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Back To The Future - How Many Marty McFlys?
Maybe I've read too much sci-fi dealing with time travel paradoxes, but:
Just before Marty McFly returns from the 50's, he decides to set his return for 10 minutes earlier than he left. He returns in time to see himself get in the DeLorian and go back to the 50's.
There are now two Marty McFly's.
The original one goes forward in his original time. The second one that just went back to the 50's will again return 10 minutes earlier than he left. He returns in time to see himself get in the DeLorian and go back to the 50's.
There are now THREE Marty McFly's.
Etc, etc, etc. What we end up with is an infinite Marty McFly generator.
Special Requirements:
The last 15 minutes of the original Back To The Future
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Contributed By:
Anonymous on 06-09-2000
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Comments:
mojo jojo writes:
Nope. Okay...deep breath, here we go. Marty does indeed come back ten minutes early, just in time to see himself get into the DeLorean. But what you have to realize is that THEY ARE THE SAME PERSON. There would remain only two. The one who goes back to the 50's comes back as the one who sees himself get into the car. That's it. Period. No more Martys would appear. The Marty that goes back to the 50's IS the Marty that comes back 10 minutes early. So there would be just that cycle. Marty goes back in time, comes back 10 minutes before he left, watches himself leave. I forget the time he came back, lets say he left originally at 11:00. Then he comes back at 10:55. At 11:00 he is watching himself leave from the mall parking lot. That's it. 10:55 has come and gone and only one Marty has come back. The only Marty there is. The one, the only, Marty McFly.
76 of 85 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
edjman writes:
You are not thinking fourth dimensionally! The Marty that comes back from 1955 10 minutes early is no longer in his previous parallel time-line. As Doc Brown explained in BTTF2, the fact that he made changes to the past, by running over the pine, returned Marty to an alternate 1985. Therefore the original 1985 Marty, saw the alternate 1985 Marty go into the past. Which also explains why there will be no multiple Martys and why there is a Lone Pine Mall. The Marty that is seen going into the past is the already altered Marty whose parents are cool and Biff is no threat. That is why the Doc knew that he was going to be killed by terrorists. Because this "Alternate Doc" had already met Marty in 1955.
14 of 18 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Tommo writes:
There seems to be a lot of confusion and different opinions about this one but this is how I see it... There is only ever one Marty in any of the movies its just that because of the time travel he ends up in two places at once, or is able to experience the same things twice. E.g. in the first movie when he returns to 1985 ten minutes early there "appears" to be two Marty's, this is because he hasn't left 1985 for 1955 yet and is now in two places at once. Now if the Marty who came back ten minutes early decided that he wanted two of himself to exist in 1985 and stopped himself from going to 1955, then the Marty who had been to 1955 would nolonger exist as he had never gone back in time and been able to come back ten minutes early. I guess that it is for a similar reason with the second movie when Marty returns to 1955 for a second time that he can not be seen by himself from the first movie. If he some how told himself from the first movie why he had to come back, the Marty from the fist movie would not buy the Almanac and so Marty would never have had to make the second trip, thus no reason for the second movie. What I think the question should be is when the Marty from 1985 goes forward to 2015, does the older Marty (the one who has kids) know that the 1985 Marty is in the house and just stays away from himself? Or does the future not change until the 1985 Marty goes back to the proper 1985 (that is, not the alternate 1985 created by Biff)? Also, when they leave Jennifer on her front porch in Biffs alternate 1985, if there is so much crime, why wasn't she woken up by the gun shots or mugged? And then, if she did wake up, would the 1985's have been able to change around her or would she have been lost in a 1985 that never existed?
8 of 10 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
coleman100 writes:
Ok...consider this possibility. There are two Martys--and you couldn't pay me enough to be Marty Two. Here's how it works: Marty One has a coward for a father and a miserable family. He goes to the Twin Pine Mall and travels back in time, leaving an unprotected Doc who has been shot and killed by the Lybians. Ariving in 1955, he knocks down the pine tree (he's not that good a driver), then interferes with the accident that brought his parents together. He must then teach his father to grow a backbone and win Lorraine's respect and love. They are married and George becomes a writer. Marty One leaves a note for Doc, (who protests at first, then finally reads it), then comes back to the Lone Pine Mall. He watches Marty Two climb into the Delorean and travel back, leaving behind a strong father, a cool family, and an armored Doc. Marty One decides he likes it here. When Marty Two arrives in 1955, he swerves to avoid the pine tree (he has had a lot of driving practice with that boss Toyota truck.) and never interferes with his parents' accidental meeting. Lorraine marries George out of pity, and George then embarks on a carrer as Biff's b**ch. Marty Two leaves a warning letter for Doc, but Doc tears it up and burns it. Thirty years later, Marty Two comes back to the Twin Pine Mall--and a living hell. He finds Doc face down in a pool of blood. He then goes home to find a squalid house, a family of losers, and no truck. Marty One and Marty Two have traded places in parallel universes. Because this is supposed to be an upbeat movie, we only see Marty One's happy ending. The adventures of Marty Two sound more like something Lemony Snicket would write.
