In Back to the Future, when Marty takes Lorraine to the dance there is no-one at the stairs when he drives in...

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But in BTTF2 it's revealed that another Marty and Biff were at the stairs the same time Marty1 comes to the dance...

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From a purely in-universe perspective, why weren't Marty2 and Biff at the stairs in the first movie?

  • 4
    Because traveling in time has the potential to spawn new timelines; youtube.com/watch?v=WolcbNTNX5I
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 0:47
  • 3
    Which particular word were you unfamiliar with?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 0:49
  • 6
    The writers (Gale and Zemeckis) hadn't even come up with the story of BTTF 2 when they wrote and filmed the original (they didn't even plan on a sequel in fact), so there couldn't have been any intentional foreshadowing of Marty 2 in the first movie.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 1:02
  • 2
    In universe: They were missing from BTTF because in BTTF, BTTF2 hadn't happened yet. Word. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 3:08
  • 3
    Apparently, time travel in Back to the Future doesn’t work how you think it works. And just to really blow your mind: the shadow you saw behind the pink prop isn’t Marty2. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


Because that's not how time travel works in BTTF.

  • The first movie shows how the timeline is freshly rewritten into the one where George stood up to Biff.
  • From that new present's future, old Biff travelled back to rewrite the timeline again by providing young Biff with the Almanac.
  • Then Marty2 arrives back in the past and is on the stairs. From his point of view, his previous travel has happened, so he's seeing his past self. But from Marty1's point of view, which BTTF1 shows, BTTF2 will not yet have happened and thus the scene shows no Marty2.
  • Actually from Marty1's point of view at that point he would have seen Marty2 if he'd just looked to the right, but yes in BTTF1 he wouldn't have. Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:41
  • @zabeus Marty1 spotting Marty2 would (to paraphrase Doc Brown) a) have caused Marty1 to faint like Jennifer (and thus fail his mission and make him cease exist) b) torn the space-time continuum apart or maybe c) split the universe into two (one where Marty1 didn't spot Marty2 and one where he did)
    – Zommuter
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 18:47

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