Unless you live in one of those rainforest tribes untouched by modern civilisation, you'll know that 21st October 2015 is the future date Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to in Back To The Future Part II. Honestly, it's not a hoax this time!
(If you do live in one of those rainforest tribes by the way, hello and welcome to the Internet. It contains pretty much the sum total of human knowledge acquired throughout history, but we mainly use it to look at cat videos.)
We know by now that Back To The Future, like all sci-fi, mis-predicted how we live in 2015. We don't commute to work in flying cars, have self-drying clothes or drink Pepsi Max (oh wait, maybe they did get something right), but there are more interesting details about Back To The Future Part II than simply what they got wrong about 2015.
Below are what I think are the most interesting titbits of trivia that you may not know about the Back To The Future trilogy's second part.
1. There Was Never Meant To Be A Sequel
I know, right? Watching the final scene of Back To The Future, with Doc Brown uttering his classic line "roads? Where we going we don't need roads", it's impossible to believe that Back To The Future Part II was never meant to be. The ending sets up the sequel perfectly, but according to director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale, the ending was simply one last joke, the setup to a sequel that would never arrive.
However the film was such a hit that the studio were planning a sequel with or without Zemeckis and Gale's involvement, so the two decided to stay on for Part II, and as it turned out, the third installment.
2. Elijah Wood Is In It
Everyone's favourite Hobbit Frodo Baggins even makes an appearance in Part II. It was Wood's first appearance on screen, as one of the kids Marty tries (and fails) to impress with his crack shot skills at the Wild Gunman arcade game in Cafe 80s.
3. It Featured Hidden References To Other Sci-Fi Classic Cars
Back To The Future has its own iconic car, the DeLorean, but Zemeckis and Gale's vision of the future also contained hidden nods to other classic vehicles.
The StarCar from The Last Starfighter (1984) makes an appearance:
And we even catch a glimpse of a spinner car, seen in Ridley Scott's classic Blade Runner (1982):
4. Only Two Of The Original Cast Failed To Appear
Crispin Glover portrayed Marty's father George McFly in Back To The Future but did not return for the sequel. He was approached to reprise his role but demanded script approval and, in a move that makes me think Dr. Evil was his agent, a fee of one million dollars.
Unsurprisingly the filmmakers balked at such demands and re-wrote the script to drastically reduce George's screentime. The role was handed to Jeffrey Weissman, dressed in prosthetics to resemble Glover. Shots of Weissman were generally from the back or from odd angles where possible, in hopes that no one would notice Glover's absence.
The only other member of the main Back To The Future cast not to appear in Part II was Claudia Wells, who played Marty's girlfriend Jennifer. Wells had quit acting between the two films due to her mother's cancer diagnosis, and was replaced by Elizabeth Shue.
The final scenes of Back To The Future were re-shot for the beginning of Part II, with Shue in the role.
5. They Got Some Stuff Right
Pointing and laughing at what Back To The Future Part II got wrong is all well and good, but while our 2015 might not look a lot like it was expected to back in 1989, what's often overlooked is how much the film got right.
For example, we drink Pepsi Max now. "Max" was listed as one of the many Pepsi varieties in Cafe 80s, but back in '89 the flavour didn't exist. Pepsi Max came out across Europe in 1993, and in America in 2007.
Hoverboards (kind of)
Admit it, you've wanted one of these ever since you first saw Back To The Future Part II, haven't you? Well, intrepid would-be hoverboarder, your dreams may be about to become reality (kind of).
You could buy a hoverboard right now, of you wanted to! There is a catch, though and that catch is...well...it has wheels.
Also, at least here in the UK, it's illegal to ride one of them both on the pavement and the road. So, er, have fun trundling around your house in it.
Don't despair though. Lexus made a prototype and it actually hovers!
I mean, it only hovers over very specific surfaces designed for its use. And you can't actually buy one. But still. Just look at that thing! The future is here.
In Back To The Future's vision of 2015, Marty's kids wear headsets that allow them to make telephone calls and watch TV.
In real life 2015, wearable tech isn't quite mainstream just yet, but it's coming. Google Glass, Microsoft's HoloLens and the Oculus Rift all offer augmented and/or vitual reality to the user, and presumably it won't be too long until most of us are wearing them (or some variant of them) at the dinner table. Hopefully they will look a lot better that what Marty Jnr. is sporting.
In Hill Valley of 2015 Marty spots that the local cinema (renamed "Holomax") is showing Jaws 19 in 3D. While it's a nice in-joke (it's directed by Max Spielberg, the name of Steven Spielberg's real life son) it also successfully predicted the modern 3D cinema craze that began with James Cameron's Avatar back in 2009. Maybe it hasn't quite become the game-changer Cameron and others had hoped (personally, it gives me a headache) but most big budget blockbusters are released in 3D as well as regular 2D. Indeed, Robert Zemeckis' latest film The Walk has a 3D release.
Also, the Jaws 19 joke predicted the rise of sequels, prequels and never-ending franchises that dominate modern cinema. We may not see a 19th Jaws film but Star Wars 19, or Avengers 19? It's possible. Watch this space.
Those are my favourite tidbits of Back To The Future: Part II trivia. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below! In closing, I'll leave you with this video of Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox reuniting to discuss predictions from the film: