Fan Theory: Did Marty McFly Actually Die in Back to the Future 2?

In the 1980s time traveling films were all the rage. From The Terminator to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, everyone seemed to be eager to escape this decade in any direction.

So let’s go back to a simpler time and discuss a fan theory that adds a new element to the fun grandfather of modern time travel movies, Back to the Future (Part 2). Let’s all buckle in for a quick trip back to 1989, and just remember…

Redditor Hootinger recently posted an interesting theory, albeit a slightly dark one, regarding the final scenes of Back to the Future 2. They posit there could have been some unseen time travel going on by Doc Brown to save Marty’s life after he was murdered by Biff.

Remember the sports almanac from 2015 that caused the dystopian Biff-centric future? Well, towards the end of Back to the Future 2, there’s the climactic scene when Marty and past Biff fight over the almanac in the longest tunnel ever.

In case you’ve forgotten how it all went down, check out the clip below to refresh your memory:

From what we saw, it was a near miss for Marty, and had Doc Brown not shown up he would surely have been killed. That’s where Hootinger’s theory comes into play.

Marty McFly actually was run down by Biff in the tunnel

Sorry, Marty, but the hoverboard couldn’t save you this time.

But what proof do we have of this? Honestly, nothing extremely substantial, but the following points are enough to make the theory float on its own:

Doc Brown learned that Marty died in the tunnel and went back in time to save him

Thank goodness for time travel! Because Doc Brown changed the past with the DeLorean, Marty’s death essentially became part of an alternate timeline. Basically the same thing that happened when Biff killed George McFly.

How else could Doc Brown have known that Marty needed help?

In this scene it was just Biff vs. Marty, Doc knew that Marty was pursuing Biff and the almanac after dropping him off with the hoverboard, but as far as we know he might have started heading directly towards the Lyon Estates sign instead of hanging around.

And how did Doc Brown know exactly where Marty would pop out of the tunnel to save him?

Not just where, but also when! Doc Brown’s timing and placement of the flags was perfect. Just six inches in any other direction and Marty might not have been so lucky.

Instead, Doc Brown swoops in just in the knick of time and Marty can go on to skate another day. Because Doc Brown wasn’t above the tunnel in the first-past timeline, he knew that he wouldn’t be running into the risk of seeing himself and tearing a hole in the fabric of the space time continuum.

But he never told Marty about his death

Knowing how emotionally sensitive Marty is – the man can’t even stand being called a chicken, after all – Doc Brown kept his death in the alternate timeline a secret because he knew Marty was too fragile to handle that kind of information.

Instead, he kept this a secret from Marty. Since Back to the Future is told mostly from Marty’s perspective, it makes sense that we wouldn’t have seen a timeline in which Marty was dead.

Like a lot of fan theories, this additional plot point likely wasn’t intended by the writers, but it does fit pretty seamlessly with the existing storyline!

Plus, if Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure taught us anything, it’s that the possibilities with time travel are practically endless.

Thanks for the awesome theory, Hootinger! Now, if Universal wants to reshoot some scenes with Christopher Lloyd, I would pay good money to see that. But only after we perfect the hoverboard for everyday use! It’s 2015 already, get on it, science!