How many trips did the DeLorean take?!

Version 2.0
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Have you ever wondered how many times the DeLorean traveled through time?

Well, today is your lucky day!

Through the miracle of "Free Time O'Vision", we have compiled a summary of the BTTF trilogy by denoting each event where the DeLorean traveled through time.

We've also included some interesting observations regarding physics and how each trip changed the timeline.

Keep in mind that some of the DeLorean's trips we didn't get to see. For those trips we estimated the number from the dialogue between Marty and Doc.

So, sit back and enjoy! If you have any comments (particularly about how many DeLoreans are actually present in panel #19) e-mail me at: locutus@atlantic.net.

A graphic representation of the BTTF Timeline can be found here.
A animated graphic representation of the BTTF Timeline can be found here.

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Rolling out the DeLorean

Twin Pines Mall: 1:17 am, Saturday October 26th, 1985

Temporal Odometer: 0 trips

Einstein & Doc Brown compare watches

Both watches are in perfect synchronization.

First Departure

Twin Pines Mall: 1:20 am, Saturday October 26th, 1985

"Uh... what just happened?"

The DeLorean (with its passenger, Einstein) has just left Marty and Doc's temporal frame of reference (timeline) and has jumped ahead one minute to a point further down the timeline. So, from Marty and Doc's perspective, the DeLorean has disappeared. In less than a minute, Marty and Doc will catch up to the DeLorean in the timeline.

Since they're standing in the same point in space where the DeLorean "vanished", when Marty and Doc arrive at the point in spacetime where the DeLorean reappears, they will occupy the same space as the DeLorean. In other words, they'll get run over if they don't get out of the way.

First Arrival

Twin Pines Mall: 1:21 am, Saturday October 26th, 1985

Temporal Odometer: 1 trip

1. Einstein ahead 1 minute

"This sucker's electrical..."

1.21 Gigawatts = Energy consumed by 12 million Easy-Bake Ovens.

Energy Fun Fact #121:
Since their introduction in 1963, over 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens have been sold; each using a 100 watt lightbulb (sometimes two 60 watt bulbs). The total energy consumed by all those ovens? 1.6 BILLION WATTS (i.e. 1.6 GIGAWATTS)! Given a usage of about 1000 kilowatts per month, it would take the average American household over 133 years to consume that much energy!

Now THAT's a lot of wattage!

Einstein & Doc Brown compare watches again.

Einstein has become the world's first time traveler. Notice that his watch is now one minute behind Doc's.

From Marty and Doc's perspective, the DeLorean disappeared at 1:20 am and reappeared at 1:21 am. Essentially, Einstein and the DeLorean skipped over 1:20 am to instantly arrive at 1:21 am (EBT - Emmett Brown Time)

In Einstein's (and the DeLorean's) frame of reference, the trip was instantaneous.

The Temporal Display

This was a cool gadget. The top readout told you where you're going, the middle one told you where you are, the bottom one told you where you WERE.

Unfortunately, after repeated trips, the top display developed a short circuit and kept displaying "JAN 01, 1885". This proves to be a critical plot point at the end of BTTF Part 2.

November 5th, 1955

While showing Marty how the DeLorean works, Doc enters several dates into the destination keypad. He reminisces fondly about the day he was inspired to invent the DeLorean's Flux Capacitor and enters the date "November 5th, 1955".

Refueling the DeLorean's Reactor

In order to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity needed to power the DeLorean's Flux Capacitor, Doc uses a nuclear reaction produced by some plutonium he "acquired".

The one flaw in this design is that the driver must carry enough plutonium to travel from point A to point B in the timeline. One plutonium pellet = One trip.

Doc's Journey to 2010

With the first test run successful, Doc prepares to jump ahead 25 years.

Unfortunately, Doc's plans are interrupted by the people from whom he "acquired" the plutonium.

"AAAAUUUGGHHH!"

In an attempt to evade the people from whom Doc "acquired" the plutonium, Marty escapes using the DeLorean.

Unbeknownst to Marty, not only are the time circuits activated, but the "November 5th, 1955" destination date Doc entered is still on the display.

