Harm Jagerman

Oh, hey, it’s Back to the Future Day!

Oh, hey, it’s Back to the Future Day! Indeed, today is Back to the Future Day. Because it is October 21. The only question is whether paying attention to this day after Oct. 21, 2015, makes sense.


This article contains spoilers. Chances are you may never have seen the films. If so, it is not wise to read further.


Needless to say, it was hilarious on Oct. 21, 2015, when it turned out that everything that had not become true from that second part of the film series had not come true. Let’s face it, quite a few striking things came out in the second part.

As time goes on, you could argue that perhaps more and more is coming true or has come true. Still, there have been several things since it came out and the moment when it was “really” Back to the Future Day came out. 

The official trailer of Back to the Future from 1985. Back then it was “just” Back to the Future. So later, when Back to the Future Part II was released (1989) this became the first part.

What spoilers?

Don’t worry, the spoilers are coming. Unlike the Dutch version of the article, I do include them in this article. That has to do with the schedule on this website. It is currently only offered in Dutch.

You just have to wait for it, for the things I am going to name. Those are the predictions that were made in the film. By that, I mean major and minor details from the film. Certain things that would be linked to the year 2015. That was the year in which Marty McFly, the protagonist in the story ended up. Or rather, ended up. In 1989, when the film hit theatres, that was the future. Meanwhile, 2015 is the past. That seems complicated, yet it is not at all so. It is less complicated than the storyline of the three films.

You might think, because the films were not released immediately after each other, that there is a longer period between events. There isn’t. The film always takes place in 1985. Whether McFly travels back and forth in time or not.

First about the name of the day

The name of the day, Back to the Future Day, suggests all three films. That assumption is incorrect. The date is very important here. The time when the day originated is also hugely important. The first edition of Back to the Future Day took place on Oct. 21, 2015. There was a good reason for that: McFly travelled from 1985 to that date.

He did so in the second part of the film series. Just the name Back to the Future Part II Day sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it? Therefore: Back to the Future Day. Another mystery solved!

Are the other two films less than the second part? On the contrary, some believe that the creators should have just stopped after the first part. Was that logical? No! That movie ended with a nice twist and a huge cliffhanger.

That cliffhanger consists of Dr. Emmett Brown summoning McFly and his girlfriend Jennifer to go with him to the future because terrible developments have occurred there. Their children have made a mess of things there.

When the film came out in 1985, that just wasn’t the case. It was a funny ending. A chaotic, funny ending. Still, it was eye-opening. An open door that then remained open for as many as four years.

In the 1989 sequel (Back to the Future Part II), Jennifer was replaced by Elisabeth Shue (born Oct. 6, 1963). This was not the breakthrough for her. She had previously starred with Tom Cruise in Cocktail (1988). Shue’s role was limited, though, as she was unconscious for much of the film.

The intro of Family Ties.

Family Ties

For Michael J. Fox (born June 8, 1961), it was a bit of how you want to look at it. From 1978, the original Canadian actor could be seen in mainly television series. Yes, one got to know him mainly as Alex P. Keaton (don’t forget the P!) in the series Family Ties (1982 – 1989). Only internationally that was a little later. Just around the time of… Back to the Future (the first part). That doesn’t matter otherwise, because Fox was more than just Family Ties. Let’s face it, the same year the actor went back to 1965, he also suffered from excessive hair growth and big teeth in Teenwolf, the movie Family Ties Vacation came out and The Secret of My Success followed two years later. Whereas in that film it was all still somewhat funny and semi-innocent, those ways of getting to the top, a year later it was quite different.

In 1988 the public suddenly saw a different side of Michael J. Fox. In the movie Bright Lights, Big City people saw Fox who was doing drugs (cocaine). Suddenly, the bubble seemed to burst. Where did the funny Alex P. Keaton went off to? Did Marty McFly disappear? It didn’t seem to sink in that it was about acting and that actresses and actors could choose to play other roles as well. For example, that of a soldier in a war that was already sensitive in the United States. The War in Vietnam.

