I asked this same question at a meeting many years ago. Got pretty much the same response.
That one always bothered me as well, not to mention the question “to which timeline would they travel if they went back to _before_ the almanac was handed over and then went forward”, I mean, would the timemachine be “aware” of its own influence or would it go to the default timeline?
Not to mention, why isn’t the almanac itself undefined (like the photograph in the first movie) when Biff uses it?
I always just assumed the almanac WILL be made in the future, even the altered one. So it does get altered, which is why it keeps being accurate despite other influences.
Yeah, however, since Dr. Brown was put in an asylum in the alternate timeline, just how did the almanac get sent back if he wasn’t able to construct his timemachine nor even getting to know marty.
Paradox or just that Biff hires another scientist that manages to make a timemachine?
It’s b/c marty and Doc Brown fixed the corrupted timeline so when Old Biff went back to the future it was the future after Marty went and recovered the stolen almanac thereby preventing Young Biff from creating his gambling empire
Agents Dulmer and Lucsly from the Department of Temporal Investigations frown upon your shenannigans…
People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually — from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint — it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff.
Simply put, Old Biff couldn’t go to the alternate future because Marty and the Doc were in the other future. If Old Biff had gone to the alternate future, Doc and Marty wouldn’t have been able to get the time machine and correct the past. If they hadn’t corrected the past, the future in which Old Biff to stole the Delorian would never have existed, making the alternate timeline’s existence impossible.
Essentially, if Biff had gone to the wrong time, it would’ve caused a Paradox, and the Flux-Capacitor’s main job is to prevent paradoxes. Re-watch the movies, especially the first one, and notice that the car keeps breaking down at points that prevent paradoxes.
1. Breaks down on the way to town in a place that it could be easily hid in, preventing people from seeing a way too futuristic looking car.
2. Breaks down just before Marty has to build up speed for the lightning strike, delaying him from starting by a few seconds. As the Delorian hit the wire at exactly the right time, it can be assumed that it was compensating for an error in the Doc’s calculations or Marty’s driving.
3. Breaks down immediately after time travel to prevent Marty from running into his past self and preventing himself from going back in time.
Also, if you consider the timing of Marty’s arrival in 1955 and the Doc’s vision, it seems that it might be a straight match. The vision may have come at the exact time of Marty’s arrival, meaning that the Flux-Capacitor implanted the idea of itself into it’s creator.
This leads me to my theory that the Flux-Capacitor is alive, at least on some level. Make’s Marty’s return to 1985 in the third movie a bit sad if you think about it.
Very interesting theory. Never considered that the time machine was an entity capable of avoiding paradoxes.
Big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey…stuff. LOVE that reference to Dr. Who. Just got into watching that. GREAT comment!
Dang, Scorp… I like the way you’ve thought this through.
If they ever make a Back to the Future Part IV, I want you to be on the production team.
And you’re on the front page of reddit [x]
I’m not sure, but at the end of part 3 he went back to 1985, alone, not knowing if doc is still alive or not. After a short amount of time Doc is “visiting” with his new time travel train.
Why is that sad? Am I forgetting something? I don’t get it… ^.^
Hmm. That is a conundrum. In the deleted scenes, they show Old Biff fading away due to having died in 1990 or so from Lorraine shooting him finally. But it also would seem to say that by 2015 (that was the future shown in Back II, yes?), the horribleness that Biff unleashed would’ve been washed away.
Yeah, I saw that deleted scene too. I was all excited when I watched it. “Awesome! They’re FINALLY gonna talk about this problem.”
But no. You just see a vanishing Tom Wilson.
Man, you did not work with fun people, did you?
Wow, I had the feeling your style was a bit different in this one but I couldn’t put my finger on it…no text boxes! Lends quite a different look to the comic
Trying to mix things up.
That’s a better question than my favorite “any questions?’ – “How do they get the ‘M’s on the M&M’s?
With all the mistakes and screw ups that time travel movies can/have make/made, I feel that this particular one is forgivable.
I saw the title and thought it was somehow going to be about me.
Ha-ha! I WAS thinking about calling it “Book of Biff” just to see what you’d say.
Lol only you, Adam… PS. Happy Anniversary!!
It is because the B2TF universe’s time flux occurs over time, not instantly.
The first movie showed that even though Marty had set into effect an alternate future where he didn’t exist, he didn’t instantly poof away. The time alteration had to sort of ripple its way to his present as displayed by his magic photograph of the slowly disappearing siblings.
So the time shift that Old Biff set in motion hadn’t “caught up” to the year 2015 allowing him to return there. The real quandary is what if Old Biff didn’t return to his time, trapping the Doc and Marty in the future?
That’s actually the best explanation I’ve heard so far. We could’ve used a guy like you in the second meeting.
If I remember correctly, at the time Old Biff returns to the future, Young Biff has no intention of making any bets and believes Old Biff is a crackpot. It is possible that the event to skew the timeline is not the receipt of the almanac but rather the first bet or at least the intent to bet on the part of Young Biff.
When my boss asked (on the first day of work) if there were any questions, I asked “What’s the annual rainfall in the Amazon Basin?” trying to go for a cheap laugh. Got a few chuckles and the same response from him about work-related questions.
The next day during a meeting he opened with the answer! He’d went home and researched it and came to work prepared! He was a cool boss.
Nice. My old boss just gave me a “what the hell is wrong with you?” look.
I like the bug’s pensive facial expression in the third panel. It’s impressive that just the shape of the eyes can convey so much (though the body language of the arms could also deserve some of the credit).
go bug! talk about the stuff that matters! 😀
Looper spoilers, beware.
Looper gave me one of these moments at the end. When Young Joe shot himself, Old Joe shouldn’t have ceased to exist since he was from a tangential timeline. Looper made it look like a malleable timeline with the arm cutting messages, the changing memories, yet Old Joe remembered his wife. Having the universe play catch-up and alter your memories slowly rather than being like a slingshot is one explanation, but it fails with Young Joe’s death. If Young Joe dies, Old Joe ceases to exist, meaning Old Joe never went back, meaning none of this actually happened. Unless he’s from a tangential timeline. However, we know he isn’t due to the arm messages, so Looper failed the Stable Time Loop test.
Just came to laugh and saw the comments …got my mind blown
I just found this comic, I absolutely love it. Keep it up!
Back to the Future wasn’t a good ‘Time travel’ movie series. I’ve heard this argument used: Say you had a time travel machine and you wanted to save Lincoln from John Wilkes Booth. So you go back into time and try to kill Booth. Our history says that ‘Booth WILL kill Lincoln’, so no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to stop what will happen. You would need a teleportation machine and proof of the ‘infinite universe’ idea to get to a universe where history is different.
Well, I finally finished the archives. I’m a bit of a completist, in that I feel compelled to read all the archives of any good blog or comic I find, and this is the only blog/comic that hasn’t felt like a chore to finish. Truly hilarious stuff. I was very sad when I noticed I couldn’t hit the “Next” button anymore!
Aw, thanks! Glad you’re digging ’em.
Allie; Welcome aboard!
I did just the same as you and finished up a couple of weeks ago.
Now, I just wait until Saturdays to do a 5 page catch up!
Incidentally, I’ve thought about this exact same thing. I even remember talking about this with one of my friends:
I asked, “Shouldn’t have Biff returned to a future where he was super wealthy?” My friend replied that he did; we just didn’t see the castle/palace that Biff came home to.
(I didn’t quite buy his explanation.)
I see is as, Biff went back in time (2015 > 1955) but, in reality, Biff’s life had already went the course of him getting rich and getting shot [his alt self].
He returned to a self fulfilled future.
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