the ZA WARUDO meme usually reserved for people like Sakuya Izayoi to her. Demonstrated here
    • In Photon, Aun Freya, who has the power to stop time in a wide area around her, actually lacks the secondary powers to prevent it from affecting herself as well, although she still has the required secondary powers to make sure the part of the world she's affecting still moves with the rest of the world, et al. It's up to Photon (who is immune to just about anything) to go in and knock her out to cancel it, and then proceed to beat the everloving crap out of whatever scared her into using her power.
    • There is also Kyousuke from Kimagure Orange Road and his family's heirloom pocket watch that can freeze time for 60 seconds. Cue in Kyousuke accidentally winding the watch backwards and freezing himself instead of the world around him and making everyone else think that he's dead (no pulse).
    • Mashiro has this as her main ability in the manga version of My-HiME, in which she is a Hime.
    • Oracion Seis member Racer from Fairy Tail fakes Super Speed by using magic similar to Rolo's Geass from Code Geass. His victims' warped perception of time makes them see him as an insanely fast blur when he's really moving at normal speed.
    • C the Money And Soul of Possibility : Asset Q's "Economic Blockade" does the color shift and paralyzes Yoga and Msyu, but they still talk somehow... despite their bodies not moving at all.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh Ze Xal: Kaito's Robot Buddy Orbital 7, while unable to completely freeze time, can slow it to a 1/10000 rate within a given area. Owners of Numbers cards are immune to this effect, allowing Kaito to locate them easily and take their Numbers (and souls).
    • In Noein, one of the first things that happens to an unstable dimension is a time stop, wherein everything turns red/blue and translucent. Only quantum existences (and Haruka) are able to detect this and move around while it's in effect.

    Comic Books

    • The Flash uses the "moving really fast" version of this trope, and has since the origin of the Silver Age Flash in 1956. In a Swamp Thing appearance by the Justice League, Alan Moore poetically described Barry Allen as "a man who moves so fast, his life is an endless gallery of statues."
      • Barry's grandson Bart Allen takes this to the logical extreme as Impulse; this is a kid who, in the words of his guardian "gets bored waiting for the light to come on after he hits the switch."
      • "The Ballad of Barry Allen", related to above, waxes melancholic about how The Flash perceives time.
      • The Flash villain Zoom has the ability to alter time relative to himself, effectively giving him superspeed.
      • In one issue, Wally West uses a fellow speedster's mental speed-formula to get an extra boost and save people in a copter. Time comes to a near-dead stop. Wally freaks out until Max Mercury somehow correlates his speed with Wally's (but...Wally is going so much faster than him...FridgeLogic ahoy!) and gives him an Aesop. Basically, Wally needs to learn he can't save everyone. But he saves the copter.
      • An earlier issue has him boosting himself fast enough so bullets fired seem to stand still. Problem is, it's in a dark theatre and he can't -see- all of them.
    • Early on in the Books of Magic comic, Tim Hunter accidentally freezes time in shock at discovering he has a girlfriend. Much later the comic takes a brief look at an alternate timeline in which he never worked out how to unfreeze everybody, and has gone completely insane.
    • The Marvel Comics speedster Quicksilver once explained his angry personality by asking his psychologist to imagine living in a world consisting entirely of the slowest queue at the checkout.
    • The "speed yourself up so fast time seems to stand still" variant is briefly deconstructed in a scene of Neil Gaiman's Eternals mini-series. A character with newfound Super Speed accelerates himself to that point in response to terrorists firing on a party. When he disarms the terrorists, he recognizes that he has to do it as carefully as he can, or he'll kill them by touching them at the speeds he's moving (he still ends up breaking their arms). And when he plucks the bullets out of the air, he makes sure to put them in a safe place because he recognizes that they'll still have their momentum and kinetic energy when time goes back to normal from his perspective.
      • Similarly, in The Ultimates vol. 2, Quicksilver interrupts another speedster, Hurricane, who's been smacking Hawkeye around, and time stands still around them while they duke it out. Hurricane comments that if they so much as bump into Hawkeye, they'll practically disintegrate him. Quicksilver then pushes Hurricane as fast as he can, which turns out to be more than she can handle; it's rather messy. All this happens in between Hurricane knocking Hawkeye down and Hawkeye hitting the ground. Then Hawkeye tells Quicksilver, hunched over and sweating, to stop goofing off and help him out...
    • In X-Statix, a girl named Lacuna with this ability tries to join the team. While trying to prove her usefulness by playing pranks on the team while they're frozen in time, she gets the attention of a TV producer and she ends up rejecting the team's offer in order to host her own talk show, in which she uses her power to spy on celebrities. She still helps the team every now and then, such as when she killed Reality Warper Arnie Lundberg.
    • In Ultimate X-Men, a slightly different continuity than regular X-Men comics, Professor X uses the perception of slowed time to punish his students. In short, a six hour detention takes six minutes.
    • In Alan Moore's Miracleman there was a pair of aliens that moved so fast they were never seen moving and as a result seemed to be perpetually frozen in time.
    • Happened during Chris Claremont's run on Fantastic Four; the team travels to an alternate Earth which is covered in an endless ocean that seems to have frozen time.
    • A backup story in Omega Men have the evil Spider Aliens send a team to conquer an out of the way planet populated by giants who perceive the world flashing by. To them, the sky is grey because of the 'effect' of the sun rising and leaving so fast. The Spider Aliens all go mad because they can't find a way to affect the time-slowed giants.
    • Played with in one Donald Duck comic story, "Super Snooper Strikes Back". Donald gains temporary superpowers, and tries to prove it to his nephews by running around the world super fast. But he soon realizes that his super-speed manifests itself by making everything else seem to stand still—so, even though the trip might seem fast to his nephews, it will still be incredibly long and boring to him! He decides to come up with a different test.
      • In another story (both are from Don Rosa by the way), "On Stolen Time", Gyro has invented a stopwatch. A literal stopwatch. It freezes time for everyone who's not standing within about thirty feet/ten meters of the watch when it's activated. While others see the user teleporting from place to place and things disappearing and appearing, the user sees world frozen around him. At one point, Donald and his nephews manage to get into stopped time with the Beagle Boys, and a chase ensues, with such tricks as the ducks cutting across a pond to catch up with the Beagle Boys, Donald crashing against a butterfly and the Beagle Boys using flying pigeons as a ladder to escape.
    • Marvel character Kiden Nixon, main character of NYX, can slow down time to an almost complete stop. She can return to a normal state by touching someone. She has to be extremely careful: the first time she did this, she broke someone's arm by simply poking it.

    Fan Works

    • The Homestuck fanfic "Scratch". It features Dave, as described below within the entry for Homestuck in the webcomic section, who accidentally damages the magical turntables that give him time powers, thus freezing time permanently unless he keeps moving the turntables by hand. It's a Dead Fic, unfortunately, and kinda became "frozen in time" after the third chapter.
    • Puella Magi Madoka Magica‍'‍s Homura tries this on Doctor Who‍'‍s Dalek Sec in the crossover story A Hero. Because he's linked up to her temporal abilities, it doesn't work.
    • In Drunkard's Walk V: Another Divine Mess You've Gotten Me Into, both Chris/Paradox and Doug Sangnoir demonstrate this ability. In Chris' case, it's a divine power as the God of Moments; in Doug's case it's a magical effect caused by the J. Geils Band song "Freeze Frame".


