When it comes to films featuring time-travel, it's often best not to think too much about it. Firstly, it'll just expose plot-holes in your favorite film, and secondly, it can make you go cross-eyed.
Back to the Future is one movie which often falls under the scrutinizing magnifying glass of movie pedants. One of the most common complaints is that George and Lorraine McFly will no doubt recognize that their son is that weird kid they knew for a week back in 1955. This is especially embarrassing for Lorraine, as she actually almost made out with her own time-travelling son - which would have made future meal times a bit awkward.
Well, a fan theory developed by Joel at TimeParadox.com has taken this concept even further by suggesting George is actually aware his son is a time traveler, and has used this to fuel his science fiction writing. When transported back to 1955, Marty mentions many anachronisms which seemed strange to George at the time. However, over the next 30 years, he would have slowly connected the dots and discovered Marty was actually his son.
But why did George figure this out, but not Lorraine or Biff? Well, according to Joel, it's because George is open to foreign concepts and is a self-confessed lover of science fiction. Let's take a look at the time line to show how Marty would have given himself away over the years.
- 1958 - Chuck Berry releases "Johnny B. Goode;" does the same Duck Walk as Marty
- 1963 - Tab soda is invented
- 1963 - Roller Derby introduces the first mass produced skateboard
- 1964 - The Who is formed; Pete Townshend makes famous windmilling his arm to play the guitar as well as kicking over his own amplifier
- 1966 - Star Trek premieres; introduces Planet Vulcan
- 1966 - The Jimi Hendrix Experience is formed; Hendrix plays his guitar behind his head
- 1968 - Suzy Chaffee, bronze medal skier, wore a brightly colored down vest during the Winter Olympics, starting a new fashion trend
- 1968 - Calvin Klein fashion company is founded
- 1972 - Van Halen is formed (Eddie Van Halen recently revealed the guitar solo used wasn't from any of his songs; it was just him playing a bunch of loud noises. So there's no way George could ever recognize it. While playing Johnny B Goode, however, Marty imitates Van Halen's tapping style, so that's something.)
- 1973 - AC/DC is formed; Angus Young lies on his back to play guitar and kicks off with his feet
- 1976 - Marty Mcfly, aged 8, sets fire to the living room rug
- 1977 - Star Wars premieres; introduces Darth Vader
- 1982 - Goldie Wilson is elected mayor
- 1982 - Pepsi Free is invented
Joel believes that with each consequence, George could come closer to the truth. He explains:
Each new thing becomes less of a coincidence in George’s mind and further cements the idea that Marty was his own son from the future. He might not follow rock stars or fashion, but the clues are there and seeing any of these should make him think. Watching Star Wars and Star Trek, he also realizes “Darth Vader from Planet Vulcan” was just Marty in a radiation suit.
Indeed, the entire incident in 1955 seems to be the inspiration for at least one of George's books, suggesting he remembers the entire time quite well.
There also appears to be some evidence that in the original script that it would have been quite clear that George figures out who Marty really was.
In the first draft, at the very end of the film, George finds an old newspaper clipping from his prom night and sees a picture of Marty in 1955. He mutters "Nah. Couldn't be" before the film's credits start rolling.
What do you think? Do you think George figured it all out?
Do you think George figured out who Marty was?