Monday, January 01, 2007

Back to the Future timeline

Fun stuff: I hope Wikipedia doesn't delete it:

<p><p><p><p><p>Back to the Future timeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p></p></p></p></p>


The popularity of the Back to the Future film trilogy is due in part to the detailed and believable local history of the fictitious city of Hill Valley and the genealogies of its residents.

Each event described in this timeline is either depicted in the films (or on newspapers or other artifacts depicted in the films), in the novels, in screenplays to the films, or described in interviews by the Bobs (director/co-writer Robert Zemeckis and producer/co-writer Bob Gale). Additionally, a couple of dates (Verne's birthdate and Clara's birth year) are derived from episodes of the animated series, although whether or not that information is canon is subject to dispute by fans. Information from fan fiction is not included.


According to Doctor Emmett Brown in Back to the Future Part II, whenever a time-traveler alters key events occurring in the past or future, they effectively bring an alternate timeline into existence at their point-of-entry, and their original timeline is erased, even though its events are not forgotten by the time-traveler. Thus, every time jump depicted in the Back to the Future saga “destroys” a current timeline and “creates” a new one, although Doc Brown often uses the phrase “erased from existence” to describe the deleterious effects of this process. As a time-traveler acquires multiple recollections of these altered timelines, a fourth-dimensional latticework begins to emerge which can be expressed graphically, as Doc Brown actually does for Marty McFly (in a crude chalkboard drawing) in BTTF Part II.

Chart of BTTF alternate timelines
In the graphic below, the term Timeline 0 describes the original timeline in which no time-travel ever occurs (the topmost horizontal black arrow). The red arrows (including one double-headed one) represent the ensuing ten jumps by Doc’s DeLorean depicted in the trilogy, with associated human passengers listed alongside (except for Einstein’s experimental solo jaunt). The resulting timelines, from 1 to 8, are represented by each successive horizontal arrow, and their 4th-dimensional evolution through the trilogy is indicated by the green labels on the right. A few, such as Timeline 1 (the timeline created by Einstein's one-minute test jump) are virtually identical to Timeline 0, while others, such as Timeline 5 in which the events of 1985A take place, are drastically different in terms of their respective events and effects. Accordingly, the events within each timeline are listed (chronologically) as they are understood to have occurred, but most often where they differ (often radically, or else subtly) from those of their “parent” timelines. For instance, permanently unaltered events in Timeline 0 during the 1960s are common to all BTTF timelines and are listed only once. Events that occur prior to a timeline split date are of course identical to those described in the lower-numbered timeline.

The multiple Back to the Future timelines.
The multiple Back to the Future timelines.

[edit] Timeline 0

This is the original, unaltered timeline. In this timeline, Biff becomes George's boss and continues bullying him.

[edit] 1850s

[edit] 1860s

  • 1861
    • Dates unknown: The earliest of Doc's emergency money is printed.
  • 1866
    • Date unknown: Eleven-year-old Clara comes down with diphtheria and is quarantined for three months. As a result, her father places a telescope next to her bed for her to use, which sparks her lifelong interest in astronomy and science.

[edit] 1870s

[edit] 1880s

  • 1880
    • Date unknown: Around this year Seamus McFly, his wife Maggie McFly and his brother Martin emigrate from Ireland to the United States. Based on Seamus saying that his brother was stabbed in Virginia City, Nevada, the McFlys might have taken a few years to get to California, settling in a few other places along the way.
  • 1883
    • Sunday, November 18th: Railroads throughout the United States officially adopt Standard Time on “The Day of Two Noons”. On that day millions of Americans become “time travelers” as they reset their local clocks to conform to the new standard at exactly 12:00 p.m. According to the New York Herald, "Those in the eastern half of the (Eastern Time) zone are, as it were, 'living a little of their lives over again' but those on the other side are thrown, some of them as much as half an hour, into the future." When Hill Valley gets its courthouse clock in two years, it will be set to Pacific Standard Time.
  • 1884
  • 1885
    • April: William Sean McFly born, first son to Seamus and Maggie McFly and the first McFly born in America.
    • Saturday, August 29th: There is a meeting of the townspeople over who will pick up the new schoolteacher on the 4th. No one there at that moment volunteers, so Clara will have to manage for herself.
    • Friday, September 4th: A snake “spooks” the horses pulling the wagon of Clara Clayton. They ride madly into Shonash Ravine, killing Miss Clayton instantly. This casts a pall over the town’s 20th anniversary festival. The ravine where she died will be renamed in her memory, Clayton Ravine.
    • Saturday, September 5th: As part of Hill Valley’s muted anniversary festivities, the new courthouse clock, which arrived on the same train as the late Clara Clayton, is started at exactly eight o’clock PM PST. Photographs with the clock are offered to townspeople wishing to pose with the new timepiece. The clock will remain in faithful service to Hill Valley for the next seven decades (it is presumed the clock was briefly halted for installation atop the courthouse).
  • 1886
    • Date unknown: The railroad bridge over Clayton Ravine is completed as scheduled.

[edit] 1900s

[edit] 1910s

  • 1910
    • Date unknown: Marty's grandfather and Lorraine's father, Sam Baines, is born.
  • 1914
    • Date unknown (though could be as late as 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I) Due to the war, Doc's father changes his family's name from "Von Braun" to "Brown."
  • 1915
    • Date unknown: Marty's grandmother and Lorraine's mother, Stella [Baines], is born.

