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Idle Thoughts
01-29-2014, 12:35 PM
That moment you realize that, at the end of the first BTTF, Doc Brown already knows Marty is going to be using the DeLorean to go back to the past all while giving him the lowdown on what it is, what it does, how it works, the example ("When this baby hits 88 miles an hour, you're going to see some serious shit"), etc.
(because by that time, he already had the letter Marty gave to him--in the past--in his pocket, taped up).


Mindblown! :eek:

Must have been hard to go through all of the motions, act normal, and not be tempted to tell Marty anything about the huge adventure he's about to go on...

grude
01-29-2014, 12:52 PM
Time travel in BTTF is NOT self consistent like in the first Terminator movie, so it is very possible Doc at that point hasn't got the letter because Marty hasn't gone back in time YET.

Yes it is more confusing than the more popular self consistent timeline model.

Idle Thoughts
01-29-2014, 12:58 PM
Time travel in BTTF is NOT self consistent like in the first Terminator movie, so it is very possible Doc at that point hasn't got the letter because Marty hasn't gone back in time YET.


So you're saying that in that ending scene, right up to the point where Doc gets shot with bullets and falls to the ground, he's really dead and didn't have the letter or the bulletproof vest on or any of the knowledge about Marty having been in the past....

...but as soon as Marty and the car disappear (going back into the past), all that stuff suddenly appears magically in 1985 (the letter, the vest, and the memories)?


Maybe. I see what you're saying. But it would stand to reason more (I feel) that Doc just already knew what was going to happen (at that point), hence one of the major reasons for showing him and explaining all that stuff to him (including telling him the precise time to be there and even waking him up and telling him to hurry when Marty fell asleep earlier in the movie--at the beginning)
(although one could argue the first time it happened, it was definitely all real. Me, I'm one of those who believes more of the "Whatever happened, always happened" type...in which case, if we had seen a few minutes after Marty first leaves in the car (at the beginning), we'd have then seen the 2nd, "later" Marty come running up---we just didn't see that part because the film cuts away and follows the first Marty's POV)

grude
01-29-2014, 01:05 PM
So you're saying that in that ending scene, right up to the point where Doc gets shot with bullets and falls to the ground, he's really dead and didn't have the letter or the bulletproof vest on or any of the knowledge about Marty having been in the past....

...but as soon as Marty and the car disappear (going back into the past), all that stuff suddenly appears magically in 1985 (the letter, the vest, and the memories)?


Maybe. I see what you're saying. But it would stand to reason more (I feel) that Doc just already knew what was going to happen (at that point), hence one of the major reasons for showing him and explaining all that stuff to him (including telling him the precise time to be there and even waking him up and telling him to hurry when Marty fell asleep earlier in the movie--at the beginning)
(although one could argue the first time it happened, it was definitely all real. Me, I'm one of those who believes more of the "Whatever happened, always happened" type...in which case, if we had seen a few minutes after Marty first leaves in the car (at the beginning), we'd have then seen the 2nd, "later" Marty come running up---we just didn't see that part because the film cuts away and follows the first Marty's POV)

The movie(and the sequels) show how in the BTTF universe time travel changes slowly propagate throughout time. Otherwise Marty stopping his parents from meeting which lead to his conception would have made him go POOF.

EDIT:I also prefer the self consistent, whatever happened happened model but BTTF goes out of it's way to show that is NOT the rules it works on. Remember how the parents Marty returns to at the end of the movie are radically different in personality than the ones he left at the beginning? His parents have changed due to his actions.

Bricker
01-29-2014, 01:06 PM
So you're saying that in that ending scene, right up to the point where Doc gets shot with bullets and falls to the ground, he's really dead and didn't have the letter or the bulletproof vest on or any of the knowledge about Marty having been in the past....


Yes.

Proof: Doc gets shot at Twin Pines Mall.

Marty goes back to November 5th, 1955, when old man Peabody owned all the land and had a crazy idea about breeding pine trees. In his escape from Peabody's farm, the Delorean runs over one of the two pine trees at the edge of the property.

After Marty's return from 1955, he rushes to save Doc, but arrives too late and sees the shooting. . . at Lone Pine Mall.

The Doc at Twin Pines Mall was shot dead, bereft of any foreknowledge. The Doc at Lone Pine Mall had Marty's letter and was wearing the bullet-proof vest.

Quimby
01-29-2014, 01:13 PM
Crazy theory: The second Marty at the end of the movie knows that to protect the Timeline he can't go back to 1955 so they program the Time Machine to go into the far future after the Sun engulfs the Earth and Marty 2 sacrifices himself for the good of Marty 1 and the universe.

Crazier Theory: Marty has no idea that is about to happen but Doc Brown programs it that way to save the Timeline without Marty 2's consent.

Idle Thoughts
01-29-2014, 01:21 PM
The Doc at Twin Pines Mall was shot dead, bereft of any foreknowledge. The Doc at Lone Pine Mall had Marty's letter and was wearing the bullet-proof vest.

Yes, I know...that was my point.

That THAT Doc (the one at Lone Pine Mall) already KNEW that THAT Marty (the one at Lone Pine Mall) was going to go back to the past (all during the time he was explaining the time machine and that stuff).

Idle Thoughts
01-29-2014, 01:24 PM
The movie(and the sequels) show how in the BTTF universe time travel changes slowly propagate throughout time. Otherwise Marty stopping his parents from meeting which lead to his conception would have made him go POOF.

EDIT:I also prefer the self consistent, whatever happened happened model but BTTF goes out of it's way to show that is NOT the rules it works on. Remember how the parents Marty returns to at the end of the movie are radically different in personality than the ones he left at the beginning? His parents have changed due to his actions.

I think either we're talking about two different things or you're not understanding what I'm saying.

