Back to the Future Part III

Chosen answer: Yes. A "googol" is the number 10 raised to the 100th power, or a 1 followed by 100 zeroes. A "googolplex" is an even larger number - 10 raised to the power of a "googol", or represented as 1 followed by a "googol" zeroes.

BGraz

Question: Why did Doc faint when he drunk the Liquor?

Answer: He simply has an absurdly low tolerance for alcohol, and whiskey is not a wise choice if this is the case. It helps set up the joke when Marty asks the bartender, "How many has he had?", and he replies by telling Marty, "Just the one", as we are meant to think Doc has been in the bar all night drinking away his sorrows.

Jazetopher

Question: When the 1985 Doc is suddenly transported back to 1885 at the end of BTTF 2 and Marty discovers that he has been murdered, because there is a Doc in 1955 that has already been born after the 1985 Doc has died in the West, why did he go to the trouble of going all the way back to 1885 when Doc was still alive? Is there any actual legitimate time travel reason for this, or did he just do it out of instinct to help his close friend?

chunkz87

Chosen answer: According to the letter, Doc plans to live out his life in 1885. But as it turns out, Doc gets murdered a week after sending the letter. Knowing that Doc's plan to live out his life don't come to fruition, and because he's a good friend, Marty travels to 1885 to save him.

JC Fernandez

Answer: Technically when Doc got transported to 1885, he should not have existed in 1955 because he died. This is the problem I'm having with part 3. The movie should not have happened this way. It should have been where doc did not exist nor the time machine. Part 3 should've never happened.

That's not how most time travel (if any) stories work. Just because someone dies in the past doesn't prevent them from being born since they were already born and alive before going to the past. Think of it this way, if instead of 1885 he travelled to 2085 and died, would that prevent him from being born? The only reason Marty was in danger of disappearing and not existing (i.e. being born) was because his parents were in danger of never getting together.

Bishop73

It was the 1985 Doc that went back to 1885 so he would still be alive in 1955.

The Doc that got sent to 1885 was the Doc from 1985 so therefore it wouldn't have affected 1955 Doc at all.

The one in 1955 hasn't done anything 1985 Doc did.

Question: Doc is quite a resourceful and clever guy. Why didn't he set to work on repairing the flying circuits which would have enabled them to use Mr Fusion to reach 88mph, instead of the engine?

Answer: Mr fusion only powers the flux capacitor. The engine is needed to get the car up to 88mph whether flying or not and the only way to get the car any power is by the use of petrol, which didn't exist in 1885.

The_Iceman

At the beginning of the movie, when 1955 Doc reads the letter that 1985 Doc sent to Marty, he reads that the lightning bolt activated the time circuits and at the same time destroyed the flying circuits. Because of this, the Delorean will never fly again.

These answers are correct. Plus, to the original question: as clever as Doc is, keep in mind he got the flying conversion done in 2015. Definitely no way he would have been able to repair something so futuristic with 1885 tools at his disposal. He couldn't even get gas.

jshy7979

Yet just a few years later he had built from scratch a flying time-traveling locomotive, all with 1885 tools and parts.

jimba

There's no indication he built the flying train in 1885. It's suggested he had been time traveling with his wife and kids and says he's already been to the future. Whether this is in the DeLorean or the train it's not clear, but the dialogue suggests he's been to the future in his train with the family and could have modified his train to fly with future technology.

Bishop73

That took years, as you said. They were trying to leave 1885 in a matter of days so Doc wouldn't be shot by Buford.

jshy7979

Question: After Marty enters 1885, in his fleeing from the Indians, the DeLorean's fuel line gets ruptured and it loses all its gas. When Marty tells Doc this, Doc says gasoline doesn't even exist yet. However, Doc's DeLorean, which is now hidden in a cave, has its own gas supply in its gas tank and will not need it anymore, as 1955 Doc would just refill it after getting it out of the cave. Why didn't Doc siphon the gas from his DeLorean, and refill Marty's? He said the only problem at that moment was no gas. Not that he could not patch the fuel line, which would have been easy.