    • Happens in Star Trek: Insurrection when Anij slows down time almost to a stop for Jean-Luc Picard.
    • Spoofed in Big Fish: Edward Bloom, narrating a flashback to when he meets his future wife, explains "They say that when you meet the love of your life, time stops. And that's true." Past Edward makes his way across a circus big top, past all the frozen performers, to where his wife is standing. "But what they don't tell you is what once time starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up." Cue the funny carnival music as everyone zips around Past Edward as super-speed.
    • Cashback plays around with this trope a lot, although it may just represent a daydream of the lead character. Or an excuse to show a lot of boobs.
    • Clockstoppers (2002) has a wristwatch which can move the wearer into "hypertime," where time seems to stand still. (It doesn't though. It just moves really slowly). For some reason, this doesn't seem to affect whatever moving vehicles they occupy.
      • It gets weirder. Towards the end, the entire villain base enters hypertime (the villains also have hypertime). Cue the protagonist then pulling out the watch, and being warned that doubled-up hypertime is ultra-dangerous/deadly. He still uses the watch, and becomes some sort of ethereal energy being temporarily. Weirdly enough, time doesn't appear to have stopped when he's in double hypertime, but being ethereal negated the need for Time Stands Still.
    • The 1980 movie The Girl The Gold Watch and Everything (based on the novel by John D. MacDonald, which see) along with the movie sequel, The Girl The Gold Watch and Dynamite.
    • The Trancers series of film gave the Protagonist Jack Deth a watch that didn't wholly stop time, but stretched it for him. Explained in the film as 1 second stretched to 10, in the film it appears to last for about 90 seconds.
    • The audience is led to believe this has happened at the beginning of X-Men 2, although it transpires that in fact Professor X has used his mind-controlling powers to put everyone on "pause".
    • This is the central premise of the 1924 French short silent film Paris Qui Dort, also known as At 3:25 in the US. A night watchman on the Eiffel Tower returns to the ground at the end of his shift and discovers that time has stopped for everyone in Paris.
    • In Troll 2, Grandpa Seth has this ability, and stops time to allow his grandson to urinate on his family's food.
    • Occurs rather infamously in Starcrash:

    The Emperor of the Galaxy: "Imperial Battleship! Halt! The flow -- of time!!!"

    • Played (mostly) for laughs in Click, where Adam Sandler's character gets a "universal" remote control that enables him to pause, rewind, or fast-forward through time.
    • The movie Suspension (2008), illustrates how the power to stop time can appeal to our darker side.
    • The MacGuffin in Lara Croft Tomb Raider could control time, allowing the owner to freeze time as well as travel through it.
    • In The Hudsucker Proxy, time miraculously stops when a broomstick jams the gears of the clock tower, allowing Norville to survive the fall from the Hudsucker building ledge, have a chat with the angel of the late Mr. Hudsucker in mid-air, and learn that the company is all his according to the infamous Blue Letter. Oddly, the snow continues to fall around them.
    • When Peter's Spider Sense first activates in Spider-Man, it has this effect.
    • In the Sequel to the Live Action Adaptation of Inspector Gadget, Dr. Claw's evil plan is to freeze time so that he can rob the Federal Reserve in Riverton.


    • In Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series, the Incarnations of Death and Time are able to freeze time - the former with his Deathwatch, the latter with his Hourglass. Mars/War can also freeze time.
      • It should be noted that Chronos is the one who actually gave Death the Deathwatch.
    • Nicholson Baker's Fermata the main character and first-person narrator possesses this ability, which he uses to undress various women.
    • In Jorge Luis Borges's story The Secret Miracle, the protagonist -an unsuccessful Jewish playwright who was been sentenced to death by the Nazis- is granted by God the gift of a whole year of subjective time passing for him in the moment that the firing squad shoots. He cannot move or escape, but he can think, and thus finish in his mind the last and greatest play he was working on.
    • The Arthur C. Clarke story All The Time In The World is about a criminal who is given a device that freezes time in order to steal some works of art. It turns out that his Mysterious Benefactor is a time traveling alien, who wanted to save the most precious relics of Earth before it's destroyed in a nuclear fireball. This has already started, and he's left in the frozen seconds before the end, with all the time in the world... This twist is similar to the end of the Twilight Zone episode "A Little Peace and Quiet", listed below.
      • There is a handwave that a sphere around device is affected by normal (or superfast?) time flow. So the hero is instructed to avoid coming too close to passer-bys.
    • The trope could also be called "Trapped In The Muellex," if Stationery Voyagers has anything to say about it. (Similarity in sound to "Trapped in the Matrix" is partially intentional.)
    • In Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising series, agents of both The Light and The Dark have the ability to suspend time for Muggles in their immediate surroundings.
    • Although it doesn't actually happen (And it's implied they'd fail at it), newly created robotic magicians from Diane Duane's High Wizardry consider doing a time stop on the entire universe in order to "fix" entropy.
      • Notably, this is seen as a very bad thing for all the reasons listed above. Utter darkness, no thought, no real life. One second of living every one hundred thousand years. Of course, part of the idea is exaggerated such that all these processes wouldn't be continuing so much as having to start all over again during the points when time was flowing again...
    • The second Molly Moon book has the title character being able to stop time thanks to a Call Back from the first book.
    • In David Eddings's Elenium and Tamuli, one of the special abilities of the Troll Gods is to go into "No-Time", the space in between seconds, to traverse distances near-instantaneously. The characters, however, cannot affect the real world in this state. In the words of the Bhelliom, in order to move so much as a pebble in No-Time, you'd have to move the entire universe. Which ends up having horrific repercussions for several of characters.
      • Lampshaded in the same series. In the Tamuli, one character who has "No-Time" described to him says something along the lines of "That's logically impossible. It can't work." To which a goddess replies "I know it's logically impossible, but Ghnomb (one of the Troll Gods) believes that it works, and Ghnomb's belief is strong enough to override logic."
        • It Gets Worse : at a later point, the same Troll God makes some of the characters "invisible" by breaking each second into two pieces, with the invisible guys only present for the smaller piece...again, he believes it works, so it does.
    • The final showdown between the titular heroine of Michael Ende's Momo and the Men in Grey happens after the local God stops time in the whole world, leaving only Momo (because she is carrying a certain MacGuffin), the Men in Grey, and a magical turtle (who is a fully-functional MacGuffin of her own right) able to move.
    • In the David Farland novel trilogy The Runelords, where The Hero and Big Bad each received a large number of metabolism endowments, effectively causing time to slow down for them. Moving in this state was depicted relatively realistically, with a "thickening" of the air and some care required in movement to prevent injury, particularly when they weren't endowed with proportionate strength.
    • Thursday Next's father has "a face that could stop a clock," meaning he can stop time for himself and whoever else he wants.
      • Allies of her father freeze pockets of time, in time. A villain is stuck in the same minute or so it takes to get to the front of a checkout line. Only she realizes it.
    • Roger Zelazny "Chronomaster" has pocket universes (all manmade) that have had their time frozen from the inside. The main character has to use stuff called bottled time to keep himself from freezing. Everything in a tiny proximity gets normal speed
    • The fairies in Artemis Fowl can stop time within an area by surrounding it with a pentagram (and warlocks, originally, though they developed Magitek generators since there is a limit to how long a warlock can hold up his arms). They often use this in combination with a bio-bomb to contain its effect. Escape from a time-stop is possible, but the method is unusual: the time-stop preserves all beings in the state they were in when time stopped - people who are awake stay awake, while people who are asleep go on with the normal flow of the world. When an awake person uses something like sleeping pills to artificially change their state, the stop shunts them into normal time, making them disappear from inside the stop.
    • In Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune, one of the protagonists (Miles Teg) gets Super Speed as a power, and his subjective time slows to a crawl as a result. He is not Made of Iron, however, so he has to be careful to avoid hurting himself, and he uses energy at a rate commensurate with his increased activity level.
    • Dean Koontz's Dragon Tears features an antagonist whose "Greatest and Most Secret Power" is time-stopping. He can control who is and is not affected; late in the book, the two protagonists find themselves in a frozen world being stalked by a Golem.
    • In the John D. MacDonald story The Girl The Gold Watch And Everything, the main character inherits a golden watch with this ability.
      • Spider Robinson wrote the same watch (with a nod to MacDonald) into his book Lady Slings The Booze.
      • MacDonald's novel tries to address some of the physics problems noted: Although the watch seems to freeze time completely, it actually slows it to a crawl, as a fired bullet still has a perceptible movement. Due to the slowdown, the air is thick and hinders movement, and everything appears to be red (presumably due to photon speed alterations).
    • Larry Niven's Known Space series features several time-stopping force fields, e.g. the Slaver stasis field technology.
    • The History Monks from Discworld have a version of this ability—the Stance of the Coyote, for example, freezes time when in midfall (a Shout-Out to the Road Runner cartoons). This may or may not be distinct from their ability to slow time to a near-standstill through "time-slicing".
      • In the same series, characters such as Death, his fellow Horsemen, and his granddaughter Susan, can move around "outside time". Milkman Ronnie Soak, the Horseman Formerly Known As Kaos, uses this talent to get milk delivered on time every morning. That is to say he delivers the milk at 7 am every morning, to everyone in the city at the same time.
      • Slicing may be a Deconstruction, since it has a number of requirements to avoid the "solid air" problem. At deeper levels, you see red/blue shift and have to keep moving so the air in your personal Bullet Time pocket won't all get used up.
        • They also have "the wall", the point at which time is sliced so thin that not even the most experienced of History Monks can take it; one named Zimmerman discovered what's now known as "Zimmerman's valley", a level of time-slicing which is relatively easy to maintain in spite of being so deep that hummingbird wings have all but frozen, and figured there was a second valley even closer to the limit, but never found it. Not if the way he exploded was any indication.
      • Thief of Time had as its major plot point a clock being constructed that could perfectly measure time... and in doing so, completely halt it.
    • Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos feature "The Shrike", a creature that may or may not have been sent back in time by a computer god can move so fast it's like Time Stands Still. In fact, one character is given a power suit that increases his speed to the point that dodging laser beams becomes practical, and even he can barely see the Shrike.
    • H. G. Wells' story The New Accelerator is about a drug that causes anyone who takes it to move at Super Speed, making the rest of the world seem to be moving extremely slowly. In the story, the characters move so fast that the friction of their movements through the air nearly causes their clothing to ignite before they figure out what's going on.
    • In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters series, people who are born at midnight experience the "blue time", an extra hour where everything else is frozen.
    • The Ellimist will sometimes use this to speak to the Animorphs privately.
    • In the Rod Albright Alien Adventures series of books, the villain BKR plans to freeze the entire universe in time because, as an ultra-sadist, he loves the idea that anyone suffering at the moment he freezes time will be stuck with that suffering forever, and especially the fact that the heroes will be frozen at the moment of their failure, while he will be frozen in the moment of his victory. The plan actually involves creating a Groundhog Day Loop that ripples out across the universe, but the loop will become shorter and shorter each time it happens, until it's just a single moment in time.
    • A Sci Fi story about a man with six fingers who learned how to move sixty times faster than the rest of the world. However, 1) he's not the only one, and 2) he also ages sixty times faster and doesn't get it until he dies of old age.
    • In Superior Saturday, Arthur uses the Fifth Key to stop time to keep it from passing to the next day, to keep Leaf and the rest of his hometown from being nuked at 12:01 Saturday morning. It wears off after a while, and stops affecting Leaf, giving her a chance to try and get people to safety.
    • In Robert Rankin's Raiders of the Lost Car Park, the main characters get trapped like this, and one of them points out the various scientific issues that would arise from such a scenario. She concludes that it's the effect of a spell: in fact the spell that allows Santa Claus to do his yearly round.
    • In the Principia Discordia, time is said to have stood still in the all night bowling alley in which the Erisian Movement was born.
    • There was a novel where a man sees a strange ball of lightning striking near his house. The next morning, he realizes that everything around him is slowed down. Worse, it keeps slowing down and will result in him aging and turning to dust in a matter of minutes if he doesn't stop it (he calculates at one point that he is 300 times faster than everything around him). He attempts to communicate with a neighbor via the use of a typewriter. He types a message and has to wait for about an hour (his time) before the neighbor notices it. The novel points out the dangers of moving at these speeds, as he is constantly ripping his clothes and wounding himself on any object he accidentally hits, even tree branches. A bum who was near his house at the time is also hyper-accelerated. He uses this opportunity to steal. Both are eventually restored to normal, but the mysterious cause is never revealed.
      • The protagonist at one point remembers reading The New Accelerator by H. G. Wells and noting that certain things done in the story are ludicrous, such as throwing a dog, which would have resulted in the dog having its head ripped off.
    • In Robert L. Forward's novels Dragons Egg and Starquake, humans exploring a neutron star discover that it is inhabited by life forms based on nuclear rather than chemical bonds. As a result, they live about a million times faster than humans—they are relatively primitive when the visitors enter orbit around their world and incredibly advanced a month later.
    • CS Lewis based The Great Divorce on a half-remembered story in which everything but the main characters are temporally frozen—since they cannot change or affect anything in this frozen time, blades of grass and drops of rain cut right through them.
    • In There and Back Again by Pat Murphy, Bailey finds a metal Mobius strip with the ability to alter the flow of time in a bubble around it, and frequently uses it to speed himself up to the point where everyone else is effectively stopped.
    • This is a focal point of Stephen King's short story "The Jaunt" - the titular teleporation system appears to send things through it instantaneously, but sentient minds perceive the transit as an "eternity", to quote the first human test subject, with corresponding physical aging.
    • The Alloy of Law contains Wayne, who can generate a speed bubble where time goes much faster than outside, and Marasi, who can make one where time goes much slower. The second one is considered pretty much useless. Until they need to stall for time

