Back to the Future is one of my all time favourite film series. It’s a legendary series that still holds up to this day. However, as I re-watched them a few days ago, I noticed that there was a slight problem.
There are multiple DeLoreans. Everywhere. I tried to explain this to my friend and she was having none of it. To be fair I didn’t explain it very well because at the time I still hadn’t seen all of Part III. But now it makes perfect sense, I’ve made it as understandable as I possibly could with timelines, notes and so on. Yes, I do have too much time on my hands.
So we all know what happens at the beginning of the first film. Marty heads back to 1955 to stop Doc. from being shot by Libyans. That’s all well and good, however it’s when Marty heads back to 1985 the problems start to arise. When Marty arrives in 1985 he leaves the DeLorean he got back in right in the middle of the street and runs after the camper van of Libyans. When he arrives at the mall, he sees himself (in the DeLorean) go back to 1955. So for a brief few moments, there were technically two DeLoreans in 1985, one being driven by Marty pre-1955 and the other driven by Marty post-1985. Obviously this is technically the same timeline so what will effectively happen is these two time machines will become one as it’s a form of infinite loop. There’s technically two time machines, but at the same time there’s only one because they’re the same car. There could also technically be three different time machines, one of which is in the street, the second being the one that’s in 1985 travelling to 1955, the third one being the car that is in 1955. However for the sake of less confusion let’s just say there’s two as the second and third options are technically the same car but just different time periods.
If it wasn’t confusing enough, the first film ends with Doc taking Marty and Jennifer to 2015 to stop their son from being arrested. This is where Old Biff takes the time machine all the way back to 1955 to give the younger him the Sports Almanac, which causes the alternate 1985. Doc and Marty travel back to the alternate 1985 and discover that the timeline has been altered. So they also head back to the same time Old Biff travelled to. Now keep in mind that the events of the first film are also still happening at this time, so there’s the Marty from 1985, Doc and Marty from alternate 1985 and Old Biff from 2015. This technically means there’s three different cars in 1955 now.
The first of which is the one from the first film, which is the one Marty travelled back in. Technically as Old Biff used the time machine from 2015 to travel back to 1955 there should only be two, however seeing as though Doc. and Marty travelled to the point in time when Old Biff was in 1955, there’s three, considering the fact that Old Biff hasn’t returned to 2015 yet.
Now at the end of the second film, Doc is struck by lightning in the DeLorean and is sent back to 1885. The only way that Marty can get back to 1885 is if he uses the DeLorean from 1955. So there’s definitely more than one DeLorean in 1955, otherwise Marty would’ve been stuck there forever. So he uses another DeLorean to get back to 1885. However how does he do this? Marty from Part I is sent back to 1985, Old Biff goes back to 2015 (presumably) and Doc was sent to 1885. So the three time machines in 1955 are now all in three different years. If Marty were to get back to 1885 then that would mean there are four time machines in 1955.
In the third film, as soon as Marty enters 1885, there’s already two DeLoreans in 1885. The one Marty travelled back in and the one Doc travelled back in. So there’s already two DeLoreans in 1885, there’s one in 2015, one in 1985 and four in 1955, but at the same time there’s also no time machines in 1955. This is because any action they do is replicated if they travel further back. In the second film we see segments of the first film where Marty is getting his parents together and so on, this means that if this happened, we can assume that everything else is also the same, including the rift in time, the Sports Almanac and 2015. That means there’s 4 separate time machines then.
- Old Biff from 2015
- Marty from 1985
- Marty and Doc from Alternate 1985
- The time machine that allows Marty to go to 1885
If we think about it with a lack of logics, there’s technically an infinite number of outcomes to what could’ve happened, for example Biff getting the almanac at a different time would have caused a completely different alternate timeline. So this also means that there could technically be an infinite number of DeLoreans because there’s an infinite number of outcomes.
But what about the train? The DeLorean gets destroyed on the track, so does that mean all of the cars are destroyed or just that one? Because following the timeline means that all the events would eventually lead up to that point, so for the time machine to be destroyed, they’d have to go back in time and forward in time and alternate pathways in time. There’s also that spare DeLorean still in 1885 (which is presumably what Doc uses to make the time travelling train).
Or you could just enjoy the film and not be a madman like me.