Scott Miller

Chosen answer: We don't know how much gas was in the De Lorean when it got struck by lightning - Doc may not have bothered to top-up regularly as he was using the anti-gravity (powered by Mr Fusion) a lot, and also Biff had used the car and may have used up some fuel. As Doc was putting it in storage, he would have drained the fuel before putting it in the mine to prevent damage (and 1955 Doc implies the tank was empty and that he filled it up) He also may have been reluctant to tamper with the car in the 1880s as it could have been damaged or destroyed (by a mine collapse), thus leaving him stranded in the 1880s and Marty in the 1950s with no time machine.

Sierra1 Premium member

Answer: When putting any vehicle into storage for a long time, fluids must be drained from the vehicle. 1985 Doc most likely did this after being sent to 1885.

Question: Doc has always been firm about not wanting to create some sort of paradox. Was he not at all worried that eventually someone would go into his barn looking for him and find his giant refrigerator and his model railway with the car that said "TIME MACHINE" on it? I know he stayed behind after he rescued Clara so could have removed all that, but the original plan was he was going to hop into the DeLorean with Marty. We know he definitely left the model railway there as Clara picked the car up which prompted her to go after him.

Answer: Someone would go into his barn and do what? See a sign that says time machine and believe it and then use it? Seems highly unlikely.

lionhead

Question: At the end of the movie, Jennifer asks Doc about the note she got from the future that became erased when Marty did not participate in the race with Needles. Doc's answer to her question is that her future had not been written yet, and he goes on to say that no-one's future has been, but if that is so, then how come in the previous movies he could travel into the future with Marty to see Marty's future?

Answer: What they saw was one possible future, not a definitively laid down one - one of the key plot devices in the series is that making changes in the past will affect the future. As such, what Doc's saying is that, while they've seen one possible future, actions that they take in the present can change it for the better (or worse).

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: When Marty is in the bar at the morning of the showdown, Seamus shows up there saying something told him that he should be there, as if his future depended on it. Was he right? Did what happened that morning affect Seamus' future?

Paul Pepiton Premium member

Chosen answer: Seeing as how Seamus is one of Marty's ancestors and something significant to Seamus' future DID happen that day (Marty didn't get killed), Seamus was definitely right.

Guy

Nothing will affect Seamus' future. If anything happens to Marty, it doesn't affect the 1885 McFly family.

Marty is Seamus' future, so his statement is correct.

Question: Back in 1885 why doesn't Doc change the letter he sent to Marty, asking him to bring a can of gas?

Answer: When Marty received the letter from Doc in 1955, as seen in the second movie, Doc wrote down that he didn't want Marty to go to 1885 to rescue him because he was happy living in the past. Instead, he wanted Marty to take the Delorean straight back to 1985 and then destroy it so it could never be used for personal gain again.

But once Marty appears in the past Doc could easily change the letter, changing things such that Marty would bring gas with him.

That wouldn't really work with Marty already there. Since Marty and Doc are occupying the same timeline, changing the letter wouldn't do anything until Marty traveled back into the future, at which point the altered letter would be unnecessary since they had found a way for Marty to return.

Phaneron Premium member

Changing the letter wouldn't have made a difference. When Doc decides to leave 1885, Marty tells Doc that he ripped the fuel line so, with the fuel line damaged and no gas available, bringing a can of gas wouldn't have helped.

Answer: This would create a different timeline, not the timeline they are in.

Answer: That would not be possible as in 1885, Doc sent the letter on September 1st, and 1955 Doc sent Marty to 1885 on September 2nd so it was a day later and on the 1st, Doc was not expecting Marty to turn up. However, one CAN ask why Marty and Doc didn't go to the local Western Union office and change it (or write a new one) there since it was in their possession per the gentleman in part 2.

Changing the letter while Marty is in 1885 with Doc would accomplish nothing, because it doesn't it instantly travel to the future. Marty at the end of Part II, for his part, may receive the letter almost immediately, but the letter itself had to wait 70 years to be delivered to him.

