The Real 'Back to the Future' Plot Hole We Should be Talking About

The Real 'Back to the Future' Plot Hole We Should be Talking About

There's been a lot of talk lately about an alleged plot hole in Back to the Future. It all started when director James Gunn Tweeted that the comedy classic was one of his #FivePerfectMovies even though it has one glaring imperfection: Marty's mom and dad don't recognize that their son looks like the dude they knew as Calvin Klein in the '50s -- something we pointed out back in 2008.

Even though this is by no means the most controversial thing Gunn has Tweeted, it prompted pushback from Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, and even Back to the Future co-writer Bob Gale. The latter argued that George and Lorraine McFly would only have a "hazy recollection" of the mysterious teen they knew for just one week, three decades ago. Gale is right, and this isn't really a plot hole when you think about it. But there is a far bigger problem with the story of Back to the Future that, frankly, needs addressing. We're, of course, talking about the Libyans.

We all remember that Doc Brown obtained the plutonium necessary to power the flux capacitor by ripping off a group of "Libyan nationalists". They track Doc down and shoot him in the parking lot of Twin Pines mall, only to crash into a photo booth after Marty disappears in the DeLorean.

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Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

But ... what happened to them? Oddly, these nameless Libyans are never mentioned again. There's really no outcome we can think of that wouldn't have a significant impact on the plot.

Possibility One: They died. First of all, this makes the movie way darker. For instance, Doc and Marty's heartwarming reunion scene plays a tad differently if there's a VW van full of bloody corpses just offscreen. This also means that Marty and Doc fled a crime scene, which you have to imagine would have caught up with them at some point seeing as Doc was driving a truck with his goddamn name scrawled across the side.

Universal Pictures

Possibility Two: The Libyans survived. Won't they simply keep trying to murder Doc? And, now that they've seen his face, Marty as well? The movie's novelization goes into loads more detail about the Libyans, including the fact that one of them is a psychotic "ex-fashion model" who's cool with killing Doc because he "looks Jewish." The book further explains that the police show up at the mall and arrest the Libyans, who are still alive. Doc and Marty escape in the truck, but it's presumably only a matter of time before their names get brought up during a police interrogation. Plus the Libyans saw Doc's top-secret time machine disappear, isn't that kind of a problem? Okay, the ball's in your court, Gale.

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Top Image: Universal Pictures

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