Professor Marcus A. Irving was a temporal researcher in the late 20th century.
Little is known about Marcus' early life - in school, he was recognized as having a lot of potential, being listed as 'most likely to succeed' in a yearbook.
Hired by the government
In 1962, he was approached by General Groves and Colonel Lomax, and was asked to build a time machine for the United States Army. He accepted the position, and was given a laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Irving spent 24 years alone in his lab, trying to develop the necessary technology. However, the final step eluded him.
Finally, in January 1986, the government withdrew their funding. When trying to learn more about the government's attempt at time travel, Irving discovered that Emmett Brown, a scientist who worked for the Manhattan Project, was the Army's first choice to develop a time machine. Irving was jealous of Brown being their first choice, and also was angry that, by not accepting the offer, Brown had caused him to waste 24 years of his life. Armed with his new-found knowledge, Irving set out to gather more information on Brown.
Upon reaching Doc Brown's lab at 1646 John F. Kennedy Drive, he discovered it to be deserted. He conducted more research and learned of a close friend of Brown's, Marty McFly. Hoping to find out just how much success Brown had had with time travel, Irving went to McFly's house, only to see Emmett Brown in the DeLorean time machine reach temporal displacement.
At this point, Irving decided to try and contact Brown, leaving a message in Brown's second laboratory. On April 14, 1986, he came face-to-face with Marty McFly. He revealed that, after his project was terminated by the United States military, he used an inexpensive Yugo GX to create a partially working time machine.
Irving was searching for Doc in an effort to gain information that would allow him to finish his time machine. Marty was also looking for Doc in an attempt to find out why his memories did not reflect the current timeline.
Marty sent a message to Doc, who arrived shortly afterward. While Doc and Marty were talking, Marcus secretly removed the tires from the DeLorean, and used Doc's flux capacitor to solve the problem with excess flux energy, which was the final step needed for time travel.
Stealing the flux capacitor
He was afraid of altering time too much, so he spent years driving around with the flux capacitor in his trunk, worrying that someone might steal it from him. Eventually, he decided to travel into the future to make himself rich. Since he was afraid of altering time too much, he decided to only time travel in "baby steps", so he could better prevent any major changes to the timeline. He decided to take 2008 technology back to 1997 in order to make himself rich.
By this point, he had upgraded his Yugo with steel panels to help with the dispersal of flux energy. He also upgraded the tires, as the polymers used in 1980s rubber tires aren't suited for the rigors of the space-time continuum. Once he began his plan, he realized that he could be confronted by Marty and Doc at any time, as unlike himself, they were time cowboys who weren't afraid to travel many years into the past and future, making large changes to the time stream.
Irving searched the internet for pictures of Marty and Doc from the 1980s. He then used those pictures to build several doppelgangers using futuristic parts and sent them back to 1986. Several of the Marty doppelgangers appeared soon after Irving had stolen the flux capacitor and kidnapped Marty. They tried to kidnap Doc as well, but he escaped in the DeLorean. It was still able to fly despite lacking tires, since the hover technology in the rims were untouched. One of Marty's doppelgangers held onto the DeLorean while it was in the air. This surprised Doc, as he thought that it would be very unlikely that Marty could have survived such a trip.
After fighting, Doc discovered that it was an android version of Marty, with a metal skeleton and lifelike skin and eyes. When the android was kicked out of the car, Doc returned to Marty to let him know that the situation was not as it appeared. He incapacitated the other androids with the stun gun that Griff Tannen had used on him in 2035. They then went to find the remaining android before it could do any harm, but they were too late.
The android knocked out Needles' gang with a knockout serum mixed with a memory clouding agent that made their memory hazy. It was doing the same to Needles himself, when Marty showed up to stop it. Doc meanwhile, headed to the DeLorean, and found that Irving had repaired it, placing the flux capacitor back in place and replacing the tires.
Doc was going to use a remote control override on the android when the aged Marcus Irving used the knockout serum on him. He left Marty and Doc stranded on January 8, 19654 B.C. Doc feigned haziness from the serum, which really didn't affect him since the majority was used on Needles and his gang. This allowed him to lay a trap. Doc knew that Marcus would be afraid of major changes to the timestream. So, he told him, using slurred speech, that their existence in this era might wreck the entire ecosystem.
