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1985A

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Clocktower1985-A

Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel in place of the courthouse.

Marty: "I don't get it, Doc. I mean, how can all this be happening? It's like we're in hell or something."
Doc: "No, it's Hill Valley. Although I can't imagine hell being much worse!"
— At Doc's lab in 1985A, after discovering that George McFly was dead.

1985A, also known as Biffhorrific 1985, is an ABC timeline, or alternate version of 1985 that appears in Back To the Future Part II. The altered timeline it belonged to was created after old Biff Tannen took the Grays Sports Almanac and stole the DeLorean time machine in 2015, then headed back to 1955 to hand it over to his younger self. As a result, Biff became "the luckiest man on Earth" by betting on everything from horse racing to boxing and winning due to the answers in the almanac.

He founds BiffCo, a company that deals with toxic waste reclamation. He buys out the police, and even alters the state of international history, by prolonging the Vietnam War and getting Richard Nixon elected to his fifth term. Biff constructs his Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel on the site of the courthouse in downtown Hill Valley (after a successful campaign lobbying to legalize gambling in, at least the state of California, in 1979).

In this reality, Biff is responsible for the death of George McFly in 1973, and marries Lorraine Baines McFly after the three kids were born. Hill Valley, now known as "Hell Valley", has been reduced to rubble, where biker gangs and criminals make their home. Hill Valley High School in this timeline burned down in 1979. Red the Bum is still a bum in this altered timeline, much as Joey Baines is still a jailbird.

The designation "1985A" was given by Doc Brown on a damaged blackboard as he explained his theory to Marty McFly.

New locations

Lorraine1985Abar

Lorraine in this new reality.

Lorraine-1985A

Lorraine in this new reality.

  • Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel is a 27-story tall hotel built on the site of Hill Valley's dilapidated courthouse
  • Oak Park Cemetery is where George McFly was buried in 1973, and is within sight of a BiffCo refinery. Marty and Doc both know the location of the cemetery, suggesting that it also exists on the site in 1985.
  • Strickland residenceMr. Strickland, formerly the principal of Hill Valley High School, lives in a rundown home within a short distance of the ruins of the school and, armed with a shotgun and wearing a bulletproof vest, is fighting a one-man war against the armed teenage gangs — 'slackers' — who are driving around the street, terrorizing and even killing some of the residents. He believes Marty McFly (who he did not recognize, due to history having been changed) to be the slacker responsible for stealing his newspapers.

The counterpart in 1985A to 1985's Courthouse Square is a set of businesses around the Paradise Casino.

Among those that were recognizable are:

Alternate timeline of events

  • 1955
    • Saturday, November 12th: 2015 Biff arrives with the sports almanac and gives it to his younger self, creating the alternate timeline.
  • 1958
    • Wednesday, March 26th: Biff Tannen, now at the legal age of 21, wins his first million on a horse race on his birthday using the sports almanac.
  • 1959
    • Wednesday, October 14th: Biff Tannen wins another large sum of money at a sports event. He is seen smiling on the cover page of the next day's edition of the newspaper.
    • Dates unknown: Biff Tannen wins again and again, gaining the nickname, "The Luckiest Man On Earth."
Newspaper1

George McFly is murdered.

  • 1973
    • Thursday, March 15th: George McFly is shot dead on his way to pick up an award. He was against BiffCo's policies.
    • Date unknown: Biff Tannen marries Lorraine and becomes stepfather to Dave, Linda and Marty McFly, shipping Marty off to boarding schools overseas.
    • Date unknown: The 22nd Amendment is repealed, presumably due to lobbying by the alternate Biff, so that Richard Nixon not only avoids impeachment over Watergate, but can run for more than two terms as President of the United States.
  • 1979
    • Date unknown: Biff Tannen's lobbying is successful as the state legalizes gambling.
    • Date unknown: The Clock Tower, described as "Hill Valley's dilapitated courthouse", is re-built as Biff's Pleasure Paradise Hotel and Casino.
    • Date unknown: Hill Valley High School is burned down by vandals.
  • Unknown year
    • Date unknown: The legal drinking age is reduced to fourteen years thanks in part to Biff's lobbying.[1]
Newspaper2

Doc is committed.

  • 1983
    • Sunday, May 22nd: Doc Brown is committed to Mental Ward B at the Hill Valley Hospital after being declared legally insane. Richard Nixon announces he will run for a fifth term in office and promises to end the Vietnam War by 1985. BiffCo's representatives announce that the company is going to build a new dioxin plant in Hill Valley.
  • 1985
    • Saturday, October 26: Doc, Marty, Jennifer and Einstein arrive back from original 2015 at 9:00 PM and eventually find out that things have changed. Marty finds a random African-American family living in the McFly residence and meets the alternate versions of his mother and Biff.
    • Sunday, October 27: Marty finds out the truth about Biff and the almanac and narrowly escapes an enraged Biff. Marty and Doc head back to 1955 at 2:42 AM to put history back on track.
  • 1996
    • Date unknown: Lorraine, fed up with being abused, shoots Biff, which is why his older self is being erased from existence in 2015.
      • This happened before Marty and Doc fixed history.

Behind the scenes

  • The elaborate set of Courthouse Square in 1985A was visible for no more than 60 seconds in Part II. Photos of the various locations were not released until 2010 as part of the Blu-ray edition of the trilogy.
  • Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have both said that director Frank Capra was one of the persons whom they admired, and the "Hell Valley" sequence is reminiscent of "Pottersville", the alternate reality in Capra's classic 1946 film, It's a Wonderful Life.
  • Downtown Hill Valley in 1985A and downtown Hill Valley in 1985 have many of the same types of businesses. In both timelines, a person downtown can buy alcohol, watch X-rated films, purchase "adult" books and toys, pawn their possessions, and arrange for a bail bond to be released from jail, although it's more pronounced in 1985A.
  • Doc Brown comments "I can't imagine hell being much worse". Ironically, the center of this particular hell is called "Paradise".
  • The graphic novel Watchmen takes place in an alternate history 1985; like in the Bifhorrific timeline, the Watergate scandal was not revealed, and Nixon was under his fourth term, being the US President instead of Ronald Reagan well into the '80s.

Appearances

Sources

References

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