Fox got one of the lead roles in Brian de Palma’s hard-hitting, raw drama Casualties of War. In the film, he played a soldier who becomes conscientious about a decision by a group of soldiers to capture a Vietnamese woman. Besides Fox, Sean Penn also plays a rock-solid role in this film. Not everyone saw it that way. Once again, people asked if the “fun” Fox could return. Fortunately, Family Ties continued for a while, until 1989. Only then did that series end.

The cast of Family Ties says goodbye to the studio audience. That’s right, Courteney Cox was also part of the cast of Family Ties (1987 – 1989). 

Back to the Future Part II

Suddenly, in 1989, there was a sequel to Back to the Future. So with that, Back to the Future became Back to the Future Part I. That second part takes centre stage on Oct. 21. That was quite recently the case. Around the date of Oct. 21, 2015, people suddenly started thinking about that date being central to the film. After all, McFly was sent there by Doc. At least, he ended up there with Doc and Jennifer. A world of difference … or not.

What was funnier to see what was right about the predictions and what wasn’t? You could do the same for other films, were it not for the fact that such a thing is much more difficult. Other films don’t mention dates. In Back to the Future Part II, they do. Besides, there are some very special things in between. Take an implant in the brain. That is utter nonsense, isn’t it?

More on 2015 predictions later.

“Read my Fax!” With a modest role for Michael Peter Balzary (born Oct. 16, 1962) better known as Flea of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers (bass guitarist). A fax machine in almost every room. What else stands out: video calling.

Fax machines

What is interesting, though, is the value of certain things that were very important in 1989. Fax machines, for example. Let’s face it, what mobile devices are now, fax machines were in the 1980s. By that, I’m not taking away the value of computers. We are now talking about communications other than telephony.

Consider a situation where there would be a fax in every room or mailboxes on the street equipped with a fax.

It is less funny when you consider that in the film a newspaper is visible that mentions Queen Diana. That was never going to happen. Speaking of less funny events, although a mediocre follow-up came out as the third part in 1990, this was also the year when Fox’s life was completely turned upside down by Parkinson’s disease. He did not officially announce the news until 1998 when he starred in the sitcom Spin City. He then retired from the series. After that, he focused mainly on a role as a voice actor. However, he did make some forays into guest roles. Only after he was prescribed new medication in 2012 did he start acting again. The series The Michael J. Fox Show was based on his own life and ran until 2014. After that, he mainly took on guest roles.

From Family Ties: the first meeting between Alex and Ellen (Michael J. Fox and Tracy (Jo) Pollan).

Tracy Pollan

It has nothing at all to do with Back to the Future Day. It does have to do with Family Ties and Bright Lights, Big City. It also has everything to do with Fox’s life.

Tracy (Jo) Polan’s (born June 22, 1960) name has been associated with Fox’s since the 1980s. By the way, you should know that his name is a stage name.

Fox’s real name is Michael Andrew Fox. Abbreviating that results in Michael A. Fox. That might evoke a negative association, which is why he chose to replace the letter A with the letter J. This is a reference to an actor he appreciated: Michael J. Pollard (born as Michael John John Pollack on May 30, 1939 and died on November 20, 2019).

The relationship did not begin directly on the set of Family Ties, as both actors were still in a relationship at the time. Fox with lesser-known actress Nancy McKeon (born April 4, 1966) and Pollan with actor Kevin Bacon (born July 8, 1958). Only in 1987 were the two no longer in a relationship and that was when they were seen together on the red carpet of such events as the Emmy Awards in 1987.

In July 1988, the two got married. After that, they made a deal. They would never act together again. Before that, they made an exception in 1997, when Fox starred in Spin City. Incidentally, this was also the last major series before Fox announced that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He announced this news in 1998, after which his participation in the series stopped in the same year. They are parents of four children.

No, none of this has anything to do with Back to the Future Day. It just has everything to do with Michael J. Fox and it is a special history. Just like the movie itself and everything about it. Or rather everything that may or may not have come true since then. All the future predictions that were made in this movie. Therefore, October 21 is still a special day. Even after 2015.

