Back to the Future: What came true?

IF you look towards the skies today, you might just be lucky enough to see a lightning-like flash and two trails of fire.

Wednesday, 21st October 2015, 8:00 am
Doc Brown and Marty McFly

But if you do, you’ll need to stand clear – a DeLorean DMC 12 will appear out of nowhere travelling at 88mph, because today is the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown arrive in 2015 from 1985.

The film Back to the Future Part Two depicts Marty and Doc travelling into the future to try and help Marty’s children from landing in jail by changing the course of history.

And in describing a future 26 years from the film’s 1989 release date, the producers were eerily on the money in quite a few instances as the characters touch down in Hill Valley, California.

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Automated menus and Pepsi Perfect

Hill Valley boasts an 80s-themed cafe packed with nostalgia. As well as hitting that prediction – bars like Reflex offer a blast from the past – people in Hill Valley place orders by talking to an automated screen.

A few branches of McDonald’s require people to use touch-screen menus to order, and we have been ordering takeaways on websites like JustEat for years now without the need to speak.

Doc also hands McFly a $50 bill to order a Pepsi with, which shows the film was a little off in predicting the trends in inflation. But Pepsi has recently released 6,500 special edition bottles of “Pepsi perfect” which appears in the film… at $20 a bottle!

Nostalgia - 1980s films - Back to the Future


The retro cafe has on old Wild Gunman arcade game in the corner, and when switched on children bemoan the need to use their hands to play it. We’ve had hands-free gaming in the shape of X Box’s Kinect since 2010.

Tablet computers and Apple Pay

A man collecting donations to save the town’s clock tower is holding a tablet computer, and people pay for goods and services with their thumbprints.

Marty tries out a hoverboard

While this isn’t quite the case just yet – Apple Pay is similar, with a few retailers accepting payment by people pressing their phones into the reader with their thumbprint needed for authorisation.

But speaking of retail – when Marty buys a Sports Almanac from the antiques shop, he isn’t charged for his plastic bag!

When we see Marty’s future home in the following scenes, thumbprint technology is also in place to open doors, and biometric door locks are on the market.

Google Glass

Members of the future McFly family can identify callers and answer the phone with their sunglasses.

Internet banking

We’ve all transferred money via our computers to people for gig tickets, and to pay back our parents for the odd borrow.

At home, Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer sees her future

husband carry out a transaction with work colleague Needles, where he places his card into a slot at home to transfer funds.

The scene brings us to…

Video calls

Future Marty pays Needles during a video call – and video conferencing and Face Time have been around for a while in the real 2015.

Voice control

In the future McFly household, appliances such as the oven and television are controlled by voice command. Smart TVs and Siri have shown voice recognition software has improved drastically from the ‘you talk, it types’ technology of the late 90s.

Face recognition

Doc’s binoculars can pick out faces like the face recognition software used in digital cameras.

Hoverboards (Kind of).

Okay - so we’re probably a while of being able to pick up a Mattel hoverboard from Toys R Us, but Japanese car manufacturer Lexus completed its Slide project last summer.

But the board works through electromagnetic levitation - so you can only use it where there are magnets in the ground. And you can’t buy one.


When gang baddie Griff Tannen crashes his hoverboard into the windows of the Courthouse Mall, media drone cameras fly past to take pictures. A quick look online shows cameras are now regularly being strapped to drones to give different view.

Now we’ve seen what Back to the Future got right - what about one prediction which could go either way this week?

The Chicago Cubs

Newsflashes are everywhere in Hill Valley in 2015, much like the rolling tickers on TV screens we have become used to.

A screen in Courthouse Square tells Marty the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series.

While this year’s baseball finale may not be decided until as late as November 4, the Cubs are hanging in there.

Baseball fans will know how absurd this prediction was – with the Cubs’ championship drought now standing at 106 seasons – the longest in all the major North American sports. But the New York Mets stand in the way of a World Series berth and currently lead the their best-of-seven battle with the next game taking place tonight.

The team they defeated in the film come from Miami, which got a Major League Baseball franchise in 2012 when the Florida Marlins moved.

And what appears in Hill Valley’s 2015 which are still in the future for us?

Smart clothes

Although Nike have planned a self-tying shoe similar to Marty’s in the film, these aren’t on the shelves yet.

As for self-drying clothes, we still need to stay out of the rain, and we still need to buy clothes to fit, rather than one-size fits all jackets which automatically adjust to the wearer.

Hydration oven

Grandma Lorraine instructs her oven to “hydrate to level four please” as she places a tiny pizza from a pack from Pizza Hut on a tray.

After a matter of seconds, a full-sized, warm pizza is ready.

In our world, there’s no chance of that four-second pizza any time soon.

Flying cars

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads,” Doc Brown says to Marty at the conclusion of the first Back to the Future film before the end credits rolls and 2015 beckons. But unfortunately we still need them - and they are full of potholes.

Don’t think the ability to fly home from work would mean a speedy journey though. The skyways are often “skewed” due to traffic - and the eagle eyed viewer will notice the film predicted smart motorways.

An electronic sign depicts the condition of Skyway C25 in real time - though the conditions on the sign show the makers of the film predicted we’d have some serious ozone changes by now. The atmosphere indicated shows ozone at 10.5 per cent, when in reality the figure is somewhere around 0.000004 per cent.

Time machines.

Of the estimated 6,000 or so DeLoreans believed to survive, a handful have been kitted out by owners in honour of the films. But no flux capacitors are known to work… yet.