Sky Captain Timeline

BC -

The civilisation of Atlantis develops on an island in the Indian Ocean, but is destroyed and lost beneath the waves. The only remnants are underwater ruins near what is left of the volcanic island. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

In Nepal, the priests of the Kalacakra Lamasery provide protection for Shambala, which is also known around the ancient world as Eden, Empurios and Shangri-La.


1847 -

3/4 - Totenkopf is born. (Sky Captain script)


1859 -

Totenkopf is awarded his first patent. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)


1864 -

Totenkopf gains two doctorates, becoming one of the most respected minds of his generation. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation/script)

Totenkopf is linked to experiments on animals and the abduction of children in the village where he lives. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation/script)


1908 -

Rumours of a doomsday device circulate in Germany's politcal circles. A group of seven scientists called Unit 11, under the direction of Doctor Totenkopf, experiments on prisoners. Their supply logs reveal requests for for two of every specie on the planet, as well as food, fuel and other resources to last a decade.(Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

1909 -

Unit 11 is shut down. Totenokpf disappears with his research findings, relocating to a remote island in the Indian Ocean. Dinosaurs and other monsters inhabit the island. An international warrant for Totenkopf's arrest is issued. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)


1912 -

The RMS Titanic sinks in the Indian Ocean. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)


1914 -

Totenkopf's forces mine uranium in Nepal, enslaving the occupants of Shangri-La. The effects of the radiation are bad enough, but Totenkopf also performs experiments on the people as well. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

The Great War starts.


1918 -

Totenkopf's museum collection now includes the skeleton of an angel, a devil's skull, the sword Excalibur, assorted remains of various monsters, and Thor's hammer. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow concept art)

11/10 - Totenkopf makes a last entry in his journal before he dies. His machines continue his work. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

The Great War ends.


Mid-1930's -

The Japanese Empire expands, causing conflicts with other powers such as China and America.(Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation/Sky Captain Adventures)

The Nazi party gains some power in Germany, but their capabilities and influences are very limited compared to that of their Japanese counterparts. However, they begin production of fighter aircraft such as the Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" including a version with flapping wings, a feature seen in Totenkopf's own flying machines. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation/Sky Captain Adventures/concept art)

The British Empire maintains its position as one of the planet's superpowers, with the Royal Navy still a force to be reckoned with. Dex Dearborn provides engineering designs for the British, designing their Manta Stations. Overseeing the building of the first station, he is aboard on its miden flight. On the second flight, he saves the entire crew by deactivating a saboteur's bomb before it explodes. The engineer develops a liking for Captain Francesca "Frankie" Cook, whose career he helps to no end. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow/Sky Captain Adventures/concept art)

People's Chairman Molotov heads the Soviet government in Russia, building up their military forces. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

Designated civil defense shelters are built in most major US cities, after attacks by the likes of the flying Iron Sphere and its mind-control antennae. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

The Flying Legion battle Lord Dynamo and his lightning-rod zeppelin, who is later stored in a giant glass tube at their base warehouse.(Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation/concept art) .

Sky Captain battles the Fossil, a man who has injected himself with Tyrannosaurus blood extracted from amber. He evolves into a creature aiming to return rule of the Earth to the dinosaurs. The Flying Legion is severely damaged by the Fossil's flying machines, which are modelled on pteranodons. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

Sky Captain encounters the Lensmaster. This enemy uses a scope which has a lens made from a meteorite. The Lensmaster is able to see into another universe. Able to use this to evade physical security in this universe, When Sullivan catches up with him, he escapes into another dimension, where he becomes irretrievably lost. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

Sky Captain enters the Honolulu to Tokyo air race, aiming to stop a spy from smuggling a top secret weapon to Japan. Polly Perkins and Dex provide assistance. He comes into conflict with Jiro Shanada, a Japanese pilot and spy, who sabotages the other planes in the race before Sky Captain manages to destroy his prototype plane. (Sky Captain Adventures)

Sky Captain and the Flying Legion combat an ancient force of Aztecs flying winged serpents. (Sky Captain Adventures)


1936 -

Sky Captain flies with the American volunteers in Nanjing, with Royal Navy officers such as "Frankie" helping him out. Polly Perkins, his sometime girlfriend, covers the evacuation of Shanghai, aiming to get pictures of General Tojo Hideki, who leads the Japanese incursion into China. Perkins suspects that Captain Suillivan has been less than faithful and cuts the fuel line on his plane. He becomes stranded and is captured, spending six months in a Manchurian slave camp. Although he denies it, he has been having an affair with Frankie. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)

