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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?

79 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @sn939 said: Okay, look at it this way. If Marty starts to fade because he's past the 'junction point', then that means that his fading is because of the fact that he is existing at a certain point of time. Ergo, if he chooses to travel to another earlier point in time, he should stop fading.

    To my mind, it makes FAR more sense for the ripple effect to be probability based. I mean, there has to be a reason why Marty was starting to fade at PRECISELY the moment of George and Lorraine's kiss (which almost didn't happen)...and that he stopped fading and the McFly kids were 'restored' the moment they DID kiss. Or why the newspapers changed the moment the Almanac was burnt. Objects (and people!) from the future, reflect the most probable future based on how events are developing in the past. The ripple effect alters or erases them based on changing probabilities.



    I know what you're saying but you're also repeating your self. By your logic the newspaper should have changed exactly when they went to back to 1955 because that was before the junction point where Biff gave himself the Almanac (although we don't see the newspapers at that point).

    Or the picture of the tombstone. It stayed the same when he arrived in 1885 even though it happened before he got shot. Why did it stay the same? Because that picture had already passed the junction point.

  • @sn939 said: Okay, look at it this way. If Marty starts to fade because he's past the 'junction point', then that means that his fading is because of the fact that he is existing at a certain point of time. Ergo, if he chooses to travel to another earlier point in time, he should stop fading.

    To my mind, it makes FAR more sense for the ripple effect to be probability based. I mean, there has to be a reason why Marty was starting to fade at PRECISELY the moment of George and Lorraine's kiss (which almost didn't happen)...and that he stopped fading and the McFly kids were 'restored' the moment they DID kiss. Or why the newspapers changed the moment the Almanac was burnt. Objects (and people!) from the future, reflect the most probable future based on how events are developing in the past. The ripple effect alters or erases them based on changing probabilities.



    Keep in mind Marty only went back in time a few hours. you could also argue the process of him fading has already started.

    @sn939 said: I know what you're saying but you're also repeating your self. By your logic the newspaper should have changed exactly when they went to back to 1955 because that was before the junction point where Biff gave himself the Almanac (although we don't see the newspapers at that point).

    Or the picture of the tombstone. It stayed the same when he arrived in 1885 even though it happened before he got shot. Why did it stay the same? Because that picture had already passed the junction point.

    Whether traveling to the future or the past, pictures/newspapers don't change until they are actually changed. Doc dying and the biffhoric timeline are still reflected until they are actually changed. Or the october 22nd 2015 newspaper; it stays the same until the picture captioning it is taken differently (griff instead of marty jr). So for instance the act of traveling back to 1955 did not change the timeline for doc and marty. The newspapers did not change until the timeline was changed.

  • @Tornreaper said: I know what you're saying but you're also repeating your self. By your logic the newspaper should have changed exactly when they went to back to 1955 because that was before the junction point where Biff gave himself the Almanac (although we don't see the newspapers at that point).

    Or the picture of the tombstone. It stayed the same when he arrived in 1885 even though it happened before he got shot. Why did it stay the same? Because that picture had already passed the junction point.



    In terms of probabilities, this would be the answer-

    When Marty and Doc arrive in 1955, the 'most likely future' is still one where Old Biff will show up and give himself the Almanac, and Biff will get rich. Marty and Doc have to actively work to change that future, and when they succeed, by burning the Almanac, the probability of Biff getting rich becomes 0, hence the newspapers change instantly.

    Newspapers and photographs are simply reflective of the 'most likely future'...or rather they reflect what is most likely to be the status quo at their point of origin. So the picture of the tombstone is actually a snapshot of what that particular location will be like on the night of November 14th 1955. Depending on how events change in 1885, what will be on that spot in November 14th 1955 changes.

  • @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: Keep in mind Marty only went back in time a few hours. you could also argue the process of him fading has already started.

    That is EXACTLY what I was trying to say.


    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said:
    Whether traveling to the future or the past, pictures/newspapers don't change until they are actually changed. Doc dying and the biffhoric timeline are still reflected until they are actually changed. Or the october 22nd 2015 newspaper; it stays the same until the picture captioning it is taken differently (griff instead of marty jr). So for instance the act of traveling back to 1955 did not change the timeline for doc and marty. The newspapers did not change until the timeline was changed.