5 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
redruM writes:
For the Lone Pine Mall comment: The mall was called Twin Pine Mall at the beginning but if you notice that after Marty leaves the barn he crashed in when first arriving in 1955, he drives over a pine tree and the Farmer yells "My Pine" For the smashing Marty in the door part. Since Marty And Doc are travelling back to 1955 from 1985, The Marty there is already part of the past since he has, technically been there 30 years earlier. Just because he left that time in a time machine, doesn't mean he wasn't part of the past.
3 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Michael J Fox Obsessed writes:
I personally like Stephen King's version of time travel in the movie "The Langoliers". He questions the theory that there will be multiple you's or me's when you travel through time. The way he displays it, there is only one of every person, and when these people travel through time (accidentally), they end up in either the future or past, I forgot which. No one is there. There's no echo of your voice, air feels different, no wind, matches don't work, food tastes spoiled, etc. Then, they find their way back to their own time, and it turns out they're early. After a while, the rest of the world catches up with them and they're back. I thought that was pretty cool, but I still love the way "Back to the Future" does it, because it makes it more interesting when you watch Marty being smacked in the face with a door that he himself had opened not that long before.
4 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
MatthewWilkinson writes:
Note: When Marty ran over the pine tree in the 50's, he didn't know he was going to do it! So when he returns 10 minutes earlier to himself go back to the 50's, you can see its now 'Lone Pine Mall' and the Marty, who is being chased by the terrorists, doesn't know he is going to run over a Pine tree so the film is therefore correct - whenever a change is made, you can only see it after time travel has occurred. So basically everything(all the outcomes etc) only happen the moment the time traveler has traveled!
3 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
matthew_9000 writes:
I think most of your theories are valid, but you are all forgetting the Doc's theory on parallel time lines. if you think about this for a minute it will probably explain most of the time travel problems. also the Doc didn't want marty to meet himself from the past in 1955 because he didn't know what would happen exactly. addressing the Twin Pines Mall issue, when Marty changed the past by destroying one of the pine trees he may have always known that the mall was lone pine mall from that point on because from that point on it always was. these theories could go on forever and they may even contradict each other because temperal theory is to difficult to accurately guess about because we have no data on it.
2 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
KJP writes:
This is why it's called a Paradox. No one knows what might happen if time travel were possible. Besides, it's a COMEDY. It's supposed to have things that are not right, which is what makes it funny. Sheesh.
12 of 23 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Zap810 writes:
OK...whoever wrote this has it all wrong...and as for time travel not being possible, so we wouldn't know how it could work, it doesn't matter. This is just common sense. Marty goes back in time, and comes back and sees himself ten minutes before he left. This person is still him, there fore he would still come back at the same time as this Marty did, instantly...it would be the same Marty, coming back at the same time...because it is before he came back, you can't say "Well then the Marty he saw will, ten minutes later, go away, then come back afterwards." You see, it doesn't matter, it is the same Marty. He would continue the loop, then come back. When, ten minutes before he left, right where Marty was at that moment. He wouldn't come back later, causing infinite Martys. you have to remember...it is ten minutes in the past. there may be for a few minutes, two Martys, but soon, there will be one. No duplicates at all.
2 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
EddieG writes:
There wouldn't be loads of Martys, and here's why. Marty gets back to the mall, just in time to see himself fleeing from the Libyans. That means at that point in 1985, there are two Martys. The one fleeing from the Libyans, travels to 1955. That leaves one Marty left in 1995(the one who just got back).
3 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
BacktotheFuturefan writes:
(about Craig's comment) maybe on the other side it said Twin Pine Mall
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Link4507 writes:
Hate to be picky but time travel has been proven and actually done. I forget when, but not too long ago scientists used Einstein's theory of relativity to advance super clocks (ones that can read hundred millionths of a second) in time by milliseconds. In summery, time travel is possible just not practical YET, however Einsteins theory only covers time traveling into the future not the past. So the past is still improbable but still not impossible.
2 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
pikey writes:
Marty Mcfly's present state should have never been beside Doc upon returning to 1985 from 2015. When he is approached by Biff in the casino, he was told that he should be in boarding school. Besides the fact of slow changes due to altered timelines, Marty should have faded when Biff returned the Delorean from 1955. I mean, what are the chances of Doc even meeting Marty if the Mcfly's weren't where they should have been as in the correct future? And even if Doc did look for Marty in 1985A, then wouldn't Marty be instilled with profound information?
1 of 1 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Movie Fan writes:
Quick question Mojo Jojo. In the first film Marty goes back to the the present and sees himself go back to the 50's. If it's as you say and there is only one Marty then how come in the second film when Marty and Dock Brown return to the past, Marty has to be careful to not to run into his other self. That would obviously tell you there is more than one Marty.
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
speedy03860 writes:
The comment I would like to make on Marty meeting himself in the future is not possible, from BTTF2. Let's say, for example, you went into a time machine today and went 20 years in the future. You would have immediatly left this time you were in and reappeared 20 years later in the future. All your friends, family, wives, husbands, children and such would have seen you leave and you would have been gone for 20 years, just to see you reappear 20 years later, still the same age you left, but everyone else is now 20 years older and they probably would be pissed at you for abandoning them all these years, once they got over the fact that you were back and still young. There would be no future you to see, therefor no chance to see what you had accomplished with your life or to see how crappy you look 20 yeras later.
