Could Doc Brown travel to see the dinosaurs if he wanted to?

  • 5
    First time he tried going one year before 0000, he wound up at 9999, and never got around to fixing the unsigned integer bug. – Thunderforge Oct 5 '17 at 0:10
  • There's a simulator in Universal Studios amusement park in Florida where you ride the DeLorean. It goes to the dinosaur time at a moment, the board showed the year 8888... – Goufalite Oct 5 '17 at 6:20


Looking at the time clock installed: enter image description here

From this we can see a 4-digit year, with no place for ten-thousand, hundred-thousand, or million. This means that the Delorean can probably not travel to dates with more than four digits in the year.

Further, it appears that the clock uses The Gregorian Calendar, which further limits the range in which the Delorean can travel. (e.g. using Jovian or Jewish calendars would change the allowable time-range).

But that just means the system as used by the Delorean is restricted. When Doc built his train, he might have added features allowing him to travel even further in time than seen in the film. Currently we have no information on this, so can only speculate.

Cartoon Series In the short-lived Back To The Future cartoon series (which is not considered canon) season 1, episode 3, "Forward to the Past" they travel back to the time of the Dinosaurs, so it can be assumed that Doc had updated his systems for that journey. However, this is not canon so up to you if you think this counts.

| improve this answer | |
  • Notably the DeLorean is a prototype model designer for short jaunts. It's entirely ill-equipped for an extended trip into the distant past. – Valorum Oct 5 '17 at 6:30
  • When you say "the Delorean can probably not travel to dates with more than four digits in the year", do you mean it's physically impossible, or rather impossible to input any 5-digit year? The former seems illogical (physics are not dependent on calendars). It's more likely that this is Doc Brown's first model, he simply hadn't expanded the interface yet, as he was initially trying to travel within relatively close range. Similarly, the first car ever built did not have a fuel tank that ensures you can drive long distances. – Flater Oct 5 '17 at 11:12
  • @Flater I meant the latter - Doc doesn't appear to have provided the ability to enter more than four digits. The time machine itself probably can travel further, it's just that the Doc didn't add this feature (at least, in any way we can see). – Tim Oct 5 '17 at 19:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.