    Live Action TV

    • The Angel episode "Happy Anniversary" revolves around a scientist's efforts to create one of these so that he and his girlfriend won't break up, but will stay frozen forever. In the midst of having the break-up sex. At the moment of climax, in fact. There are worse moments to be stuck at.
      • Skip also manages an apparently localized version of this when introducing Cordelia to the idea of becoming a higher power. Considering it happens on an LA freeway during a rush hour, the resulting otherworldly effect is subtle but stunning.
      • Before the loss of her powers, Illyria is able to perform a version of this trope, selectively slowing down or stopping time while she movies freely amid the resulting slow-motion.
    • This was the central plot device of the children's television programme Bernards Watch.
    • In Charmed, Piper could freeze opponents (or Muggles that the Masquerade needed to be kept around) temporarily.
      • Although this wasn't time-based but instead molecular freezing.
        • Shouldn't birds fall out of the sky with that stuff? And if you say the air suspends them than how do the sisters move around during the time stop?
          • A witch did it?
          • The Cleaners also had the power to stop time, and it was a much more grand effect then Piper's; also angels of fate could do it, the demon of time can do it for a quick burst, in the comic book Wyatt can perform a version of slow-time which only makes things appear to stop at first.
    • In the Doctor Who Season 4 finale, Gwen and Ianto are saved from a Dalek invading the Torchwood Hub by a "time lock", freezing everything outside the door.
      • There's also a moment in the second episode of Season 1 when the Doctor appears to slow down time to solve a pendulum-of-death puzzle. However, this is probably a Flash-type scenario where he's actually speeding up his mental perceptions so that time seems to slow around him.
      • And then there's the Key to Time from the classic series, which briefly stopped time for the entire rest of the universe.
      • The Sarah Jane Adventures - When the Doctor crashes Sarah-Jane's wedding, the Trickster yanks the church out of time and splits up the main cast by trapping in two separate seconds.
      • Something similar to the Sarah-Jane example happens in the DW 2011 finale, only it happens to all of history instead of just a few people. The result: Holy Roman Emperor Winston Churchill, pterodactyls in public parks, and cars being carried across London by hot-air balloon. People are still aware and moving, but all the clocks have stopped and the date is always the same. Only a few people notice anything wrong with this.
    • In the Mexican superhero comedy El Chapulin Colorado the hero occasionally had a gadget that allowed him to do this. He mostly used it to arrange embarrassing accidents for the bad guys.
    • In the Friday the 13th: The Series episode "13 O'Clock," the cursed item is a stopwatch that can stop time and allow the villains of that episode to commit crimes. The moment the heroes get the watch back, the villains freeze in time, becoming black and white statues.
    • Hiro from Heroes uses this ability often, as part of his more general ability to manipulate time.
      • Season 3 revealed that he doesn't actually stop time, he just slows it down. Daphne, a speedster, is able to notice when using her powers and can speed herself up to compensate. It's also revealed that Hiro doesn't know if his ability is localized, or not. However, since he later carries a frozen Ando a considerable distance in a wheelbarrow with time staying frozen all around him, it seems likely that he's actually speeding himself up relative to the universe as a whole rather than freezing time in a localized area around him.
        • Actually, Hiro does stop time. The above examples happened at various points in the series that Hiro's powers were malfunctioning. There was also a point when they are in a museum, and when he isn't able to stop time, he slows it to half-speed.
        • The best example is when he proves his ability to Charlie by blinking and then showing her hundreds of origami cranes that suddenly appear around her. This scene is shown from Charlie's point of view, as showing Hiro make these would take awhile.
    • Happens almost once an episode on Hustle although it is merely a visual device as the previous planning of the characters for the current situation is revealed.
      • Also used in the BBC previews, to the extent that the technique is one of the best-known things about the show, and inevitably mocked on Dead Ringers.
    • In The Lost Room, the ability of the Comb is to stop time for everyone except the user. The effect only lasts about 10 seconds (from the comb user's perspective), and the user isn't able to physically affect anything that's still frozen.
      • The user can affect things that aren't being affected by some force other than gravity. For example, the user can pick up a shovel leaning against a wall, but can't take a wallet someone is holding in their hand.
      • Also, the constant jerks back and forth have a negative long-term effect on the user. Then again all Objects are Artifacts Of Doom.
    • Likewise the now largely forgotten Australian children's series The Magic Boomerang. As long as the boomerang of the title was in flight (which usually lasted a few minutes) time would stand still for everyone except the person who threw it.
    • The Outer Limits (original):
      • "Controlled Experiment." Two comical Martians use a device that can pause, rewind, and fast forward time to study the human "custom" of murder.
      • "The Premonition." After they simultaneously crash in a jet and a car, a test pilot and his wife find themselves out of sync with time, with everything outside of their vehicles immovably stuck. At first, time seems to be frozen, but it's actually moving imperceptibly slowly.
      • The new series also had an episode with a performance enhancer that gave the user super speed. The guy uses it so much that he goes into this trope.
    • In Out of This World, Evie could freeze time by touching her index fingers together, and release any individual person from the spell by touching him/her. Pressing her palms together would cancel the effect. It was her most-used trick.
    • Inverted at the end of every episode of Police Squad!!. The actors would all freeze at the end, mimicking the film pausing while the credits rolled. There would always be one thing that still moved though, such as coffee continuing to pour until it overflowed, and an arrested villain noticing all the police had frozen and trying to use the opportunity to escape (the doors froze too).
    • In Red Dwarf, the episode "Pete", the main characters obtain a device that can store and manipulate time. Besides freezing time for everyone else, it can also rewind time (so no one else will know they have it), change people's age, change people's clothes (so they dress in 60's style instead), and un-evolve living things. The target of the last one is a small bird. Now think about what you learned from Hollywood science...
    • In Saved by the Bell, Zack could stop time by saying "Time out." This would allow him to address the audience or merely play pranks on the cast. He'd say "Time in" to return things to normal.
    • Stargate SG-1
      • In "The Quest", the protagonists must navigate a maze that will dilate time for anyone who strays off the path, thus effectively trapping them. Thus time stood still for all the people stuck in the field, but the protagonists could still (very cautiously) navigate the maze unimpeded.
      • SG-1 also had the Asgard use a time-dilation field as a trap for the Replicators, drawing them all to one planet with the intention of freezing time there until they could find a more permanent solution. Unfortunately in the time before the device activated the Reps were able to reverse it's operation, speeding up time massively inside the field and giving them subjective centuries to evolve the Humanform design and convert the entire mass of the planet to replicator blocks. At this point Thor called in SG-1 to help fix the problem, Carter reset the device to work properly and reactivated it and the episode ended with a frozen tableau of replicators inches from the device controls, which they wouldn't reach until a season later.
      • The technology mentioned above returns in the Grand Finale: the Odessey is seconds from destruction and Carter needs more time to find a solution, but they were just given the specs for all Asgard technology, including the Time Dilation device.
      • There was also the early episode "A Matter of Time", wherein an SG team had been sent to a planet that was close to a newly formed black hole; they tried to gate back home, but by then the time dilation effects were too strong, and the gate deactivated at Earth's end...the other end would be open until the end of time.
        • SGC blew the connection to keep the Earth from being pulled through the gate into the black hole. A case of time dilation was used also since everyone in the mountain was a few months behind the rest of the world.

    Hammond: By my reckoning, I was gone 20 minutes.
    Carter: Well, sir, accounting for time spent coming and going, I would guess that time within the SGC facility has slowed to an average of about 600 percent below normal. When you ordered Colonel O'Neill to wait 5 minutes, you were really telling him to wait 6 hours, maybe more.
    Hammond: Captain, relativity gives me a headache!

    • Star Trek has dealt with this several times:
      • Star Trek: The Original Series: "Wink of an Eye" features aliens who move so fast that they're invisible to the naked eye and everyone else appears frozen to them. (Interestingly enough, so long as none of the aliens or the people they abducted into their 'timeframe' by means of a drug are actually around to watch, both they and the crew seem to function in parallel and on the same timescale just fine. This point is never addressed.)
        • Kirk receives the drug when it's slipped into his coffee, inadvertently making it look like he's on Caffeine Bullet Time.
      • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Timescape", several crew members return to the Enterprise to find it and a Romulan warbird frozen in time. It's actually very slowly progressing, but this is only noticed by an android while looking at an explosion that would destroy the ship in seconds.
      • Star Trek: Voyager: "Blink of an Eye" (Unrelated to the above "Wink of an Eye", mostly) features a planet where time passes very quickly. They eventually send a boarding party up to Voyager, and spend several minutes walking among the seemingly frozen crew until they begin to synchronize with Voyager's time-rate (the transition proves nearly fatal).
    • The Twilight Zone (original):
      • "Still Valley." During The American Civil War, a Confederate warlock uses a magic spell to freeze Union soldiers in time.
      • "A Kind of a Stopwatch". A comically obnoxious Jerkass is given a magical stopwatch that literally stops time. He uses it to his own advantage until he receives an ironic comeuppance.
    • The Twilight Zone (1980s): "A Little Peace and Quiet." A gimmick similar to the one used in "A Kind of a Stopwatch", a magical object that freezes time, is woven into a much more serious story about nuclear war.
      • To be precise: a woman finds a stopwatch in her garden that can stop time. When she presses it, she'll still be free to move around, but everything else is frozen in spot and cannot move until she presses the stopwatch again. A henpecked housewife who is constantly tormented by her demanding husband and bratty children, she's happy to use it at her discretion to get some "me-time," to do her shopping, and other mundane chores. Those situations frame the subplot, told through a series of TV and radio news reports, regarding the increasingly desperate political crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union. One night, the woman is taking a relaxing bath and doesn't have a care in the world ... until air raid sirens begin sounding, and she and her husband listening to a panicked news reporter revealing "this is the end," as the Soviet Union has just declared nuclear war on the United States and has fired medium- and long-range missles at the mainland. Though never explicitly stated, she perhaps realizes too late the true purpose of the amulet: to get the U.S. and USSR leaders to "shut up" about flexing their muscles, and forcing them to get together to "start talking" about disarment. She manages to freeze time one last time, a split second before an ICBM hovering right over her home town explodes, engulfing everything in flames. The final shot shows the frozen town, people fleeing and frantically seeking shelter, several looking up at the sky in frozen terror as they are about to be incinerated.
        • She decides to go spend her final moments with her family, before unfreezing time to die with them. If she'd had any sense, she would've instead kept time frozen, packed a bunch of clothes and her family into the car, and driven through the time-frozen streets, all the way out of the United States to the safety of another country, before restarting time....
    • In the UFO episode "Timelash", the main character finds everything stilled in the base, but can pick up any item that wasn't moving when time stopped.
    • The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Burning Diamond". A criminal scientist develops a formula (based on diamond dust) which gives anyone who drinks it Super Speed so fast that it appears to them that the rest of the world is standing still.
    • Smallville uses the Super Speed variation. In the early seasons, everything except Clark would be in slow motion. Then, as he grew more powerful, people would be frozen while bullets and other fast objects would be in slow motion. In one season eight episode, Clark seems to kick it into overdrive as even a bullet was frozen.
    • In The Adventures of Superboy TV series episode "Test of Time", two alien beings speed up Clark Kent/Superboy, who they think is a normal human being, to the point where time appears to have stopped for everyone but him. The aliens refer to this as "acceleration mode", and they use it to test Superboy to determine if they can win a war against the Earth's inhabitants.
    • In Tracker, Cole (AKA Daggon), as well as every other Cirronian, has an ability that allows them to step into "hypertime" for several seconds, which slows time down to a crawl. He uses it once to trick a mobster into thinking that he has killed him by going into hypertime and moving his head away from the bullet until it has passed him and then back. When normal time is restored, he makes sure to fall into water after the gunshot. There was also an episode where he and another Cirronian use this ability simultaneously to save a falling human. The Big Bad later invents a device that is a better version of this ability, as it takes only minutes to recharge, while Cirronians need an entire day.
    • In an episode of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids series, Wayne invents a device that speeds him up. He keeps a fancy model for himself while his boss stumbles upon the prototype. However, they then set the dial to 10, at which point everything around them slows down to extreme crawl. They attempt to turn off the devices or take them off, but the use of the untested setting results in Phlebotinum Breakdown, and they are stuck that way until Wayne thinks to use a freezer-like device to slow down their molecules to normal speed.
    • Kamen Rider Kabuto has the speed-up version in the form of the Clock-Up ability, which anyone of any importance in the series has access to in one fashion or another: . Later on, he gains access to a even faster version called Hyper Clock Up, which also enables him to travel back through time when the plot needs him to. The Freeze ability of Cassisworm Dimidius, one of the more powerful monsters in the series, is even more powerful to the point where time seems to stop entirely.
      • The earlier Kamen Rider Faiz came close to the same effect with the eponymous Rider's Axel Form. When Decade uses Faiz Accel Form, however, it's portrayed as a match for Clock-Up, despite the former canonically being described as the speed of sound and the latter as the speed of light.
        • Hyper Clock Up may be speed of light (which might be why it can be used for Time Travel) but regular Clock Up can't be that fast. At least one episode in the series has shown Clock Up to be slow enough that you can still make out the movement of flying bullets.
    • Frank Gorshin stars as Clockwise in an episode of Roger Corman's Black Scorpion" TV series. However, he can only stop time for 3 second periods.
    • In an episode of Eureka, Henry messes with the bridge device under the influence of NPL-infused music and causes it to create a time-dilation field that keeps expanding. Everything trapped in the field appears to be standing still, even though it actually moves imperceptibly slowly. When the time is sped back up, one of the characters actually manages to outrun a bullet.
    • The Collector: It's used by the Devil sometimes to talk in privacy. Or to offer a deal to someone who is seconds away from death.
      • One client asked for the power to make time stop around him. The result was somewhat closer to actual time stoppage than the usual frozen world, and he did not like it.


