We know Dr. Emmett Brown as the inventor of time travel in the BACK TO THE FUTURE franchise. However, we know little about him outside of his actions in the movie: where did he get his degree and in what field?; how did he lose the family fortune?; and how did he get connected to Libyan terrorists who felt comfortable handing him plutonium?
Dr. Emmett Brown was born to the Von Braun family, consisting of German immigrants who changed their name during World War 1. They were financially affluent and already concerned with political image since they felt the need to change their name.
In the events of CLUE, we meet Professor Plum in 1954, which is not his real name. Wadsworth (later revealed to be Mr. Body) assigned each of the guests a pseudonym based on a color (and one could stipulate that he got the idea from Dr. Emmett Brown which is already a color). We know that Professor Plum is actually a doctor of psychiatry, and politically involved since he works with the United Nations. He dines with a group of politically affluent people, including Col. Mustard who is working on the next fusion bomb.
Through the course of the night, we discover that Plum is charming and eccentric, and also willing to break the rules when necessary. He also kills two people that night; a woman and former patient who he had an affair with, as well as the pseudo-innocent butler of Mr. Body.
After the events of CLUE, our doctor of psychiatry is implicated in these murders (along with the other guests), and after a costly trial, suffers a nervous breakdown, and becomes an eccentric recluse. He is shunned by those in his home town of Hill Valley, and parents actively tell their children to stay away from him (as noted by Bob Gale in this Mental Floss article http://mentalfloss.com/article/28526/back-future-co-creator-bob-gale-explains-how-marty-and-doc-became-friends).
In 1954 and ’55, our doctor turns to invention, and as you can see in his home, he’s kind of a half-ass inventor. One project he creates is an elaborate headset to help him read people’s thoughts (which would have certainly helped at that party where he killed 2 people).
Marty has forged a relationship with Doc Brown because he’s charming, eccentric, and also willing to break the rules.
Once he helps Marty return to the future, he continues to work on time travel for the next 30 years, and how does he power his time machine? Through nuclear fusion!
Doc Brown never says he has a degree in physics, in fact, he refers to himself as “a student of all sciences” which is the kind of thing you say when you’re not really qualified. However, he had a direct connection to scientists, military personnel, and politicians who worked on fusion experiments. He was able to convince them in a desperate attempt to undo the events of that fateful night in 1954, and incorporate that research into his own projects.
Also, he got his plutonium from Libyan terrorists? Now, how could a crazy lunatic in a small suburb get access to Libyan terrorists with plutonium, unless he had international ties, such as connections via the United Nations?
We never know if Doc Brown truly undid the murders of that night, but we can assume it because his reputation as a lunatic is undone when we see in a newspaper that he is commended in the Hill Valley Telegraph (March 1983). Once he succeeded with his time machine, Doc Brown travelled to the future to protect Marty and his family, both as a way of thanking him, but also to make sure the timeline could not be undone. He takes an oath to set right what once went wrong.
In the end, he finds true love with Clara Clayton, who looks an awful lot like the singing telegram girl from CLUE; apparently our doctor has a type.
BACK TO THE FUTURE is actually the tale of a lecherous murderer who overwhelmed by guilt, desperately wants to undo the terrible mistakes of his past.
This begs the question, what did the other characters from CLUE do before and after that fateful dinner?
What do you think? Did they have multiple timelines as well? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments!
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