Back to the Future II: How much of the movie has become real 26 years later


With the enthusiasm of an apocalyptic cult awaiting the rapture, Back to the Future fans have spent the past 26 years looking forward to 21 October 2015. That’s the date Doc Brown punches into his time-travelling DeLorean in Back to The Future II, the 1989 sequel that promised viewers a near-future of flying cars, hoverboards and self-lacing shoes. And with the famous date fast approaching, a surprising amount of director Robert Zemeckis’s vision is becoming a reality.

This week, for instance, PepsiCo announced that it would launch a limited edition line of “Pepsi Perfect” bottles on 21 October, just like the one Marty McFly buys on the same day at the diner in Back to the Future II. The firm intends to make just 6,500 of the collectible bottles, to be sold online while stocks last. “Perfect” label aside, the 16.9oz of sugary drink inside the bottle will be plain old regular Pepsi, and the price will be a less-than-perfect $20.15 (£13.23).

Meanwhile, tech startup Arx Pax intends to ship the first of its real-life hoverboards later this month. Development of the Hendo Hoverboard was funded on Kickstarter last year, to the tune of $510,590, and the first 11 people to receive their boards will be those who pledged $10,000 or more to the campaign. The device reportedly works using magnetic-levitation, with four disc-like “hover engines” on its underside.

Future proof: Nike footwear based on on the MAG shoes worn by Marty McFly (Reuters)

Nike also announced in January that it would manufacture a line of self-lacing, light-up trainers like those worn by Marty in the film, to be released sometime in 2015. The shoes, which the company patented last year, are an upgraded version of the limited-edition Nike Air MAG that it released in 2011. They will include laces powered by motorised rollers that, thanks to weight sensors in the sole, tighten automatically when someone steps into the shoe.

Fax machines may no longer be ubiquitous, as Back to the Future II predicted, but the film did forecast the existence of the tablet computer, of hi-tech eyewear à la Google Glass and of video conferencing. After the bully Biff Tannen’s equally charmless grandson Griff Tannen and his gang are arrested for crashing their hoverboards into the Hill Valley courthouse, they are snapped by what looks like a drone taking photographs for USA Today.

The film’s chronology is confusing, but involves an elderly, 2015 Biff travelling back to 1955, where he gives his younger self a sports almanac from the future. The young Biff bets his way to a multibillion-dollar fortune, so that when Marty returns to 1985 (from 2015), he finds a dystopian Hill Valley ruled by the blonde-coiffed Biff, whose name is emblazoned in neon across the front of his ghastly casino. Biff’s resemblance to real-life wannabe autocrat Donald Trump is glaring.

Pepsi are to launch a limited edition line of ‘Pepsi Perfect’ bottles

One unfulfilled prediction in the film is the 2015 release of Jaws 19, a holographic 3D instalment in the shark movie series (an enterprising YouTube creator posted a fake teaser trailer online this week). Instead, it is the Back to the Future franchise that has endured. To celebrate its continuing popularity, Universal intends to re-release the entire trilogy in selected cinemas on 21 October. Amazon Prime is streaming the films.

The original Back to the Future was released in July 1985, and while there are no plans for a remake, the 1980s are plainly flavour of the month in Hollywood. The Rock is due to star in a remake of the 1986 action comedy Big Trouble in Little China. Several new Ghostbusters movies are on the slate at Sony Pictures.

Sequels to Alien and Blade Runner are reportedly on the horizon, the Terminator came back this summer and rumours continue to swirl about Chris Pratt starring in an Indiana Jones reboot. One of the first places Marty McFly visits after arriving in 2015 is a café themed around 1980s nostalgia. It may be the film’s most accurate prediction of all.