Phaneron Premium member

I mean, there's no solid rules to time traveling, but just for argument's sake it seems like the letter idea could work... in the franchise, when something is set in motion, the effects usually take place immediately. Take for instance when George and Lorraine kissed at the dance in Part 1. The picture of Marty and his siblings went right back to normal, even though the kids had not been born yet. Doc and Marty changing the Western Union letter "could" have had an immediate effect and a gas can could have materialized in the Delorean, much like we've seen newspaper headlines change before our very eyes, disappearing gravestones, etc.

jshy7979

In your examples, the changes occur to future events. The items that changes, like the picture and newspaper, are from the future themselves. They can't change the past by changing events in the future (like they do in Bill and Ted's). This is why Doc and Marty couldn't go back to 2015 to stop old Biff from taking the DeLorean.

Bishop73

Question: For Doc to be so worried about corrupting the timeline in this movie (especially when it comes to falling in love with Clara) he surely doesn't seem to think twice about destroying the locomotive that will no doubt have a huge effect on the timeline. I doubt there were many trains on that railroad, with that mode of transportation now gone, Hill Valley itself could be wiped out.

Carl Missouri

Answer: Doc must have reasoned that the loss of the locomotive would have a minor impact on Hill Valley, if at all. The railroad company would likely have replaced the destroyed locomotive. Obviously Doc was correct as there seems to have been no impact on Hill Valley's economy whatsoever and the train lines continue to run into the 1980's.

BaconIsMyBFF

Chosen answer: In the timeline that the original Marty and Doc came from, Hill Valley exists so that town obviously survived that incident. An accident already occurred on that day in their history. They just didn't know it was them that caused it.

XIII

That is not how time travel works in these movies. In fact, the entire series revolves around the timeline being changed whenever they travel into the past. There are no stable time loops. The train was not destroyed in the original time line.

Answer: Corrupting time was a worry for Doc, however, he also recognized that it was at least partially unavoidable. Otherwise, Doc would never even be able to go buy food, because how would he know that the meal he ordered wasn't one that someone else was meant to choke on? Occupational hazard of time travel.

Captain Defenestrator

Question: When Marty and Doc are on the train at the end, and Clara shows up, Doc says that Clara will have to go with them to 1985. Why does Doc say that? Someone submitted a correction saying that Clara is better off in 1885 because she was supposed to die so staying in her own period is better than going to the future, so why would Doc suggest such a thing?

Answer: Simply because, believe it or not, it's hard for Doc to kill someone through inaction. He saved her life when she was supposed to die. But that doesn't mean it'd be easy for him to do nothing now and just let her die when he knows he can do something to save her. And by taking her to the future, he is likely thinking he can avoid any other complications that may arise from the fact that she is still alive when she's already supposed to have died.

Garlonuss Premium member

Answer: At this point, Doc is already in love with Clara. He did not plan for her to be on the train, but once he saw her there, he definitely wasn't going to leave her to let her die a horrible death.

jshy7979

Question: On the time traveling train there is the initials E.L.B, does anybody know what this stands for?

Answer: ELB are the Doc's initials - his name being Emmett L. Brown. Earlier in the film these initials were also seen on a plank of wood in the mine indicating to Marty where the time machine had been buried for 70 years.

Chimera Premium member

Question: Doc is a scientist right? The DeLorean had a ruptured fuel line and needed gas which, as Doc pointed out, was unavailable at the time. Surely he knew how to distill booze to make ethanol? (There was plenty of whiskey around at the time). I mean, they've used it to power cars in Mexico for ages. Why didn't Doc suggest this?

Bodragon

Answer: They did try it. Doc ran the engine with the strongest thing the bartender could find them and it blew out the engine. It takes all the power a heavy car like a DeLorean has to get up to 88 MPH. It wouldn't be able to get that much power running on ethanol, in addition to the damage caused to the engine.

Greg Dwyer

Question: When Doc comes back at the end, it's to say goodbye to Marty, but what's stopping him from just staying in 1985 with Clara and their two sons? I mean, before Clara turned up at the train in 1885, Doc was all set to go to 1985 with Marty, and then when Clara showed up, Doc said that they'd have to bring her too because there wasn't much time left before the train ran out of track, and he couldn't just let her perish. So why doesn't he just stay in 1985 - that's where he was going to go before Clara turned up, and now that he has her, and a family, why not just settle down in 1985?