[edit] 1920s

  • 1923
    • Date unknown: Gray's, the future publishers of Gray's Sports Almanac, is founded.

[edit] 1930s

  • 1931
    • Date unknown: A History of Hill Valley, 1850-1930 is published.
    • Date unknown: At age 11, young Emmett Brown reads the works of Jules Verne for the first time and decides to dedicate his life to science.

[edit] 1940s

  • 1942
    • Date unknown: Milton Baines is born to Sam and Stella Baines.
    • November 19: Calvin Richard Klein, American fashion designer (and Marty's alter ego in 1955 Timeline 2) is born.
  • 1947
    • Date unknown: Suitable parts (possibly transistors) for Doc's time-circuits are invented.
  • 1949
    • Date unknown: Sally Baines is born to Sam and Stella Baines.

[edit] 1950s

  • 1950
    • Date unknown: 12-year-old George McFly tries standing up for his friend Billy Stockhausen, but fails to do so.
  • 1951
    • Date unknown: Toby Baines is born to Sam and Stella Baines.
  • 1954
    • Date unknown: Joey Baines is born to Sam and Stella Baines.
    • Date unknown: George McFly reads How to Win Friends and Influence People.
    • Autumn: the copy of Fantastic Story that George is reading in 1955 is published.
  • 1955
    • Date unknown: Old Man Peabody tries to breed pine trees on his farm. He has twin pines.
    • Saturday, November 5th:
      • Doc Brown slips off his toilet whilst hanging a clock and has a vision of the flux capacitor.
      • While spying on a girl (Lorraine Baines) changing, visible through her window, George McFly slips and falls out of a tree into the street right in front of Sam Baines' car. Baines takes him in, and his daughter Lorraine takes care of George. The two fall in love. Lorraine will tell her kids about this someday.
    • Saturday, November 12th:
      • George takes Lorraine to the dance. There, they kiss for the first time, despite George’s embarrassment at the hands of Dixon.
      • At 10:04 p.m., lightning strikes the clocktower, damaging and stopping the seven-decade-old timepiece. There are no immediate witnesses to this event. Despite numerous attempts, repairs to the clock are unsuccessful. The ledge of the clocktower remains intact, with no cracks in it. Doc Brown attaches no cosmic significance to this event despite his experiences exactly a week earlier.
  • 1956
    • Date unknown: The youngest Baines sibling is born to Sam and Stella Baines (name and sex are never mentioned, but Stella is very pregnant in 1955).
    • Date unknown: Lyon Estates, the future home of George and Lorraine McFly and their kids in 1985, is completed.
  • 1958
    • Monday, January 6th: Chuck Berry records the single "Johnny B. Goode."
    • Wednesday, March 26th: Biff Tannen turns 21, the legal gambling age. He’s not likely to bet on anything if it’s not a sure thing, however.
    • 1958 model year: Toyota begins exports to the U.S. market, starting on the West Coast. Earliest possible date for Statler Motors to take on the franchise.

[edit] 1960s

  • 1962
    • Wednesday, August 1st: Doc Brown's mansion burns down, except the detached garage, which Doc moves into.
    • Date unknown: Doc sells off the rest of the land.
  • 1963
    • Date unknown: Dave McFly is born to George and Lorraine McFly.
  • 1964
    • Date unknown: Riverside Drive, the street of Doc Brown's residence, is renamed John F. Kennedy Drive.
  • 1966
    • Date unknown: Linda McFly is born to George and Lorraine McFly.
    • End of 1966 model year: Studebaker halts all remaining automobile production, affecting Statler Motors' business.

[edit] 1970s

  • 1973
    • Date unknown: Ito Fujitsu is born. In Timeline 2, he will be Marty's boss in 2015.
    • Date unknown: No recognition for George McFly, who labors thanklessly at an unnamed company where he must complete written reports; if not now, his supervisor will eventually be Biff Tannen
  • 1976
    • Date unknown: 8-year-old Marty accidentally sets fire to the living room rug.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1980s
    • Date unknown: Marty and Doc meet and become friends. According to the original Part I script, Doc shows up at Marty's house and hires Marty to sweep his garage in the year 1983. Doc gave Marty total access to his record collection, and they became friends.
  • 1981
    • Date unknown: The DeLorean motor car that Doc Brown ends up buying is first manufactured.
  • 1982
    • Date unknown: Pepsi Free, the drink Marty asks for in 1955, is introduced.
  • 1983
    • Diet Pepsi Free, the brand variety of soda sitting on Marty's bedside table in 1985, is introduced.
    • Sunday, May 22nd: Doc Brown is commended and wins an award. Ronald Reagan announces he will run for a second term in office.
  • 1984
    • June: Linda McFly graduates in the Class of '84.
  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 12th: Libyan terrorists steal plutonium from the local power plant for Doc, but it is dismissed by the FBI as a "simple clerical error".
    • Friday, October 25th:
      • Doc asks Marty to meet him at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 a.m. next morning.
      • Marty fails his audition with his band, The Pinheads.
      • Marty admires a black Toyota 4x4 at the Statler Toyota dealership (a Statler Studebaker dealership in 1955, and Statler’s Fine Horses in 1885).
      • Lorraine's brother Joey fails to make parole again.
    • Saturday, October 26:
      • The DeLorean's time circuits as they appeared one minute after the first demonstration.
        The DeLorean's time circuits as they appeared one minute after the first demonstration.
        From about 1:18 a.m. to 1:35 a.m., in the parking lot of the Twin Pines Mall, Doc demonstrates his new time machine. His dog Einstein becomes the world's first time traveller at 1:20 a.m.. This event brings Timeline 1 into existence, and the current timeline fades away.
        As Einstein's time journey had little to no impact on history, events listed after this point are those that would have followed if Marty’s time journey had not taken place.
  • 1986
    • June: Marty and Jennifer graduate from Hill Valley High School.