3 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
gargoyle writes:
I think the original poster has an interesting point. Perhaps this whole line of argument is akin to the piece of paper that reads "The statement on the opposite side is false." Marty leaves at 10:00 and returns at 9:50. He then watches Marty leave at 10:00. But Marty is destined to return at 9:50 and watch Marty leave at 10:00 ...
2 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
coleman100 writes:
As to whether or not time travel is possible, it was either Isaac Asimov or Larry Niven that said that while time travel may be possible, it still can't happen because history would reject it. Suppose someone invents time travel, goes back, and changes the past. A new history is created, time travel is invented, and someone changes the past again. Another new history is created, but this time, no one gets around to inventing time travel. This last history survives, because no one ever changes it.
0 of 0 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
slone13 writes:
Coleman100 you're wrong. Straight from producer Bob Gale's mouth, they never filmed a "second" Marty in the first Twin Pine Mall scene. They thought about it, but never did. No matter how closely you look when Marty's getting chased by the Libyans, you're NEVER gonna see a second Marty. "Bob Zemeckis and I throughly enjoyed 'The Other Marty McFly.' The authors were certainly very observant in picking out the details we carefully worked into the picture. However, as a clarification, I would like to explain that 'the shadowy figure in the light at the mall' is nothing more than Dr. Brown's own shadow - not 'the other Marty McFly.' The 'other' Marty is never seen in the first Mall sequence (we did discuss whether to film a second Marty in the scene, but we decided not to). Depending of which of several theories of time travel you want to believe, you can either accept or reject the idea that a second Marty could be off-camera near the Twin Pine Mall sign. The so-called 'duplication paradox' of time travel is a fascinating one. And if you accept the idea that time and history are malleable, you still cannot arrive at a definitive explanation about what happens to those 'other paths' through time where decisions are made and 'history' is changed. Are other dimensions created at those points, with all possible realities existing simultaneously, or does time constantly undergo a process of being written and rewritten over itself, as in overwriting a computer disk? It's certainly much easier to ask these questions than to answer them! So, as to what really happened to that 'other' Marty McFly . . . I guess we won't find out until a real 'Doc Brown' really invents time travel! Letter by Bob Gale (Writer/Producer of Back to the Future)
1 of 2 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Joker writes:
hey mojo jojo in the part where marty is getting away with he 2000 almanac, his other self slams the door on his face, making him fall, and then get in the fight with Biff, therefor continuing the move for a climax.
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Craig writes:
Forget about the number of Martys, think about this one: When the 1st Marty comes back 10 minutes early, he sees the name of the mall is now the "Lone Pine Mall" because when he went back to 1955, he ran over one of Old Man Peabody's seedlings. But when he sees this he hasn't gone back in time yet, so why is the name changed? :)
3 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Joker writes:
thank you redrum for proving my point
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Sunshine writes:
Doesn't this make you believe that time travel isn't possible? Not to say anything against the movies but I have found it easier to stop analyzing all the time travel paradoxes.
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
sally writes:
Notice that he changes what he does the second time, so yeah it would be a different person which means...here comes the third and the fourth and the fifth...
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
coleman100 writes:
Apropos of nothing, consider this. At the beginning of the movie, Doc is telling Marty about the day that he got the idea for the flux capacitor. He tells him the exact date and circumstances, and even punches the date into the time controls. Why is he doing this? Because he knows it will be Marty and not himself that makes the trip. How? Simple. Even at the beginning of the movie, he remembers meeting Marty in 1955. This is a secret he has kept to himself for 30 years. After watching Marty take off from 1955, he kept an eye on George and Lorraine, noticed when baby Marty was born, and struck up a friendship with Marty as soon as he was old enough. Like Obi-wan keeping an eye on young Luke, he watched over Marty because he knew their destinies were linked. If you want proof of this, watch the background during the Lybian-terrorist shooting scene--you'll see a second Marty climbing down a hill.
1 of 3 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
RonJLow writes:
Entropy is increasing. Matter is conserved. The only time travel that is possible is the de-syncing that can occur when one party travels at close to the speed of light. The traveling party doesn't go BACK in time, though, he merely moves forward slower than his comrades left behind who continue moving forward at normal speed. There is no "alternate" version of the traveling party who could ever run into himself. Why can't anyone write a wacky comedy that obeys physical law?
1 of 4 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
Lexi writes:
You're not alone on this one. I was wondering if I was the only person out there who thought about the on-going effects of Marty's travels. (Of course, that could be the sci-fi running through my blood.) Thanks for expressing your thought. You put into words what I could not! (So, how many Marty's ARE we up to? :0)
1 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
DayoftheTentacle writes:
And how do we know that infinite Martys would appear? Has time travel been done yet? Has this been demonstrated yet? How could we know if it's never been tested out and done?
3 of 14 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes

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