Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale has offered his explanation for the plot hole that has bugged fans of the movie ever since it was released.
Although almost everybody agrees that director Robert Zemeckis’ time travel movie is a classic, many are confused as to why the older George and Lorraine McFly don’t notice that their son, Marty, looks a lot like the high school classmate they knew as Calvin Klein.
Gale told The Hollywood Reporter that, significantly, George and Lorraine only knew Calvin for a week while they were 17 and that they might only remember him as an “interesting kid” they once knew.
He said: “I would ask anyone to think back on their own high school days and ask themselves how well they remember a kid who might have been at their school for even a semester.
“Or someone you went out with just one time. If you had no photo reference, after 25 years, you'd probably have just a hazy recollection."
The writer added: "So Lorraine and George might think it funny that they once actually met someone named Calvin Klein, and even if they thought their son at age 16 or 17 had some resemblance to him, it wouldn't be a big deal.“
Gale added that he believes just about anyone could find somebody in their high school yearbook with a resemblance to their kids.
The debate was reignited this week when director James Gunn cited Back to the Future as a potential response to a viral Twitter game in which users named movies they believed to be perfect.
Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy leading man Chris Pratt chimed in with an explanation, which is effectively the interpretation that Gale has now endorsed.
Back to the Future SEEMINGLY could be imperfect (why don't Mom and Dad remember Marty?), but I would still argue it's a perfect film because there are reasons why this could conceivably be the case (time protects itself from unraveling, etc). Or maybe I'm in denial. Who knows.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) April 21, 2020
Maybe they do remember him tho, not as Marty, as Calvin. When Marty returns to present day 1985, it could have been years since his parents would have perhaps originally noted the uncanny resemblance between their son and that kid from high school 20 years previous. #perfectmovie https://t.co/5S2q2rEtUU
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) April 22, 2020
Gale has been vocal about his distaste for the idea of ever returning to the Back to the Future movie franchise, comparing the prospect of a reboot to selling children into sex work.
Spider-Man actor Tom Holland caused a stir when he appeared in a viral deepfake video earlier this year in which he played Marty, alongside Robert Downey Jr. as Doc Brown.
Holland revealed that talks have taken place about a Back to the Future reboot, though he quickly stated that there are many reasons why it will never happen.
Whatever anyone thinks about a reboot, Gale has now said his piece on that lingering plot hole and that’s all there is to it.