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What 'Back to the Future' got right and wrong about 2015
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future (1985) - photo by John Clyde
THE FUTURE According to director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale, Oct. 21, 2015, is officially the future. Thats right. When Marty McFly jumps to the future in Back to the Future Part II, the date on the Flux Capacitor is Oct. 21, 2015. So, remember this day, humanity, because its the day Biff Tannen is going to become the richest and most powerful man in the world.

OK, so thats probably not going to happen, but all of us who grew up with the movies loved the idea of all the cool gadgets the future offered. Now, years later, the date has finally arrived, and we have to ask the question, how closely did Back to the Future II predict the future?

At first glance, it seems not close at all, but truth is, the filmmakers got closer than you think. Lets take a look.

What they got wrong

Flying Cars

As badly as we all wanted this to happen, it did not. I know Im not the only one who was still holding out hope in 2014 that some huge breakthrough would occur and wed get our flying cars, but alas we've been waiting in vain.

Jaws 19

In my humble opinion, which is totally right, Jaws is one of the greatest movies of all time. The second to fourth installments are different stories. With all that said, BTTF II predicted that 2015 would mark the release of Jaws 19. This did not happen, for better or for worse. What did happen was this fake trailer for the movie, and we did get Deep Blue Sea, which is basically the same caliber of a film as Jaws 19" would have been.

Fax machines are preferred communication for business

In BTTF II, future Marty is fired from his job over fax. That one was a swing and a miss. Sure, the KSL newsroom still uses fax machines, but they like to roll old school over there. The idea that every household would be equipped with a slick-looking fax machine was all sorts of wrong.

What they got right

Video chat

Right before Marty loses his job, he has a video chat with Needles and then his boss. This one they nailed right on the head. I dont know if the founder of Skype was a big BTTF fan and thats what sparked his creativity, but I like to believe thats what happened.

Thumbprint key

In the movie, keys are replaced with thumbprint detectors. While not everyones door is fitted with a thumbprint reader, this technology is used every day by regular saps like you and me. Just look at your phone for the proof.

Dead celebrities in CGI

At Caf '80s, a video screen pops up and CGI versions of President Ronald Reagan and Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini argue with each other. We now have commercials with deceased celebrities and even holograms that perform on stage. Id say BTTF II nailed this one.

Video glasses

Martys son is oblivious to just about everything going on around him because of his wearable technology. Besides the fact that things like Google Glass now exist, the movie also got the idea that people are physically present but mentally miles away due to technology is spot on.

Alternative fuel cars

Doc Brown fuels the time machine with garbage instead of gas. No, we dont really have cars that run on trash, but we do have electric cars and alternative fuel vehicles on the road today. These cars arent as rampant as predicted in BTTF II, but they do exist. Well give them this one.

Miami has a baseball team

A sports bulletin in the film tells the world that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. That hasnt happened, but well get to that one in a minute. According to the news flash, the team the Cubbies beat was a team from Miami. At the time the film was made, Miami did not have a baseball team, but they do today. Granted, the mascot was wrong the film had a gator while the actual mascot is a Marlin but youve got to give them props.

What they kind of got right

Cubs win World Series

So the Chicago Cubs havent won a World Series championship since 1908. Thats why the joke of them winning was so funny and painful for Cubs fans. The Cubs are currently in the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets. While the Cubs are close to playing in the World Series, things arent looking great considering the team is currently one game away from being eliminated from the playoffs.

The hoverboard

Many attempts and hoaxes have cropped up lately of a working version of a hoverboard. We say "kind of got it right" here, because with the help of magnets, we have something similar to a hoverboard, although were still missing the real thing. Man, we all wish this were a real thing.


The conclusion to this story is that the Back to the Future series is awesome and were pumped that the 30th anniversary Blu-ray set is now available. So go enjoy the 2015 weve been given and long for the 2015 that could have been as you watch Marty and Doc save Hill Valley time and time again.
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