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Echoes of Time Travelers

posted by Rogers on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users

There are many instances, particularly in Parts 2 and 3, where Doc or Marty travel to the past to accomplish some goal, but when they succeed in that goal, they eliminate the original purpose of going back. (Going to 1955 to retrieve the almanac, saving Doc from the west and destroying the tombstone, the list goes on.) This would seemingly be a variation of the Grandfather Paradox, as we are led to believe that BTTF exists on one constantly evolving timeline. But even though there is only one timeline, we have several different "realities" or "versions" of that timeline. (1985a, Twin Pines 1985, future where Marty gets in an accident)

The problem is that once one of these alternate realities get erased, people in
that reality aren't supposed to affect the timeline anymore. Take 2015 where Biff steals the almanac. If Old Biff from 2015 goes to 1955, only to create an alternate reality where Doc and Marty don't show up in 2015, how can he go back in time with the almanac? The answer, I think, is that no matter how many times you alter the timeline, an "echo" of older versions of time travelers must still exist to complete whatever action they are meant to complete.

To illustrate this more clearly, let's look at Part 2 when Doc and Marty go back to 1955. They see Old Biff hand over the almanac, an almanac from a version of 2015 that no longer exists. The Old Biff they see can't possibly be who Biff grows into anymore either, because once he gives Young Biff the almanac he creates 1985a. Doc and Marty would have had to take the time machine to 2015a in order for that Old Biff to even have a chance of using it. Therefore, this Old Biff should not exist. BUT HE DOES...He exists as an echo, a remnant from a destroyed reality. As soon as Old Biff drives off from 1955 at 88 mph, he'll just cease to exist because there's no timeline for him to go back to.

There are several "echos" present in the series. Once Marty goes back home in Part 3, the version of him in 1955 who travels to the Wild West must also be an echo. In BTTF the Game, there is a Citizen Brown timeline where the time machine was never invented, yet we still see Doc and Marty in a photo taken in the 30s. They were echoes.

Any thoughts on this theory?

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  • @Tornreaper said: Bullshit. If Doc faded instantly then Marty and the time machine would at least fade in a couple hours.



    Speaking of the Delorean...an interesting point we've all overlooked is that Citizen Brown spends about 6 months repairing the Delorean before traveling back to pick up Marty in Episode 4. Which means that, in one version of the FCB timeline, the Delorean actually lasted for SIX MONTHS without fading!

    This leads me to wonder if Marty would have faded AT ALL in any of the alternate timelines...

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Tornreaper said: Bullshit. If Doc faded instantly then Marty and the time machine would at least fade in a couple hours.


    Marty didn't fade in a couple of hours in 1955, despite the fact that he eliminated the chances of his birth. It took a week for him to fade because he was still in the right time period to fix the discrepencies.

    There's two ways to look at this:
    1) Marty and the DeLorean were in 1986 when Emmett Brown (Citizen Brown) was still alive, so they were in the right time period to fix the discrepencies.

    2) Marty put the spark in Citizen Brown's mind about the time machine, so time was still being written in regards to the DeLorean.

    @Tornreaper said: Speaking of the Delorean...an interesting point we've all overlooked is that Citizen Brown spends about 6 months repairing the Delorean before traveling back to pick up Marty in Episode 4. Which means that, in one version of the FCB timeline, the Delorean actually lasted for SIX MONTHS without fading!
    Once Citizen Brown fixed the time machine, the discrepancies in the timeline (that being that the DeLorean never could have existed since Emmett Brown never built it) were repaired.

  • @Jennifer said: Marty didn't fade in a couple of hours in 1955, despite the fact that he eliminated the chances of his birth. It took a week for him to fade because he was still in the right time period to fix the discrepencies.

    There's two ways to look at this:
    1) Marty and the DeLorean were in 1986 when Emmett Brown (Citizen Brown) was still alive, so they were in the right time period to fix the discrepencies.

    2) Marty put the spark in Citizen Brown's mind about the time machine, so time was still being written in regards to the DeLorean.


    Once Citizen Brown fixed the time machine, the discrepancies in the timeline (that being that the DeLorean never could have existed since Emmett Brown never built it) were repaired.



    What? You can't fix something that DOESN'T EXIST! No amount of repairing can stop something from fading out of existence. It's not possible.

    The reason why it took a week for Marty was because the dance was the junction point. The junction point for this change is the science expo which was long ago. Plus there is no reason for time to catch up with Doc instantly but longer for Marty.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Tornreaper said: What? You can't fix something that DOESN'T EXIST! No amount of repairing can stop something from fading out of existence. It's not possible.


    But the DeLorean did exist. It was still manufactured by the DeLorean motor company, regardless of Doc's intervention. The stuff that didn't exist was the Doc Brown invented gadgets, which is why the DeLorean broke down upon arrival in 1986. Although the base parts would still exist (such as the glass tubes in the flux capacitor for instance. They still exist in the Citizen Brown timeline so that's why it looks like the flux capacitor, but isn't the flux capacitor, since the Doc Brown invented stuff that actually makes it the flux capacitor hasn't been invented). Once Citizen Brown invented the time travel gadgets and installed them into the DeLorean, he fixed the discrepancies in the timeline, since at that point the DeLorean was no longer just a DeLorean, but was a time travelling DeLorean.

