Stealing a page from meta-universe science fiction - and maybe from the desperate scribes at Lost - Shrek Forever After, also known as Shrek: The Final Chapter (make 'em promise!), also known as Shrek 4, finds the big green ogre venturing into an alternate reality where the scenarios played out in previous Shreks have mostly been undone.
Donkey as Shrek's best friend? Nope, they're strangers.
Fiona as Shrek's one true love and spouse? Forget it. She's the leader of an ogre resistance movement, decked out in warrior gear and built like an R. Crumb dream girl.
The undoing comes courtesy of Rumpelstiltskin, the mad magic barterer of storybookdom, who, in Shrek Forever After, offers DreamWorks Animation's box-office behemoth a deal: In exchange for a day in which Shrek can revert to his wild and beastly ways, the ogre must sign away a day from his childhood. Unbeknownst to Shrek, however, the one Rumpelstiltskin chooses is the day Shrek was born. Take that day away and Shrek doesn't exist. Or, he exists only for the 24 hours that he's signed the contract for, and then he'll disappear into a black hole of nothingness.