I'm saying the Doc at the end of the movie already knew Marty had to go back in time.
If you claim that that stuff doesn't happen UNTIL that Marty gets in the car and actually vanishes, then how do you explain it being Lone Pine Mall even when he's still there? It should have been TWIN Pines Mall still UNTIL HE GOT INTO THE CAR AND DISAPPEARED (in which case, it would have magically changed to "Lone Pine Mall" in that very instant).

That's not what happened, though...
It was ALREADY "Lone Pine Mall" when the later Marty approached the sign, which leads to me believe that Doc ALREADY had the letter in his pocket too, at that point (and knew that the Marty he was talking to had to go back in time).

Skammer
01-29-2014, 01:37 PM
I think I see what you're saying.

Yes, the Doc Brown at the end of the movie who is showing Marty how the car works at the Lone Pine Mall has read the letter and is wearing the vest. It's not the same scene we saw at the beginning of the movie, where un-warned Doc shows the car to Marty and then is killed at the Twin Pines Mall.

Do we really need a spoiler warning for a 29 year old movie?

Idle Thoughts
01-29-2014, 01:41 PM
Yes, the Doc Brown at the end of the movie who is showing Marty how the car works at the Lone Pine Mall has read the letter and is wearing the vest. It's not the same scene we saw at the beginning of the movie, where un-warned Doc shows the car to Marty and then is killed at the Twin Pines Mall.

Bolding mine.

Yeah, I already knew the bolded part. :) My point was just the first thing.

Do we really need a spoiler warning for a 29 year old movie?

You never know, I'm not taking any chances. I recall another poster getting really angry (awhile back) for something that was spoiled in a topic about a really old and equally famous movie (although I don't have a cite), so better safe than sorry, I figure.

Balance
01-29-2014, 03:45 PM
Do we really need a spoiler warning for a 29 year old movie?
What if someone time-traveled from 30 years in the past and the title of this thread caught their attention? You don't want to spoil the canonical time travel movie of their era for them, do you?

Amateur Barbarian
01-29-2014, 04:16 PM
Yes it is more confusing than the more popular self consistent
timeline model.
You didn't apologize because it's not to scale.

Skammer
01-29-2014, 04:44 PM
What if someone time-traveled from 30 years in the past and the title of this thread caught their attention? You don't want to spoil the canonical time travel movie of their era for them, do you? Great Scott!

Chronos
01-29-2014, 04:51 PM
There really isn't any coherent model for the time travel in any of the Back to the Future movies, and any attempt at associating the events of the movies with a coherent model is doomed to failure. Put simply, the movies don't make any sense.

They're a lot of fun, though.

leahcim
01-29-2014, 05:03 PM
Crazy theory: The second Marty at the end of the movie knows that to protect the Timeline he can't go back to 1955 so they program the Time Machine to go into the far future after the Sun engulfs the Earth and Marty 2 sacrifices himself for the good of Marty 1 and the universe.

This is the theory discussed by Cracked (http://www.cracked.com/video_18543_the-horrifying-deleted-timeline-from-back-to-future.html).

Balance
01-29-2014, 05:52 PM
There really isn't any coherent model for the time travel in any of the Back to the Future movies, and any attempt at associating the events of the movies with a coherent model is doomed to failure. Put simply, the movies don't make any sense.
Am I going to have to explain temporal hysteresis theory again?

Hail Ants
01-29-2014, 06:03 PM
Just wanna say two things:

Lest anyone forget, we are now only months away from the second film's 2015 setting(!)
Years & years ago Michael J. Fox was on Letterman and he mentioned that fanboys would often come up and ask him crazy, complicated time-travel theory questions like these. He said he'd very politely just shrug and say, "I don't know, they just pay me to walk around and say lines..."

drewtwo99
01-29-2014, 06:36 PM
There really isn't any coherent model for the time travel in any of the Back to the Future movies, and any attempt at associating the events of the movies with a coherent model is doomed to failure. Put simply, the movies don't make any sense.

They're a lot of fun, though.

I'm pretty sure BigT worked out a model that is self-consistent between all the BttF movies.

TBG
01-29-2014, 06:38 PM
I'm betting that somehow Doc and Marty going back to 1885 is why now we can't have hoverboards.

E-DUB
01-29-2014, 06:47 PM
Then there's this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LI-Wq-e480E

Frylock
01-29-2014, 07:19 PM
I'm saying the Doc at the end of the movie already knew Marty had to go back in time.

This isn't something you're supposed to realize on consideration. It's just straightforwardly what the movie directly portrays.

RealityChuck
01-29-2014, 08:47 PM
It's a common trope in time travel stories that the changes don't propagate until you return (e.g., "A Sound of Thunder.") That's all that happened. Nothing to see here.

Balance
01-29-2014, 09:06 PM
It's a common trope in time travel stories that the changes don't propagate until you return (e.g., "A Sound of Thunder.") That's all that happened. Nothing to see here.
Except that that obviously isn't how changes propagate in the BttF setting. If it were, the various photos wouldn't have changed, and Marty wouldn't have started fading while he was in the past.

grude
01-29-2014, 09:13 PM
Ok I'm sorry Idle Thoughts is right, I thought he meant the whole movie before Marty ever time travels Doc is aware of what is going to happen.

Mea Culpa

Chronos
01-29-2014, 09:28 PM
OK, here's a challenge to anyone who claims it's consistent: How is it that the photograph changed, but not Marty's memories? If his brother faded out of the picture, why didn't he also fade out of Marty's mind?

GuanoLad
01-30-2014, 12:47 AM
Because we don't see the aware Doc's scenes, he probably wasn't saying quite the same things in quite the same way. I expect it was stilted and awkward, much like when Bill Murray is trying to recreate the spontaneity of the snowball fight in Groundhog Day.