    • In the Biblical book of Joshua, God agrees to fulfill Joshua's request to stay time until the Israelites have won the battle (they would have lost if darkness had fallen). So this one is at least Older Than Feudalism.
      • Presumably, the enemy could move, as it doesn't explicitly say that they were stopped as well (which might have been a little unfair).
      • Actually all that's said is the sun's movement was halted. Interestingly Chinese astronomers described supernovae simlarly.


    • Brandon Heath's Music video for Give Me Your Eyes had this.
    • Mused upon metaphorically in the appropriately titled Rush song "Time Stand Still". Notably, it's "Time Stand Still", as in asking for time to stand still. As opposed to the song by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (at the end of which, said lead singer does a spot-on imitation of his father).
    • The Ready Set has an app for that in the video for "Young Forever".


    • The improvisational comedy group Improv Everywhere did this in Real Life - with 250 people in Grand Central Station. They all went in and, at the same second, froze in place for five minutes. Details of the prank, along with pictures and video, can be found here.
    • Not so much freezing, but the perception of time passage for some people is alterable, not necessarily at will - this may be a case of Exaggerated Truth in Television, where the passage of time can be perceived as "speeded up" or even "slowed DOWN" in a Bullet Time-like way without the special effects.
      • A soldier in the Middle East was shot in the head (he survived, thanks to his helmet), and claimed that he actually saw the bullet move through the air toward him, as though it were moving in slow motion. It probably happened as a result of intense adrenaline, as he actually remained conscious after it struck him long enough to take aim and put out a burst of fire, killing the shooter, before collapsing.
      • Experiments with millisecond-tracking digital stopwatches suggest that the brain's perception shifts into an actual approximation of "bullet time" when its levels of adrenaline are highest. This happens because neurons' activity is devoted so tightly to whatever danger or challenge a subject is confronted by, the person actually picks up enough details so that time seems slower.
        • Another experiment claims that details are not perceived quicker in high-adrenaline mode. Although they used details not too related to the perceived danger source.
    • The short lived reality show On The Lot had a small group of filmmakers working off the pitch phrase, "Out of Time." They decided for two people to suddenly be involved in a Time Stands Still event. The judges were incredibly impressed with the results, considering they had a day to film and edit it. Brett Ratner, director of X-Men: The Last Stand and other SFX heavy films said he had no idea how they did that.
    • The plot of the Langley's Ark story Killing Time. The chapter immediately following the time-stop itself begins with one of the protagonists, a first-year Academy student, handing in a semester essay months before the due date. Her explanation: "I got bored. ... Very, very bored."

    Aelisha: Great job Brin. I think you just killed time.

    • Exists as an entire sub-genre of pornographic literature, generally with no attention whatsoever paid to how the mechanics would work out what with friction and all.

    Tabletop Games

    • The Magic the Gathering card Time Stop.
      • A few other time-related cards (e.g. Time Warp and the famous Time Walk achieve mostly the same general effect with a slightly different mechanic.
      • Spells with the "Split-second" ability work a bit like this as well. Until they resolve no other spells or abilities can be put on the stack, meaning that nothing can be done until the spell's effect has already happened.
    • The obscure True Brujah vampire clan from the Old World of Darkness could do this as a matter of routine.
    • Dungeons & Dragons has "Time Stop" as one of the top-level spells from AD&D and up. In the 1st and 2nd editions, the spell actually caused time to halt within a certain radius of the caster. Since third edition, however, the spell description has changed and the caster himself speeds up, merely creating the impression that time has stopped and altering the way actions play out while the spell is in effect.
      • The expansion book Book Of Nine Swords: Tome Of Battle introduced a high-level ability that was actually called Time Stands Still. It allows the user to make two full-round attacks in one turn instead of one. With a certain build from that book, this makes it possible to make up to fourteen attacks in a single round (six seconds). And don't even think about how many you get with a Thri-kreen (four arms).
      • Psionic characters can learn the Temporal Acceleration power, which is similar to Time Stop, except available six levels earlier but not lasting as long.
    • In GURPS players can pay a few character points[1] to freeze time for a moment. The spells Accelerate Time and Time Out are also similar to this.
      • The stasis fields exactly like the ones in Known Space are available with superscience technology.
    • This quote from Nobilis shows the dark potential of this sort of power:

    As the sky catches fire, Octavia will reach out and stop the world. For the first time since the bombs began to fall, there will be silence.
    "It's no good," the djinn will say. "The missiles are launched. The world is dead. It just doesn't know it yet. It doesn't matter what you do- once you start time going again, everybody dies."
    "I don't plan to start time going again," Octavia will answer.
    And that is how the universe will end

    • In Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons are capable of doing this via technological means, though not to any great tactical or strategic effect. Yet...


    • A pair of Bionicle masks have powers like this. The most obvious being the Mask of Time, which can slow down or speed up time around a target. The Mask of Speed overlaps this trope with Super Speed (and perhaps Super Reflexes), in that for the user, everything else almost stops to a halt. This way, the user can deliver blows without the target even having the chance to react.