    @Tornreaper said: Plus there is no reason for time to catch up with Doc instantly but longer for Marty.
    The changes in 1931 led to Doc's death so he faded quickly just as Biff did in Back to the Future II. Marty and the DeLorean still existed in 1986, so the ripple effect took longer to catch up to them.

  • @Jennifer said: But the DeLorean did exist. It was still manufactured by the DeLorean motor company, regardless of Doc's intervention. The stuff that didn't exist was the Doc Brown invented gadgets, which is why the DeLorean broke down upon arrival in 1986. Although the base parts would still exist (such as the glass tubes in the flux capacitor for instance. They still exist in the Citizen Brown timeline so that's why it looks like the flux capacitor, but isn't the flux capacitor, since the Doc Brown invented stuff that actually makes it the flux capacitor hasn't been invented). Once Citizen Brown invented the time travel gadgets and installed them into the DeLorean, he fixed the discrepancies in the timeline, since at that point the DeLorean was no longer just a DeLorean, but was a time travelling DeLorean.


    The changes in 1931 led to Doc's death so he faded quickly just as Biff did in Back to the Future II. Marty and the DeLorean still existed in 1986, so the ripple effect took longer to catch up to them.



    The time machine broke because it crashed into a fucking billboard!

    There is no proof that Doc died. We also have no idea how old he really is.

    It's a plothole. Plain and simple.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Tornreaper said: The time machine broke because it crashed into a fucking billboard!


    Regardless, the DeLorean still would have existed in that time period as I stated above.

    @Tornreaper said: There is no proof that Doc died. We also have no idea how old he really is.
    We do know old Doc is. Telltale foreshadowed his death by letting the player know that he's older than he should be. He says in It's About Time that he's almost 100.

  • @Jennifer said: Regardless, the DeLorean still would have existed in that time period as I stated above.


    We do know old Doc is. Telltale foreshadowed his death by letting the player know that he's older than he should be. He says in It's About Time that he's almost 100.



    Honestly, I don't think Doc's precise age was stated at any point in the game. According to the game, he was born in 1914, which would have made him 71 in 1985. He spent over 10 years trapped in 1885, so that made him around 81 chronologically. We don't know how long it has been for Doc in Episode 1 since he last met Marty...but I certainly don't think its been twenty years, or even ten (!)

  • @Jennifer said: Regardless, the DeLorean still would have existed in that time period as I stated above.


    We do know old Doc is. Telltale foreshadowed his death by letting the player know that he's older than he should be. He says in It's About Time that he's almost 100.



    So that explains why it still had flying parts or that it still had the ability to time travel before the crash? This is a huge hole in your logic.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @sn939 said: Honestly, I don't think Doc's precise age was stated at any point in the game. According to the game, he was born in 1914, which would have made him 71 in 1985. He spent over 10 years trapped in 1885, so that made him around 81 chronologically. We don't know how long it has been for Doc in Episode 1 since he last met Marty...but I certainly don't think its been twenty years, or even ten (!)


    Doc said "if I live to be 100, which I almost have" in It's About Time.

    He also said Jules and Verne are going to college, which would mean that 19 years had passed since their conception. That would make Doc 90. Add in the amount of time it took Doc and Clara to be married, and the time it took to conceive a child, and the time definitely lines up with Doc's statement that he's almost 100.

    @sn939 said: So that explains why it still had flying parts or that it still had the ability to time travel before the crash? This is a huge hole in your logic.
    The DeLorean had the ability to time travel before the crash because the time ripple didn't catch up to it yet since Doc didn't fade from existence until after they traveled through time.

    As for the flying parts, they still exist in the timeline in 2015 (and as I mentioned before the future already exists as evidenced by Marty and Jennifer living in the future despite the fact that they hadn't lived it yet), since Doc Brown wasn't the one who invented them. Since they still exist, the time ripple took longer to catch up to it, as it had with Marty and the DeLorean itself.

  • @Jennifer said: Doc said "if I live to be 100, which I almost have" in It's About Time.

    He also said Jules and Verne are going to college, which would mean that 19 years had passed since their conception. That would make Doc 90. Add in the amount of time it took Doc and Clara to be married, and the time it took to conceive a child, and the time definitely lines up with Doc's statement that he's almost 100.


    The DeLorean had the ability to time travel before the crash because the time ripple didn't catch up to it yet since Doc didn't fade from existence until after they traveled through time.

    As for the flying parts, they still exist in the timeline in 2015 (and as I mentioned before the future already exists as evidenced by Marty and Jennifer living in the future despite the fact that they hadn't lived it yet), since Doc Brown wasn't the one who invented them. Since they still exist, the time ripple took longer to catch up to it, as it had with Marty and the DeLorean itself.



    good point. Doc does state in the first episode he visited Marty and Jennifer in 2011 so the future does exist (as we also see at the end of the game)

    the critical junction point of the FCB timeline is Emmett avoiding seeing Frankenstein. He avoids it at basically the exact same time Doc and Marty go back to the future. I don't know why people find it so inconceivable that Doc wont live as long without his rejuvenation.

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