16 Mind-Blowing Moments Of Foreshadowing In The 'Back to the Future' Trilogy
There's no argument that the Back to the Future trilogy is one of the most fun and influential franchises from the '80s. Each film works perfectly as a piece of popcorn entertainment, and the well-constructed storylines don't leave much room for error. The Back to the Future Easter eggs collected here highlight the franchise's many veiled references and instances of foreshadowing.
These Back to the Future hidden messages show how it's crazy that film director Robert Zemeckis didn't think the original movie warranted a sequel, despite it being full of foreshadowing for the rest of the franchise. Once you finish reading about all the foreshadowing in Back to the Future, go back and watch the films to see if there's anything else you can catch.
Doc's Clock Sets Up The Film's Finale
The opening scene of Back to the Future is a kaleidoscope of Easter eggs and foreshadowing and gives a big nod to the film's exciting finale. As the camera pans over Doc's setup, look closely, and you'll see a piece of merchandise referencing the silent Harold Lloyd film Safety Last!, which features a guy hanging off a clock.
The film's climax echoes this reference when Doc hangs off the Hill Valley clock tower to get Marty back to the future during a lightning storm.
The Statler Family Through The Years
One of the coolest things Robert Zemeckis does with the Back to the Future trilogy involves layering the films with interlocking references. Thanks to this extra bit of work, the history of Hill Valley is full of family-owned companies that go back for generations.
The Statler dynasty prominently foreshadows things to come, as their stores appear throughout various eras. The audience initially sees the Statler name when Marty finds his dream truck at Statler Toyota. The rest of the series has the Statler family selling all kinds of transportation.
In 1885 the Statlers owned Honest Joe Statler's Fine Horses, and in 1955 they're selling Studebakers.
'The Honeymooners' Inspire Marty's Out-Of-This-World Persona
In the first film, Marty catches the same episode of The Honeymooners twice, once in 1985 and again in 1955. The episode, "The Man from Space," shows Jackie Gleason putting together a homemade costume that reflects his idea of what an alien looks like.
This episode gives Marty the idea to appear to his father as Darth Vader, an "extraterrestrial from the planet Vulcan" later in the film.
The McFly Men Can't Take Rejection
Before Marty's band The Pinheads audition for the Battle of the Bands, Marty tells Jennifer he's nervous about playing in front of people, as they might not like his particular brand of '80s rock. He then says, "I just don't think I can take that kind of rejection."
George repeats this exact sentiment verbatim in 1955 when Marty tells his teenage dad to ask Lorraine to the Enchantment Under The Sea dance.
The 'Wild Gunman' Game Sets Up The Third Film
When Marty travels to 2015, he stops into the Cafe '80s for a nostalgia trip. While there, he plays an arcade game called Wild Gunman. This is a real-life arcade game featuring a character named Mad Dog, which also happens to be the primary antagonist's name in Back to the Future Part III.
This short scene in Back to the Future Part II establishes how Marty is good with guns and makes for a quick draw - two things important in the third film.
Doc's Locomotive Shirt
It's hard not to see all of the foreshadowings to Back to the Future Part III in its prequel Back to the Future Part II. Since the crew shot the movies back to back, this meant Robert Zemeckis could reference specific set pieces in both films. For example, there is western imagery woven through the second film.
Another instance involves Doc wearing a patterned shirt with locomotives - a direct reference to the third film's finale.