They then jumped into the river to escape sabre-tooth tigers. Marty barely made it, getting scratched in the face. They climbed a rock, which Doc knew was still solid in 1986, and waited for Irving. As Doc had predicted, he was worried about the butterfly effect that they might cause, so he showed up in his Yugo shortly after they arrived on the rock.
Once Marty and Doc were in the Yugo time machine, one of the androids healed Marty's scratch and they traveled forward to 1997. They were taken to Marcus Irving's lab where he locked them in a room with his androids, telling Marty and Doc that he didn't mind if they were killed in this time period.
Doc used his remote control override, and the DeLorean drove over an android, out of the garage, and up to the penthouse level, where Doc and Marty were being kept, crashing through the window.
The elevator Marcus was on automatically took Marcus down to the garage level, while Marcus pushed the button trying to get it to go up. Doc and Marty got into the DeLorean and flew down to the garage.
Doc explained that they couldn't just go back and stop Marcus from taking the flux capacitor, since the effects on a time traveler aren't instant, pointing out that it took a week for Marty to begin to fade from existence in 1955. Marcus and Doc could get in a reverse time race, with each vehicle going further back in time to try to prevent the other from making changes.
Doc rammed the DeLorean into the elevator cord, slowing Marcus down. Marty and Doc then looked at all the future technology. Marty noticed a photo album and realized that Marcus had been alone all this time. A female android that had been built to be Marcus Irving's sister came online, and Doc and Marty realized that Marcus had become a bit crazy during his decade of living all alone.
Marty realized that his fear of being all alone is what drove him to find Marcus in the first place. They decided to take Marcus to his younger self, and traveled in the DeLorean back to 1986.
In 1986, Marcus Irving is traveling in his Yugo GX, happy that he has taken the flux capacitor. Marty and Doc arrive from 1997 in the DeLorean, followed by the older Marcus in the Yugo.
Marcus was happy at first that his older self had come back to stop Marty and Doc, until he realized how imposing his older self had become. Seeing the army of Doc and Marty androids, he thought that everything he told Marty about alternate dimensions was true. However, Marty told him the truth: that he had become a lunatic, a kidnapper, and a thief.
A woman and her niece were caught in the middle of the ensuing chaos, as the androids are ready to destroy everyone around them. Marcus realized that he had become a person that he no longer viewed as himself, as his older self was willing to commit murder.
Marcus slammed the flux capacitor into the android that was about to attack the innocent bystanders, and the older Marcus Irving realized he was almost a murderer. As he faded from existence, he commented that he was happy for the man he once was, and the man he could become.
The androids and the steel plated Yugo time machine faded from existence, and Marcus tried to explain that he was a scientist and stated that the androids that faded from existence were holograms.
The woman introduced herself as Gabriela Sanchez, and her niece as Maria. Gabriela thanked Marcus for saving her life, and asked Marty and Doc who they are. Marty and Doc replied that they were Marcus Irving's friends. Marcus added that they were probably his best friends, who helped him in a moment of crisis.
Needles arrives, and tries to harass Marty, but he wrestles with the unbelievable, and hazy, memories that he has of Marty fighting another Marty without a face. In light of this, he decides to leave Marty alone for a change.
Later, Marty told the story of the events to Jennifer while she was at work at Shanerburger. Marcus told Doc and Marty not to embarrass him, since he was on a date with Gabriela.
Marty and Jennifer wondered what would happen to Marcus, and Doc commented that he hoped Marcus would return the Yugo to the authorities as not everyone can be trusted with unlicensed nuclear reactors.
A new manA few days later, on April 19, Marcus helped Doc with repairing the DeLorean after it sustained damage during the incident with the robots.
He discussed his relationship with Gabriela with Doc, and added that he agreed to meet her that afternoon. Doc warned him not to be late, telling the story of how he once forgot to get Clara a gift for their anniversary.
