Back to the Future Screenwriter Clears Up Major Plothole

The narrative of Back to the Future involves someone inventing a time machine out of a DeLorean, though despite this fantastical concept being difficult to accept as ever happening in reality, some audiences still argue that the film contains a "plot hole" that distracts them so much from the narrative that they can't enjoy it as much as they would like. This seeming misstep in the script hinges on the notion that, despite time-traveling Marty (Michael J. Fox) being responsible for his parents getting together in high school, the parents don't recognize how similar their child looks to the person responsible for bringing them together, with writer Bob Gale pointing out how little of a role that catalyst would have played in their memories over subsequent years.

"Bear in mind that George and Lorraine only knew Marty/Calvin for six days when they were 17, and they did not even see him every one of those six days. So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date," Gale shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "But 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 events of the film saw Marty traveling back to the '50s and encountering his parents, which began a rip in the space-time continuum, forcing him to concoct a scheme to bring them together to ensure that they started a family and thus birthing him. Marty adopted the name "Calvin" because when his teen-aged mom (Lea Thompson) rescued him after an accident, she saw that he had "Calvin Klein" labels on his underwear, leading her to believe that was his name.

"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 pointed out. "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."

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It's hard to argue with Gale's explanation, especially due to the fact that there weren't pictures taken of "Calvin" back in the '50s that the parents would still possess, allowing them to compare how their son looked to the person who they knew for a week and ultimately set them up.

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