Heather Benton Premium member

Answer: Because like Doc Brown, Clara has a thirst for adventure. An Old West lady being offered the chance to go back and forth in time. Also, to go to the final frontier, outer space. Besides traveling for them is like a vacation. They could settle in 1985 anytime they wanted.

Answer: Doc was never content living in the modern world. Once he met Clara, he'd found a time and place where he fit in. Also, Clara and the two boys do not belong in the 1980s. They are people of the 19th century and likely want to stay there.

raywest Premium member

Question: Heres something that never made sense to me. I could see how Marty's great-great-grandfather Shemus could resemble Marty (so Michael J. Fox plays him), but why would his great-great-grandmother Maggie McFly resemble his mother when this is his father's side of the family?

Carl Missouri

Chosen answer: This has been covered before. Men tend to be attracted to women who remind them of their mothers, so the McFly men would be attracted to a certain "type" throughout the years until we get to George meeting Lorraine.

Captain Defenestrator

Question: I have a question, I don't know if it's true or not but I have heard about this for years after Part III was released. Had Crispin Glover decided to do the sequels, would he have had the role of Shamus McFly in Part III, or once Glover turned down the sequels, then it was decided that Michael J. Fox would play the part of Sheamus once Part III was greenlit? Or was it always going to be Fox playing the role of Sheamus regardless if Glover came back for the sequels or not?

Answer: In an interview, actor Jeffrey Weissman (the actor who replaced Glover as George McFly) mentioned Glover was slated to play Shamus since Lea Thompson, who played Lorraine (Marty's mom) also played Maggie (Shamus' wife). So it made sense the Mom and Dad would play the great-Grandparents. However, without the heavy makeup and prosthetics to look like Glover, the film makers thought having Weissman playing the role would look too unrecognizable that the audience wouldn't know who he was. In a side note, the scene of elderly George hanging upside down in BTTF 2 was written with Crispin Glover in mind as payback.

Bishop73

Question: On the movie timeline website it says that on November 6 2012 America elected a female President, and that this fact comes from Back To The Future Part III. Where in the film is this mentioned?

Answer: It's actually mentioned in Part II, when Marty and Doc are reading the newspaper. If you look at the headlines on the left side of the page, one of them reads, "President says she's tired of..." As this is in 2015, pending changes to US election dates, she must have been elected on November 6th 2012.

Question: What is the name of the music that plays right after the mayor gives his speech at the clock dedication?

AdmRose

Answer: The song is called "Battle Cry Of Freedom" written in 1862 by American composer George Frederick Root during the American Civil War.

Chosen answer: The song (right after the mayor's speech) is actually "Nearer, My God, to Thee" of Titanic infamy, but with an upbeat tempo. This plays the moment the clock is engaged and ends after the photograph is taken.

Question: Doc seemed hell-bent on destroying the DeLorean. So why did he go to the future and get a hover conversion done on the train? Why didn't he just build the train, return to his own time and then destroy the train?

Answer: Quite a bit of time has passed for Doc since Marty went back to the future; he and Clara are married and have two children who look between six and ten years old. Plenty of time for him to change his mind and decide he likes the time traveling life with his family.

Answer: He didn't return to the Old West, both of them had a desire to go to the final frontier. Their favorite author is Jules Verne, who wrote "From Earth to the Moon."