[edit] 1990s

  • 1990s
    • Date unknown: Latest possible decade for retirement of Mr Strickland, the latest in a series of Stricklands who enact discipline in their livelihoods.
  • 1992
    • Date unknown: Roberta Needles, older daughter of Douglas, is born.
  • 1994
    • Date unknown: Amy Needles, younger daughter of Douglas, is born.
  • 1996
    • Date unknown: Griff Tannen is born.
    • Date unknown: Rafe "Data" Unger, future gang member of Griff's, is born.
  • 1997
    • Date unknown: Leslie "Spike" O'Malley, future gang member of Griff's, is born.
    • Date unknown: Chester "Whitey" Nogura, future gang member of Griff's, is born.
  • 1998
    • Date unknown: Bottoms Up!, a plastic surgery place, opens in Courthouse Square.

[edit] 2000s

  • 2001
    • Date unknown: Gray's Sports Almanac is published.
  • 2000s - 2010s
    • Date unknown: Continuing a national trend, the Hill Valley local newspaper closes or sells its printing and news-gathering operations to USA Today to create yet another local edition of the nationwide newspaper. The local newspaper is becoming obsolete as national chains with thousands of local editions take over.
    • Date unknown: Invention of: hover conversion, Mr. Fusion, the Black & Decker hydrator, the Mattel hoverboard, power shoelaces and self-drying jackets, skyways, rejuvenation clinics, suspended-animation kennels, automated gas stations, automated dog-walking leashes, thumbprint ID verifications, the 300+ channel universe, automated hovering news units (as used by USA Today), roll-down TV sets (the McFly home runs the Scenery Channel on it in a window).
    • Date unknown: The United States abolishes the trade of lawyers, allowing the justice system to move with far greater speed and efficiency. The National Weather Service develops extremely detailed forecasting ability (to the minute).
    • Date unknown: Relations with Vietnam improve and now there are promotions to surf there
    • Date unknown: Pepsi introduces Pepsi Perfect, a vitamin enriched cola (Marty would have ordered this from the video waiter at the Café 80's).

[edit] 2010s

[edit] Timeline 1

This is the timeline brought into existence by Einstein's short time journey and subsequently erased by Marty's time journey. Had Marty not left for 1955, the timeline would have continued unaltered. Given the negligeable impact of Einstein's one-minute trip, the future of this timeline would have been identical to Timeline 0.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 26:
      • At 1:21 a.m., Doc's dog Einstein arrives, following a one-minute jump from 1:20 a.m. in Timeline 0.
      • At 1:33 a.m., Doctor Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown is shot dead by Libyan terrorists.
      • At 1:35 a.m., Marty flees from the Libyans in the DeLorean and accidentally departs 1985 for 1955 by accelerating to 88 mph. His arrival there brings Timeline 2 into existence, and Timeline 1 fades away.

[edit] Timeline 2

This is the timeline brought into existence by Marty's accidental time journey into 1955. It is the timeline that is current at the end of the first movie, before Doc takes Marty and Jennifer into 2015 to try to change it back. In this timeline, George becomes an author and Biff becomes a car detailer.