    I wasn't saying they should have changed. I was saying they should have changed based on his logic. He says going before the junction point should stop the fading or changing. That means going before the junction point would also affect the newspapers and they would return to normal until the junction point is passed again. It doesn't work like that.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @sn939 said: If you're referring to the Doc of the final timeline, who showed up in Ep. 5, then I don't see why the temporal duplication wouldn't have happened. While Doc's life was different (he had a good relationship with his father, and ran his father's foundation), his path was essentially the same as that of the Original Doc's. He came up with the idea of flux capacitor in 1955, met Marty, invented the time machine in 1985, went on all the time travel trips we saw in the movies, INCLUDING the trip to 1955 in which the Delorean was struck by lightning, sending HIM to 1885 and the temporal duplicate Delorean to 2025.


    I've been thinking about this. I still think it is entirely possible that the DeLorean was never duplicated in the new timeline, and it's even possible that the DeLorean Doc picks Marty up in in 1931 is actually the original DeLorean.

    The only trips that have to happen to make the OUTATIME outcome is the first 1955 trip and the 1885 trip.

    The events of 2015 that led to Hell Valley had to do with Marty being greedy and wanting to make himself rich by using time travel for personal gain. But in the new timeline, Doc had a good relationship with his father, so he might be a better father figure to Marty, helping Marty with his own issues with his father, meaning that Marty might not feel like he needs to get away from his family so badly (this is likely since we know family means more to Doc than before since he originally went to 1931 to investigate the arsons and in the new timeline went to investigate Marty's family lineage).

    So, because Marty would have an improved relationship with Doc, he might not have even ever have been in the accident with the Rolls Royce (since Doc would teach Marty the importance of family and he wouldn't be overcompensating for the thoughts of him not wanting to be weak like his father).

    So the 2015 trip might not have happened. And it wouldn't have had to have occurred, either. Combining the outcome of the 1955 trip (which George McFly became someone Marty was proud to call father), plus Doc's instilling the importance of family to Marty from the beginning (and the fact that the Rolls Royce incident wouldn't occur), Marty would be a better father to his kids, his son would never get mixed up with Griff, and his kids wouldn't go to prison.

    There's nothing in 2015 that's important for Marty to do in this timeline (although it is important for Doc to get the rejuvenation treatments, the hover conversion, and to install Mr. Fusion), but he did that all before his trip with Marty anyway.

    Without the trip to 2015, the 1985 Hell Valley timeline wouldn't exist, and the second 1955 trip wouldn't have happened. So, the DeLorean wouldn't have been hit by lightning.

    So, now Doc just travels to 1885 on his own (or with Marty), which would be likely since Doc stated he always wanted to go to the Old West (and we know that Doc likes to travel in round numbers from his line at the end of the first movie, so traveling 100 years into the past would make perfect sense). But, the events would be very different. We know that Doc must have gotten there before Clara died in the ravine, but we don't know the exact date he got there.

    The DeLorean would be fully functional, so Doc wouldn't have been stranded, and he wouldn't have set up shop as a blacksmith. So the feud with Mad Dog Tannen wouldn't have happened. Also, it would be Doc, not Marty driving, so the gas tank would be in tact (or if it wasn't, Doc would at least know to patch it quick before all the fuel leaked out). So, Doc could spend as much time with Clara and leave whenever he wanted.

    Doc also didn't need Marty in 1885 in this timeline, since he's not a scared man around women anymore, having experienced first love and loss with Edna. So it's possible that Marty wasn't with him, and if he was, he might have only been there long enough to celebrate at the festival, and left Doc and Clara alone since Doc wasn't in any danger.

    Since Doc didn't need to hijack a train to leave 1885, the DeLorean wouldn't have been destroyed by the train in 1985, Doc wouldn't have invented a time train (unless he did it later for fun), and the ravine would still be called Shonash Ravine.

    None of these changes would be devastating to the timeline. The first 1955 trip would still improve George McFly's self esteem, Doc's improved relationship with Marty would keep Marty from feeling like he has to overcompensate because he doesn't want to appear weak like his father (so the Rolls Royce accident wouldn't happen and Marty would be a good dad to his kids), Doc and Clara would still get together, and they still would have Jules and Verne.

