Finally! After three decades of waiting it has finally arrived! October 21st 2015 is upon us and as I write this the Cubs are losing against the Mets during Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series. Sure, there is still time to turn it around but as the old man that Marty runs into in Back to the Future II declared, 2015 is the year the Cubs win the pennant. Coincidence? Not really, but considering that the game was supposed to be against Miami, a team that hadn’t been founded in 1989 when the movie was filmed, there is something a bit prophetic about the whole affair.
The many memes and articles about the day Marty travels forward in time have filled the social media news feeds for over a year now. First it was the hoaxy “Today, Date 2014, is the day Marty travels to the future!” and then a few recent memes reminding people how to dress in 2015. As Back to the Future Day approached, even CNN released an article that details what the movie got right and wrong, and every media outlet will have joined the bandwagon by the stroke of midnight.
What people may not understand about the movie is that for a group of Millennials and Gen Xers, Back to the Future II was something of a promise, less of a far fetched distant future and more of a day that we would get to witness and live through. Most of us are working adults with houses in the suburbs that contain high tech security and entertainment systems, yet the things we envisioned possessing or experiencing the most are still not available. Mention the hover board or the time machine to anyone in their mid thirties and a part of us wishes those inventions were a thing of the past.
It shouldn’t surprise me that the technology hasn’t fully caught up to the movie’s gags. It took a few decades to have smart phones that could pass for tricorders from Star Trek, and in the case of the 1984 novel, we are not living in a dystopic society although Big Brother is sort of watching. Some of the technology presented in the movie is not feasible, yet, but there are very few scientists and engineers at work on devices inspired by the movie to expect any advances. The closest I have ever been to a hover board is at the Experience the Music Project in Seattle, where the movie props are being displayed as part of their sci-fi collection. (If anyone knows of a device that was created because of this franchise, let me know in the comments section.)
We may not have an adjustable inflatable jacket nor flying cars with lanes in the sky, but we are finally close to a date that used to be considered an uncertain yet optimistic future. Tomorrow, in our immediate timeline, the entirety of the Back to the Future franchise would have taken place in the past, and a new generation of fans will search for articles like this one thirty years into the future and wonder: “How could they live without hover boards and flying cars?”