Totenkopf's robots start attacking various cities around the world, retrieving specific equipment and other resources. They also kidnap the remaining members of Unit 11 and take them back to Totenkpf's island to finish his work there. Some of the robots are left stranded after their counterparts depart. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)

4/5 - A mechanical crab-like robot is found outside of Buenas Aires. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

13/6 - A hovercraft robot is found in Vienna. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)

8/7 - Another robot is found in Hong Kong. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow novelisation)


1939 -

January/February - The SS Venture reaches Totenkopf's Island and the crew encounter King Kong and a number of prehistoric creatures. However, the ship is sunk a short distance from the island, forcing the crew to find another way to get Kong back to civilisation. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

March - Issue 100 of the Buck Rogers comic is released, and the Wizard of Oz opens in cinemas. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

17/3 - Totenkopf's robots attack New York, looking for resources and the vials of biological information which resulted from the Unit 11 experiments. Sky Captain responds to the attack, but the rest of Flying Legion is kept busy by attacks on other cities across the world. The robots steal a number of generators in New York, and raid oil fields in Texas. In Paris, they make off with metal from the Eiffel Tower, while burrowing machines pilfer coal and oil supplies. Parts of London are destroyed, while Molotov's new tanks are no match for the invading robots in Moscow. A steel mill in Nuremberg is stolen by a mechanized tornado. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)

In Japan, Gojira is seen attacking Tokyo. In New York, the ape King Kong escapes from his captivity and climbs the Empire State Building. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

Sky Captain investigates Totenkopf with Polly Perkins, but they are too late to save Doctor Vargas or Doctor Jennings. However, the latter gives Polly two vials before he dies, which she hides. Returning to the base, Sky Captain and Polly fly to meet an incoming flight of Totenkopf's robots. However, other machines launch a ground assault and kidnap Dex. he manages to leave information the location of the robots for Sullivan to find. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film)

They travel to Nepal and meet up with an old friend of Sullivan's, a sherpa called Kaji. They find the remains of Totenkopf's base, but are betrayed by other Sherpas working for the machines. The robots gain possession of the vials and leave the area, but Sullivan, Perkins and Kaji are rescued by the priests of the Kalacakra Lamasery and taken to Shambala. There, they encounter one of the last survivors of Totenkopf's hideous experiments. In exchange for information on the scientist's secret base, the man asks to be killed, rather than live on. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)

Sullivan and Perkins fly towards the Indian Ocean, but run out of fuel. Fortunately, their distress call is answered by Frankie's Manta Station, and they land there. Perkins senses something between Sky Captain and Frankie. The base moves towards the location provided by the survivor, and are immediately attacked by Totenkopf's robots. They launch a squadron of Manta fighters, which distract the enemy and allow Sullivan's Warhawk to get to the island. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)

On the island, they encounter monsters and prehistoric lifeforms, but also locate Totenkopf's base. Once inside, they find that a rocket ship is being prepared for launch. Like some kind of ark, pairs of animals are loaded into the ship, along with other assorted supplies and materials. They are captured and almost killed, but are rescued by Dex and three of the remaining scientists from Unit 11. They reach Totenkopf's control room, but find the scientist long dead. Sullivan tries to board the ship, but encounters the mysterious woman who has dogged his tracks ever since the first attack on New York. Polly steals aboard the ship as it blasts off. Sky Captain manages to destroy both his robotic nemesis and the spaceship, escaping in a lifepod with Polly. Along with Dex and the two remaining scientists, they are picked up by Frankie's forces. (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow film/novelisation)


30/4 - World's Fair opens in New York.



The sources for this timeline include the film, the novelisation, the Starlog "Sky Captain Adventures" Special (#327) and short story by Bill Murray, the filming script and various concept art. Some events in this timeline vary greatly in terms of location or date when compared to our own. Something akin to the Second World War seems to have started in the mid-1930's, with Japan as the main aggressor. The Nazis may be in some sort of power in Germany, but they do not seem to feature as a credible threat. There is no mention of a recent war with Germany in the film, and the Hindenberg III docks at the Empire State Building at the start of the film, suggesting that the USA and Germany are still at peace. The short story by Bill Murray in the Starlog Special mentions a Stuka with the swastika symbol on it, plus the original flying wings that attack New York were to be Stukas with flapping wings! Other events, such as the Great War, seem to be roughly around the same time as in our own history. Like the Stuka concept, Lord Dynamo (mentioned in the novelisation) has been combined with the Lightning Being concept art.

As usual, no attempt is made to supercede the copyright of Paramount Pictures or any other holders of such copyright.



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