  • @Jennifer said: I've been thinking about this. I still think it is entirely possible that the DeLorean was never duplicated in the new timeline, and it's even possible that the DeLorean Doc picks Marty up in in 1931 is actually the original DeLorean.

    The only trips that have to happen to make the OUTATIME outcome is the first 1955 trip and the 1885 trip.

    The events of 2015 that led to Hell Valley had to do with Marty being greedy and wanting to make himself rich by using time travel for personal gain. But in the new timeline, Doc had a good relationship with his father, so he might be a better father figure to Marty, helping Marty with his own issues with his father, meaning that Marty might not feel like he needs to get away from his family so badly (this is likely since we know family means more to Doc than before since he originally went to 1931 to investigate the arsons and in the new timeline went to investigate Marty's family lineage).

    So, because Marty would have an improved relationship with Doc, he might not have even ever have been in the accident with the Rolls Royce (since Doc would teach Marty the importance of family and he wouldn't be overcompensating for the thoughts of him not wanting to be weak like his father).

    So the 2015 trip might not have happened. And it wouldn't have had to have occurred, either. Combining the outcome of the 1955 trip (which George McFly became someone Marty was proud to call father), plus Doc's instilling the importance of family to Marty from the beginning (and the fact that the Rolls Royce incident wouldn't occur), Marty would be a better father to his kids, his son would never get mixed up with Griff, and his kids wouldn't go to prison.

    There's nothing in 2015 that's important for Marty to do in this timeline (although it is important for Doc to get the rejuvenation treatments, the hover conversion, and to install Mr. Fusion), but he did that all before his trip with Marty anyway.

    Without the trip to 2015, the 1985 Hell Valley timeline wouldn't exist, and the second 1955 trip wouldn't have happened. So, the DeLorean wouldn't have been hit by lightning.

    So, now Doc just travels to 1885 on his own (or with Marty), which would be likely since Doc stated he always wanted to go to the Old West (and we know that Doc likes to travel in round numbers from his line at the end of the first movie, so traveling 100 years into the past would make perfect sense). But, the events would be very different. We know that Doc must have gotten there before Clara died in the ravine, but we don't know the exact date he got there.

    The DeLorean would be fully functional, so Doc wouldn't have been stranded, and he wouldn't have set up shop as a blacksmith. So the feud with Mad Dog Tannen wouldn't have happened. Also, it would be Doc, not Marty driving, so the gas tank would be in tact (or if it wasn't, Doc would at least know to patch it quick before all the fuel leaked out). So, Doc could spend as much time with Clara and leave whenever he wanted.

    Doc also didn't need Marty in 1885 in this timeline, since he's not a scared man around women anymore, having experienced first love and loss with Edna. So it's possible that Marty wasn't with him, and if he was, he might have only been there long enough to celebrate at the festival, and left Doc and Clara alone since Doc wasn't in any danger.

    Since Doc didn't need to hijack a train to leave 1885, the DeLorean wouldn't have been destroyed by the train in 1985, Doc wouldn't have invented a time train (unless he did it later for fun), and the ravine would still be called Shonash Ravine.

    None of these changes would be devastating to the timeline. The first 1955 trip would still improve George McFly's self esteem, Doc's improved relationship with Marty would keep Marty from feeling like he has to overcompensate because he doesn't want to appear weak like his father (so the Rolls Royce accident wouldn't happen and Marty would be a good dad to his kids), Doc and Clara would still get together, and they still would have Jules and Verne.



    I think the game establishes the timeline as being linear for the characters. Even the trilogy itself establishes it;
    -we know that 2015 will play out differently. No marty getting fired, no giving up on his music due to the car accident. Yet even after that all gets avoided, doc shows up in the time train with Clara meaning the 1885 trip which was triggered via the 2015 trip still happened
    -2015 clearly doesn't happen in the FCB timeline. That is the reason why doc fades. And of course for most of this timeline, Marty and Jennifer do not end up together (his fading pic) which means no Marty Jr. and Marlene.


    now one main thing which has been touched on is that the delorean in the game was a temporal duplicate sent to 2025. They didnt establish it's rules other than the fact that it exists.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: I think the game establishes the timeline as being linear for the characters. Even the trilogy itself establishes it;
    -we know that 2015 will play out differently. No marty getting fired, no giving up on his music due to the car accident. Yet even after that all gets avoided, doc shows up in the time train with Clara meaning the 1885 trip which was triggered via the 2015 trip still happened


    I don't think the 2015 trip existing at the end of Back to the Future Part III is necessarily proof of time being linear. Doc's afraid of circular time paradoxes. This is evidenced by Back to the Future Part II where Doc tells Marty to make sure that he stops teenage Biff's gang from ganging up on the other Marty who is on stage in order to make sure Marty's first trip to 1955 is completed in order to prevent a paradox which prevents their second trip from happening. Because of that, I can't see Doc as just assuming that the universe will adapt to the changes that he and Marty made to the timeline.

