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Back to the Future Part III and the Second DeLorean Debacle

Updated on September 3, 2014
Doc and Marty
Doc and Marty | Source

With all of the different time periods, alternate timelines, and jumps between past and future, the Back to the Future trilogy can get rather confusing. But, within the third chapter lies a simple solution that could have very easily resolved Doc and Marty's time traveling predicaments. Before revealing the obvious resolution, let's review the events leading up to the duo being stranded in the old west.

"Great Scott"
"Great Scott" | Source

Part II concludes with a frantic Marty seeking out Doc's 1955 counter part, after witnessing the DeLorean get struck by lightning. The surge of electrify overloaded the time circuits, which sent the time machine and present day Doc back to the old west.

Following some brief clarification and convincing, the 1955 variation of Doc agrees to help Marty fulfill the wishes of his future self, who has lived out the remainder of his days in 1885. The pair head to an abandoned mineshaft to carryout the original plan that consists of Marty going back to 1985 and leaving a content future Doc in 1885. However, they stumble across future Doc's tombstone and discover that a series of events following the letter's mailing resulted in future Doc's death not long after he arrived. Marty deems his friend's fate unacceptable and decides to conduct a time traveling rescue mission of the scientist. So that’s the gist. Got all that? Good, because here’s where things will become more clear.

The DeLorean that Marty uses to travel back to 1885
The DeLorean that Marty uses to travel back to 1885 | Source

After the fuel line is damaged upon Marty’s arrival in the old west, the pair spend the bulk of the film trying to derive a method of getting the DeLorean up to 88 mph to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity necessary to get back to 1985. Following a slew of failed attempts, Doc conceives a plan to push the time machine up to the necessary speed using the local train. While they’re successful in their execution of the complicated scheme, there was a much simpler method that even the Doc overlooked.

Repairing the DeLorean
Repairing the DeLorean | Source
The Doc from 1955 prepping the time machine that was hidden by his 1985 counterpart, so that Marty could dig it up with his help (that is the Doc from 1955) and return to the present in 1985. But Marty heads back in 1885 instead anyways.
The Doc from 1955 prepping the time machine that was hidden by his 1985 counterpart, so that Marty could dig it up with his help (that is the Doc from 1955) and return to the present in 1985. But Marty heads back in 1885 instead anyways. | Source

Let's jump back to Future Doc's original intentions of having Marty return to the future, while he remained in 1885. The scientist brilliantly stowed the DeLorean in a mineshaft, which he sealed so the time machine would not be disturbed until Marty and his younger self could retrieve it in 1955. This part of the plan was perfectly executed and the 1955 version of the scientist was able to make the necessary repairs to make the car time-worthy once more. As already explained, following the maintenance, Marty used the car to travel back and prevent Doc's death. Still with me?

Since the car's fuel line tore and leaked the only precious gasoline available (everything was still steam-powered in this time period), the car was essentially immobilized and rendered them stuck. There is even a point in the movie when Marty blows the starter, as Doc attempts to substitute alcohol for gasoline. See where I'm going with this?

Doc and Marty in the mine
Doc and Marty in the mine | Source


Why not revisit the DeLorean. No I don't mean the 1955 revamped model that Marty traveled back in, but rather the still damaged one that stranded Doc in the first place. That's right, just as the previous installment had similar circumstances play out in 1955, don't forget that there were now two DeLorean in 1855 as well. The 1955 remodel was parked in Doc's blacksmith shop for the majority of the movie, while the original sat within the confines of the mine shaft where the scientist had hidden in. I can't believe that it never dawned on the Doc to sneak back to the site.

Some of you may be thinking, well he didn't want to further disrupt the time/space continuum,as this had been his original argument to be left in the old west. Also, the time machine had to remain there for Marty and his 1955 self to find in the future. Yeah I'm willing to accept all that, but you're telling me that they couldn't at the very least syphon off some fuel and switch out the fuel line, as the car needed fixed before operating in 1955 anyways.

Another argument that I've heard is that Doc would have already drained the gasoline, as the fossil fuel does have a shelf life. Then at least take the damn fuel line, so you can attempt another go with an alternative. Besides, your telling me that arguably the most brilliant scientist of all time wouldn't keep the gas upon draining it, since it would have been practically impossible to obtain back then. I just don't buy.


Anyways, the entire Back to the Future trilogy will always hold a special place in my heart. If you haven't seen the trilogy in its entirety and you've made it this far, go watch it already. It is a franchise that you can literally say is nearly timeless (can't wait until we have flying cars and hover boards next year!) because, "where we're going, we don't need roads".


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