    Video Games

    • Achron uses an interesting multiplayer version of this trope; while all players can freeze time whenever they want to, this doesn't affect the other players when someone triggers the ability. It's possible to start "falling behind" on the timeline as meta-time waits for no man!
    • Being based on Dungeons & Dragons, Baldur's Gate eventually gave you access to the Time Stop spell, as well as traps that had a lesser version of the effect. This allowed mages to cast multiple damage spells set to go off the moment the effect ended, and was extremely potent. However, the Bonus Boss and the Final Boss of the expansion were both immune to the effect, so casting it trapped a squishy mage all alone with a Physical God, who was free to butcher your comrades while they were frozen.
    • "Time Stop" is a recurring spell in the Tales series of video games. In some instances, it causes a color reversal to the environment and everyone affected by it. There's also the recurring Hourglass item that has the same effect.
    • At the end of the game Tomba 2, the villain freezes time as a last-ditch effort to stop Tomba. He actually says "Even colour is gone!", lampshading the Deliberately Monochrome effect of the time stop.
    • The stopwatch in the Castlevania games freezes enemies in time (except bosses). Later games gave it a reverse-color effect on the background to show it was in effect (like in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure) and in Portrait of Ruin, and weapons thrown while it's in effect will freeze in place after they're thrown (this includes knives, JoJo's fans...).
      • Though if Time Stop is used in Portrait of Ruin, the grandfather clocks still move.
      • The Shout-Out boss, Zephyr,comes complete with "toki yo tomare" and knife throwing action.
      • Aeon from Judgment is also able to inflict this as part of his finishing move.
      • Certain enemies in Symphony of the Night are not frozen by this effect - particularly spirits and ghosts - and others are only slowed in a Bullet Time-esque fashion rather than outright stopped. It's also necessary to use the stopwatch in certain rooms in order to access a couple of hidden areas. Using it in the Clock Room is the only way to open the right-hand tunnel, for example.
      • Koumajou Densetsu II, one of the two Castlevania-style Touhou fangames, gives the stopwatch to Sakuya, owing to her ability to stop time.
    • A stopwatch appears in Super Mario Bros. 2 if you pull five large vegetables. Freeze effect is accompanied by a ticking sound.
    • Weapons that do this show up from time to time in the Mega Man games. Flash Man's Time Stopper is probably the most famous.
      • In Rockman No Constancy, Flash Man's weapon is called Za Warudo/The World.
      • There's also Bright Man and his weapon (Flash Stopper) in 4, Centaur Man (but not his weapon) in 6. Also Dark Hold in Mega Man X 5.
        • And then of course there's Chronoforce from Mega Man ZX Advent, who literally freezes the very fabric of time itself. Also makes the game...easier.
          • Well, not exactly. He just slows everything around him down. It explains why your character is able to move after he uses the technique instead of stopping completely, like with other time manipulation powers in the series. A better description for this ability would be Bullet Time. From the user's perspective, everything is moving much slower than normal. From anyone else's perspective, the user of his ability is moving much faster. Fortunately, one person's Time Bomb can countered with another's Time Bomb. In which case, time would be doubly slowed for anyone who isn't one of the two who used Time Bomb before... Despite not completely stopping time, this ability can be used on all bosses, unlike previous time altering powers (which only worked on specific bosses), though two of the bosses can can counter it: One being the boss the power originated from (though he won't use it to specifically counter you), obviously, and the final boss, who only ever uses the ability to counter you when you use it.
      • Zero also has an EX Skill called Time Stopper in Mega Man Zero 4, but it just freezes one enemy rather than the whole field.
      • Spark Manbow in Rock Man 4 Minus Infinity has a secondary function. If you hold up when you press the fire button, Mega Man holds up a lightbulb, which causes every enemy to freeze in place for a few seconds.
    • Quicktime/Overdrive in the SaGa Series, there is even one character in SaGa frontier whose specialized field was the control of time magic itself.
    • In the Sonic the Hedgehog games, Chaos Control is sometimes the ability to "stop time." (Other times it's the ability to teleport or the ability to fly forward at insanely high speeds. Of course, they all look the same from the outside.)
      • It's the ability to teleport. It's just that it's kind of hard to work that into a game mechanic, so it only manifests as such in cutscenes and has to be expressed in the most similar way possible during gameplay—which means stopping everything else while you move ahead. (Note that in Shadow the Hedgehog, the lone game where it took the "ability to fly forward at insanely high speeds", it could also be used to go through otherwise impassible barriers, and had to be used as such in the final level.)
        • During boss-battles, it seems more like stopping time, though. Shadow is able to move around normally and interact with enemies/bosses (attacking them, of course), so he's not teleporting. However, the opening movie before the main-menu had Shadow at one point teleporting around and attacking enemies (not that you can do that in-game) which could mean it IS just teleporting around quickly and it being rendered as Bullet Time during boss-battles and certain cutscenes.
      • In Shadow the Hedgehog, it is concretely defined as "Space-time control". Which means that it can be either teleportation or time stop, depending on what you want to do with it at the time.
      • In the two-player mode of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, in the Action Race mode, the 40-ring move is usually a time stop of some kind. Sonic's Time Stop, Shadow's Chaos Control, Amy's Amy Flash, etc.
    • In the Infocom Interactive Fiction game Spellbreaker (part of the Zork series), you can do this with the girgol spell.
    • The fourth ending of Drakengard. Trying to describe the logic behind it would drive me insane, so here's what happens: Seere, who is immortal because his time was taken away from him as a result of his pact, meets up with the Queen Mother of the Grotesqueries, who can, for some reason, control time. When they meet, all time around the Queen Mother freezes, manifesting physically as a giant black conical spire that can be viewed from space. This is admittedly one of the weakest plot points in the whole game, but they really backed themselves into a corner with that ending anyway.
    • Sakuya Izayoi, from the Touhou series, uses time-manipulation as her main power, allowing her to perform such feats as throwing an unlimited barrage of knives (retrieving them midway via time-stop), or doing all the housework perfectly.
      • Not coincidentally, one of her spell cards is named "The World." The fandom, naturally, has run away with this.
    • In the Roger Zelazny-authored game Chronomaster, the protagonist travels through pocket universes which have had their time stopped. Possibly justified, in that the protagonist is surrounded by a bubble of time allowing him to breathe and interact with the world and characters. Walking next to a bird frozen in mid-flight, for example, would see this bird continue flying while it is inside the field of this time bubble. One puzzle also involves giving a capsule full of "time" to an NPC, to gain his help.
    • In World of Warcraft the Bronze (acting as Time Police) and Infinite (interlopers trying to change timeline) Dragonflights have access to this amongst other time-related magic. On some occasions these powers are granted to players to use, such as in an Occulus instance where you can ride Bronze Drakes who can freeze everybody except your party in the whole area – it gets most use during the final boss battle of the instance, where you have to freeze him when he increases his attack.
    • In Eternal Fighter Zero, Mizuka Nagamori's Final Memory move, "Eternal Poem", freezes time and allows her to freely wail on the opponent for a while.
    • Persona 3 has "The Dark Hour", a "hidden" sliver of time occurring exactly at midnight accessible only to a select few (including Persona users). During this time, ordinary people are Transmogrified into coffins and unable to detect what goes on. It occurs instantaneously to the rest of the world, but Persona users and a few people who have learned to access the Dark Hour can move around, while everything else is, from their perspective, perfectly frozen in time—the light changes, electricity can't flow, moving vehicles are frozen in place, and so on.