    Doc, knowing the points which have to happen to make the trips occur in circular time, would certainly do his best to make sure that they did happen. At the end of the trilogy, he has a time train, so there's no reason that he can't travel to these points and set things up. The three main points in the trilogy (which set the rest in motion) are: the first trip to 1955 (which we already know still happens in circular time due to the end of Back to the Future), the trip to 2015 (which Doc could set in motion by simply telling Marty to let things play out naturally in regards to his son and Griff, since he knows they'll be corrected by Marty and Doc in circular time), and the trip to 1885 (which would simply be put in motion by Doc bribing the cemetery to put up a fake tombstone in Doc's name with the death date from Back to Future Part III on it).

    But, you made a good point about the hoverboard in another thread. I forgot about that bit, so Marty's trip to 2015 would still be necessary in the OUTATIME timeline.

    But there's still no reason that the trip has to be the same as the original timeline's trip. Doc clearly has a differing view of time travel in this timeline (judging by the fact that he lives in 1986 part time), so he might just simply bring Marty along for the ride after the events of Back to the Future. Doc then might simply buy the hoverboard for Marty (he's already fine with bringing back future technology for himself, a family oriented Doc might be fine with bringing some technology back for Marty as well).

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: 2015 clearly doesn't happen in the FCB timeline. That is the reason why doc fades. And of course for most of this timeline, Marty and Jennifer do not end up together (his fading pic) which means no Marty Jr. and Marlene.
    Yep. And the 1955 trip didn't happen either, since George is wimpy and has stalker tendencies and Lorraine has a drinking problem.

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: now one main thing which has been touched on is that the delorean in the game was a temporal duplicate sent to 2025. They didnt establish it's rules other than the fact that it exists.
    Yep. But that doesn't mean that it's still the temporal duplicate DeLorean by the end of the game. There's a lot of possibilities opened up by the end of OUTATIME.

  • @Jennifer said: I don't think the 2015 trip existing at the end of Back to the Future Part III is necessarily proof of time being linear. Doc's afraid of circular time paradoxes. This is evidenced by Back to the Future Part II where Doc tells Marty to make sure that he stops teenage Biff's gang from ganging up on the other Marty who is on stage in order to make sure Marty's first trip to 1955 is completed in order to prevent a paradox which prevents their second trip from happening. Because of that, I can't see Doc as just assuming that the universe will adapt to the changes that he and Marty made to the timeline.

    Doc, knowing the points which have to happen to make the trips occur in circular time, would certainly do his best to make sure that they did happen. At the end of the trilogy, he has a time train, so there's no reason that he can't travel to these points and set things up. The three main points in the trilogy (which set the rest in motion) are: the first trip to 1955 (which we already know still happens in circular time due to the end of Back to the Future), the trip to 2015 (which Doc could set in motion by simply telling Marty to let things play out naturally in regards to his son and Griff, since he knows they'll be corrected by Marty and Doc in circular time), and the trip to 1885 (which would simply be put in motion by Doc bribing the cemetery to put up a fake tombstone in Doc's name with the death date from Back to Future Part III on it).

    But, you made a good point about the hoverboard in another thread. I forgot about that bit, so Marty's trip to 2015 would still be necessary in the OUTATIME timeline.

    But there's still no reason that the trip has to be the same as the original timeline's trip. Doc clearly has a differing view of time travel in this timeline (judging by the fact that he lives in 1986 part time), so he might just simply bring Marty along for the ride after the events of Back to the Future. Doc then might simply buy the hoverboard for Marty (he's already fine with bringing back future technology for himself, a family oriented Doc might be fine with bringing some technology back for Marty as well).


