November 12, 1955. The day of the great lightning storm. The day Marty McFly punched it to 88 miles per hour, and bolted Back To The Future!
I was privileged to see this on the big screen a couple of months ago with a good friend of mine. It was quite the experience. Despite knowing what happened; I cheered when George clocked Biff across the face; I panicked when the wires coming off the clock tower got disconnected; and I felt a sense of wonder as Doc Brown looked into the camera and said “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t needs… roads”.
It’s a wonderful movie that has stood the test of time.
But I always wondered, what if Marty missed the bolt of lightning? Then what? Stuck in the past? Or could Doc Brown simply come up with another idea that could ripple a solution across the seas of time. Now I know we’re getting into paradox talks here, such as going back in time and killing your grandfather, but what if we approach time travel as explained in Back to the Future 2, where each time you altered the past you created a NEW time stream living side by the side with the old time stream. Then you COULD go back and kill your grandfather. But then that would mean there is a universe were Marty left his house and was never seen again… We’ll that’s a real downer.
And yes, by this logic killing Doc wouldn’t solve his problems, since Marty from time stream A would still be trapped in time stream B. But at least Marty from time stream B who hasn’t been born yet would be able to live a full life without being stuck back in 1955. But then that would mean there are two Marty’s running around Hill Valley in 1985.
Hmm… Or maybe Marty shooting Doc would create a paradox that could destroy the universe.
Why don’t we have hoverboards yet?