SpongeBob SquarePants has a confusing timeline, which can be somewhat justified by the show having a multiverse of its own, with different realities created throughout the series – and here are all 5 of them. Created by Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob SquarePants made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999 and has since become one of the longest-running American animated series, as well as the most successful Nicktoon, surpassing fan-favorites like Rugrats and Hey Arnold!.
SpongeBob SquarePants follows the adventures of the title character – a sea sponge who looks like a kitchen sponge – alongside his closest friends (and a couple of enemies) in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob is often accompanied by his best friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his neighbor and coworker Squidward Tentacles, and his boss Mr. Krabs, as well as Mr. Krab’s enemy Plankton. Together, they have gone through all types of adventures and problems, and some of their actions have had big consequences in the series’ universe, creating different realities that ultimately form a multiverse.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Like most cartoons, SpongeBob SquarePants has a floating timeline, which is why the characters don’t age no matter how long the series has been active. This has also made way for various events that have inevitably impacted the timeline, branching out and creating different realities that, while they don’t affect the “main timeline”, they can create confusion among those viewers who have been following the series from the beginning. Here are all 5 realities in the SpongeBob SquarePants multiverse.
SpongeBob SquarePants season 3 episode “The Algae’s Always Greener” saw the main timeline branching out thanks to one of Plankton’s many plans to steal the Krabby Patty and with it its secret formula. Tired of all his failures and of eating holographic meatloaf, Plankton expresses his desire to switch lives with Mr. Krabs, believing his life is much better and easier than his. Plankton’s computer wife Karen points out the “transmogrifier” he once built with the purpose of switching lives with his long-time enemy, and Plankton decides to use it. He then wakes up at Mr. Krab’s office, now wearing his clothes. Realizing that his invention worked and he’s now in Mr. Krabs’ place, he orders SpongeBob to send him two Krabby Patties for inspection. Plankton soon realizes that being the Krusty Krab’s owner and boss is not easy and ends up creating chaos by appointing SpongeBob as co-cashier and Squidward as a fry-cooking replacement. He also has to deal with his now-daughter Pearl and angry customers complaining about Squidward’s terrible cooking.
Plankton comes face to face with Mr. Krabs, now simply known as Krabs as he has taken his place in this timeline and is now going after the Krabby Patty’s secret formula. Krabs is stopped by SpongeBob but vows to return to steal the secret formula. Plankton realizes this life is intolerable for him and uses his machine to return to his original timeline and thus to his life as the owner of the Chum Bucket and Mr. Krab’s enemy.
This is more like a different dimension rather than an alternate universe, as it’s unknown if there’s such thing as the concept of “time” there and if there are other beings living in it. “Nowhere” was introduced in the episode “SB-129”, where Squidward accidentally locks himself in the Krusty Krab’s freezer and is found there, frozen, 2000 years later. In order to return to his time, SpongeBob from the future, SpongeTron, directs him to a time machine, which Squidward uses to travel to the past, before SpongeBob was born. Now thousands of years in the past, he encounters Primitive Sponge and his best friend Primitive Star, who he teaches to jellyfish. Squidward, believing he finally found peace, starts to play the clarinet, which drives the Primitives mad and attack him. Squidward runs back to the time machine and frantically jams the lever up and down, breaking it and making the machine send him through dimensions, landing in a world of emptiness.
With no other life form around, Squidward finally feels at peace and is happy to be alone, but the voices in Nowhere repeat the word “alone”, which proves to be too much for him. Now truly desperate, he ends up back in the time machine and begs for it to take him back home. The machine does so and lands in Squidward’s time, where he reunites with SpongeBob and Patrick. Nowhere is also the subject of a SpongeBob SquarePants fan theory that says this dimension is actually limbo, as Squidward couldn’t have survived all the movement and shrinking the time machine went through to get there.
Patchy the Pirate’s World
Another reality within the SpongeBob SquarePants multiverse is that of Patchy the Pirate (and his sarcastic parrot friend, Potty). Patchy – played by Tom Kenny, who also voices SpongeBob – is the live-action host of many of the show’s specials, and is the self-appointed president of the fictional “SpongeBob SquarePants fan club”, founded by himself as he’s the biggest SpongeBob fan there is. Patchy’s world is a timeline/universe of its own because, in it, SpongeBob is a fictional character, though the one exception to this would be “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout”, where he finally met the famous Sponge.
While SpongeBob is the lead of the series and is loved by many characters, they need a break from his craziness from time to time. The show has explored what the lives of SpongeBob’s closest friends would be like if the famous sponge was suddenly gone in a series of shorts titled “What if SpongeBob Was Gone?” and collectively known as “What Ever Happened To SpongeBob?”. Each short focuses on a different character and what their days would be like without SpongeBob – first is Gary, who after discovering that SpongeBob is gone, hosts a party with various snail friends. Then comes Sandy, who practices karate with a big fish but soon realizes that it’s much more fun to do so with SpongeBob; up next is Mr. Krabs, who is forced to cook the Krabby Patties and ends up burning down the Krusty Krab; and last but not least is Patrick, who tries and fails to go jellyfishing.
SpongeBob SquarePants season 7 saw a big and disastrous change in the episode “Back to the Past”. In it, SpongeBob and Patrick disobey Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and use their time machine, which sends them back to 1954, where their favorite superheroes are young and Bikini Bottom is ruled by Man Ray, who can’t be stopped as Patrick eats all the tartar sauce that was going to be used to trap him. As a result, Man Ray takes full control and renames Bikini Bottom as Man Rayopolis.
SpongeBob SquarePants also has its own non-canon universes, mostly those created by its video games. First is the universe from the video game Battle for Bikini Bottom, where Plankton created robots to help him rule the world; then is SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! in which the producer of The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy is working on a special episode in Bikini Bottom and is using the locals as actors, and so SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and Sandy compete to get a role in it, including that of supervillain Sneaky Hermit. Another non-canon universe can be found in the educational short “The Endless Summer”, in which Mr. Krabs takes advantage of global warming and SpongeBob tries to help but only makes the problem bigger.
Last but not least is the upcoming TV series Kamp Koral, SpongeBob’s Under Years. This spin-off prequel series will take viewers back many years to meet a very young SpongeBob who attends a summer camp appropriately called Kamp Koral, at Kelp Forest. The series is designed to connect with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, as the movie contains flashbacks to summer camp. One of the biggest changes the series will do to SpongeBob SquarePants, and which makes it non-canon, is Sandy’s backstory, which contradicts what the main show has revealed about her. With SpongeBob SquarePants showing no signs of stopping soon, it will surely continue to take viewers to alternate realities, futures, and dimensions, expanding the SpongeBob multiverse.
Next: The SpongeBob Movie: Every Cameo In Sponge on the Run
Hearthstone’s Battle Pass Fix Doesn’t Address Its Biggest Issue
About The Author