[edit] 1950s

  • 1955
    • Saturday, November 5th:
      • Marty McFly arrives in 1955 from Timeline 1, on Old Man Peabody's farm, and knocks down one of Old Man Peabody's twin pine trees.
      • Marty interferes with the first meeting of George McFly and Lorraine Baines by pushing George out of the way of Sam Baines's car, getting hit instead of George.
      • Marty finds the young Doc Brown and shows him the time machine from thirty years in Doc’s future. Its plutonium is depleted, however, rendering it useless for time travel.
    • Sunday, November 6th: Doc learns that Marty has interfered with his parents' first meeting and that he and his siblings will be “erased from existence” unless Marty can get them together.
    • Monday, November 7th: Marty, as "Calvin Klein", goes to Hill Valley High School to try and get George and Lorraine together, but she has developed a crush on Marty instead of George. Biff Tannen is not amused by this development.
    • Tuesday, November 8th:
      • Marty, in a radiation suit as "Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan", visits George to try and make him take Lorraine to the dance that Saturday.
      • George reports his weird alien experience to “Calvin,” telling him that Darth Vader said he would melt his brain if he didn't ask out Lorraine. After George helps Marty open a Pepsi bottle, they go into the cafe where Lorraine was with her friends. Marty lets George talk with Lorraine, the plan was successful at first, until Biff and his gang interferes. Upset at this, Marty trips Biff, making Biff and his gang chase him on Biff's car all around Courthouse Square. The chase ends with Biff's car crashing into a manure truck, further discouraging George. Lorraine will shortly ask Marty to the dance instead. Biff’s car has its first recorded encounter with a manure truck.
    • Wednesday, November 9th: George and Marty come up with a plan for Saturday night that will see George become a "fighter" for Lorraine Baines.
    • Saturday, November 12th:
      • Biff, who’s picking up a tidied-up car downtown, boasts to Lorraine that he will marry her someday. She has just picked up her outfit for the dance at the frock shop, and rebuffs his advances: “I wouldn’t marry you if you had a million dollars”. Biff jumps into his car to go home to get ready for the evening. There is nobody with him.
      • Marty observes that Dave, and then Linda, have disappeared from his photograph from the future, indicating that the current timeline has already changed into a timeline in which they will never be born. He looks noticeably concerned.
      • Marty borrows Doc’s car to take Lorraine to the dance, but Biff steals her away. George arrives while Marty is suddenly absent. George punches Biff before he has his way with Lorraine, but she hasn’t fallen for him quite yet. George and Marty have more to do before Marty’s future is restored, and Marty’s photo proves it. Marty himself begins to be “erased from existence.”
      • While George and Lorraine are finally beginning to enjoy themselves at the dance, Dixon cuts in. George nevertheless takes what is rightly his and the future Mr. & Mrs. McFly finally share their first kiss. The timeline in which George's and Lorraine's three children were never born has been averted, as Marty observes from his photo. Marty offers additional advice to his young parents in order to assure he'll have a nice life back in '85.
      • At 10:04 p.m., lightning strikes the clocktower, and Marty travels back to 1985 in the time machine, via a complex utilization of the energy of the lightning strike itself devised by Doc Brown, and thanks to Marty McFly’s precise foreknowledge of this local historic event. There are no reported immediate witnesses to this event. Despite repeated attempts, the clock is never successfully repaired; in fact, some Hill Valley residents voice a desire for the clock’s preservation as is (along with the damaged ledge below it) to memorialize the unusual occurrence.
      • 10:05 p.m.. The young Doc Brown returns home, unnoticed, having witnessed the earliest successful demonstration of time travel in human history. He is carrying a note Marty has handed him in lieu of verbal information about his own future, but is hesitant about reading it. While he has torn it up, he does not discard it. Doc must wait almost three decades before acquiring the technology required to build the device he has just seen with his own eyes, and is careful enough not to further interfere with McFly family events as they unfold over the next decade (see Timeline 1 above for these events, which are for the most part unaltered, and will also occur as part of Timeline 7 below).

[edit] 1970s

  • 1973
    • Thursday, March 15th: George McFly wins an award for his writing.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 26:
      • At 1:24 a.m., Marty arrives from 1955. The rematerializing DeLorean fails to stop and crashes into the front of the Town Theatre (now used for a Christian revival congregation). He then runs from the town square over to the Lone Pine Mall to witness the departure of his one-week-younger self, and finds out Doc survived because he was forewarned by the note Marty gave Doc just moments ago in 1955 about the Libyans (and that Doc finally had the courage to read in his long interim). Doc retrieves the time machine before any witnesses arrive to the rundown square, and no charges are lodged against driver or scientist.
      • Doc takes Marty back to his home, and then travels to 2015. Marty does not notice the cosmetic changes at his home.
      • (Saturday morning) Marty awakes from a badly-needed night’s rest to discover he has a much-improved family life and circumstances, including ownership of a black Toyota four-by-four. His father also seems to have become an author (see below).
      • Later that same morning, Doc returns from 2015 and crashes the DeLorean into the garbage cans in the McFlys' driveway. Doc then informs Marty that "something has got to be done about (his) kids." Doc then proceeds to take Marty (and Jennifer by circumstance) forward to 2015, bringing Timeline 3 into existence. However, since that timeline commences in 2015, the current timeline continues unaltered until then, except that Biff Tannen is a witness to the DeLorean’s departure. At the characters’ arrival in 2015, Timeline 2 fades away, and Timeline 3 takes effect.
        The events described below are those that would occur if Doc does not take Jennifer and Marty into the future.
    • Sunday, October 27th: Marty races Needles and crashes into a Rolls-Royce, causing his future to be rotten (see entries below).
    • October/November: George McFly's first novel, A Match Made in Space, is published. The cover alludes to young George, young Lorraine, and "Darth Vader" (Marty's anti-radiation suit, utilized as a costume in 1955).

[edit] 1990s

  • 1990s
    • Date unknown: Marty and Jennifer are married at the Chapel O' Love.
    • Date unknown: Marlene McFly is born to Marty and Jennifer McFly.
  • 1998

[edit] 2010s

  • 2015
    • Wednesday, October 21st:
      • Marty Jr. is pushed by Griff to participate in a crime.
      • The 47-year-old Marty, dared by Needles, illegally lets Needles scan his card, and subsequently is fired by Ito Fujitsu in typical real-estate mogul fashion: “Read my fax!”
    • Thursday, October 22nd: Marty Jr. is tried, convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail for a robbery.
    • Wednesday, October 28th: Marlene McFly attempts to break her brother out of prison. She is sentenced to 20 years in jail.
    • Dates unknown: Doc spends an unknown amount of time in 2015 and later. While he's there, he outfits the time machine with a Mr. Fusion and a hover conversion, undergoes personal rejuvenation surgery, and learns as much as he can about Marty Jr.'s meeting with Griff on the 21st. Eventually, Doc leaves for 1985 to fetch Marty and Jennifer. However, he never returns to 2015, so the following events also occur without alteration. He possibly visits Marty and finds out about Marty's accident on October 27, 1985.

