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Top 10 Back to the Future Fan Theories

Top 10 Back to the Future Fan Theories

Ever wonder why Marty’s parents didn’t recognize him, why the DeLorean kept breaking down, or where our hoverboards are already? Well, in celebration of Back to the Future Day, Geek & Sundry has compiled a list of the top 10 fan theories about Back to the Future. Let’s take a look at some of what the amazing fans of this series has come up with and take a trip back, back to the future!


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

10. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment via Geeky Tyrant

Ever wondered what happened to Jennifer? In reality, Claudia Wells, the first Jennifer, was unable to reprise the role due to her mother becoming ill. The studio recast Elisabeth Shue for Back to the Future II and III and reshot the final footage of BTTF with Shue instead of Wells for BTTF 2’s opening. Fans, however, have a content-driven theory.

According to fans, when Marty went back to 1955, something he did messed with the timeline(s) of Jennifer’s parents. As a result, the circumstances of her birth weren’t the same and her looks ended up slightly different. Pretty cool way to explain a cast change!

9. The Darkness of Doc Brown

Back to the Future (1985) Directed by Robert Zemeckis Shown from left: Christopher Lloyd (as Dr. Emmett Brown), Michael J. Fox (as Marty McFly)

Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Many fans have wondered why, after stating that his inventions never work, Doc Brown would put himself and Marty in the path of the DeLorean going 88 mph. Well, some fans have explained this conundrum away with a rather dark theory. For them, Doc Brown, depressed from his failure as an inventor, has chosen to take his life through one of his inventions. The theory just becomes darker when you consider he forced Marty to participate, leading some to consider it a murder-suicide attempt. Luckily, the DeLorean was the one invention Doc could get to work!

8. Look Alikes


Image Credit: Slip Talk 

Fans have always wondered why Marty’s parents never recognized him when he grew up, but, in this fan theory, they did! Or, at least George did. The theory states that George figured it out slowly with building evidence; finding out his visit from an alien involved two of the largest space franchises of all time, coming home to a burned carpet, and the words of Calvin echoing in his head to “go easy on him”, along with all the other little details. But, fans state, George never told Marty because he knew his son needed to go back in time the exact same way. Good old George, being responsible with time travel!

7. Fans are Dark


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Some of the favorite fan theories are the darkest. In this theory, fans say Marty actually died in that tunnel, trying to get the almanac back from Biff. Distraught by Marty’s death, Doc goes back in time to save Marty. How else do you explain Doc dropping the rope at the exact moment needed to save his favorite McFly?

6. The No Paradox Complex

Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Fans of BTTF know that paradoxes must be avoided at all costs. Some fans actually take it further, believing the DeLorean broke down to avoid paradoxes. In this theory, somehow the DeLorean is sentient enough to break down at the perfect time to avoid a paradox, including breaking down where no one in 1955 will find a car from the 80’s and stalling so that the car will hit the wire at the precise moment of the lightening strike! This time traveling car from the 80s can even fix Doc Brown’s calculations!

5. Marty Martyr


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Here’s another “Dark Doc” theory from the fans. Fans think, in an effort to stop the potential paradox of Marty meeting himself, Doc does something very dark. Instead of Marty watching Doc send himself off to the past, fans think Doc sends the second Marty, Marty B, to his death. In some theories, Doc convinces Marty B to die and in others, he never tells him. Gruesome and bad luck Marty B, the Marty Martyr.

4. Doctor Whovian Brown


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Some Whovian fans argue that Doc Brown is really a Timelord! At the end of the third movie Doc says he’s already been to the future, indicating he is much older than he appears, just like a certain doctor we all know. Adding fuel to this theory is Doc’s love of bowties, his pet dogs (never forget K-9), his penchant for inventing things to get out of sticky situations, and his current travel companion, Clara. Fantastic!

3. Donnie Darko is Fanfiction


Image Credit: 20th Century Fox

Richard Kelly is a huge fan of Back to the Future, so much so that there’s a DeLorean reference in Donnie Darko, a film he directed. Fans also believe that Donnie Darko is Kelly’s fanfiction ode to the Marty Martyr theory. Just replace Donnie with Marty B, the rabbit with Doc, and Gretchen with Jennifer. Spooky!

2. Where are our Hoverboards?


Image Credit: Amblin Entertainment

Fans explain away our lack of hoverboards in 2015 by stating we’re actually in the alternate timeline created by Marty and Doc. There are two explanations usually given here. In one, the man Marty hit while racing was actually going to a meeting about hoverboards. If Marty had hit him, he wouldn’t have made the meeting and wouldn’t have been able to turn down hover technology , causing the boards to be made (although, who would deny the world hoverboards?). Since Marty changed history by not racing, the man was never hit and went to the meeting, and ended up turning down the hoverboard idea. In another theory, Doc actually created the hoverboards but, since he’s living in the past with Clara now, he never made our favorite technology.

1. The Lockard Theory


Image Credit: Fan Pop

You’ve made it! The mother of all theories! This theory was proposed by Robert Lockard and can be found in full here. In short, the theory states that the BTTF franchise is one big chiasmus, aka it has perfect symmetry. He argues that the first and third movies are symmetrical and the 2nd movie mirrors itself. For example, the first movie starts with Marty being blown back by Doc’s amp and talking to him on the phone and the final movie ends with Marty and Jennifer being blown back by Doc and talking to him once more. Woah…


And there you have it! Ten fan theories sure to make you say…


Image Credit: Beutler Ink

Happy Back to the Future Day!

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