'Back to the Future' Screenwriter Closes Plot Hole Amid Renewed Debate

Bob Gale ends the decades-long argument among fans once and for all.

The debate about an apparent plot hole in Back to the Future recently reignited amid the popular social media trend "5 Perfect Movies." That is, until screenwriter Bob Gale closed the case for good. 

What started as a fun Twitter list for the Top 5 movies suggestions to watch during quarantine turned into some serious business as stars and filmmakers began to debate just what makes a film "perfect."

Marvel filmmaker James Gunn argued via Twitter "a perfect film can be different from a favorite film, or a great film. 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."

He pointed to 1985's Back to the Future, writing, "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."

Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt replied, explaining the situation as best he saw it: "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."

Well, Pratt is correct. 

Gale, the screenwriter for Back to the Future, settled the debate once and for all on Wednesday, telling 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. So, many years later, they still might remember that interesting kid who got them together on their first date."

He continued, "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."

Concluded Gale, "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 thru our high school yearbooks and find photos of our teen-aged classmates that bear some resemblance to our children." 

Case closed, Doc. 

April 23, 7:40 a.m.: Updated with Gale noting he meant eight days, not six.