[edit] 2030s

  • 2030
    • Date unknown: Marty Jr. is released from prison.
  • 2035
    • Date unknown: Marlene is released from prison.

[edit] Timeline 3

This is the timeline which Doc attempts to bring into existence with Marty and Jennifer's help, in the beginning of BTTF Part II. In this timeline, the fate of the McFly children ought to have been greatly improved. Unfortunately, “Old” Biff's stealing the DeLorean and traveling back to 1955 retroactively changes the events of this timeline and bring Timeline 4 into existence instead. Biff quickly returns the DeLorean to 2015 undetected (before any past alterations have taken place), and Doc, Marty and Jennifer depart moments before it fades away.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 26th:
      • Biff Tannen, whilst pausing from cleaning Marty's 4x4 Toyota for him, witnesses the DeLorean hovering briefly before taking off for the future.

[edit] 2010s

  • 2015
    • Wednesday, October 21st:
      • Doc, Marty and Jennifer arrive in 2015 to save Marty Jr. from Griff. Marty poses as Marty Jr. and turns down Griff's proposal. After the hover board chase which ensues, only Griff and his gang are arrested for damaging the courthouse. At some point Marty acquires a Grey’s Sports Almanac with the intention of using it to his advantage once he returns to his own decade.
      • “Old” Biff, age 78, who has been waiting for this opportunity for three decades, absconds with the DeLorean and heads back to 1955 with Marty’s sports almanac, which Doc angrily threw into a convenient trash receptacle, bringing Timeline 4 into existence six decades in the past.
      • Biff returns the DeLorean to 2015 shortly thereafter without Doc and Marty immediately noticing. He is able to do this because his younger self is not immediately able to act on the knowledge contained in the almanac, so the past remains unchanged until 1958 arrives. However, Timeline 4 has been brought into existence between the time Biff leaves 1955 and returns to 2015, and he either collapses from fatigue or fades from existence after having been presumably murdered by Lorraine in 1996. (see below)
      • Doc, Marty and Jennifer depart for the "alternate 1985", bringing Timeline 5 into existence.

It is presumed the following event(s) would take place if events erasing Timeline 3 did not occur.

  • 2016
    • June: Marty McFly, Jr. graduates Hill Valley High School (He has no criminal record).
  • (Date unknown)
    • Old Biff Tannen dies of natural causes, unmarried and unwealthy.

[edit] Timeline 4

This is the timeline Old Biff brings into existence in 1955 by arriving from 2015 in the stolen DeLorean, almanac in hand. It is replaced with a virtually identical Timeline 5 on October 26, 1985 when Doc, Marty and Jennifer arrive from 2015, and observe the damage Biff has accomplished.

[edit] 1950s

  • 1955
    • Saturday, November 12th:
      • The 78-year-old Biff Tannen arrives from 2015 sometime that morning with Gray’s Almanac. He hides the DeLorean in an undetermined location and sets out to find his younger self, who has just survived an automotive encounter with a manure truck, creating a lasting memory. Young Biff will have to pick up the car this morning downtown, as old Biff recalls correctly.
      • Young Biff boasts to Lorraine that he will marry her someday. She has just picked up her outfit for the dance at the frock shop nearby, and rebuffs his advances. Biff is about to jump into his car to go home to get ready for the evening, when he encounters an elderly stranger occupying the driver’s seat. The stranger soon informs him, “Today’s your lucky day.”
      • Old Biff, entirely in secret, demonstrates the power of the almanac and convinces his younger self to hold on to it: “Keep it in a safe”. He also informs him to kill anyone who asks about the almanac, specifically "some kid" or "a crazy, wild-eyed old man who claims to be a scientist" (referring to Marty and Doc, respectively). He departs 1955 at exactly 6:38 p.m. to return the DeLorean undetected, not realizing his younger self might eventually lose the almanac. Doc Brown will fail to notice Old Biff’s departure time on the time readouts in the DeLorean, having distracted himself with thoughts of women and the old West.
  • 1958
    • Wednesday, March 26th: Biff Tannen, now at the legal age of 21, wins his first million on a horse race using the sports almanac, which he has managed to hold on to successfully.
  • 1959
    • Wednesday, October 14th: Biff Tannen wins another large sum of money at a sports event. He is seen smiling on the cover page of the next day's edition of the newspaper, with the almanac partially visible in his pocket.
    • Date unknown: Biff Tannen wins again and again, gaining the nickname, "The Luckiest Man On Earth."

