Think about it: Marty goes back to 1955 in Part 1 and helps his parents fall in love again. Well, when Marty went back to 1985 he created an alternate timeline where his parents are rich. There are alternate George, Lorraine, Dave McFly, and Linda McFly, but strangely no Marty. So where is this alternate timeline Marty and why is he not present?

  • 2
    Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/2137/… Commented Mar 22, 2022 at 19:10
  • I think we have to accept that the past hadn't updated yet for the Lone Pine mall Marty so his adventure was identical to Twin Pines Marty. BTTF and the movie Looper both do timeline updates without concern for paradoxes as a feature of its time travel rules. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 3:46
  • @lucasbachmann - Why do we have to accept that the timeline hadn't updated yet for Marty? We know Doc had updated, since he had the letter Marty gave him in 1955. If Doc had updated, it follows that George and Lorraine had updated also. (Why would Doc update, but not them?) And if George and Lorraine had updated, it follows that they'd raised a new version of Marty, who would've physically existed somewhere in that version of 1985. So if that wasn't him at the mall, then where was he? Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 6:45
  • @LogicDictates because in my opinion the alternative is 2 to possibly infinite alternate timelines and/or paradoxes. (Respectfully this question likely will be closed a a duplicate but I thought my comment would offer some peace to the OP. comments aren't for discussion so I will refrain from further posts) maybe doc didn't update until Lone pine Marty left. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 7:02
  • @lucasbachmann - Any solution you or I propose needs to make sense though, otherwise it isn't viable as a substitute for the "2 to possibly infinite alternate timelines and/or paradoxes" scenario. Without further clarification, I don't think your solution does make sense, in which case, it only serves to muddy the waters even further. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 7:16

2 Answers 2


When Marty initially returns to 1985 near the end of the first film, he chooses to arrive ten minutes earlier than the point in time when his younger self left 1985 to begin with. He then runs over to Lone Pine Mall, hoping to reach Doc before he's shot by the Libyans, but he's too late, and sees Doc being shot again, and a younger version of himself inadvertently using the time machine to travel back to 1955.

Since Marty is now shown to be at Lone Pine Mall though, rather than Twin Pines Mall, as it was called earlier in the film, we know he's already in a different timeline than the one he originally departed from, despite the similarity of the events taking place. So the Doc he sees being shot by the Libyans for a second time isn't quite the same Doc he knew originally. Rather, this is a version of Doc who lived through an alternate version of history, as a result of the changes Marty made in 1955. The same applies to the version of Marty he sees travelling back to 1955. This is the alternate version of Marty who was raised by the alternate versions of George and Lorraine mentioned in your question.

So when Marty returns to the McFly household, of course there isn't an alternate Marty there, because we just saw him go back to 1955. It does beg the question of what happened to the alternate version of Marty after he arrived in 1955, but there's already another question addressing that point.

  • Presumably, this second Marty returned to yet another timeline (unless he got lost in time). What happens to the Marty in this timeline, we are not told. It is quite possible that this, or another, timeline will end up with two Martys. If they then travel back in time together, they may hook up with even more Martys and have a Marty-party. :-) Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 12:17
  • Party hearty with Marty. Maybe multiple Martys can arrive from the future but when they all arrive at the same place/time they all become one Marty. A unified Marty theory. Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 13:59
  • And this is why you don't time travel.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 23, 2022 at 15:45

I think you're maybe thinking that when Marty goes back in time, a new universe is created with all his changes in it.

This is not the case - there is only one timeline, which gets changed with trips back in time. Dave and Linda at the end of the movie are not new people from a new universe, they are the same Dave and Linda that we saw at the start of the movie, but they have been altered. It's like rewinding the tape and recording over it.

So as to your question about "Where is the Marty of the new Universe?" - you're looking at him! He's the guy acting so confused that Dave works in an office and Linda has lots of boyfriends.

Now it's a bit confusing because presumably there should be a Marty who knows all about George being a well-known author and Elaine being thin. But it's consistent through the movies that if when you travel through time and make changes, you keep your memories from the before the changes.

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