Back to the Future Part.... IV?

So is it really going to happen? A sequel to Back to the Future? So a fourth part? This part was first supposed to be planned for 2023 and that was later changed back to 2024. As you can see (above), there’s even a “sort-of” trailer. Only this is not an official trailer, although it is nicely made.

The rumours are not new. As soon as the first film was released, rumours of a sequel began. Logical, since that was a film with an ending that left something to the imagination, right? In the second part, they were clear. There the text simply appeared at the end “To be concluded.” This text appears in the video you can see below this text. It’s not clear if this video will be available forever.

Then the last part. Doc finally reappears in the present. Note, therefore, that is not 1990 (the year the film was released), but 1985. You are tempted to think this because there is a time in between parts (1989 and then 1990), but the story assumes events that follow each other. So it is still 1985 in the film. Doc disappears into the past because by his admission he has already seen the future. The only question is where does he leave for with that train?

The Delorean was destroyed by a train during McFly’s return, so using it is really out of the question. Unless another way could be found, of course. Of course, something like that would be conceivable in, say, a fourth volume. Just imagine it. Only how do you imagine it?

To be clear, the end of the third part. Again, it is not clear how long this excerpt will remain available.

What might one expect from a fourth part of the series? There is no chance that Fox could have a major part in it. His health might not allow it. Of course, storylines can always be adapted. Marty McFly would have become a father or perhaps a grandfather by now. Doc could quite fit in as well. When it comes to Jennifer, she has since become McFly’s wife.

All that is possible. Again, the rumors are not new. Perhaps it stems from a particular desire. How much fun would it be? The website Snopes.com decided to dive in and came to the conclusion that it was not true. In March 2023, the website announced that no new version of Back to the Future would be released in 2023, as can be read here.

In this article, you can only read that not only fans are guilty of spreading rumors. One of the actors, Christoper Lloyd also participated fully in 2022.

The screenshot of the message spread by Christoper Lloyd via Twitter (now X) on Nov. 3, 2022. View the original message here.

For that matter, whether, realistically, Christopher Lloyd would return to the role of Dr. Emmett Brown should be irrelevant. Lloyd was born on Oct. 22 and celebrates his 85th birthday tomorrow. When you consider that Patrick Stewart was born July 13, 1940, and thus only two years younger between 2020 and 2023 was involved in the sci-fi series Star Trek: Picard, it could still be quite possible. Only there is a big but in this case. You can read about that in the Snopes article.

Lloyd was talking about an online store, not a new movie. Besides, two years earlier anyway, it had become clear that Amblin Entertainment, Steven Spielberg’s production company, saw nothing in a fourth part of the series. Its spokesman, Bob Gale described a fourth film as a “Moneygrab… So it’s not going to happen.” Then, by the way, you can ask the legitimate question of why Amblin Entertainment keeps wanting to go ahead with those dinosaurs in all sorts of movies based on 1993’s Jurassic Park…

Nevertheless, true: there will therefore be no fourth part of Back to the Future. What is true: that is Oct. 21, and that is Back to the Future Day.

The predictions

Well, now let’s talk about the predictions. Although, of course, the faxes have already been covered.

Chicago Cubs

Some things seemed unreal or strange in 1989. Take the Chicago Cubs’ winning of the Baseball World Series. That seemed unthinkable that year. In the years that followed, too. In 2015, for that matter, it seemed unthinkable as well. Until it became 2016 and CNN could report that you just had to believe. The Cubs had won the World Series!

This report was from a “fake” newspaper, the USA Today. According to Doc, it was unreal that newspapers were still being read in 2015. A prediction that never came true, by the way. People just read newspapers even today. Mindblowing.

Lights on...

“Lights on” and the lights come on. Not to mention the fingerprint that makes a door open. Although that has been possible for some time. But honestly: lights on with a voice command. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Granted, that wasn’t possible in 2015. A few years later, however, it was possible.

