Principal photography on Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future Part III (1990) commenced just a few weeks after production ended on BTTF Part II (1989); both films took almost 1 year to complete, between February of ’89 to January of ’90. BTTF Part III differs in many ways when compared to the first two installments of the trilogy. The obvious aspect of it being a Western marks a considerable difference in the film’s visual tone. But the fact that the story takes place in the 19th Century with cowboys, Indians and the cavalry surrounding Marty McFly – a high-school kid rocking Nike sneakers from the ‘80s – and Doctor Emmett Brown makes it incredibly refreshing and surreal, considering what we’ve experienced with the dynamic duo of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the first two installments in the years 1955, 1985, and 2015. Even though we’re currently in the year 2020, watching Part II’s version of 2015 still seems like an alternate version of what any future could look like – even if it was five years ago. We don’t have flying cars, but we have electric cars and smart phones. And what’s worthy of note, is how the dates of BTTF Part III’s timeline align precisely with the real-life dates in 2020.
When an accidental bolt of lightning in conjunction with the DeLorean’s time circuit glitch inadvertently sends Doctor Emmett Brown back to 1885 at the end of BTTF Part II, Doc Brown pens a letter addressed to Marty at the precise location where the DeLorean vanished in 1955. When Marty opens the letter amid the pouring rainstorm, the letter is dated Tuesday, September 1st, 1885. When Marty asks for the help of Doc Brown from 1955 with uncovering the long-since buried underground DeLorean, Doc’s dog Copernicus barks at the sight of a tombstone that reads of Emmett Brown’s death on September 7th, 1885, which makes it a Monday. When Doc and Marty conduct research by uncovering old Hill Valley newspaper articles, they discover a photograph of Doc Emmett Brown standing next to the newly constructed clock that’s to be placed on the famous tower – the picture is dated September 5th, 1885. In BTTF Part III, Marty ultimately ends up in the photograph alongside Doc Brown on that Saturday, and the film vocally discusses the Hill Valley party on that same night of September 5th.
It’s amazing to think that September 1st in 2020 falls on a Tuesday, which makes September 5th a Saturday and September 7th – the infamous date where Doc Brown gets shot in the back by Buford Tannen (Thomas Wilson) – perfectly a Monday just like the days and times of the movie. Tuesday September 1st, 2020 through Monday September 7th, 2020 is the perfect week to watch Back to the Future Part III because all the dates discussed in the film coincide with the dates of our current reality. To top it off, anybody who loves the BTTF trilogy and has a birthday that falls in between the aforementioned dates, is probably rejoicing to the fullest degrees, considering their personal bias and connection to the film. Especially those who were born on September 5th (like myself) – the date where Marty and Doc Brown take the iconic photograph together in front of the Hill Valley clock; which gets framed and given to Marty as a gift in the film’s ending. Imagine that, being a five-year old kid and watching Back to the Future Part I and II, films you love, then in Part III you see your birthday (September 5th) mentioned, written and talked about on-screen by your heroes Doc Emmett Brown and Marty McFly.
Happy Back to the Future Part III week and Happy Birthday to the Virgo babies from the first week of September.