[edit] 1970s

  • 1973
    • Thursday, March 15th: George McFly is shot dead by Biff Tannen on his way to pick up his writing award. He was against BiffCo's policies.
    • Date unknown: Biff Tannen marries Lorraine McFly and becomes stepfather to Dave, Linda and Marty McFly, shipping Marty off to boarding schools overseas. Match, Skinhead and 3-D are still Biff's cronies.
    • Date unknown: The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is repealed, presumably due to lobbying by the alternate Biff, so that Richard Nixon not only avoids impeachment over Watergate, but also can run for more than two terms as President of the United States. The Vietnam War also continues beyond 1973, possibly due to Biff having invested in defense contractors and wanting to keep this profit supply going.
  • 1979
    • Date unknown: Biff Tannen's lobbying is successful as the state of California (or perhaps all of the United States) legalizes gambling.
    • Date unknown: Hill Valley High School is burnt down.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1983
    • Sunday, May 22nd: Doc Brown is committed after being declared legally insane. Richard Nixon announces he will run for a fifth term in office, vowing to end the Vietnam War by 1985. BiffCo's representatives announce that the company is going to build a new dioxin plant in Hill Valley.
      The following event(s) are presumed to occur if Marty, Doc, and Jennifer do not arrive from 2015

[edit] 1990s

  • 1996
    • Date unknown: Something causes Biff's death, but exact details are unknown. A theory suggested by the Bobs says that Lorraine found out Biff had killed George, and shot him out of revenge. This would seem to have the effect of erasing Old Biff from existence in 2015, as depicted in a scene deleted from BTTF Part II.

[edit] Timeline 5

This is the alternate timeline brought into existence when Marty, Doc and Jennifer return from 2015. This is referred to by Doc as 1985A, which is depicted in BTTF Part II. The key difference between this timeline and Timeline 4 is the simultaneous presence of two Martys (his doppelganger overseas at boarding school), two Docs (his doppelganger committed to a mental institution) and the alternate Jennifer, who is still unconscious from what she has witnessed in 2015 (her 1985A doppelganger, if she has one, is never seen or mentioned).

[edit] 1980s

  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 26th: Doc, Marty and Jennifer arrive back from 2015 at 9:00 p.m. and find out things have radically changed (see Timeline 4 above). Marty is caught by Match, Skinhead and 3-D, meets the radically alternate 1985 versions of his mother and Biff Tannen, and is a direct witness to Biff’s way with women.
    • Sunday, October 27th: Doc deduces what has happened in the past with Biff and the almanac from the evidence Biff has carelessly left behind, but he has no way of knowing when and where the transfer occurred. A courageous Marty confronts Biff about his secret document and easily extracts the needed information from the smug mogul. Biff, recalling the advice given by his future self, grabs his gun to kill Marty. A chase with Match, Skinhead and 3-D naturally ensues, and Marty escapes once again after learning it was Biff who murdered his father.
    • Doc and Marty head back to 1955 at 2:42 a.m. to put the history they remember back on track. Jennifer Parker is left behind, as Doc surmises that she will not be erased when 1985A is. At this point, Timeline 5 fades away, to be replaced by the nascent Timeline 6.

[edit] Timeline 6

This is the key timeline brought into existence when Doc and Marty arrive in 1955 to relieve Biff of his newly acquired almanac from the future, thus preventing Timeline 4 and Timeline 5 from coming into existence, but without disturbing Timeline 2 as Marty has previously accomplished. This is the timeline that is depicted in the "1955" part of BTTF Part II. For purposes of clarification, this timeline can be thought of as a “patched” version of Timeline 2, with double Docs and Martys. Note: this is the most volatile timeline of the trilogy, since it is tied to events depicted or alluded to in all three parts of “Back to the Future”. It also bears noting that at some point during this one-day period, three instances of Doc’s DeLorean are present in Hill Valley simultaneously.

[edit] 1950s

  • 1955
    • Saturday, November 12th:
      • At 6 a.m., Doc and Marty arrive from Timeline 5 in a DeLorean technologically improved than the one (with depleted plutonium) in which the younger Marty has already arrived (Timeline 2). They have left Jennifer Parker safely asleep at home in 1985A, as Doc surmises that she will not be erased by any changes to the future that they will make. He also advises Marty that Biff’s initial acquisition of the almanac must not be interfered with, so that “Old” Biff will return the time machine to 2015 thinking he’s succeeded.
      • Morning: “Old” Biff arrives (in yet another instance of the DeLorean) to transfer the almanac to his younger self. He locates Biff downtown.
      • Young Biff Tannen boasts to Lorraine that he will marry her someday. She has just picked up her outfit for the dance at the frock shop, and rebuffs his advances. Biff is about to jump into his car to go home to get ready for the evening, when he encounters an elderly stranger occupying the driver’s seat. The stranger says he has a way for Biff to eventually get Lorraine to the altar. Young Biff fails to recognize his older self, even though he’s mysteriously able to start Biff’s car.
      • Marty McFly is an intimate witness to Old Biff’s demonstration of the power of the almanac, but he does not interfere, as Doc has advised. Young Biff tells his older self he’ll “...take a look at it.”
      • 6:38 p.m.: Thinking he’s done enough to change the future, and intending to escape detection, “Old” Biff departs in the DeLorean to the same moment he departed in 2015 (see Timeline 3).
      • Evening: A more mature and foreknowledgeable Marty fights off Match, Skinhead and 3-D and keeps them from jumping the naive Marty (from Timeline 2), allowing the events of that timeline to occur as they had before (i.e., as Marty recalls it from his point of view). Marty avoids any direct contact with his day younger self, as does Doc Brown with his younger counterpart.
      • Evening: After much wasted time and effort, Marty ultimately retrieves the almanac from Biff’s car and burns it, causing this timeline to fade back to (or revert to) Timeline 3. Marty and Doc are able to visually confirm the erasure of 1985A from items they’ve retrieved from that alternate future.
      • A few minutes before 10:00 p.m.: The hover-converted DeLorean from 2015 and 1985A, with Doc on board, gets unexpectedly struck by lightning just outside Lyon Estates and sent back to January 1, 1885 due to an on-board malfunction Doc neglected to correct. This brings Timeline 7 into existence, seven decades further in the past. For a few brief moments before the new timeline’s effects are felt in 1955, Marty is stranded without any time vehicle whatsoever; they have all departed by 10:05 p.m. But a different vehicle has been hidden for him for a long time (see below).
      • 10:00 p.m.: A Western Union worker arrives to give Marty a letter that was given to the office with the exact instructions to give it to Marty McFly, outside Lyon Estates, during that exact moment of November 12th, 1955. Reading the letter, which was from Doc Brown, Marty gets to know that after the lightning struck, Doc Brown ended up in 1885. Immediately, Marty goes to meet 1955's Doc Brown to ask him for help; he arrives to him seconds after the Marty from Timeline 3 went back to 1985. 1955's Doc Brown faints and Marty takes him back to his house.

