A Long-Debated Back To The Future Plot Hole Has Finally Been Settled

Doc Brown and Marty McFly in Back To The Future
(Image credit: (Universal))

The Back To The Future trilogy is one of the few movie franchises that isn’t basked in controversy or an army of haters. It’s widely looked up to. Maybe that’s why the film’s director and producer refuse to ever make a sequel or reboot. But there is one Back To The Future plot hole you’ve probably asked yourself before.

Since Marty McFly’s parents both befriended their son when he goes back to the time when they were in high school together, wouldn’t they get confused once their own kid grows up to be the spitting image of Calvin Klein? Back To the Future writer Bob Gale has cleared this matter up. In his words:

Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for six days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those six days. So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date. But I would ask anyone to think back on their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester. Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you'd probably have just a hazy recollection.

That’s simple enough. It’s true, high school can become such a foggy memory that passing a classmate on the street might not register any recollection right away. As Bob Gale explained to The Hollywood Reporter, Marty’s parents only hang out with Marty for six days of their lives, and for most of it, the time traveler is busy with Doc Brown trying to get back to his own time. Nevertheless, Calvin Klein does become instrumental in their love story. Bob Gale continued with this:

So Lorraine and George might think it funny that they once actually met someone named Calvin Klein, and even if they thought their son at age 16 or 17 had some resemblance to him, it wouldn't be a big deal. I'd bet most of us could look through our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teenaged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children.

It’s a plot hole that has been questioned for over thirty years and was challenged again when Guardians of the Galaxy writer/director James Gunn named Back to the Future a perfect movie. He mentioned that one question, but still gave it a pass. Other movies that Gunn deemed perfect included Chinatown, Rashomon, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Check out his Tuesday tweet about it:

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The star of Guardians of the Galaxy Chris Pratt defended the claim that it was a plot hole with a pretty dead-on response close to Bob Gale’s own estimation. Here it is:

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You know it’s a good movie when fans are still having big discussions about it almost 40 years later! James Gunn described a “perfect movie” as one “that sings from start to finish with no obvious mistakes, whether they be aesthetic or structural. There are no logical lapses.” Now that Bob Gale has added a logical conclusion, it looks like Back to the Future can earn itself an official spot on his list of perfect movies.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.