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Whenever time travel becomes an integral part of a movie plot, you better believe there’s a serious danger of it becoming confusing to an audience. In those situations, questions explode like popcorn and could potentially derail the whole story. That said, Back to the Future does a particularly outstanding job making it simple to understand, which is why writer Bob Gale is so proud of the Avengers: Endgame references to the 1985 classic.
Back to the Future writer Bob Gale recently appeared on an episode of the Russo Brother’s YouTube show Pizza Film School to talk about the acclaimed time-travel movie. He repeated what he had said in a previous interview with Syfy about Back to the Future and Avengers: Endgame, and how the latter movie was forced to address the former because of the precedent it had set on time travel. Here’s what he said:
One of the things that I'm really proud of is that we were able to explain time travel in a way that even a nine-year-old can understand it. That scene in Avengers: Endgame where they're sitting around and talking about time travel, I understand that when they first previewed the movie, [it] didn't have that scene in it. I was told that in the focus groups, people said, 'Well, wait a minute, in Back to the Future they could do this and they could do that.' And the filmmakers realized, 'Oh damn, we gotta deal with that, because everybody's knowledge of time travel, today, in 2019, comes from those movies. So they had to put that scene where Ant-Man says, 'What do you mean? Back to the Future's bullshit.'
Back to the Future does make time travel super easy to understand. I remember being a kid and watching Back to the Future Part II, where Doc Brown pulls up a chalkboard and explains how time travel works to Marty McFly. It was so simple and made total sense at the time.
When writing Avengers: Endgame’s, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely tried to actively ignore Back to the Future and write the time heist by their own rules. To make this a reality, they heavily leaned on the scientific concept of the same particles existing at two places at the same time.
Of course, time travel isn’t a real thing and simply a tool used for science fiction and other kinds of genre stories. But Christopher Markus explained that they wrote themselves into quite a corner at the end of Avengers: Infinity War and needed to rectify it somehow. Needless to say, they cooked up the time travel plot and struggled to make it their own. Rather than ignore Back to the Future altogether, they went back and decided to address it head on with Ant-Man’s famous line.
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