[edit] Timeline 7

This is the timeline Doc and Marty exist in, separated by 7 decades of time, at the end of BTTF Part II and the beginning of Part III (i.e., before Marty’s trip back to 1885). It is a timeline in which Doc lives in 1885, without Marty, for only eight months and almost seven days. As it seems the careful Doc's presence has little impact on past history (until 1955 when his DeLorean is unearthed), this timeline is nearly identical to Timeline 2 with Timeline 6.

[edit] 1880s

  • 1885
    • Thursday, January 1st: Dr. Emmett Brown accidentally arrives from Timeline 6. Stranded in the past, he sets up as a blacksmith in Hill Valley.
    • Saturday, July 4th: Doc passes out after drinking one shot of whiskey at the 4th of July celebrations.
    • Saturday, August 29th: There is a meeting of the townspeople over who will pick up the new schoolteacher on the 4th. Doc volunteers.
    • Tuesday, September 1st: Doc buries the broken DeLorean time machine in the Delgado mine. He writes a letter to be delivered personally by Western Union to Marty McFly on November 12th 1955 at exactly 10 p.m..
    • Friday, September 4th: Doc picks up Clara Clayton. It is love at first sight. Unknowingly, Doc also prevents Clara's death that day, and Shonash Ravine is never renamed Clayton Ravine in her memory.
    • Saturday, September 5th: The Hill Valley festival. A photographer takes a portrait of Doc posing next to the new courthouse clock (this photo is discovered by Marty and young Doc in 1955 at the library). While Doc dances with Clara, Buford Tannen shoots him in the back.
    • Monday, September 7th: Doc dies of the bullet wound Tannen caused, and is buried in Boot Hill Cemetery.

[edit] 1950s

  • 1955
    • Saturday, November 12th:
      • In this timeline there are now four instances of the DeLorean present simultaneously (the one Marty brought here to create Timeline 2, the one Biff brought here to create Timeline 4, the one Doc and Marty brought to create Timeline 6, and finally the one that Doc hid in the past after he created Timeline 7)
      • Shortly before 10 p.m., a vehicle driven by a Western Union agent arrives at the entrance to Lyon Estates. The agent delivers to Marty, on time at that specified location, in the pouring rain, the letter Doc dispatched in 1885.
      • At approximately 10:04 p.m., lightning having just struck the clocktower, Marty scares the young Doc by "returning" on foot seconds after Doc sent the younger Marty back to the future, in effect creating an unexpected closed loop (from the young Doc’s point of view). Doc utters "Great Scott!" and suddenly faints. Marty drives the unconscious Doc back to his house in Doc's car.
    • Sunday, November 13th:
      • Young Doc reads the soggy old letter his 30-year-older self wrote seventy years in the past. He is also holding the much fresher note from the younger Marty about the Libyans. Presumably the Western Union dispatch, along with the next day’s revelations, help strengthen young Doc’s decision to alter his own future with such key foreknowledge, although it is clearly not the deciding factor- in Timeline 6 (that is, Timeline 2 coming about without Doc's trip to 1885), Doc decides to read Marty's letter without the influence of the Western Union dispatch.
      • Marty insists on going back to 1885 to rescue his friend.
    • Monday, November 14th: Marty and Doc uncover the DeLorean with repair instructions and his walkie talkie from the Delgado mine near Boot Hill Cemetery, where the older Doc Brown was buried in 1885. As fate would have it, they also find Doc's grave and learn about Buford Tannen. They elect to photograph the headstone, as it will serve as a “ripple-effect” indicator of Marty’s success in 1885.
    • Tuesday, November 15th: Doc repairs and “soups up” the unearthed DeLorean, using tubes as well as early transistors to provide time-travel capability. He also installs fresh oversized batteries on the walkie talkies.
    • Wednesday, November 16th: Marty leaves 1955 and heads back to 1885 to rescue Doc. This act initiates the ultimate timeline, Timeline 8. Young Doc is left behind in this timeline undisturbed to wait a few decades until the DeLorean is built, and avoids further contact with the McFlys until the 1980s as outlined above (Timeline 0 and Timeline 2).