      • That last one can be altered by powerful Shadows - the first real boss battle, against Priestess, takes place on a bullet train that the boss has unfrozen... and which is about to crash into another train just up the tracks. The fight's a Timed Mission as a result.
    • In most Wild ARMs games, summoning the Time Guardian, Dan Dariam, will stop time for everyone except the summoner. Hugo of Wild ARMs 4 has the ability to do this whenever he's moving, letting him outspeed Jude's Accelerator.
    • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, Link arrives in a time-stopped Ancient Hyrule under the sea, depicted in monochrome. Several Moblins and Darknuts are included in this stasis. Link manages to unfreeze time. Of course, then he has to deal with the Moblins and Darknuts....
      • And then in Phantom Hourglass, you gain the ability to stop time for several seconds during the final boss battle.
    • This is the main power of Anutpada, the time arcana, in Arcana Heart. Activating the arcana during the round only stops the round clock, but using the arcana blaze freezes the opponent as well.
    • In Time Hollow, when the main character uses the Hollow Pen (the pen-like tool he uses to change the past), time stops for everyone except himself and anyone else with access to a Hollow Pen. This also applies to people on the other side of a time portal made using the Hollow Pen. People pulled to the present from the past using a portal made with the Hollow Pen are exempt from having time stop for them even if they aren't holding a Hollow Pen.
    • In Painkiller, using the final bullet time upgrade has pretty much this effect - everything is slowed 8 times, allowing you to outrun whatever your enemies are shooting and if you kill them in this state, they won't manage to fall down by the time the effect is over.
    • In Alundra, the Big Bad does this when Alundra enters The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in an attempt to stop him. In order to get time going again, Alundra needs to start two clocks located in the castle's towers. While time is stopped, the castle is gray and misty, and apart from the two clocks, nothing can be interacted with.
    • In Half-Life and the following games, the G-Man and the Vortigaunts are capable of stopping time, as well as teleporting themselves and others into alternate universes where time is meaningless.
    • Blinx the Time Sweeper has a special vacuum cleaner that allows him to Rewind, Fast Forward, Pause, Record and Slow the flow of time. Each power has its own colour of Deliberately Monochrome while it's active.
    • Red Alert 3: Uprising's Soviet campaign includes a machine called the Sigma Harmonizer. It is a large particle accelerator (bearing an uncanny and un-accidental resemblance to the CERN LHC) that can stop time selectively, for certain units in the game
    • Two bosses in Okami, Lechku and Nechku, have both the ability to stop time (complete with deliberate monochrome) and move really fast. Shiranui is able to overcome the time stop effect, but not without great effort.
      • Additionally Amaterasu can noticeably slow time with her Veil of Mist ability and time stops when doing brush strokes. Except for ghosts, who will continue moving and attacking you while you're in the brush stroke screen...
    • In The World Ends With You during the fight on the last day against Megumi Kitaniji, AKA "Shades" one of his attacks has him extending his arm forward, and then making a fist with his hand while saying the line "Time Be Still!"... And it happily obliges...
    • In the Kingdom Hearts series there are several attacks that work on this principle, the first being Lethal Frame from "Chain of Memories"(Lethal Flame in the American release)
      • In Kingdom Hearts 3D, Young Xehanort pulls this on you ("Toki yo tomare" included) when you deplete his HP, in order to get into position to attempt a time reversal.
    • One of the time travel powers in TimeShift causes a white filter haze and allows you to move around; you can even steal enemies' weapons.
      • The enemy comments reflect this nicely. If you freeze time while in view of an enemy, and then move away, you'll hear them explain that "he must've warped" once time resumes.
    • This is the special ability of the Chrono Samurai in Gotcha Force. The colours all invert, and projectiles stop in midair, except for its own.
    • The Lamp of Time in La-Mulana allows the player to stop time for a few seconds. There is one type of enemy which does not stop when it is used, and is invisible otherwise. It takes 3 minutes to recharge, which can make puzzles requiring it annoying unless you get them right the first time.
    • Featured as an important plot element in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, as the threat of this happening to the whole world becomes problematic. This actually happens to areas the Time Gears are stolen from, and the player even 'gets' to visit the Bad Future where the planet is completely paralyzed.
      • Although it's never really explained why it is that you have to quickly leave the area a Time Gear is taken from or be paralyzed, but in the future, when time is completely stopped everywhere, everyone can move around just fine.
    • Ultimecia gets this ability in Dissidia Final Fantasy, both in cutscenes and in-game when she's in EX-Mode. It takes a bit of warm-up time, but once used it leaves the enemy wide open to attacks.
      • In the prequel, Duodecim, a variation on this occurs when a character uses EX Revenge: The victim of the move is just this side of frozen in time while the avenger can fully unload on them. Time flow goes back to normal after a few seconds. For bonus points everything but the combatants is Deliberately Monochrome for the duration of the effect.
    • Fable II has this behind one of the demon doors for creepy value. Complete with monochrome.
      • Both games also had a slow time spell that goes monochrome but that's not a full stop
    • Unreal Tournament provides an example of this: start a match against bots, bring up the console and type in: playersonly. This will freeze time. Your hitscan weapons will work as usual, the various projectiles of the other weapons will come a full stop after leaving the barrel. The possibilities are endless: you can surround a bot with rockets from every direction and when typing playersonly again (which lets the flow of time continue) watch them explode. Or shoot every bot with your sniper rifle and after starting time again, watch as all of their heads are propelling into every direction. Works only against bots, but it can be loads of fun.
    • In one of the worlds in Braid, the movement of time is linked to Tim's movement. When Tim walks forward, time flows forward; when Tim walks back, time flows backwards. Time stops when Tim stands still.
    • A common status effect in RPG's (especially the Final Fantasy series) is Stop. It does Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The victim is essentially petrified, unable to take any actions. Sadly, it's usually far more effective on you than it is on your enemies.
      • Also present in the first Kingdom Hearts game, where any enemy hit by this spell is frozen for a few seconds, allowing you to score some free hits. Once the spell effect ends, every hit lands at the same time. Almost every boss is immune, but it's quite effective against Mooks.
      • Starting with Final Fantasy V, some Final Fantasy games also contain the usual variant. The Quick spell accelerates the caster to the point that they can take two combat rounds' worth of actions without any interruption from their enemies. In Final Fantasy VI, this is especially useful for Cyan, whose special ability requires him to wait in real time to charge up an attack. Quick allows him all the time in the world to do that, as all the enemies are frozen for the duration. Interestingly, Final Fantasy VI contains Quick and Stop.
    • One of Richard Wong's moves which stops his opponent for a few seconds, unless the opponent is Wong himself.
    • Time stands still when you're in the ghost world in Ghost Trick, allowing a ghost time to move from objects to object without losing precious seconds during the four minutes before death. It's represented in shades of red, with 'cores' outlined in blue, though it's green for Missile and blue for Yomiel. Time can be paused at any point but tricks can't be used unless time is flowing again.
    • The Sims 2 expansion Apartment Life brings back magic into the game. The highest level neutral magic spell is Tempus Interruptus, which stops time for everything except the caster and any magical beings on the lot. The clock does not advance, your sim can interact with objects (and any witches, wizards, or familiars), and wears off in a few hours of game time or until cancelled.
    • Chrono Trigger: Late in the game, you receive the eponymous Chrono Trigger, an item that can "have a powerful effect on time". Once triggered, it sends the party back to an earlier Hopeless Boss Fight, with everything now frozen in time. This enables the party to bring Crono Back from the Dead.