Answer: Doc was happy living in the Old West but returned to the future to collect his dog, Einstein, and he didn't want Marty to worry about him. He probably also wanted to make sure that Marty had made it safely back to his own time, to properly say goodbye, and make sure the DeLorean was never used again. He never indicated he would destroy the train, only the DeLorean. The hover conversion on the train would have been done in the Old West, not in the future.

raywest Premium member

I doubt he was able to make the train hover in the old west, whilst he could easily go to the future with it and do it there, like he did with the DeLorean. He did say he has been to the future with it, so it's logical to assume that's where he upgraded it.

lionhead

Doc never says he went further into the future with the train or did the hover conversion there. If he could build a time-traveling locomotive in the 1880s, then he could create a hovering one, as he had the knowledge. Marty asks if he's going back to the future, and Doc says no because he's already been there. That could be interpreted a number of ways. It's a sci-fi movie, and there is a lot of suspension of disbelief employed here.

raywest Premium member

While the movie isn't explicit about when or where the Time Train was built, other sources do indicate its hoverconversion was done in the future. While Doc could invent a machine that was capable of time travel (the mechanics of which aren't really discussed), he had to travel to the future to convert the DeLorean and couldn't even fix the DeLorean in the past.

Bishop73

What 'other sources' indicate Doc travelled to the future for the hover conversion? Any fan speculation is invalid. I also don't get the argument. While Doc was unable to fix the DeLorean when Marty was in the Old West, he could, and did, in later years, build the time-travel train in the past. He could not otherwise have gone anywhere into the future to do anything. Time-travelling without the hover ability would be extremely difficult as a locomotive would be noticeable and require taking off and landing on empty train tracks. Doc would have to hide the locomotive while converting it. He would also have to know before time-travelling that the railroad tracks he took off on still existed in the future, as he could possibly arrive smashing into what became an urban development. This should be considered as both a deliberate plot hole and a plot device using "suspension of disbelief" solely intended to give the series a spectacular finale.

raywest Premium member

Question: Just before Doc shows his plan with the DeLorean and the train Marty checks the walkie-talkies and Doc confirms it that they work. How are they able to get the walkie-talkies to work in 1885? I'm thinking Doc invented something so Doc and Marty can communicate with each other with them.

Answer: Given Doc's scientific ability (and some suspension of disbelief) it would be easy enough to rig up a makeshift battery that would last long enough. Or indeed they've just got lucky and the walkie-talkies' batteries still have enough life in them. They're not mobile phones, they don't need masts or any infrastructure, they just connect directly to each other.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Like you said, walkie-talkies work independently of any infrastructure, which is what I think the question was more about. However, the battery was invented way before 1885 with the first lead acid rechargeable battery being invented in 1859 with pasted electrode batteries being invented in the 1880's. So it's less about Doc rigging up a battery and just using what's already available or charging the batteries it came with (if we are assuming the batteries ran out of power).

Bishop73

The best batteries they had in those days were crude, wet batteries made out of earthenware and filled with sulphuric acid. They were cumbersome, dangerous and didn't have a lot of voltage or low current. Hardly suitable for a walkie-talkie that needs at least 9 volts. But I suppose it's possible Doc had some charged self-made batteries sitting at home to keep them going.

lionhead

Definitely not "crude", certainly not as advanced as today, but the lead acid battery is the same technology a lot of batteries use today. They even had electric vehicles prior to 1885. My point was Doc didn't have to invent technology that didn't exist (as opposed to what some say he would have to do to get an 80's camcorder to play on a 50's TV). They had rechargeable batteries back then so it wouldn't be a stretch that Doc could recharge the batteries he had.

Bishop73

Answer: 1955 Doc got him some new batteries ("Just in case, fresh batteries for your walkie talkie. Oh what about that floating device?") They only used them on the train so the batteries would still be charged. In regards to how they work, they don't rely on phone masts, satellites, WiFi etc as they send radio waves to each other and not to any sort of base station.

Factual error: Though extremely modest on today's standards, the dress worn by Clara to the hoedown shows far too much cleavage for the time. No schoolteacher would ever wear a dress like that in the 1880s.

More mistakes in Back to the Future Part III

Doc: Clara was one in a million. One in a billion. One in a googolplex!

More quotes from Back to the Future Part III

Trivia: When filming the scene where Marty is being hanged from the clock tower, Michael J Fox agreed to really hang from the rope. Whilst filming, Fox held the rope away from his throat with his hand. At one time he wasn't holding the rope and was really being strangled. The film crew didn't realise, they just thought it was really good acting, until he passed out.

More trivia for Back to the Future Part III

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