CandidGamera
01-30-2014, 08:57 AM
Crazy theory: The second Marty at the end of the movie knows that to protect the Timeline he can't go back to 1955 so they program the Time Machine to go into the far future after the Sun engulfs the Earth and Marty 2 sacrifices himself for the good of Marty 1 and the universe.

Crazier Theory: Marty has no idea that is about to happen but Doc Brown programs it that way to save the Timeline without Marty 2's consent.

It's cute, but there's no Marty 2. Just Marty 1 at different points along his personal timeline, and if Doc hadn't sent the so-called 'Marty 2' back to 1955, then that would have caused a paradox, itself.

carnivorousplant
01-30-2014, 10:23 AM
There really isn't any coherent model for the time travel in any of the Back to the Future movies, and any attempt at associating the events of the movies with a coherent model is doomed to failure. Put simply, the movies don't make any sense.

They're a lot of fun, though.

I thought Doc Brown said (with drawings) that changing something created a new time line. All of the time lines exist, Doc and Marty exist in whichever time line they create.

Frazzled
01-30-2014, 11:07 AM
Just wanna say two things:

Lest anyone forget, we are now only months away from the second film's 2015 setting(!)
Years & years ago Michael J. Fox was on Letterman and he mentioned that fanboys would often come up and ask him crazy, complicated time-travel theory questions like these. He said he'd very politely just shrug and say, "I don't know, they just pay me to walk around and say lines..."

I think a thread asking how Marty would respond to the real 2015 would be a lot of fun. We're close enough now that we'd probably have pretty good guesses.

Over Christmas we watched this movie with the family. I was a teenager when the movie came out and my parents grew up in the 50's so our family relates well with the movie. Now we have kids who are becoming teenagers so they get to watch how their parents perceived an idealized teenage life to be and how their grandparents perceived an idealized teenage life. I think this is part of why this is such a timeless movie and it's funny to think that what seemed so cool and modern to us when the movie came out now looks as dated to our kids as the 1955 section looked to us back then.

Mr. Greenjeans
01-30-2014, 11:33 AM
When Marty first arrives at the Twin Pines Mall, I always noticed that Doc gives him a head-to-toe look. My interpretation was that Doc was thinking: "Oh, yeah. I remember that outfit from 30 years ago.

Balance
01-30-2014, 11:44 AM
OK, here's a challenge to anyone who claims it's consistent: How is it that the photograph changed, but not Marty's memories? If his brother faded out of the picture, why didn't he also fade out of Marty's mind?
Because Marty doesn't have a photographic memory.

Human memory is complex. It's constantly refreshed, updated, modified, and reviewed. Marty's memory does change along with the picture, just not in ways that are obvious to us, or maybe even to him, during the time we're observing.

Once the changewave Marty initiated by pushing George catches up to Dave, it spawns a secondary wave that makes Dave unhappen. This is the point at which he starts to disappear from the photo. Doc points this out to Marty, and explains that it means Dave is being erased from existence. This is a new event, and as such, creates a new memory. It's likely that Marty spends at least some time thinking about this between that point and the point at which Dave disappears completely from the picture; this activity also produces new memories, possibly including memories of reviewing his memories of his brother.

By the time Dave is completely gone from the picture, Marty doesn't actually remember him at all. He remembers remembering him. If you questioned him about his brother, there would be huge gaps in his knowledge; anything he didn't actively review after the picture started to fade would be lost, and everything that was left would be at one remove. He might remember thinking about the time Dave pushed him in the pool, say, but not remember the actual event. No one quizzed him about Dave's life on-screen, however, so from the viewer's perspective, remembering that he had a brother who got erased appears the same as remembering his brother directly.

When the key events of the original timeline were reestablished by the kiss, temporal hysteresis caused everything to snap back to the way it originally was, not to the new confident-George configuration. That's a new changewave, and has to propagate separately. It was probably propagating faster than the one Marty triggered by pushing George, since it created fewer and smaller secondary changewaves, but it had only had a few minutes to do so, so Marty's memories had not yet been affected; they're all of his original timeline at this point.

The confident-George changewave continues to roll forward as Marty plays "Johnny B. Goode", says his goodbyes, changes clothes, and finally meets up with Doc, but it hasn't caught up with him by the time the displacement field takes hold, temporarily separating him from the timestream. Disassociated from normal time, Marty perceives the trip as instantaneous, but while he is in transit, the changewave catches up to 1985. When he reenters the timestream, the changes have already taken effect, but he wasn't there to be altered, his memories of the original timeline remain.

blindboyard
01-30-2014, 12:06 PM
If Marty played Johnny B Goode, which gave Chuck Berry a "new sound" he'd been looking for, then does that mean that in his own time-line there was no Rock and/or Roll until Marty invented it? Did he come from a non-rocking timeline?

nevadaexile
01-30-2014, 12:21 PM
If Marty played Johnny B Goode, which gave Chuck Berry a "new sound" he'd been looking for, then does that mean that in his own time-line there was no Rock and/or Roll until Marty invented it? Did he come from a non-rocking timeline?

Rock and roll existed prior to Chuck Berry. There are several other Black artists who were playing the genre before he picked it up.

Side note: You don't have to actually go to the future to change your children's behavior in the future,

drewtwo99
01-30-2014, 12:24 PM
Good question blindboyard!

It seems obvious from the very beginning of the movie that Marty has a love for Rock and Roll... so maybe he was coming up with it on his own or maybe he just loved what he already heard and was going to join the bandwagon. But then again, the movie opens with Huey Lewis & the News, who obviously couldn't exist in a timeline where real rock had been invented yet. So I think that answers that!

Miller
01-30-2014, 12:37 PM
Good question blindboyard!

