User Avatar Image

"You're not thinking fifth-dimensionally!"

posted by Datadog on - last edited - Viewed by 813 users

The BTTF movies always hinge themselves on the fourth-dimensional idea that time is linear, and that any changes we make can result in universe-destroying paradoxes. But I found if you approach the BTTF trilogy from a fifth-dimensional perspective (fifth-dimension, in this case, being infinite probabilities, where paradoxes are corrected by the means of multiple time-lines, so no one can ever be erased from history) the trilogy actually ends halfway through the second movie.

The first movie is fine. By accidentally traveling back in time from 1985-A, and accidentally changing the past, Marty ends up in an alternate 1985-B where his 1985-B counterpart has also accidentally gone back in time, stranding the 1985-A Marty with the 1985-B family. Marty's original time-line (1985-A) is still intact, but Marty can never return to it.

In the second movie, Doc arrives from 2015-B where Marty Jr. is arrested, but then by bringing Marty along to stop it, he changes lanes into an alternate 2015-C where Griff gets arrested instead. So far, so good, because they can still return to the 1985-B they left from, and 1985-C would pick up from there.

But then Biff steals the Delorean and goes back in time to 1955-A with the Almanac. By changing the past, he would create a completely separate 2015-D to return to where Marty and Doc don't exist. They'd still be trapped in 2015-C after rescuing Jennifer and wondering where their car disappeared to.

So even if Doc built another time machine in 2015-C, he, Marty and Jennifer wouldn't travel back to Biff's 1985-D because that time-line is only accessible from 1955-D. They'd just wind up back in 1985-B and their adventures would end. No cowboys, no Clara - just Marty and Jennifer going to the lake. Meanwhile Biff would grow fat off his money in 1985-D, and Old Biff would spend the rest of his days joy-riding around in Doc's Delorean, creating tons of new time-lines and probably having lots of adventures.

59 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • we dont know the rules of time travel so the films can make up their own rules.

    And marty and doc clearly still exist in the biffhoric timeline, they just face different timelines. Its no different than when marty returns to a different timeline at the end of part I.

  • I'm sorry, but the only fifth dimension I know of is the Twilight Zone...

    Seriously though, it's explained in the movies that when timelines are altered, they do so around Marty and Doc. So this whole 1985-A Marty taking the place of 1985-B Marty scenario doesn't happen. The only reason Marty runs into himself is that he travels back to 1955-B where he sees himself in his own earlier timeline. Plus, the timeline doesn't change instantaneously, which is why it takes a while for old Biff to disappear after the fact (as seen in the deleted scene). If what you said was true, old Biff never would've disappeared, and he would return to 2015-C. The fact that he does disappear re-enforces the fact that he's changed his own timeline (much like what happened with Doc becoming FCB) instead of creating another carbon copy of himself in another timeline.

  • @OrangeAce said: I'm sorry, but the only fifth dimension I know of is the Twilight Zone...

    Ah, I was just about to comment on that. You beat me to it.

    I guess it's my fault for not thinking eighth dimensionally.

  • [quote]So this whole 1985-A Marty taking the place of 1985-B Marty scenario doesn't happen.[/quote]

    Sure it happens. It's like in "Citizen Brown" where there's two Martins in the same time period, except the FCB Marty is off at camp. Except that when 1985-A Marty appears in 1985-B at the end of the first movie, it can be assumed that that's 1985-B Marty driving off in the Delorean in the parking lot. And since he's likely to end up changing his own past as well, 1985-B Marty will probably end up in some other unsung alternate universe while 1985-A Marty (our main character) settles comfortably into his new life in 1985-B.

    Keep in mind, I'm just exploring the hypothetical idea of a BTTF universe where there are no paradoxes and plot-holes aren't filled in with movie magic. I've been reading up on superstring theory which covers multiple dimensions of time and space and it seems like the fifth dimension of time is what theoretically disproves the idea of paradoxes, because with infinite choices and time-lines, life would just keep going. Time travel would be a mess, sure - but theoretically, any change you make to the past should just switch you over to a different time-line while the original time-line stays intact elsewhere. In other words, Biff couldn't erase his own existence if he tried.

    Yeah, I know BTTF is a fictional movie with it's own set of rules, but goshnabit - this is fun!

    [quote]I guess it's my fault for not thinking eighth dimensionally. [/quote]

    Anyone who can think eight-dimensionally is probably screaming in a padded cell right now.

  • @Datadog said: It's like in "Citizen Brown" where there's two Martins in the same time period

    Are you sure, I thought there was only Marty A in that timeline just like in the movies..

  • @Datadog said: Anyone who can think eight-dimensionally is probably screaming in a padded cell right now.

    Or on a boat bound for R'lyeh to release Great Cthulhu from his prison for the stars are right at last!!!

  • @uregobland said: Are you sure, I thought there was only Marty A in that timeline just like in the movies..

    Nope. I can't remember who it is you're talking to, but one of the characters says you're supposed to be off at Math Camp, and that you're scheduled to be back tomorrow. So Marty B (the nerdy Marty) still exists in that time-line; he just hasn't come back to Hill Valley yet, so everybody thinks you're him.

    Of course, the fact that Marty doesn't disappear but Doc does implies either a flaw in BTTF's own time travel logic, or the possibility that a higher power (Cthulhu, maybe?) is enabling Marty to exist long enough to correct the time-stream.

    Or on a boat bound for R'lyeh to release Great Cthulhu from his prison for the stars are right at last!!!

    We must consult the Necronomicon!

  • @Datadog said: Nope. I can't remember who it is you're talking to, but one of the characters says you're supposed to be off at Math Camp, and that you're scheduled to be back tomorrow. So Marty B (the nerdy Marty) still exists in that time-line; he just hasn't come back to Hill Valley yet, so everybody thinks you're him.


    Yeah, your right. Now I remember, in the second movie Marty-B went to Switserland. I get it. :D

  • @Datadog said: Nope. I can't remember who it is you're talking to, but one of the characters says you're supposed to be off at Math Camp, and that you're scheduled to be back tomorrow.

    George mentions it when you ask him if you're supposed to be somewhere.

    Of course, the fact that Marty doesn't disappear but Doc does implies either a flaw in BTTF's own time travel logic, or the possibility that a higher power (Cthulhu, maybe?) is enabling Marty to exist long enough to correct the time-stream.

    Doc disappears because in the Citizen Brown timeline, he doesn't live to be as old as he would have been had he invented the time machine. The Doc that invented the time machine also went to a rejuvenation clinic in 2015 which enabled him to add a few years onto his life. Citizen Brown did not have that luxury and dies earlier which results in the time-travelling Doc (the one in the DeLorean) to disappear.

  • Doc disappears because in the Citizen Brown timeline, he doesn't live to be as old as he would have been had he invented the time machine. The Doc that invented the time machine also went to a rejuvenation clinic in 2015 which enabled him to add a few years onto his life. Citizen Brown did not have that luxury and dies earlier which results in the time-travelling Doc (the one in the DeLorean) to disappear.

    Yeah, but then the Delorean should dissapear too. Yet it didn't..

Add Comment