    Yep. And the 1955 trip didn't happen either, since George is wimpy and has stalker tendencies and Lorraine has a drinking problem.


    Yep. But that doesn't mean that it's still the temporal duplicate DeLorean by the end of the game. There's a lot of possibilities opened up by the end of OUTATIME.



    2015 is a concrete point in the timeline. As mentioned the flying circuits and hoverboard remain intact as does the 'you're fired' fax until it is avoided. But moreso when they go back to 1955, we see 2015 biff still there despite that timeline being avoided. And doc does believe a paradox can happen IN 2015.


    Yeah 1955 seems to have been avoided in FCB's timeline, the events would have had to played differently, I doubt 1955 Doc would have had the knowledge or been able to help Marty with Edna around. And of course as we do see in 1986 Doc does steal plutonium from libyans (which there's no way he would have been able to do a second time)

    What I mean by the timeline being linear is that time travel is part of each travelers timeline. So in marty's case, while in 2015, 1885 is in his future (although not written yet). The events which happen still happen to him as he does retain his memories.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: 2015 is a concrete point in the timeline. As mentioned the flying circuits and hoverboard remain intact as does the 'you're fired' fax until it is avoided. But moreso when they go back to 1955, we see 2015 biff still there despite that timeline being avoided. And doc does believe a paradox can happen IN 2015.


    I personally don't think concrete points (at least not in the Doctor Who sense, where they're meant to always exist in the same way) are part of the Back to the Future rules of time travel. Doc does say that the future hasn't been written yet (which opens up a whole other can of beans, since it obviously already exists). But I think that Doc just means the future can be changed since they didn't live it yet.

    The way Back to the Future universe seems to work is that time is written, both in the future and in the past. That explains the flying circuits, hoverboard, and the fax existing in the past. In the latter regards, the ripple effect of future time travel seems to work very similarly to past time travel (except for the speed of the ripple effect, which seems to slow down if you travel before the point that started the ripple (for example Marty in Get Tannen) and speed up if you travel past that point (for example Biff in Back to the Future Part II).

    Since the future is like the past, it would stand to reason that the ripple effect would exist there as well, once the time traveller caught up to it and actually started living it (since the effect starts only once the point is reached by the time traveller, since Biff didn't feel the effects until he returned to 2015).

    Marty would be living his life in regular time (or close to it, he'd obviously be missing weeks from his regular life due to the travels in the trilogy, and later in the game, as well as unseen travels after the game and possibly the TV show [if you want to count those]). The ripple effect would catch up to him once he reached 2015 (since Marty's kids are the trigger point of the ripple effect), if Doc didn't intervene. Without his son getting in trouble, Doc wouldn't send Marty to 2015 (at the end of Back to the Future), and a paradox would occur since old Doc can't exist (like in Citizen Brown) and neither can Clara, Jules or Verne (since the 1885 trip can't exist without the 2015 trip).

    As for old Biff being in 1955, it's much the same as Doc existing in 1931 (in Citizen Brown). There's many different theories for this (which was the start of the discussion of this thread). It does seem that there are echos of people who shouldn't be there. But I don't think these are permanent. It seems to be part of the ripple effect. The past seems to work like the future in that regard (at least to time travellers), it's written until it's changed. So, since the past is written, they exist. The past hasn't been fully written yet, since Marty still has chance to use the time machine in both instances, so they're still there at that point. Once the ability to time travel disappeared (like, if for instance, in Citizen Brown, Marty couldn't convince Citizen Brown that time travel was possible), then the ripple effect would catch up to them, the echos would likely disappear, and an unfixable paradox would occur (and we don't know (and never will know) what happens in the Back to the Future universe then).

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: Yeah 1955 seems to have been avoided in FCB's timeline, the events would have had to played differently, I doubt 1955 Doc would have had the knowledge or been able to help Marty with Edna around. And of course as we do see in 1986 Doc does steal plutonium from libyans (which there's no way he would have been able to do a second time)
    The only thing that seems to have happened in 1955 is middle-aged Citizen Brown hitting his head and writing down the flux capacitor diagram (since it is the only page that exists in the journal in 1986 in the Citizen Brown timeline), although 1985 Citizen Brown never realized the significance.

