OPINION: Facts in Flux

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

Chris Luckett

If you were fooled by the picture circulating around yesterday, you weren’t alone. Many unsuspecting web surfers were duped into thinking Doc Emmett Brown and Marty McFly travelled to June 27, 2012 in Back to the Future, Part II. Unfortunately, to quote the Clerks animated series, it was just a hoax played by an idiot with too much time on his hands. Here’s why.

Back to the Future took place on Oct. 26, 1985. Marty travelled back to Oct. 26, 1955 in the first movie. Because the DeLorean had been programmed to go 30 years into the past for the first trip, Doc Brown set it to travel to Oct. 26, 2015 — 30 years into the future — at the end of the first movie. Exhibit A:

MARTY: So, how far ahead are you going?
DOC: About 30 years. It’s a nice, round number.

(The reason he said “about” 30 years is simply that, due to leap years, exactly 30 years wouldn’t quite be Oct. 26)

Then, Doc Brown returns right before the end of the movie — the last scene of which is also the first scene in Back to the Future, Part II — exclaiming that Marty has to come back to the future with him (“You and Jennifer turn out fine; it’s your kids, Marty!”) Because when Doc Brown had arrived on Oct. 26, 2015, Marty Jr. had been set up by Griff Tannen (“The justice system works swiftly in the future, now that they’re abolished all lawyers,” Doc tells Marty), Doc brings Marty with him back to the future five days earlier, to Oct. 21, 2015, to prevent Marty, Jr. from agreeing to help Griff, thus preventing Marty, Jr.’s arrest, thus saving the McFly family — until they then mess up the timeline again and have to fix it again. Exhibit B:

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

So June 27, 2012 has no relevance at all to the series. Not only did they not travel to 2012, because 27 years is not “a nice, round number,” but none of the three movies ever took place in June. (For those curious, Marty travelled to Oct. 26, 1885 in Back to the Future, Part III.)

Two years ago, a photoshopped image of the DeLorean’s “destination dashboard” was circulated with the date July 5, 2010, in promotion of the trilogy’s release on Blu-Ray that year. (The website TotalFilm eventually ‘fessed up to creating that hoax.) Exhibit C:

Photo: TotalFilm

Photo: TotalFilm

Some prankster/idiot decided to photoshop June 27, 2012 into that same image a few days ago and started circulating it around the Internet, which is the picture you’ve been seeing. But since Marty and Doc travelled 30 years into the future from 1985, it will still be another three years before we arrive at the same date they went to.

On the plus side, though, that does mean only three more years until Hoverboards.

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