It seems obvious from the very beginning of the movie that Marty has a love for Rock and Roll... so maybe he was coming up with it on his own or maybe he just loved what he already heard and was going to join the bandwagon. But then again, the movie opens with Huey Lewis & the News, who obviously couldn't exist in a timeline where real rock had been invented yet. So I think that answers that!

Although, I do kind of like the idea that, thanks to Marty's changing the timeline, Huey Lewis decided to form a rock band, instead of going into school administration.

Just Asking Questions
01-30-2014, 03:30 PM
New nitpick, that I have never read anyone comment about before.

Doc's bullet-proof vest won't stop AK-47 rounds. He's still dead.

Second nitpick that bothers me more: in 1955, Doc is planning the rig needed to get the 1.21 Jiggawatts into the DeLorean. He obviously does the math, and stations the car at the right point to start its acceleration run so that it passes the electrical cable at precisely the correct time. But the car doesn't start! Marty spends precious seconds (seems like 20) getting the car started. But if the timing was so precise, by starting late he missed the lightning bolt by a ton.

And it's so easy to fix-all Doc had to do was string the cable lengthwise down the road. Then timing isn't an issue at all! Just have the DeLorean follow the cable like a trolley, and whenever the lightning hits, serious shit happens.

carnivorousplant
01-30-2014, 03:37 PM
And it's so easy to fix-all Doc had to do was string the cable lengthwise down the road. Then timing isn't an issue at all! Just have the DeLorean follow the cable like a trolley, and whenever the lightning hits, serious shit happens.

Perhaps the local gendarmes would object.
:)

Frazzled
01-30-2014, 04:11 PM
Perhaps the local gendarmes would object.
:)


Yep - stringing a long cable is still time consuming and costly. They're near a desert so why not just put a big antenna on the car, go out on the highway at a constant 88 MPH, and drive until a bolt of lightning hits them. With relatively sparse terrain it's a virtual guarantee he'll be hit by lightning sooner rather than later. Heck - the Doc could even rig a device similar to a parasail to get a wire even higher up all but guaranteeing a hit. A second advantage to this is that when he travels into the future he'd still be on a relatively isolated road rather than the middle of downtown driving 88 MPH towards a row of buildings!

edwards_beard
01-30-2014, 04:21 PM
I once heard a interview (not sure with who) where they were discussing which part of the trilogies has the most Delorians. I believe they said at one point in the movie, there were five Delorians in the same period, but I can't for the life of me remember which time period it would be. Does anyone have any clue which time period in the BTTF trilogy would have the most Delorian Time Machines?

Frazzled
01-30-2014, 04:28 PM
I once heard a interview (not sure with who) where they were discussing which part of the trilogies has the most Delorians. I believe they said at one point in the movie, there were five Delorians in the same period, but I can't for the life of me remember which time period it would be. Does anyone have any clue which time period in the BTTF trilogy would have the most Delorian Time Machines?


I can come up with 4 at one time - the morning of the climactic dance from the first movie.

Delorian 1: the one that Marty used to come to 1955 in the first film that's sitting in Doc's garage.

Delorian 2: The one Biff stole in 2015 and took back to give the sports almanac to his younger self.

Delorian 3: The one Doc and Marty took back from 1985 to correct the paradox old Biff is creating - it's parked behind the billboard Marty originally hid the car behind.

Delorian 4: The one Doc took back to 1885 that, at this point, is buried in a mine chamber

BigT
01-30-2014, 05:09 PM
I'm pretty sure BigT worked out a model that is self-consistent between all the BttF movies.

Not at the levels of scrutiny that a cosmologist would want. Especially not one named after time itself. (Thanks for the compliment, BTW. Even if it was likely also a bit of a nerd joke at my expense.)

Still, the example Chronos gives isn't a problem, because that's consistent between movies. Objects always seem to change faster than do the minds of the time travelers. We don't need to establish a reason for this for consistency to hold. The BttF "universe" obviously doesn't work on the same rules as our own.

Just Asking Questions
01-30-2014, 05:23 PM
Perhaps the local gendarmes would object.
:)

Not a problem. He has already greased the palm of the local constabulary. I suspect the fee is the same whether the cable runs east-west or north-south.

Mtgman
01-30-2014, 06:47 PM
Yes.

Proof: Doc gets shot at Twin Pines Mall.

Marty goes back to November 5th, 1955, when old man Peabody owned all the land and had a crazy idea about breeding pine trees. In his escape from Peabody's farm, the Delorean runs over one of the two pine trees at the edge of the property.

After Marty's return from 1955, he rushes to save Doc, but arrives too late and sees the shooting. . . at Lone Pine Mall.

The Doc at Twin Pines Mall was shot dead, bereft of any foreknowledge. The Doc at Lone Pine Mall had Marty's letter and was wearing the bullet-proof vest.
The whole thing sets up a predestination paradox. Think about it, why would Doc Brown and Marty McFly be friends at all? A ~60 year old anti-social nutjob and a 16 year old high school student? They didn't seem to have any social connections(he's my uncle, he was a mentor to my father, he was a teacher, etc.) aside from the fact that Doc Brown had a cool amplifier room that Marty liked to jam in, what was the basis of their friendship? How did the meet? Why?

It's clear, on retrospect, that Doc Brown, knowing how important Marty would be to his life, groomed a young Marty McFly and cultivated his friendship. He may even have built the amplifier room specifically to appeal to Marty because he knew of his musical aspirations. It was only in that one scene and doesn't fit in with any of Doc Brown's other known hobbies/interests/scientific lines of inquiry.

Enjoy,
Steven

Quimby
01-30-2014, 07:53 PM
How about this: when they arrive in 2015, shouldn't they arrive in a version of 2015 where they disappeared without a trace back in 1985? If not, does old, Loser Marty remember this adventure?

carnivorousplant
01-30-2014, 07:59 PM
How about this: when they arrive in 2015, shouldn't they arrive in a version of 2015 where they disappeared without a trace back in 1985? If not, does old, Loser Marty remember this adventure?

