Back to the Future trilogy #MyWritingInspirations

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Back to the Future trilogy

As I get closer to releasing Janet’s Yellow Butterflies, I have been reflecting on some of the literature, media and memories that inspired ideas for it. 

Today’s inspiration is the Back to the Future trilogy – ‘an oldie, but a goodie’. This is one of my all time favourites, and I have watched it time and time again, picking up on more clever connections almost every time.

*Spoiler alert*
In Back to the Future I, set in 1985, Doctor Emmett Brown – Doc – completes the time machine he has been working on for decades. His friend Marty McFly unintentionally triggers it to travel back to 1955, where he unknowingly disrupts the ‘space time continuum’, changing his family’s future forever. In film II, Marty and Doc travel forward to 2015, where they discover that one seemingly minor action during Marty’s visit to 1955 has bestowed doom upon their future selves, their families and Hill Valley. They travel back to set things right, successfully restoring the status quo. Film III is set in 1885, Hill Valley’s wild west days. Again, despite their best efforts to minimise interactions with others, Marty and Doc’s actions change the course of their own futures, as well as Hill Valley’s. 

I was surprised to learn that Back to the Future I was not intended to have a sequel, given how meticulously every detail is so seamlessly woven together throughout all three films, with frequent foreshadowing and hidden ‘Easter eggs’.

While there is no time travel in Janet’s Yellow Butterflies, I often thought of these movies when connecting the plotlines at different points throughout the story. For example, the Hill Valley clock tower is built in 1885 in film III, and remains a constant pillar of the community throughout all three films. The left image shows the clock face ready to be installed in the new tower, and the right image shows the tower still standing in 2015, even after being hit by lightning in 1955. Examples like this, and Marty and Doc meeting past and future versions of themselves and their families and ancestors, gave me ideas on how to articulate change and perpetuity over the 300 year span of Janet’s Yellow Butterflies. 

Read more of my writing inspirations here: