Did Marty Actually Die Twice in 'Back to the Future 2' Only to Be Saved by Doc?

Doc already knew where Marty was going to be and he showed up at those spots at precisely the right moment because Marty had already died there.


Mar. 11 2024, Published 12:30 p.m. ET

Marty in 'Back to the Future 2' in 2015.
Source: Universal Pictures

Any movie that has been obsessed over for decades is naturally going to lend itself to plenty of speculation and fan theories among its most die-hard fans. That's especially true for films that already have some element of science fiction or fantasy in their stories.

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It only makes sense, then, that Back to the Future 2 would be fertile ground for speculation among fans who have seen it dozens or even hundreds of times. Now, one fan theory has circulated that suggests that Marty dies twice during the film. Keep reading for all of the details.

Marty and Doc looking at a paper in 'Back to the Future 2.'
Source: Universal Pictures
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Explaining the fan theory that Marty is killed in 'Back to the Future 2.'

As anyone who has seen Back to the Future 2 likely knows, the film follows Marty and Doc Brown as they travel first to 2015, and then back to the 1950s again to revisit the events of the first movie. Thanks to a TikTok video from nyc_museum_of_illusions, though, some fans think that the plot in Back to the Future 2 might be even more complex than it initially appears to be.

This theory suggests that Marty dies at two separate points in the film. The theory is based on the fact that in both instances, Doc shows up just in the nick of time to save him. The first comes when they're in 2015, and Marty is attempting to escape from an old Biff while they're on the roof of Biff's casino. Just as it seems like Biff is going to shoot him, Doc shows up in the Delorean, so Marty knows that when he jumps he'll be caught.

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The second rescue comes when they're in the 1950s and Marty is being chased by a young Biff who is trying to run him over with his car. Just as it seems like Biff is about to catch Marty, though, Doc shows up in the Delorean to drop a line and rescue him.

To a casual viewer, these might seem like the kind of coincidences you see in most movies. Marty's never going to die, so Doc has to show up to save him.

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What this theory suggests, though, is that Doc already knew where Marty was going to be and he showed up at those spots at precisely the right moment because Marty had already died there. Doc had done his time travel loop several times and had done it until he knew Marty wasn't going to die. Basically, Doc kept trying to fix things until he got them exactly right.

There are issues with this theory, including the creation of potential paradoxes. There's also the much simpler question, though, of rather those last second rescues are the most effective ways to save Marty's life. It seems perfectly possible, for example, that Marty could jump off of Biff's roof and miss the Delorean, plummeting to his death. Still, as is the case with most fan theories, it's a fun thing to speculate about.

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