Yeah, but he's a loser. A slacker.
It is not until the "gunfight" with Biff, Mad Dog Tannon, that he learns how not to be a testosterone poisoned loser.

GuanoLad
01-30-2014, 08:51 PM
If not, does old, Loser Marty remember this adventure?He will have remembered. But because young Marty never witnessed older Marty and his family, there's no inconsistency there. Older Marty has no awareness of his impending loserdom. Right up to the end young Marty still thinks he's going to be a successful rock star.

Balance
01-30-2014, 10:22 PM
New nitpick, that I have never read anyone comment about before.

Doc's bullet-proof vest won't stop AK-47 rounds. He's still dead.
He had about 30 years to come up with an adequate defense--I suspect the vest has some extra reinforcement, probably strike plates.

Second nitpick that bothers me more: in 1955, Doc is planning the rig needed to get the 1.21 Jiggawatts into the DeLorean. He obviously does the math, and stations the car at the right point to start its acceleration run so that it passes the electrical cable at precisely the correct time. But the car doesn't start! Marty spends precious seconds (seems like 20) getting the car started. But if the timing was so precise, by starting late he missed the lightning bolt by a ton.
The timing was precise, but their schedule wasn't. They knew to the minute, not the second, when the lightning would strike. The whole thing was a gamble. If the car had started immediately, Marty would have hit the cable too soon. Instead, it delayed him just enough to make the timing work out.

And it's so easy to fix-all Doc had to do was string the cable lengthwise down the road. Then timing isn't an issue at all! Just have the DeLorean follow the cable like a trolley, and whenever the lightning hits, serious shit happens.
Doc is a scientist--and a mad scientist, at that--not an engineer. There are several things he could have done to widen the contact window. For example, he could have extended the hook farther forward of the car and rigged it to a long coil of cable, so that it would catch early and pull off the car, remaining attached by the unspooling wire.

Your particular solution presents some technical difficulties. That long a stretch of the heavy cable would be difficult to support over the middle of the road, not to mention a lot more difficult to hang in the limited time Doc had. There's also the added risk of it sagging and letting the lightning ground out, or the DeLorean simply pulling it down due to some small swerve or pothole. It might even have been that that was the longest cable he could scrounge up. These things could be overcome, but again, Doc isn't an engineer, and they were working under a deadline.

They're near a desert so why not just put a big antenna on the car, go out on the highway at a constant 88 MPH, and drive until a bolt of lightning hits them. With relatively sparse terrain it's a virtual guarantee he'll be hit by lightning sooner rather than later. Heck - the Doc could even rig a device similar to a parasail to get a wire even higher up all but guaranteeing a hit.
If they had missed their window at the clock tower, Doc would probably have come up with something like that eventually. In the meantime, they had a known location and a very small time window when they knew there would be a usable strike. Doc probably also had an unstated goal of getting Marty out of history as soon as possible, before he caused any further disruptions. Also, it's part of Doc's mad sciencing style: he gets a very specific inspiration and obsesses on carrying it out. His Mark I is the finished product.
I can come up with 4 at one time - the morning of the climactic dance from the first movie.
My best guess is that whoever it was thought there was a period when another instance of the DeLorean had been sitting around since 1885--the instance that Marty took back. The idea behind that would be that between the time Marty damaged the fuel line and the time they came up with another way to get the car up to 88, there was a future in which that instance of the DeLorean never traveled forward again, so there would be the remnants of a 140 year old DeLorean in a cave somewhere.

If this is what they were claiming, it's an indication that they haven't thought through how time travel works in the setting well enough. More than that, there was never even a time in the movie when all four of those you list were in their places. I'm not disputing your reasoning; there will be a point at which all four instances will have been there during that period. However, the characters (and vicariously, the audience) never experience that point. The changewave that causes the DeLorean to have been in the mine can't start propagating until Doc gets blasted back to 1885 and leaves it there, so in the timeline we see in the movie during the critical period, there is no car in the mine. By the time the changewave establishes the timeline in which the car is hidden there, Old Biff and Future Doc have both left the time period with their instances of the DeLorean.

So, by the time 1955-Doc and Marty find the car in the mine, there has been a time when there were four instances of the DeLorean around, but that time was never shown in the movies.
The whole thing sets up a predestination paradox. Think about it, why would Doc Brown and Marty McFly be friends at all? A ~60 year old anti-social nutjob and a 16 year old high school student? They didn't seem to have any social connections(he's my uncle, he was a mentor to my father, he was a teacher, etc.) aside from the fact that Doc Brown had a cool amplifier room that Marty liked to jam in, what was the basis of their friendship? How did the meet? Why?
And this is reason to assume Doc somehow knew about Marty before any modifications in history even occurred? I think you need to take a Razor to that assumption. How about this: Doc, being inclined to seclude himself in his lab and work on stuff, decided to pay a kid from the neighborhood to run errands for him. He needed an Igor. He happened to pick Marty, and they found that they got along well. It could have happened any number of ways. Maybe Marty tried to make a little money mowing lawns at some point, and Doc was one of his customers. Or he saw Doc struggling to carry a bunch of groceries/supplies/gadgets inside, and being a basically good-natured kid, stopped to help, leading Doc to think that having an extra pair of hands around occasionally could be useful. Maybe it was as random as Marty stopping to play with Einstein when Doc was out for a walk. None of it requires predestination, just a working relationship that turned into a friendship due to complementary personalities.

How about this: when they arrive in 2015, shouldn't they arrive in a version of 2015 where they disappeared without a trace back in 1985? If not, does old, Loser Marty remember this adventure?
Only if they don't come back. Since they did, they don't.

