Developing The Rules Of Jumping
Taking off from what Gould, Goyer and a second screenwriter, Jim Uhls, had started,
Liman, Kinberg and Foster began forging a vast, eons-long history for the Jumpers, whose
ability to bend time and space with their minds is passed down in a family lineage than can be
traced back in time for thousands of years.
The team began by researching the pantheon of beliefs about teleportation, from the
mystical to the cutting-edge physics theories that could make it possible. “We talked to a lot
physicists so we could understand the science of how teleportation might work and we used
that to ground the story in reality. But we also researched the mythology of teleporting, which
has been part of the cultural imagination for thousands of years,” explains Kinberg. “Sufi and
Hindu mystics supposedly practiced teleportation centuries ago. I think the idea of being able
to put yourself instantly on a mountain that no one can climb, or just the ability to do mundane,
everyday things in life such as being able to skip over the line in the passport office, offers
huge appeal to the imagination. The wish fulfillment element is really strong.”
But the wide-open nature of Jumping also offers equal opportunities for evil-doers.
“Instead of using jumping to do cool, fun things like eating breakfast on top of the Sphinx then
going surfing in Australia in the blink of an eye, someone with bad intentions could take a
nuclear weapon and drop it in the White House, or do other evil things. When you think it
through, you realize that while Jumping is amazing, it can also be a kind of curse,” notes
Foster. "If the power is in the wrong hands, or used by someone to manipulate Jumpers, they
could be anywhere and do anything.”
This stark reality in turn led to the concept of the Paladins, a highly secretive, elite
force that for several thousand years has tried to stop Jumpers from using their dangerous
powers for ill gain. Those Jumpers who make it to adulthood become the instantaneous targets
of the merciless Paladin agency, who will do anything to eliminate them, no questions asked,
no matter what.
To set a solid foundation for the epic story’s complex inner mechanics, the team came
up with two foundational rules of Jumping:
1) You can jump anywhere that you can currently see; and
2) You can jump anywhere that you’ve seen before, even in a photograph, so long as
you have a strong visual memory of it.
Also integral to the rules of Jumping are the “Jump Scars,” momentary blips or rends in
the space-time fabric left behind by a Jumper – and which any other Jumper can use to follow
Then there are “tethers,” electronic weapons which the Paladins use to ground, trace
and ultimately eliminate free-roaming Jumpers. A tether is a Jumper’s worst nightmare.
Despite the fantastical nature of all these elements of teleportation, the emphasis always
remained on keeping things as rooted in the real world as possible. “We wanted this story to
feel like it could truly take in our world in our time,” notes Kinberg. “David Rice doesn’t wear
a cape, he doesn’t have a code ring. In most ways he’s an ordinary guy with a single
incredible, abnormal ability – and how he deals with that is really the core of our movie. How
would any of us react if we suddenly discovered we’d inherited an ability that could make our
lives very exciting and free? David has a very human impulse to use his teleportation to better
his own life. It’s only in the course of the story that he learns that he can do much more than
just rob banks and live in penthouses. He begins to see that he can help his loved ones and
Equally vital to the story is how<
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