As he listened to the story, Marcus showed that he was still against using time travel for personal gain, and could not believe that Doc would risk altering the space-time continuum for something as insignificant as a gift. Doc advised him that love has the potential to alter one's decisions, and also reminded Marcus that he recently tried to steal Doc's work for "his own ego and glory". Marcus also asked why Doc didn't just return to his time of arrival and spy on his past self to locate Verne, to which Doc replied that the 'law of unintended consequences' would no doubt have taken effect, and that the method is only to be used as a last resort. Doc finished his story by telling Marcus that when women say something isn't important, it means it must be important. Marcus decided to stay true to his word and spend the afternoon with Gabriela.
The return of Joey Baines
On the night of May 10, 1986, Marty McFly arrived at Doc's second lab to seek advice from his mentor. However, only Marcus was present, as Doc was apparently trying to locate a carbonic actuator. Marty had come to try and get Doc to convince him that traveling to 1972 was a bad idea, since Marty desperately wanted to do so and find out what his uncle Joey Baines really did to get arrested. When Marty fell asleep, Irving moved him into the DeLorean and prepared to time travel to 1972. Marty was surprised when he woke up in the time machine, as he thought it was still being repaired. Marcus revealed that Doc didn't really need a 'carbonic actuator' to complete the machine - rather, Emmett was nervous about taking his family to the future in the Jules Verne Train.
Marcus and Marty arrived in 1972, and hid the DeLorean in a secluded rooftop parking lot. They went to the house of the 'Mrs. Ellsworth' who had been robbed, but discovered the victim was none other than Doc's mother, who had remarried after her husband's death. Irving, despite being worried about influencing future events, interacted with Doc, but was interrupted when Doc spotted Marty and, believing them to be burglars, chased them off the property.
Returning to the location of the DeLorean, they realized the car was missing.
Personality and traits
Marcus was a very smart individual, and was apparently the only one to come close to rivaling Emmett Brown in terms of temporal knowledge, having come very close to building a time machine of his own. His initial jealousy of Doc was evident, and led him to steal the DeLorean's flux capacitor, even if he really meant well. Marcus was not entirely adept socially, and had never been on a date before he met Gabriela in 1986. He was obsessed with cleanliness, constantly washing his hands before interacting with his time machine.
In the timeline where Marcus stole the flux capacitor successfully, he was finally able to complete his lifelong goal. However, he saw people as tools to use and had come to think of himself as the only worthy time traveler, with Doc and Marty as merely 'time cowboys'. This older Irving was capable of murder, the only thing preventing him from killing Doc and Marty with his own hands being the inherent uncleanliness of the act. As such, he chose to attack by proxy using his androids.
Having seen the tyrant his future self had become, the younger Irving realized the error of his ways and became a more relaxed individual, assisting Doc in the repair of the DeLorean. However, he was not entirely sensible yet, allowing Marty to return to 1972 to investigate Joey Baines' arrest, which led to further complications.
- Marcus Irving may have actually had a sister, as one of his sister robot's phrases is "I forgive you for your neglect, Marcus." This suggests he has a sister who he no longer speaks to. However, the sister robot is simply labelled 'SISTER', rather than a name, so she may only be a character of his creation.
- Back to the Future (IDW Publishing)
- Issue 13 - "Who Is Marty McFly? Part 1"(He left a note at Doc's secret lab signed "a friend in time".)
- Issue 14 - "Who Is Marty McFly? Part 2"
- Issue 15 - "Who Is Marty McFly? Part 3"
- Issue 16 - "Who Is Marty McFly? Part 4"
- Issue 17 - "Who Is Marty McFly? Part 5"
- Issue 18 - "Stowaway to the Future"
- Issue 20 - "Hard Time Part 2"
| The McFly Family|
Marty McFly | George McFly | Lorraine Baines McFly | Jennifer Parker | Seamus McFly | Maggie McFly
Dave McFly | Linda McFly | Martin McFly, Jr. | Marlene McFly | Arthur McFly
| The Brown Family|
Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown | Clara Clayton Brown | Jules Brown | Verne Brown | Einstein
| The Tannen Family|
Biff Tannen | Buford Tannen | Griff Tannen | Irving "Kid" Tannen
| The Strickland Family|
James Strickland | Roger Strickland | Irene Strickland | Edna Strickland | Gerald Strickland
Match, Skinhead & 3-D | Goldie Wilson | Douglas J. Needles | Marcus Irving