A brain chip

The scene in the fast food restaurant, of course, contains a huge number of things that really didn’t pan out. Let’s face it, those pants you wear inside out were only a trend in the early 1990s (really) and only during a very short period of time. That vest with sounds, never became what. Simply because it was never made. An extendable or telescopic baseball bat even though. The same goes for cycling while eating. About the other clothing accessories… no, no and no again!

Then how about that video game. Controlling a video game remotely? We really still play games with keyboard, mouse or controllers. Or, when using a smartphone, with your fingers or a stylus. So, no, no mind control. No brain chip. A brain chip is really something that you should refer to the realm of myth.

Hey, wait a minute…. 

No, not 2015 and it’s not about games. But are you reading along? This article from BBC tells you more about Neuralink.

Nostalgia and Jaws 19

Funnily enough, the creators were right on one point. It had to do with nostalgia and the past. Only that’s not weird at all. That’s something that makes sense. In the film, in several scenes, you see a kind of “hankering” for nostalgia and the past. Is that weird? No, because that’s actually of all times. Does this count? Not quite. Besides, the film was made in the 1980s (1989). It’s only logical that a bit of that era seeped into the film, right? The only thing that went wrong: certain technological developments of the time were given too much value. Let’s face it, what is the value of the fax machine today? In the movie, the fax machine was given enormous value.

Not only the value of technological developments was sometimes misjudged. So was the “skill. Take hoverboards, for example. Yes, they are out there, but in most cases, they do have wheels under them. Hovering all by yourself is not an option yet. There are possibilities, but they are not comparable to the inventions presented in the film. The models that do exist without wheels require a motor and cannot do what was visible in the film.

Then Jaws. The film came out in 1975 and three more sequels followed: Jaws 2 (1978), Jasws 3-D (1983) and Jaws: The Revenge (1987). Thank God, Jaws 19 has never been filmed.

That same clip does show a giant hologram on a billboard. That, of course, did not become a reality. However, giant billboards with moving images did become a reality. Shall we say that this prediction has been partially fulfilled?

A woman as president of the US

No, no woman has yet been elected president of the United States. The country was close with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. She ran against Donald Trump in 2016 but lost. If you broaden the concept of ‘president’, the US has a female president. Namely: Kamala Harris. Since January 20, 2020, she has been the country’s first vice president. It’s true, that’s not the same as the president. You could say that a president is a president. Strictly speaking, it is not correct, the newspaper reports that the president submitted her resignation. So no, no matter how much you want it: this prediction has not (yet) come true. The land was close.

A cure for cancer?

That is not the only discussion. The newspaper also mentions a cure for cancer. That would be cholesterol. Now you can rely on a scientific study that is regularly cited as ‘proof’ that a certain anti-cholesterol drug is said to help treat cancer. Is that the same? You have to look very carefully for that article. This article can only be found via the Wayback Machine (source).

However, you should not take this information at face value. You should first submit such information to a medical professional. Let’s just say that this is a prediction that is actually wrong. The newspaper stated in the film that cholesterol was a solution for the disease. The article concerns treatment with a medication that is also prescribed for the treatment of a specific condition (elevated cholesterol levels).

A prediction about predictions

A prediction about predictions. In 2015 the weather would be predictable, and very accurate. So that you could always take it into account. Now that didn’t quite work out, of course. How about the apps you have at your disposal that warn you of precipitation? These are now quite accurate. Not quite the same, but pretty accurate.


If only it was like in the movies. Sometimes it seems like they are there, but the reality is different. The techniques simply aren’t there yet. Yes, hoverboards exist. Just not in the way like in Back to the Future Part II.

Even the technique described in this video isn’t the same. This hoverboard still requires a magnetic field. Do check out the additional information in this video.

In an attempt to do something similar to a hoverboard, some people go to great lengths, as this video shows. And no, this is not a hoverboard.

For hoverboards as seen in the film: they are there, they just don’t work like in the film.

October 21: Back to the Future Day

Of course, the options for comparison are endless. Feel free to get started with it yourself. After all, October 21st is Back to the Future Day. Start with the first part, then part two (with the flashback to 2015) and then part three! Because… 

Oh, hey, it’s Back to the Future Day!

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