They’re not related, they’re not neighbors, and they’re separated in age by at least five decades: So how did Marty McFly and “Doc” Brown first meet?

This question has been bugging me from the moment I finished watching the film.

  • 39
    They first met in 1955 when Marty knocked on the Doc's door.
    – Jack M
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 14:13
  • 20
    @JackM Technically, they met earlier. They met on September 2, 1885. Now the question is: what "meet for the first time" means when time travel is involved?
    – Sulthan
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 14:50
  • 12
    Another interesting point - "Doc meeting Marty for the first time" and "Marty meeting Doc for the first time" are probably two different events.
    – Sulthan
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 15:37
  • 1
    ...and in the newly-created timeline at the end of the first movie, Doc already expected to meet Marty at some point, and knew that Marty must go back to 1955 to warn him about 1985 and... brainsplode.
    – Josh
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 17:19
  • 1
    Did Doc intentionally move into the nearby house, so he would meet Marty in 1985? brainsplode again. Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 23:45

3 Answers 3


According to co-writer/producer Bob Gale:

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.

  • 17
    that... is pretty cool.
    – DForck42
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 13:16
  • 9
    +1 In fact this perfectly correct answer actually improves the initial question by a large degree.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 15:31
  • 2
    And the Doc let Marty play his guitar on the big amp at full blast ... which made Marty very pleased (and a bit deaf, I'd assume) ... yes great answer! +1 Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 11:28
  • They should make a fan-film or something on that. I think that'd be pretty interesting. Wouldn't have to be that long. Like a short film, based upon young Marty and Doc Brown first meeting. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 0:12

Doesn't Doc Brown know Marty since birth? The docs timeline in the first film never changes, so he is aware of Marty and the working time machine from the first visit to November 1955. From that point on, the Doc knows all about the events to come.

  • 2
    In BTTF, the timeline changes through the actions of the characters during the narration. The past of the Doc Brown at the beginning of the story is not yet affected by the events which happen later in the story. However, in the beginning of the 2nd movie, Marty changed the timeline so that Doc Brown has memory of what happened in 1955. This might or might not have changed their common past in the 70s. However, Marty is unaware of this, because in BTTF, when a character changes their own past, their memory doesn't change.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 11:15
  • 1
    You have to love time travel paradox, lol! Sometimes hard to wrap your head around. Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 14:47
  • 1
    Doc's timeline DOES change. When Marty goes to 1955, he goes and finds Doc and when he comes back to 1985, Doc remembers him. He didn't remember him before then.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 17:15

I remember reading that Doc Brown was looking for an assistant at his lab and went knocking door to door in search of a suitable candidate. He interviewed Marty and then hired him as his lab assistant. The rest is history! ;-)


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