"Welcome to 1955, FutureBoy!"

While trying to outrun his pursuers, Marty gets the DeLorean up to 88 MPH, activating the Flux Capacitor and sending him and the DeLorean back to November 5th, 1955.

In Marty's zeal to escape, he unwittingly left behind the plutonium which powered the Flux Capacitor, thus stranding himself in 1955.

Temporal Odometer: 2 trips (at this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955

"Mmmm...lightning!"

Marty manages to find the 1955 version of Doc and explains his predicament. Being the resourceful person he is, Doc Brown devises a way to harness the lightning from the famous Nov. 12th thunderstorm in order to power the DeLorean's Flux Capacitor.

Despite many, many obstacles, the attempt is successful and the DeLorean goes on its 3rd trip through time.

Temporal Odometer: 3 trips (at this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955
  3. Marty to 1985

The DeLorean in 2015

After traveling forward 30 years, Doc decides to come back to 1985 to get Marty and Jennifer.

Doc brings Marty & Jennifer forward in time to help "reform" their kids. Actually, Jennifer was unnecessary baggage, but she made good plot fodder.

Marty has to prevent his son Marty Jr. from agreeing to an "opportunity" with Biff's grandson Griff. Temporally speaking, this whole story line would be impossible. Since Marty & Jennifer went forward in time, they wouldn't have been in Hill Valley between 1985-2015 in order to have kids. But we'll suspend our disbelief for a moment because...well, the movie's cool!

Notice the addition of a Mr. Fusion above the DeLorean's reaction chamber. Hence no more plutonium problems!

Temporal Odometer: 7 trips (up to this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955
  3. Marty to 1985
  4. Doc & Einstein to 2015
  5. Doc & Einstein further ahead to see what happens to Marty
  6. Doc back to 1985 to get Marty
  7. Marty, Jennifer & Doc to 2015

The Clock Tower in 2015

Notice the damage to the clock from Doc's 1955 "weather experiment".

The Bad 1985

Due to some unfortunate planning on Marty's part, Biff swipes the DeLorean, taking with him a book of Late 20th Century sports statistics. Biff gives his younger self the book, and causes a significant change in the time continuum. Biff returns to 2015 with the DeLorean, but disappears from the timeline shortly thereafter.

When Marty and company return to 1985, everything is wrong (from their perspective). Everyone who lives in Hill Valley thinks the events so far have been normal. Since Biff changed history, Marty, Doc, Jennifer and Einstein are now from a different timeline and therefore have different memories of Hill Valley's past.

The Bad 1985...continued

Causality really gets confusing at this point, because if Doc is committed to a sanitarium (as the newpaper reports), he won't be able to invent the time machine which Biff steals. Therefore, Biff wouldn't be able to go back into time to give himself the book which made him rich enough to corrupt Hill Valley and get Doc committed to a sanitarium.

Don't you just love temporal physics?

Temporal Odometer: 10 trips (up to this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955
  3. Marty to 1985
  4. Doc & Einstein to 2015
  5. Doc & Einstein further ahead to see what happens to Marty
  6. Doc back to 1985 to get Marty
  7. Marty, Jennifer & Doc to 2015
  8. Biff steals DeLorean and goes to Nov. 12, 1955
  9. Biff returns DeLorean to Oct. 21, 2015
  10. Marty, Doc, Jennifer & Einstein "return" to the Bad 1985

"You WERE here yesterday..."

Marty and Doc return to 1955 to retrieve the book from Biff.

Notice that at this point in the timeline, (until approximately 6:38 PM on November 12th, 1955), there were THREE manifestations of the same DeLorean existing simultaneously!

  1. DeLorean #1 WITHOUT Mr. Fusion (For Marty's trip home to 1985)
  2. DeLorean #2 WITH Mr. Fusion (The DeLorean Biff stole from 2015)
  3. DeLorean #3 WITH Mr. Fusion (Marty & Doc's transportation to 1955)

Keep in mind, these are all the same vehicle, just at different points in our time travel chronology. Any interference with either DeLorean would cause a paradox that would ultimately negate their existence.

