I love Back to the Future. It’s one of my favorite movie series of all time and it contains one of the most tightly written scripts in movie history. Everyone loves a good time travel story, and Back to the Future is one of the best. It utilizes many time traveling ideas and theories from the scientific community, such as split timelines and paradoxes, but recently I’ve come to realize that maybe an entirely different idea is at work. But first, I’m going to focus on the main driving force behind the entire series, and that idea is the Grandfather Paradox.
|The “Mom accidentally falling for her future son and jeopardizing his existence Paradox” doesn’t nearly have the same ring to it.|
The Grandfather Paradox has been the main talking point for many scientists for decades because it could fundamentally disprove the legitimacy of time travel if it is ever proven. Basically it states that if you were time traveling and you went back in time and killed your grandfather before he met your grandmother, you would never exist because it would prevent you from being born and going back in time in the first place, leading to a paradox. In case you haven’t caught on, this is basically the plot of Back to the Future. Marty accidentally inhibits his parents from meeting under the right circumstances, thereby putting his existence in jeopardy. After some movie magic Marty manages to get his parents together and all is well with the world and with time. Doc’s warning to Marty states that his very existence in the past could put future events in jeopardy. If you don’t remember the series, events that are seen in the present of 1985 happen because both Marty and Doc put them in motion. Who is to argue that this isn’t exactly how things were supposed to happen in the first place? What if instead of alternate timelines and creating new futures, what if this is what was meant to happen? If you haven’t noticed, all of the things that happened advanced not only the main character’s lives, but also the people and circumstances around them. I mean think about it. Marty’s influence on George in 1955 not only unlocked George’s potential but also the potential of his kids and his wife as well. The alternate 1985 timeline and the correction of it leads to Doc being trapped in 1885, during which Marty learns the value of walking away from a fight (which later saves his life) and Doc finds the love of his life. And if you also remember, Marty going back to 1955 in Part 2 helps the Marty in 1955 successfully complete his mission to reunite his parents and get back to 1985. In terms of the big picture, my theory is that everything that happens in the series is not through trying to fix accidents; it is because that is exactly how events were meant to turn out based on the future that was already created.
|Which means that Marty gets this totally sweet truck regardless of what happens in any movie.|
How is this possible? Why through the Novikov self-consistency principle of course! What exactly is this principle? Basically the theory works under the assumption that once an event happens, time will not allow it to be changed, because changing it would create an inconsistency in time. In layman’s terms, “Whatever happened, happened”. How would this fight against the Grandfather Paradox? Say you went back in time and tried to create a paradox by killing your grandfather. Wanna shoot him? Go ahead and try, the gun will jam. Try to stab him? The knife will miss vital organs. Throw him out a window? The fall will injure him but not kill him. You could try a million different things and nothing would work. Why? Because doing anything to change the outcome of history would prevent you from ever being there in the first place, which would create an inconsistency in history, a paradox, which the principle refuses to allow. I believe this principle was at work through the entire series. Don’t believe me?
In the first film we see campaign advertisements to re-elect Goldie Wilson for mayor in 1985. When Marty goes back to 1955, the first person he talks to is a younger Goldie working in the diner. Marty exclaims that one day he will be mayor, to which Goldie reacts very warmly to and the idea is firmly planted in his head. Think about this: What made Goldie ever want to run for mayor in the first place? What made him want to have any political aspirations? Marty. Marty telling Goldie he would eventually be mayor is exactly what history needed to happen to fulfill the future in 1985. Before Marty mentions the idea of mayor, the thought had never even occurred to him. Without Marty’s influence it would have never happened.
Another example is the Enchantment Under The Sea dance that we see in both Parts 1 and 2. In Part 2 Marty prevents Biff and his gang from hurting 1955 Marty while playing Johnny B. Goode, thereby insuring that 1955 Marty would make it back to 1985, because if he hadn’t made it back the other Marty would have never been able to be there in the first place to prevent it. Novikov yet again blinding us with science.
Or we could even talk about the song Johnny B. Goode that Marty plays at the dance. In the movie Marty starts playing it and Chuck Barry (the songs originator) hears it through the phone after getting called by his cousin Marvin. If Marty had never played the song then Chuck Berry would have never heard it, causing Marty to never know the song because Chuck Berry would have never come up with it in the first place.
What about older Biff in 2015 who uses his grudge against the McFly family to set the events of Part 2 in motion by stealing the time machine and giving his younger self the sports almanac? That didn’t just randomly happen. If you recall, at the end of the first film we see Biff as a glorified manservant to the McFly family because of how George stood up to him. That servanthood caused the grudge that motivated older Biff to do what he did, thereby causing the proper events in the future timeline to take place as they were supposed to happen. I rest my case.
|And BOOM goes the SCIENCE|
I still want my hover board and self-lacing Nike’s though.