If there is anything that we have learned since the creation of Social Media and the Big Bang of Nerd Culture, it is that nothing happens by chance. There is no minutae too minute to not have massive meaning. There is a reason for everything and everything has an involved back story that makes sense regardless of how much it makes sense.
F’rinstance, George Lucas always planned for Darth Vader to be Luke’s father and Leia to be his twin sister, and all of the crisis actors and false flag clues in Episode 4 were there to purposefully hide the truth to make the ultimate reveal even more shocking than it could have been otherwise.
Or Donald Trump is not a child of privilege and a blathering idiot, he is a self-made man who is also a shrewd political operator with a long term strategy to fix the ills of the world.
And that brings us to Back to the Future. These are things I need to know in order to get the fullest pleasure out of my viewing experience possible. What are the back stories to these things and how do they fit into the over arching Back to the Future Cinematic Universe and Mythology?
At the beginning of the movie, Marty drops in at Doc Brown’s lab to check in on his aged eccentric friend. He fiddles around and destroys a huge speaker and then Doc calls and invites him to an experiment he is running in the early morning at the local mall. In the middle of the call the clocks in the lab all start to strike 8 am. Doc makes note and says that is perfect, they are all exactly 25 mins behind the actual time. How did all the clocks in Doc’s laboratory get moved back? Is the whole building a time machine? If so, how did he get it up to 88 mph? And where did the energy come from if not from the main Hill Valley Electric Grid?
Marty and his band audition for the school talent show with a way too loud rendition of Huey Lewis and the News song, Power of Love. The band is called The Pinheads. Now, I have never been in a rock band, but my understanding is that bands spend an inordinate amount of time together – rehearsing, hanging out, getting stoned, living in each other’s pockets. And they are close. Especially, high school bands. Like the best of friends – that is why they have started a band. Who are Marty’s Band? What happened to them? They totally disappear after the audition and we never hear from them again. Were they not actually friends at all?
Doc Brown needs 1.21 jigawatts of energy to be able to travel in time. In order for him to accomplish this he has crossed some very bad dudes to get the plutonium needed to generate that kind of power. He had contracted to make some bombs for a group of Libyan Terrorists, and instead stole their Plutonium to run his own experiments. In addition to being really dumb, where did that Plutonium come from? Who else might be looking for it? The cold war was still totally on at the time of all this. Were the Terrorists working with the Russians? Does the CIA or FBI know about this rogue terrorist cell floating around So Cal with stolen enriched nuclear material? When are they going to show up and demand the Plutonium and how will its depleted nature be explained?
Our young hero, Marty McFly is the youngest of three children. As we see early in the movie he has an older brother Dave who works at Burger King and an older sister Linday who is graduated from High School but apparently is not in College and has no boyfriend. They both live at home and are every bit the losers that the rest of the McFly family are. Upon returning from the past and saving his parents love Marty finds out that Dave is now a suit wearing success and Linda is a fashion plate with lots of boy attention. No longer losers, they are very much a part of this new McFly family standard. Then why are they still living at home? What has changed that two fully employed successful kids with rewarding careers are still living at home with their parents in the mid-80s?
Marty is singularly focused on getting to the cabin with his girlfriend Jennifer. In pre Time Travel Hill Valley, his mom doesn’t know because it will freak her out. In post Time Travel Hill Valley, his much more enlightened mom knows all about it and is very happy for Marty. What is going on at the cabin with Jennifer? Is he proposing to her? Or is it just a big night in the underage intimacy world? Do Jennifer’s parents know? Her Dad, in an earlier scene didn’t look too pleased to see her hanging out with Marty. Is he more understanding with the new Marty with the successful, fashionable parents? And who’s cabin is it?
And finally, in a question that kinda crosses over from the first movie into the second movie, what happened to Jennifer. She is a completely different person in post Time Travel Hill Valley than pre Time Travel Hill Valley. Not all at once, but was there something that Marty did in the past that maybe impacted her parents courtship that led to her being what in effect is a completely different person? And why didn’t it happen immediately? It is almost as if by the time the second movie starts, the Jennifer of the first movie was completely overwritten by the new version of Jennifer.What did Marty change in the past that changed the genetics of his girlfriend so much that she looks completely different in the following movies? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Please leave your answers to these vexing Back to the Future questions in the comments below and let’s get to the bottom of this together.