    Magus: A time freeze. I never thought it possible.

      • In Chrono Cross, the party finds themselves in an entire world frozen in time.
    • The protagonist of Bunny Must Die can use this power. And much like Dio and Sakuya, she loves throwing knives.
    • In The King of Fighters 97, the world mysteriously got frozen in time when you fought either riot Leona or riot Iori. The same thing happened in The King of Fighters XIII boss fight with Saiki, though it was due to his power to "turn time into ashes".
    • In Neverwinter Nights, Time Stop is a spell that can be learned by Wizards or used via magic scroll. It does exactly what its name implies. Unfortunately, whenever you meet an NPC Wizard of sufficiently advanced level, they have a tendency to just sit there and do nothing during the entire duration of the spell.
    • Near the end of the original Devil May Cry, Dante can find and use an item called the Bangle of Time, which stops time for all non-boss enemies around him while consuming Devil Trigger energy. The third game has the Quicksilver style, which has the same ability.
    • In Dragon Slayer, the FLASH spell freezes all enemies for a certain amount of time.
    • In Faxanadu, the Hour Glass can be used to freeze enemies.
    • The pocket watch in American McGee's Alice allows you to freeze time and everything around you (except for Alice) for around 30 seconds or so.
    • I Miss the Sunrise has a very, very limited version of this—the main character can analyze the situation while time is stopped, but he can't take any action until he speeds up again. This is mostly a justification for the Turn-Based Strategy nature of the game.
    • Chakratarvin the Creator from Asura's Wrath has this as an attack, used to start up QTE's, to throw throw massive swords and other attacks. It's a Color Coded Time Stop.
    • Monster Girl Quest Paradox has the Chaos Drive skill, usable by White Rabbit, Reaper and Nero. It stops time for everything but the user and others capable of the skill, allowing them to act with impunity.

