by Michael Brown, staff writer

_86207598_40103a65-df0d-4257-848e-f46f7a572422Today is October 21, 2015, and we’re celebrating Happy Back to the Future Day! In Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown travel 30 years into the future from 1985 to what would be, well, today. And Back to the Future fans don’t have to look very far, or very hard, to find some sort of celebration in its honor. Fan parties are being thrown worldwide in celebration of the date, as well as other trinkets and tidbits being used to mark the occasion. Universal Pictures, for example, is reissuing the trilogy on blu-ray and DVD with new packaging and new bonus features for around 30 bucks. If that’s not enough for you, you can get the Limited Edition with an actual light-up flux capacitor on the box, and everything the cheaper edition has plus all episodes of the Back To The Future animated series.

Pepsi drinkers will have had their chance to get a Pepsi Perfect in that sweet-looking futuristic bottle from Pepsi’s website. And some Chicago Cubs fans have been spotted wearing Marty’s jacket from the film as the Cubs play the New York Mets in the National League Championship Series, on their way to the World Series, as predicted by the film. (Writer’s Note: As of this writing, the Cubs are behind two games, with the third yet to be played.)

BTTFTheGamePosterTelltale Games has released its six-episode Back to the Future video game for Xbox One, Playstation 3, and
Playstation 4. It takes place six months after the end of BTTF III, and stars most of the original cast, including Claudia Wells who played Jennifer Parker in the first film, but was replaced by Elizabeth Shue in BTTF II after Wells bowed out due to a loved one fighting cancer. Michael J. Fox has a cameo as a McFly ancestor, but A.J. LoCascio portrays Marty McFly in Fox’s obvious absence.

But just as important as the celebrations are the predictions. The things October 21, 2015 was supposed to offer us, from a 1985 perspective. The following list isn’t exhaustive, just some of the more memorable ones to me.

  • Flying cars are not yet the norm, with or without Vertical Take-Off and Landing. Boston manufacturer Terrafugia had promised to deliver a model by 2012, but they are still struggling to get their business off the ground.
  • The Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor hasn’t made it to Lowe’s or Home Depot just yet, but there have been efforts to run automobiles with treated sewage and agricultural waste.
  • And, Great Scott! Hoverboards! The toy we hoped we’d get in 2015 isn’t as outlandish as it once was. A small company in Los Gatos, California called Arx Pax and Lexus have both developed and tested one, though each is more maglev than hover tech.
  • Nike has filed a patent for power laces, similar to the fictional “Nike Mag” ones seen in BTTF II. The self lacing shoes are promised “real soon now”.
  • We still have no rejuvenation clinics, but the number of plastic surgeries and chemical peels being performed may be the precursor.
  • Those roll-up flatscreen picture windows the McFlys had in their home? LG’s got that working.
  • Voice controlled televisions that you’re able to watch six different shows on? I have that. It’s called NFL Sunday Ticket. My wife hates it.
  • Smart glasses, but no smart phones in BTTF II 2015. And there appear to be tablets.
  • Still no food hydrators. Black and Decker really needs to get to work on that. I mean, it’s been 30 years. How many of us would own one for Thanksgiving alone?
  • And, alas, no Jaws 19. I’ll let you decide if that’s good or bad. There’s at least a trailer for it. I regret not seeing Jaws in space.

Science fiction has become the imagination jump-starter for many of the technological luxuries we now enjoy. What we thought was ridiculous 30 years ago has become invaluable in our lives today, or perhaps will be not long from now. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis’ trilogy is iconic, and taught all of us, or at least suggested, that our parents were nothing like they said they were. But more importantly, that the future is what you make of it.

If you think about it, we now have little choice, because the Back to the Future trilogy can no longer guide us. Everything that happened in the movies is now the past.

Happy Back to the Future Day, everybody!