Neat, huh?

"Mmmm...lighting! Part 2"

Marty and Doc are successful in retrieving the book from Biff, and history returns to normal. Unfortunately, in its current location the DeLorean is a perfect electromagnetic target. Lightning strikes the DeLorean and it promptly disappears from 1955...leaving Marty stranded.

"Where did Doc go?"

Remember that temporal display problem I mentioned earlier?

Temporal Odometer: 12 trips (at this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955
  3. Marty to 1985
  4. Doc & Einstein to 2015
  5. Doc & Einstein further ahead to see what happens to Marty
  6. Doc back to 1985 to get Marty
  7. Marty, Jennifer & Doc to 2015
  8. Biff steals DeLorean and goes to Nov. 12, 1955
  9. Biff returns DeLorean to Oct. 21, 2015
  10. Marty, Doc, Jennifer & Einstein "return" to the Bad 1985
  11. Marty & Doc travel back to 1955
  12. Doc accidentally travels to 1885

"How does Marty get Back To The Future?"

Thanks to Western Union, Doc is able to let Marty know that he's ok, and how he can get home (to 1985).

The lightning bolt which sent Doc back to 1885 destroys both the time circuits and the flying circuits. Suitable replacement parts for the time circuits will not be available until 1947, hence...Doc is stranded in 1885.

Doc carefully packages the time vehicle and buries it in an abandoned mine. Included with the DeLorean are instructions on how to build a new (albeit more cumbersome) time circuit using 1955 parts.

At this point, our DeLorean is now over 70 years old. Fortunately Doc drained all the fluids out of it. Unfortunately, some of the rubber parts didn't survive the long burial. The tires being one of them.

"Vaya Con Dios!"

Doc puts new tires on the DeLorean, fills the tank with gas, and off we go again!

"Isn't it ironic?!"

Marty joins Doc in 1885 to bring him back home (to 1985). While there, Marty and Doc pose for an historic picture.

Just before the picture is taken, Doc mentions how fitting it is that they're present to witness the dedication of Hill Valley's new clock.

Both Marty & Doc were present when the clock started in 1885, and when it stopped 70 years later.

"Time to go home."

Upon arriving in 1885, the fuel line on the DeLorean breaks, causing its fuel to empty onto the ground. Since the DeLorean is unable to get to 88 mph under its own power, Doc devises a way that they can push it up to 88 mph.

Doc & Marty "borrow" a locomotive and using a combination of chemically treated "Presto" logs, are able to push the DeLorean up to 88 mph...for its last trip through time.

"Home Sweet Home."

Marty & the DeLorean are finally back in 1985. Doc unfortunately was unable to accompany him due to circumstances beyond his control.

Temporal Odometer: 14 trips (at this point)

  1. Einstein ahead 1 minute
  2. Marty to 1955
  3. Marty to 1985
  4. Doc & Einstein to 2015
  5. Doc & Einstein further ahead to see what happens to Marty
  6. Doc back to 1985 to get Marty
  7. Marty, Jennifer & Doc to 2015
  8. Biff steals Delorean and goes to Nov. 12, 1955
  9. Biff returns Delorean to Oct. 21, 2015
  10. Marty, Doc, Jennifer & Einstein "return" to the Bad 1985
  11. Marty & Doc travel back to 1955
  12. Doc accidentally travels to 1885
  13. Marty travels back to 1885 to get Doc
  14. Marty travels to 1985 (the DeLorean's final trip through time)

An animated graphic representation of the BTTF Timeline can be found here.

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"If you're going to build a time machine into a car,
why not do it with some style?"
- Dr. Emmett L. Brown

 

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This WWW-page is a private creation and I claim no official association with Amblin Entertainment Inc., Universal Studios Inc., or any other organization affiliated with the production of the Back To The Future Trilogy and subsequent theme park offshoots. The Back To The Future logo is a registered trademark of MCA Universal & Amblin Entertainment.

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Last updated: June 9th, 2001