    Web Comics

    • Inverted during the "Oceans Unmoving" arc from Sluggy Freelance. Rather than freezing the rest of the world in time, the characters are trapped inside Timeless Space, a world where time naturally stands still, and it takes immense effort to keep themselves from being frozen in time as well.
      • Played straight during the "Holiday Wars" arc where Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are revealed to have Super Speed that makes everyone else seem like they're standing still. This is how they're able to deliver millions of presents/eggs in a single night.
    • In Blur the Lines, Rick accidentally stops time while imitating Hiro from Heroes and uses the opportunity to get... intimate with a friend of his. [1]
    • Gained in a super-speed version by Doc in The Whiteboard at one point due to one too many Mountain Dews. We first see the world from everyone else's perspective involving multiple things (that Doc had touched) exploding and Doc suddenly being found several buildings over with multiple broken walls between his origin and destination. While he doesn't have to deal with air friction or light shifting, he does have to deal with inertia, both that of other objects and his own.
    • Several characters in Homestuck have this power. Interesting enough, it IS ordinarily a Game Breaker, but their game is so broken that it ends up being one of the only ways they can even damage their enemies, let alone defeat them.
    • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Coyote has the power to freeze time in order to carry on side conversations. Also, earlier in the comic, Antimony mentioned that she would talk with the Guides for hours "while time stood still", but it's possible she was just being metaphorical.
      • Later (after Ysengrin finally have snapped) one forest elf found that suddenly "everything froze" except herself and "some creeps". So she followed them in case there's something un-"frozen" to eat wherever they were going.
    • In Endstone, Cole has this power.
    • Girl Genius had the entire city frozen like this. Which turned out to be a bad idea, what's with scary critters taking interest in such things.

    Web Original

    • Sara Waite does this once in the Whateley Universe, speeding up fast enough to save someone who is currently being shot in the head. She does have superpowers: she's actually a Great Old One. Still, her superspeed means she has no light to see with, the friction from the air molecules burns her clothes and skin off, her speed causes her to punch through several walls before she finally stops, she ends up embedded in a bank vault wall, and it takes time for her body to grow back afterward. Ick. At which point she's naked.
    • Dan from Trinton Chronicles has this power. He also has a few Required Secondary Powers which act as a fail-safe to this ability and prevents him from creating holes or friction burns on objects and people, allows him to see as if everything was at normal pace (this could also be explained by the fact that he isn't moving faster than light), and gives him the ability to breathe even if the air seems to become slightly more like water. This time-stopping power is his most power gift but he rarely uses it, instead relying on the ability to decelerate or accelerate people and objects in time.
    • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Dr. H. wants to create a "freeze ray" that will stop time, so he can conquer the world and think of something to say to Penny, the girl of his dreams.
    • YouTube TV show Po Ps has a character with this as her superpower.

    Western Animation

    • Nox from Wakfu is a Xelor, a race of beings with the power to manipulate time. So far, he hasn't stopped time per se, but he has slowed it down to the point where everything appears to have stopped. Furthermore, anyone who manages to break his spell suffers from Rapid Aging and other debilitating side-effects.
    • DuckTales (1987): "Time Teasers," another time-freezing comedy. The Beagle Boys get their hands on a device invented by Gyro Gearloose that lets the user stop time, and attempt to use it to rob Scrooge's money bin. However, a Phlebotinum Breakdown ends up transporting them back to the days of pirates. Earlier in the same episode, Huey, Dewey, and Louie also use this watch to put their favorite baseball team ahead 32 to 16. They still lose.
      • This episode presumably inspired Don Rosa's Donald Duck comics story "On Stolen Time".
        • Rosa incidentally later lamented on why he didn't simply make the device stop movement instead of time within certain radius, pointing out all the practical problems of stopped time, like solid air.
    • Silverhawks: "Stop Timestopper" and "Gold Shield" both feature a juvenile delinquent villain named Timestopper; no prizes for guessing what his power is. Whenever he uses it, the picture changes from color to black and white.
    • Spoofed in the Johnny Bravo episode "The Day The Earth Didn't Move Around Too Much", where a series of coincidences falsely convinces Johnny that time has frozen for everyone but him.
      • The best part of that episode is that after committing a few crimes because "no time means no rules", the judge of his case let's Johnny off the hook because he also experienced a time where the thought he was in the middle of a time freeze as well.
    • In the Justice League episode "Only A Dream", the Flash suffers a nightmare where he winds up locked in super-speed, effectively freezing him in time. Again, the color is black-and-white.
    • Used for comedy one of The Simpsons' Halloween episodes (based on the Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of a Stopwatch", listed above). In the skit "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off", after breaking a magic watch and stranding themselves in stopped time, Bart and Milhouse raid a bookstore and spend ten years teaching themselves watch repair, finally returning to normal time as adults.
    • Dexters Laboratory did this with the "main character is way faster than everyone else" version in the short "Morning Stretch". Dexter tries to use a "time-compression helmet" to get his morning routine done and finish his homework in under a minute, but preparing breakfast and taking a shower when everything else is moving in exaggerated slow motion is problematic, and he finds that writing with a pencil at normal (to him) speed while using his Applied Phlebotinum causes so much friction that the paper catches fire. To top it all off, at the end of the cartoon, Dee-Dee informs him that it's a snow-day, so Dexter went through all that fuss for nothing.
    • Futurama: Fry does this in Caffeine Bullet Time.
    • Raven of Teen Titans manages this in the episode "Birthmark."
    • Not Speculative Fiction, but take one hyperactive squirrel, add enough caffeine, and presto: Hammie from the film version of Over the Hedge uses this trope to illustrate the effects. For the first time in the movie, Hammie seems to be going at a normal speed. In the background, the only thing that shows any appreciable motion is ... a bunch of lasers. Which he's able to walk faster than.
    • In the Animalia episode "The Mist of Time", time in present day Animalia gradually slows down, then stops entirely, because of G'Bubu's accidental time trip to the prehistoric past while carrying a time spore.
    • When Kim Possible and Rufus entered hyper speed by overusing her Super Speed shoes the time stopped for her, while time ran as normal for everyone else. Fridge Logic like to mention that by the time the plot had resolved in normal speed, it would have taken an eternity in hyper speed, which it didn't. Time just moved as fast as the plot demanded.
    • A villain in Static Shock had this as his main power, and can control it as well. The villain is naturally stopped when Gear makes a similar device for Static, which the villain confiscates and tries to use, with the result that he slows down to the point of almost being a statue.
    • In the Batman the Animated Series episode "Time Out of Joint", the Clock King steals a device that allows him to slow time to a crawl. In addition to committing the usual super-fast crimes, he puts the device to one particularly unique application. By attaching another one to the Batmobile, he slows down its time-frame so that the world around it seems to be moving at a large fraction of light-speed; the first vehicle to even cherry-tap the Batmobile will trigger a massive explosion. Batman and Robin disarm the device, and find that several days have passed during the minute or so they were in the field.
    • One episode of The Mask includes a poorly made time machine that is looping an ever-decreasing period of time. If not stopped, it will eventually lock all existence in a single instant eternally.
    • Naturally, the time traveling episode of Danny Phantom has the TimeMaster easily doing this.
    • One of the super-powered MacGuffins on Xiaolin Showdown had this ability (extended to ANYONE touching it when it was activated).
    • Key to the plot in Twice Upon a Time, a comedy about a conflict between the good and evil sides of a Dream Land. Villain Synonamess Botch tricks the innocent fool heroes into stealing the spring of the (Deliberately Monochrome, live-action) land of Din's Cosmic Clock. With the clock stopped, time in Din stops as well, at a moment when its resident Rushers are awake. He intends to start the clock back up once nightmares have been dropped everywhere—then detonate them and trap the Rushers in waking nightmares.
    1. if the optional "Bullet Time" cinematic rule is used