As GuanoLad said, 2015-Marty eventually will have always remembered his adventures in time. At the time we see him, he remembers his first trip to 1955 and the original timeline he lived in before the trip. He doesn't remember 1985-Marty visiting 2015, or any of the other travels that resulted, because the changewave that establishes those memories (and an otherwise altered life for him) won't be triggered until 1985-Marty returns to 1985 for the third time.

TaoPilot
01-31-2014, 01:04 PM
How about this: when they arrive in 2015, shouldn't they arrive in a version of 2015 where they disappeared without a trace back in 1985? If not, does old, Loser Marty remember this adventure?

You're right, they should have arrived in a 2015 with no old Marty (or Jennifer) at all.

The assumption is that they will eventually travel back to 1985, but the BTTF movies never worked that way. If things are the way they are because of eventual time travel, then Marty's parents would have never been losers in the first place.

Frazzled
01-31-2014, 02:41 PM
This thread is starting to hurt my head. *If* time travel is at all possible it will not exist the way BTTF portrays it, there are far too many paradoxes. Even so, it does raise some fun points to consider.

This may be listed above and I just missed it because, thanks to this thread, I'm starting to see these movies in a different light.

Marty 1- the Marty we're introduced to at the beginning of the first movie was raised by world weary George and Lorraine. He befriended the Doc for whatever reason, but I suspect at the heart of the relationship is that Doc was a better role model than George. This Marty has ambitions but lacks the courage to see them through. Doc 1 accidentally sent Marty back in time.

Marty 2 - the Marty raised by confident George and Lorraine. We don't meet this Marty in the first movie, but he's the only Marty that the Doc in Parts 2 and 3 has ever known. This Doc had to have sought Marty 2 out and sent him back in time knowing that he was predestined to have to go. Doc 2 deliberately sent Marty back in time though we never saw that specific event happen. The relationship between Marty 2 and Doc 2 would have to be different too, probably more mentor than role model. It would be fun to see how Marty 1 and Doc 1 would have reacted together in 1885 vs the version saw with Marty 2 and Doc 2.

At some point in Part 2 the change wave had to hit Marty and change him from Marty 1 to Marty 2. We know it wasn't in Part 1 because he recognizes that his parents and house changed. Given the rules of the movie the change wave will eventually make Marty think he was always raised in the second house with confident parents. I wonder if this is why Marty in parts 2 and 3 always reacts to people accusing him of being chicken which was never featured in the first movie. It's a different Marty.

So that raises a new question - Marty 2 had to go back in time to have almost the same adventure Marty 1 had - but he would have had very different motivations for doing so. Marty 1 changed his future, but Marty 2 has to preserve his future. We never saw Marty 2's adventure, but if you were to talk to Marty in 1885 about his trip to 1955 it would be different to what we saw.

Is that about right?

Skammer
01-31-2014, 03:08 PM
Is that about right?

That's not my interpretation. I don't think a Marty exists who was raised by the "improved" George and Lorraine. When Marty went back to 1955 and changed the events, he created a new timeline. IOW there is no Marty1 and Marty2; just one Marty because he is the one traveling from one timeline to another. That's why his memories never change.

Doc1985 does not go to 1955, so when Marty changes the timeline in '55, Doc1985's memories do change. He remembers meeting Marty in '55 and getting the note that warns him about the Libyans. So from the end of BTTF1 you could call him Doc2-1985. (We never see Doc1 - the one who didn't know Marty until the 1980s - in 1955, so he's always Doc2-1955. And of course Doc2-1985 is the one who goes back with Marty1 to 1885.)

Even the old, sad Marty we see in 2015 is Marty Prime. But you could say that once young Marty avoids the car accident, this old Marty changes to Marty 2. That's the only version of Marty that changes, though, because Old Marty didn't create the new timeline, young Marty did.

Frazzled
01-31-2014, 04:08 PM
I see your point in that his personality didn't change all that much so it seems like we're always seeing the same Marty.

But think about Biff 2 in 2015 - he's the Biff that was created in Part 1 and that we see washing George's car at the end of Part 1. He's the Biff who Marty bumps into in 2015, steals the Almanac, and takes back to Biff Prime in 1955. That encounter created Biff 3 who created alternate 1985 and then died sometime before 2015. When Biff 2 came back to 2015 to drop off the DeLorean he only briefly existed before vanishing. Time didn't go around Biff 2, it caught up to him.

Likewise time can't go around Marty forever, at some point time has to catch up to him and change him. If you ask Marty about his childhood at different points in the movies I think you'd get different answers.

Balance
01-31-2014, 04:23 PM
Marty 2 - the Marty raised by confident George and Lorraine. We don't meet this Marty in the first movie, but he's the only Marty that the Doc in Parts 2 and 3 has ever known. This Doc had to have sought Marty 2 out and sent him back in time knowing that he was predestined to have to go. Doc 2 deliberately sent Marty back in time though we never saw that specific event happen. The relationship between Marty 2 and Doc 2 would have to be different too, probably more mentor than role model. It would be fun to see how Marty 1 and Doc 1 would have reacted together in 1885 vs the version saw with Marty 2 and Doc 2.
Skammer is close, I'd say. We never meet your Marty-2, but we see him briefly, as Marty-Prime watches him fleeing in the DeLorean until it exits the timestream. Somewhere in my massive posts above (I think in answer to the memory challenge from Chronos), I went into detail why, but here's the short version: the changewave that would have produced Marty-2 passed through 1985 while Marty-Prime was undergoing displacement. He was isolated from the timestream, so he didn't change with it. (Indeed, part of my hypothesis includes a time vehicle being unable to reenter the time stream at a point when it is in flux, but never mind that, never mind that.)

