The following contains spoilers for the Back to the Future movies. Duh. I assume all Laser Time readers have seen them, but if you haven’t, please avoid this article and buy the Back to the Future 30th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-Ray off of Amazon instead.
You probably got sick of all the “we didn’t get the future we were promised” articles just a few weeks ago — October 21st, the day Doctor Emerson Brown, inventor of the modernized time machine based on flux capacitor technology, arrived in the future. With that date is behind us, we’ve struggled through our lack of hover boards, bottles of Pepsi Next, and auto-tying shoes. But things are about to get really heavy with what I have to say next: we’ll never have that future.
I have two very strong reasons why it is impossible for this to happen, and you may not like what I have to say. As someone who has seen the Back to the Future trilogy dozens of times and studied the possibilities of time paradoxes (thanks to Treehouse of Horror, MST3K, and a heavily edited version of Timecop), I can prove why we’ll never live in the 2015 of 1989.
Deal with it.
The Numerous Time Paradox Theory
At the end of Back to the Future Part III, Doc Brown appeared in front of Marty and Jennifer to explain the most important fact of time travel, and I quote: “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.” In other words, the future is not guaranteed in any possible manner. The future that Doc, Marty, and Jennifer (to an extent) have is just one of infinite hypothetical interpretations of what the future could be.
When they went to the future, from 1985 to 2015, it was a straight shot of the visualized future with the space-time continuum not modified in any way. However, as we learned from the first BTTF, time can be altered: a simple action from a time-traveling visitor can yield a dramatic impact that changes the course of events. Marty McFly’s visit to 1955 enabled him to greatly alter the fabric of time, affecting the McFly family and Biff Tannen, plus rock music and skateboarding. But enough about the past.
In BTTF3, Doc was accidentally sent back in time, from 1955 to the year 1885, by a stray lightning bolt. This began a series of changing moments from the present and future that would never be noticed until they actually happened in the course of time. Everything involving Clara Clayton and the legend of Mad Dog Tannen greatly changed the course of history, from the name-changing of a ravine to the greatly tarnished legacy of the Tannen name. Even the enforced ideals Chief Marshall Strickland passed down to his grandson Principal Strickland were affected. But none of this is greater than what happens in BTTF2.
Oh, Part 2. You and your fashion sense.
What was revealed was the tragic story of Marty in 2015, an overworked businessman who found himself fired by supervisor Ito Fujitsu while committing an illegal transaction pushed onto him by his coworker Douglas J. Needles. This would not be the first time Needles inadvertently ruined Marty’s life: in 1985, a simple street race pushed by Needles led Marty to an old fashioned illegal drag race that ended tragically. As soon as Marty returned to 1985 (altered three times already in BTTF3), he opted out of the very race that would have ruined him for life.
Time, once again, changed. This, of course, led to Doc returning with a time machine train, with Clara (and her penis-pointing son) answering Jennifer’s question regarding the lost fax that revealed her future husband’s termination. So what does this mean?
The 2015 seen in BTTF2 was what would have happened if time was not altered, but it was. Even if that 2015 was unchanged — despite actions made throughout the BTTF2 and 3 — the greatest change in the course of time was Marty avoiding that crash. Because of Marty surviving, vehicular hover conversions are not yet readily available (but will be soon, perhaps in 2045), metal plating fashions are replaced with expensive ironic tees, lawyers are not abolished, and baby toys are video games that you play without using your hands. Time has become a paradox because of a doctor, a young man, and a DMC Delorean with a flux capacitor.
What a trio.
It’s a Fucking Movie Theory.
It’s a movie based on fiction.
Article by contributor Aaron Chados.