[edit] Timeline 8

This timeline comes into existence when Marty arrives in 1885, to try to prevent the events that lead to Doc's death in Timeline 7 at the hands of Buford Tannen. It is this timeline in which Doc and Marty appear for most of BTTF Part III. It is also the final timeline depicted in the trilogy, as the DeLorean will no longer travel backwards in time. Since Marty chooses not to race Needles upon his return to 1985, the future is changed once again, and the alternate futures Doc and Marty have experienced in Timeline 2 and Timeline 3 are erased by this timeline. Note: Two DeLoreans exist in this time line until Marty returns to 1985.

[edit] 1880s

  • 1885
    • Wednesday, September 2nd: Marty McFly arrives in 1885 to rescue Doc from impending doom and Native American Horseback-archers, who were on the run of the Federal Forces, shoot the fuel line in the time machine, leaving the DeLorean with no fuel at all. He later meets his ancestors Seamus and Maggie McFly, and assumes the name Clint Eastwood.
    • Thursday, September 3rd: Marty runs into Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, great grandfather of Biff Tannen, and upsets him, causing Tannen to nearly hang Marty. Doc saves Marty in time. Marty informs Doc of his impending death involving Clara Clayton and Buford Tannen. Aware that he will fall in love with Clara Clayton and worried about changing his future, Doc decides not to pick her up, as he has already volunteered to do five days ago.
    • Friday, September 4th: Doc tries repairing the DeLorean, and accidentally saves the life of Clara Clayton anyway. It is love at first sight.
    • Saturday, September 5th: The Hill Valley festival. Doc and Marty takes a photograph posing next to the new courthouse clock (this photo is given to Marty in 1985 by Doc at the spot where the DeLorean was destroyed by a locomotive near Eastwood Ravine). While Doc and Clara dance, Buford Tannen tries to shoot Doc, but Marty interferes and saves him. He then checks his photograph from 1955, and gets a shock. The future of timeline 8 in which Doc is killed is replaced by one in which Marty, aka “Clint Eastwood”, is likely to be killed.
    • Sunday, September 6th: Doc and Marty prepare to go back to the future. Doc says goodbye to Clara and tells her the truth, but she doesn't believe him. They part on poor terms.
    • Monday, September 7th:
      • Marty has a showdown scheduled with Tannen; Marty and Doc are ready to escape through the back door when Tannen calls Marty "yellow". Marty still decides not to face Tannen, showing an incredible amount of growth from a mere day earlier, and is about to walk away when Tannen's gang gets ahold of Doc and threatens to shoot him.
      • Marty then decides to face Tannen, and survives due to a trick learned from the Clint Eastwood movie A Fistful of Dollars (which was being watched by Biff in 1985A, in timeline 5). Again Marty checks the photo he has brought, and is relieved. The future of timeline 8 in which Marty is killed in replaced by one in which both Doc and Marty survive.
      • Meanwhile, Clara Clayton, on a train bound for San Francisco, overhears a passenger talking about the heartsick Doc Brown; her belief restored, she stops the train and jumps off to find Doc. She discovers clues at the blacksmith shop and rides on horseback towards the spur line Doc and Marty are using. She must reach Doc before he vanishes forever.
      • Doc and Marty are using a hijacked train's locomotive to push the DeLorean up to 88 mph toward Shonash Ravine so they may both go back to the future (1985). Marty succeeds in doing so, but Doc, who has gone to Clara's rescue on the accelerating locomotive, and Clara are forced to stay behind. Doc now has the hoverboard and one of the walkie talkies. Since "Clint" was observed stealing the engine, and is presumed to have gone down with it, he enters the town's folklore as the man who beat Mad Dog Tannen, and Shonash Ravine is renamed Eastwood Ravine.
    • Tuesday, December 15th: Doc and Clara are married.
  • 1887
    • Date unknown: Doc and Clara's elder son, Jules, is born.
  • 1888
    • Monday, October 29th: Doc and Clara's younger son, Verne, is born.

[edit] 1890s

  • 1895
    • Date unknown: Doc finishes building his second time machine, out of a steam locomotive, and he, Clara, Jules and Verne make a trek to the future (2015 or later), where he retrofits the time machine with a hover conversion and other necessary modifications.

[edit] 1980s

  • 1985
    • Sunday, October 27th:
      • Marty McFly returns from 1885 at 11 a.m., and the stopped DeLorean is almost immediately demolished head-on by a diesel locomotive approaching the Eastwood Ravine Bridge in the opposite direction. Marty escapes. He returns home to see everything is back to normal. He then drives over to check on his sleeping sweetheart. She is just as Doc predicted.
      • In a virtuosic display of uncharacteristic self-restraint, Marty decides not to race Needles, and avoids crashing into a Rolls Royce, thus erasing the future experienced in Timeline 2. Jennifer surprises Marty with a fax she retrieved from 2015 in that very timeline, and as it “ripples” into a blank sheet of paper, she discovers the hidden truth about time travel, exclaiming: “It erased!” Marty takes her to see the remains of the DeLorean.
      • Doc, Clara and their sons arrive at Marty’s crash site in their time locomotive to briefly check up on Marty and Jennifer, and to retrieve Doc's dog, Einstein. Jennifer and Marty show Doc the blank fax, and he dispenses some sound advice about its significance. The Brown family departs for times and places unknown.
Back to the Future trilogy
Back to the Future | Back to the Future Part II | Back to the Future Part III
Timeline | Animated Series | The Ride | Video games | Characters

Posted at 07:16 AM in Film, Philosophy, Science | Permalink


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