So, when Marty-Prime returns to 1985, he takes the place of Marty-2, but he does not and will never remember the events of Marty-2's life up to the point of his initial displacement. Everyone else around him remembers Marty-2, though. From the comments by the McFly family and the fact that he's still involved with Jennifer, I suspect Marty-2 wasn't really all that different from Marty-Prime in personality. Given that, and the fact that the McFly family lives in the same house in both timelines, Doc-2 probably didn't have to go to any special effort to establish contact with Marty-2, although he did have to conceal his foreknowledge of the events that were to occur on the morning of the test.

Oh, and Marty-Prime was trying to preserve his future as well. He just made a hash of it. Marty-2's adventure probably would have looked pretty much the same, except that he would have taken some actions deliberately that Marty-Prime stumbled into.

Quimby
02-01-2014, 12:05 AM
I don't think I ever consciously noticed that Young Marty never saw Old Marty in BTTF 2. I would have sworn that he did.

jrepka
02-01-2014, 05:58 PM
There are 3 Martys in 1985: Marty-1, whose adventures we follow through the films; Marty-2, who disappears in the Delorean at the end of BTTF-1, and Marty-3, who we never meet -- he's the Marty who grew up in Biff-world in BTTF-2 (Biff mentions that he's supposed to be away at boarding school).

Biff-world, Doc tells us, is a separate time-line created when 1955 Biff is given the Sports Almanac. The reason they can't go into the future to stop old Biff from doing this is that the 2015 they would return to exists in a separate time-line from the one they originally visited.

Doc is describing multiverse theory, and thus there are four 1985s we are shown, three of which split from one another due to the events on that fateful day in 1955, and the fourth, apparently, from events that take place in 1885 in BTTF-3 (there is a 5th 1985 implied, of course: the one in which George and Lorraine never kiss, and Marty doesn't exist). The first movie opens in 1985-1 and ends in 1985-2. Biff-world exists in 1985-3.

Each of these 1985s (along with infinite variations) is presumably populated with its own population of Martys, Docs, Jennifers, Biffs, etc... What Marty and Doc are really doing is universe-hopping. They are not really changing history, they are visiting universes in which their actions are part of the sequence of events in that universe. Note that, by leaving Jennifer-2 in 1985-3, that universe has two Jennifers and 1985-2 has none. The fact that Jennifer exists at the end of BTTF-3 tells us that Marty has returned from 1885 to 1985-4, not 1985-2 or -1.

We leave 1985-1 when Marty first goes back in time, and we never return. In that universe, Doc-1 is killed by terrorists and Marty McFly suddenly disappears with no explanation that same night, never to return. That Marty, Marty-1, returns to 1985-2 and replaces his doppelganger, Marty-2, who disappears in the Delorean but never returns (else we would have a universe with 2 Martys -- sequel anyone?).

Unless Marty-2 manages to return from 1955 without interacting with his parents and thus replaces Marty-1 in 1985-1, a world in which his dynamic SF-author father is now a cubicle drone and his mother is a bored, tired housewife who disapproves of his girlfriend.

jrepka
02-01-2014, 06:11 PM
Of course several commentators (none here) have remarked that George must have been a bit bothered by the fact that his youngest child grew up looking exactly like Calvin Klein, the kid from High School who his future wife had such a crush on.

But then perhaps at some point he was looking through old McFly family photo albums and noticed that Marty also looked exactly like George's great-grandfather Seamus. But then he would've noticed that his wife Lorraine looked exactly like his own great-grandmother Maggie.

At that point I imagine he just stopped looking at his family tree and just started drinking.

carnivorousplant
02-01-2014, 06:49 PM
At that point I imagine he just stopped looking at his family tree and just started drinking.

:)

drewtwo99
02-01-2014, 08:07 PM
BttF cannot possibly be a multi-universe hopping story. If it were, the entire events of the first movie wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have started to fade away and his family disappear if he had simply created a new universe, separate from the one he originally came from.

The changewave thing seems to make a certain amount of sense to me, but it contradicts a lot of what we know happened. When Marty goes back to 1955 the first time and sets things in motion that will keep his parents from ever getting together, he starts to fade away because he won't have existed anymore. That is, the change-wave is slowly propagating through the photo and his physical body.

However, it *instananeously* propagates the moment his parents kiss and get back on the right track. That's a contradiction. Shouldn't it have taken time for him to get healthy again, and his family to reappear in the photo, as slowly as it took the first time to affect him and the photo?

I can buy the bit of logic that says Marty-1 doesn't fade away even though there is really a new Marty-2 raised by parents who are in personality quite different because he was in 1955 when the changewave propogated through 1985. But then why wouldn't this very same logic keep him from fading away slowly? He changed history in 1955, his parents never meet and never kiss, and he is never born. But he's outside of 1985 when this changewave goes through, and he never gets affected while also never having traveled into the past.

Doesn't seem to make sense.

Balance
02-01-2014, 09:55 PM
BttF cannot possibly be a multi-universe hopping story. If it were, the entire events of the first movie wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have started to fade away and his family disappear if he had simply created a new universe, separate from the one he originally came from.
I agree. There is no need to invoke a multiverse, and indeed, it contradicts observed facts. The only point at all in its favor is Doc's explanation about 1985a, and that could have simply been a simplification for Marty's benefit. Note that Doc says the timeline skewed into the new version, not that they had jumped into a new timeline. (It's also possible that he simply hadn't figured out exactly how it all worked at that point, but he knew enough to get on with.)
I can buy the bit of logic that says Marty-1 doesn't fade away even though there is really a new Marty-2 raised by parents who are in personality quite different because he was in 1955 when the changewave propogated through 1985. But then why wouldn't this very same logic keep him from fading away slowly? He changed history in 1955, his parents never meet and never kiss, and he is never born. But he's outside of 1985 when this changewave goes through, and he never gets affected while also never having traveled into the past.
Maybe I should make a page I can link in every BttF thread.