    @Michael J Fox is Canadian said: What I mean by the timeline being linear is that time travel is part of each travelers timeline. So in marty's case, while in 2015, 1885 is in his future (although not written yet). The events which happen still happen to him as he does retain his memories.
    The memories of time travelers is quite interesting, as it seems they retain the memories of the travels they encountered (even if the timelines no longer exist), but there's no indication that they gain the memories of the versions of themselves they are replacing in the new timeline (since Marty didn't remember his family being better off financially when he replaced the Marty in the Lone Pine timeline). So, it seems that even if the OUTATIME timeline Marty didn't make the same time travels as the original Marty, the original Marty would still remember making those trips.

  • @Jennifer said: I personally don't think concrete points (at least not in the Doctor Who sense, where they're meant to always exist in the same way) are part of the Back to the Future rules of time travel. Doc does say that the future hasn't been written yet (which opens up a whole other can of beans, since it obviously already exists). But I think that Doc just means the future can be changed since they didn't live it yet.

    The way Back to the Future universe seems to work is that time is written, both in the future and in the past. That explains the flying circuits, hoverboard, and the fax existing in the past. In the latter regards, the ripple effect of future time travel seems to work very similarly to past time travel (except for the speed of the ripple effect, which seems to slow down if you travel before the point that started the ripple (for example Marty in Get Tannen) and speed up if you travel past that point (for example Biff in Back to the Future Part II).

    Since the future is like the past, it would stand to reason that the ripple effect would exist there as well, once the time traveller caught up to it and actually started living it (since the effect starts only once the point is reached by the time traveller, since Biff didn't feel the effects until he returned to 2015).

    Marty would be living his life in regular time (or close to it, he'd obviously be missing weeks from his regular life due to the travels in the trilogy, and later in the game, as well as unseen travels after the game and possibly the TV show [if you want to count those]). The ripple effect would catch up to him once he reached 2015 (since Marty's kids are the trigger point of the ripple effect), if Doc didn't intervene. Without his son getting in trouble, Doc wouldn't send Marty to 2015 (at the end of Back to the Future), and a paradox would occur since old Doc can't exist (like in Citizen Brown) and neither can Clara, Jules or Verne (since the 1885 trip can't exist without the 2015 trip).

    As for old Biff being in 1955, it's much the same as Doc existing in 1931 (in Citizen Brown). There's many different theories for this (which was the start of the discussion of this thread). It does seem that there are echos of people who shouldn't be there. But I don't think these are permanent. It seems to be part of the ripple effect. The past seems to work like the future in that regard (at least to time travellers), it's written until it's changed. So, since the past is written, they exist. The past hasn't been fully written yet, since Marty still has chance to use the time machine in both instances, so they're still there at that point. Once the ability to time travel disappeared (like, if for instance, in Citizen Brown, Marty couldn't convince Citizen Brown that time travel was possible), then the ripple effect would catch up to them, the echos would likely disappear, and an unfixable paradox would occur (and we don't know (and never will know) what happens in the Back to the Future universe then).


    The only thing that seems to have happened in 1955 is middle-aged Citizen Brown hitting his head and writing down the flux capacitor diagram (since it is the only page that exists in the journal in 1986 in the Citizen Brown timeline), although 1985 Citizen Brown never realized the significance.


    The memories of time travelers is quite interesting, as it seems they retain the memories of the travels they encountered (even if the timelines no longer exist), but there's no indication that they gain the memories of the versions of themselves they are replacing in the new timeline (since Marty didn't remember his family being better off financially when he replaced the Marty in the Lone Pine timeline). So, it seems that even if the OUTATIME timeline Marty didn't make the same time travels as the original Marty, the original Marty would still remember making those trips.



    the future and the past are all points in the timeline. Both seem to be able to only be changed via time travel. Remember in part II, everything happens exactly the way Doc has recorded it in 2015 until a change is made.

    there's plenty of evidence indicating 'old' timelines are still remembered for time travelers; in the game marty does talk about how the time machine made things better and that was 7 months later for him. He also has no clue what is going on during the 'bad' timelines (hell valley, tannnen crime valley, FCB)

    the ripple effect does seem to go backwards; during the FCB timeline it is indicated that the 1885 travels have been erased as it is once again referred to clayton ravine. The junction point is the key indicator for the ripple; examples include george kissing lorraine, biff disappearing, the burning of the almanac, the destruction of the tombstomb etc.

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