Wednesday, 21 October 2015

BTTF: How Marty Saved & Condemned Our Tech

Greetings friends!

So today is the day! 07:29 (Californian Time), so that's 14:29 GMT+1 on 21st October 2015 was when Marty McFly and Doc Brown made their journey from 1985 in a flying car.

No doubt if you have any sort of social media presence you'll have seen example after example of what the film got right, and what it got wrong, but I have yet to see a single example of why actually both versions of 2015 can coincide. Instead it is just repost after repost of this:

I understand the joke and I get it, but I am here to tell you all -why- that version of 2015 is so different and how the Back to the Future Trilogy not only allows for the differences, but requires there to be differences!


Let's look at the film.

In BTTF2 we see the lead characters go into the (then) future of 2015 where everything is powered by fusion generating rubbish machines, flying cars, cyberpunk headgear, hoverboards by Mattel and fax machines EVERYWHERE!!

Then thanks to what is essentially the plot of the film they end up changing the past by Biff as an old man going back to see his younger self in 1955.

This is explained with good ol' use of chalk and a blackboard:

This explanation of changing something in the past which will go on to change the present via alternative versions of time is something that has been used and emulated in numerous other TV and films, essentially because "BTTF got time travel right", or at least as best we understand through physics.

This is crucial, this is the bit of the film which defines EVERYTHING that comes afterwards.

When the third film begins we see that Doc Brown is destined to die in 1885, however as a result of the events in that film Marty saves his life along with the life of the Doc's new love. In other words he has changed something in the past which will have effects on the 1985 present and subsequent futures. However considering the Doc proceeds to almost straight away go exploring time with a greater understanding of how effects can change time, it is unlikely that this would have -much- of an effect on the timeline beyond that these characters were still alive, after all as they are now essentially time lords, they are pretty much outside of the timeline.

Now, let us momentarily go back to Part 2 of the film series where we are told that the reason Marty never really amounted to anything in later life was after he received nerve damage following a car accident, that same car accident that through the events of Part 3, Marty avoids at the very end of the series.

Now Marty and Jennifer are not separate from the timeline as their access to a time machine are now null and void, instead they are very much present in time from 1985 to 2015, only now Marty is not suffering from nerve damage and is still playing guitar.

Yup, thanks to chaos theory and Marty's accident being the butterfly and 2015 being the tsunami, because of this one event it means that both Marty & Jennifer are now present in an alternative timeline.

If the Doc was to turn up again after that accident was avoided and take them back to 2015 again, they would see our version of 2015, not the version they saw in Part 2.


So yes, the fact that your car doesn't run off rubbish, nor does it fly, nor can you buy a hoverboard from Mattel is all thanks to Marty McFly from avoiding that accident and carrying on playing guitar... Yup that future was essentially killed by Marty's music career!

But before you start getting into a froth and sending hate mail to Michael J Fox for ruining our present, remember this goes both ways.

Yes we don't have flying cars and hover boards, but we also have better 3D animation, wireless technology and email! I mean seriously, how rubbish would our lives be if we still used faxes as our primary form of message sending?


So there we have it, I hope you've been following along at home, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, but let's be honest; if I am right with this then not only was the film series thoroughly entertaining, but they even put in clauses to ensure that if 2015 isn't like their version, then it won't be seen as a joke (a la Space 1999).

I hope you enjoyed this chat, and until next time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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