I refer to my explanation for the way time travel works in the BttFverse as Temporal Hysteresis. (Hysteresis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysteresis), by the way, refers to the state of a system being dependent not just on current conditions, but past conditions.) Here's the quick version:

1. The timeline is resistant to change. The effects of a new change to history propagate slowly forward along the timeline, but the effects of changes that revert key events back to their original state propagate very quickly.

2. The propagation speed of a changewave is affected by a number of factors. The "breadth" of the wave--i.e. how extensively the change affects things--is a major one. For example, the changewave caused by Doc arranging for a piece of paper to sit in a box for 70 years was much narrower than one that erased three children from existence, and consequently propagated much faster.

3. The propagation speed of a changewave is not constant. It slows as it triggers secondary changewaves. This is why it took less time for the changewave from Marty's interference to catch up to Dave than it did to progress from Dave's birth to Marty's--unmaking Marty's siblings triggered major secondary changewaves, slowing the primary one. Even very narrow changewaves will gradually slow, as they inevitably initiate some secondary changewaves, however minor. (I speculate that the rate asymptotically approaches realtime, but establishing that would require far more data than we have.)

4. Changewaves propagate independently. The reversion wave triggered by the kiss propagated much faster than the novel changewave caused by George's change in attitude. This is why Marty's memory of his original life was restored along with his existence.

5. A time traveler is insulated from the effects of a changewave while undergoing temporal displacement.

6. Temporal displacement appears effectively instantaneous from the perspective of the time traveler, but this is an artifact of their disassociation from the timestream. Changewaves continue to propagate through the timestream while the traveler is in transit. Indeed, it is possible that the time vehicle cannot reenter a point in the timestream that is in flux due to a changewave, effectively leaving the traveler in a holding pattern until the changes at the target coordinates are complete. The changewave was already through 1985 when Marty reentered the timestream--it changed while he was outside of time, so he wasn't affected. Note that we saw a very noticeable effect of the change already in place when he approached the mall.

Does that address your points adequately?

cochrane
02-02-2014, 05:48 PM
Years & years ago Michael J. Fox was on Letterman and he mentioned that fanboys would often come up and ask him crazy, complicated time-travel theory questions like these. He said he'd very politely just shrug and say, "I don't know, they just pay me to walk around and say lines..."[/list]

He then said, "GET A LIFE, WILL YOU?" ;)

Balance
02-02-2014, 06:30 PM
He then said, "GET A LIFE, WILL YOU?" ;)
He's just got sense enough to leave the fanwanking to the experts. :D

Stranger On A Train
02-02-2014, 06:49 PM
There really isn't any coherent model for the time travel in any of the Back to the Future movies, and any attempt at associating the events of the movies with a coherent model is doomed to failure. Put simply, the movies don't make any sense.Actually, the movies do have a coherent chronology, albeit not within the universe of the film itself as experienced by any of the characters other than Marty. The viewer can identify specific changes in the world line as they follow Marty from 1985 (at the Twin Pine Mall) to 1955 (Calvin Cline), back to 1985 (and the Lone Pine Mall and Biff the Auto Detailer), then forward to 2015 (where post-crash Hilldale Marty who cannot play the guitar and the Sports Almanac), then back to 1985 (Biff Tannen's Pleasure Palace), thence back to 1955 (with Biff Sans Almanac), then to 1885 (with Marty as Clint Eastwood and the soon-to-be christened Clayton Ravine), and finally back to 1985 (with the renamed Eastwood Ravine). It is critical to note that every single change in timeline is precipitated by some direction action by Marty, e.g. pushing his father out of the street, convincing his George to 'rescue' Lorraine from him, buying the 1950-2000 sports almanac, challenging Mad Dog Tannen to a duel, et cetera. It is also worthy of note that no other character experiences changes in the timeline except in Marty's presence (Doc doesn't see that Lone Pine Mall 1985 has become Biff Tannen's Pleasure Palace 1985, Jennifer notices that the fax in her pocket changes from "You're fired," to blank because she is next to Marty.)

What can we deduce from this?

It is clear that Marty is no casual pawn in this series of achronological events without volition or free will; he is the key decision making element in every major change of the timeline, the decider of fates, the Prime Observer of this universe. In fact, despite the many challenges and almost continuous threats to life, Marty barely gets a scratch (save for being hit by Lorraine's father's car and being dragged behind a horse). It is clear that this entire universe exists completely to serve Marty and keep him entertained or occupied, which also explains how Marty could introduce the music of Chuck Berry to 1955 without Berry having previously played in the Twin Pines Mall 1985 timeline. So, this is clearly a solipsistic universe built around Marty's consciousness, and the when Marty goes from one timeline to another, the other characters not in his presence just cease to exist. (This also explains why both Marty's father and girlfriend change radically in appearance between movies with nobody, including Marty, expressing any surprise despite the fact that the change occurs without Marty changing timeframes or doing anything that would inherently change the past.)

It will be left as an exercise to the reader to determine whether Marty is trapped in a Rekall simulation gone awry, is actually a member of a pandimensonal species capable of bending space and time to their wills, or is actually a figment of Tommy Westphall Universe as a previously unsuspected branch off of the Family Ties/Spin City trunk.

Stranger

GuanoLad
02-02-2014, 07:43 PM
...Doc doesn't see that Lone Pine Mall 1985 has become Biff Tannen's Pleasure Palace 1985...Actually, Biff's Pleasure Palace is in the town square, in the old courthouse with the clock but now turned into a skyscraper, arguably the singular inanimate element in your Marty theory.

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