Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

A Decades-Long Back To The Future Plot Hole Has Finally Been Explained

You know what they say: Sometimes, it takes a Twitter discussion between two of the coolest dudes in Hollywood to draw a long-retired screenwriter out of hiding to close a plot hole in his beloved, 35-year-old movie.

Okay, so people might not have said that before, but now, they have a reason to. Following a social media exchange between Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn and his star Chris PrattBack to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale emerged out of the ether to resolve the decades-old plot hole. After Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) went back in time to meddle in the lives of his parents Lorraine (Lea Thompson) and George (Crispin Glover), assuming the fake name "Calvin Klein," how did the pair fail to recognize that their child grew up to be the very guy who saved their relationship?

It all began when Gunn chimed in on the hashtag #FivePerfectMovies to offer some well-informed musings on what constitutes a flawless film. "For me, a perfect film can be different from a favorite film, or a great film," he wrote. "A perfect film is something that sings from start to finish with no obvious mistakes, whether they be aesthetic or structural. There are no logical lapses."

Gunn went on to lovingly needle a few flicks that are favorites of his but that also are guilty of some of the transgressions he mentioned. These include The Good, The Bad, and The UglyBreaking Away, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then, he got around to Back to the Future, to which he gave a pass. "Back to the Future SEEMINGLY could be imperfect (why don't Mom and Dad remember Marty?)," he wrote, "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."

The Back to the Future screenwriter's explanation makes perfect sense

Pratt then jumped in with his own commentary, tweeting, "Maybe they do remember him [though], 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." One fan hilariously replied to this with, "Star-Lord just saved Back to the Future." As it turns out, Pratt indeed wins the prize.

Catching wind of the debate, Gale decided to settle it once and for all, explaining his position to The Hollywood Reporter. "Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for eight days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those eight days," the scribe 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."

Gale went on to close the book on the debate for good, saying, "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. I'd bet most of us could look [through] our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teen-aged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children."

There's no greater authority on Back to the Future than Bob Gale

If there's anyone whose explanation about anything having to do with Back to the Future should be taken as gospel, it's Gale. He wrote all three installments of the beloved film series, created the short-lived 1991-1993 animated TV series based on the films (which we're guessing you might not have known existed), and even served as a story consultant on the Telltale video game series Back to the Future: The Game

Among his only other screenwriting credits are the much-maligned 1979 Steven Spielberg comedy 1941 and the Kurt Russell-starring laugh-fest Used Cars from the following year, both of which he co-wrote with Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis. The man hasn't written a proper screenplay in over two decades, but it doesn't matter; Gale's legacy would be secure if the Back to the Future trilogy was literally the only thing he's ever done, and as far as we're concerned, his explanation of the so-called plot hole puts an end to that discussion permanently.

Interestingly, Chris Pratt has appeared in another time travel movie that was supposedly full of holes — a tiny little production called Avengers: Endgame. In that movie, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) listens with a look of utter confusion on his face as Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) explains the rules of time travel. "Think about it. If you go into the past, that past becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can't now be changed by your new future," Banner says. Lang, confounded, replies, "So, Back to the Future is a bunch of bulls***?"

Now that Gale has emerged to clarify a few details about his action-comedy masterpiece, we're waiting for him to weigh in on Lang's hilarious statement.