How Marty McFly and Doc Brown Became Friends

Back to the Future is a story about friendship.
Back to the Future is a story about friendship. / Universal

Yesterday I posted a question mental_floss contributor Brett Savage had asked me via text — “Is it ever explained why Marty hangs out with Doc Brown?" Many people weighed in with theories. Good theories. Then someone with inside info chimed in — Back to the Future co-creator Bob Gale!

Okay, from the horse’s mouth (yes, I’m the horse — er, co-writer, co-creator): We never explained it in the movie. But the history of the characters that Bob Zemeckis and I created is this… For years, Marty was told that Doc Brown was dangerous, a crackpot, a lunatic. So, being a red-blooded American teenage boy, age 13 or 14, he decided to find out just why this guy was so dangerous. Marty snuck into Doc’s lab, and was fascinated by all the cool stuff that was there. when Doc found him there, he was delighted to find that Marty thought he was cool and accepted him for what he was. Both of them were the black sheep in their respective environments. Doc gave Marty a part-time job to help with experiments, tend to the lab, tend to the dog, etc. And that’s the origin of their relationship. — Bob Gale

Glad we've got that cleared up! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hop in my DeLorean and tell my ten-year-old self what just happened. 1989 Jason will freak out.


Dear Slate: Bob Gale Is Locked in Our Basement (8/18/2011)

Bob Gale.
Bob Gale. / Courtesy of Bob Gale