Movies

Why Jennifer Faints Seeing Her Future Self, But Biff Doesn’t

Summary

  • The Back to the Future sequels perfectly complement the original with their fun time travel concepts and meta moments.
  • Jennifer faints upon seeing her future self due to the shock of seeing herself older, but Biff doesn’t actually recognize his older self.
  • Jennifer’s character is underused in the sequels due to the director feeling unsure about what to do with her after the first film.


Jennifer is suitably shocked and faints upon seeing her future self in Back to the Future Part II, but Biff remains unfazed – and with good reason. The original film is by far the best of the Back to the Future movie franchise, but that doesn’t mean its two sequels aren’t entertaining in their own right. Part II and III have fun playing with their time travel concepts, with the second film getting delightfully meta when Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty (Michael J. Fox) have to travel back to the events of the original film.

The Back to the Future trilogy is currently streaming on USA Network and Peacock Premium.

The third installment also tricked audiences into seeing a full-blown Western, despite the genre having become largely extinct by the time it was released in 1990. While the sequels largely follows the adventures of Doc and Marty, it’s almost easy to forget the latter’s girlfriend Jennifer (Elizabeth Shue) tags along too. For whatever reason, Doc allowed Jennifer to come to his and Marty’s 2015 adventure – only to almost immediately render her unconscious after they arrived. Due to some comic hijinks, Jennifer is later brought to her future house where she gets a preview of married life with Marty and their teenagers (also played by Fox).

Related: Back To The Future: Why Jennifer Was Recast Twice


There’s A Simple Reason Jennifer Faints But Biff Doesn’t

elizabeth shue as young jennifer and old jennifer in back to the future 2

Jennifer has to hide while avoiding her family, but just as she tries to exit the house, the older Jennifer (Shue) comes in the door. They both take a second to absorb what’s happening and at the same time young Jennifer screams “I’m old!” and older Jennifer yells “I’m young!“, both versions of Jennifer faint due to the shock. Doc is then able to take the unconscious Jennifer out of the house and avoid any further time paradoxs.

Related: Back To The Future’s Original Cast & Why 3 Actors Were Replaced

To Biff, he’s just talking with some weird old man who is spouting nonsense about a book that can predict the results of every major sporting event for the next four decades.

While some viewers may wonder why young Jennifer passes out when confronted with her older self but Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) doesn’t, the sequel itself reveals the answer: young Biff has no idea he’s looking at his older self. To Biff, he’s talking with some weird old man who is spouting nonsense about a book that can predict the results of every major sporting event for the next four decades. A nice detail is that even though young Biff never realizes who this elderly man is, old Biff becomes increasingly irritated by his younger self’s buttheadedness.

Why Jennifer Is So Underused In The Back To The Future Sequels

Doc, Marty, and Jennifer at the end of Back to the Future

Jennifer gets a fun subplot in Back to the Future Part II, but on the whole, she’s largely pushed to one side. Director Robert Zemeckis later confessed he felt he’d made a huge mistake ending Back to the Future with Jennifer getting into the car, as he had no idea what to do with her in the sequel. This explains why she’s rendered unconscious barely a minute after they arrive in 2015, and outside of her misadventure running into her future self, she’s essentially asleep until the end of the third film.

  • Back to the Future Part 2 Movie Poster

    Back to the Future Part II

    Summary:
    Taking up where the first movie left off, Back to the Future Part II sees Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to the year 2015, where their efforts to fix the future end up causing even bigger problems as Biff Tannen wreaks havoc across the timeline with the help of a stolen sports almanac. Martin J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd return in Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale’s second installment of their iconic trilogy.

    Release Date:
    1989-11-22

    Budget:
    $40 Million

    Cast:
    Lea Thompson, Elisabeth Shue, Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, Thomas F. Wilson

    Director:
    Robert Zemeckis

    Genres:
    Adventure, Sci-Fi, Comedy

    Rating:
    PG

    Runtime:
    108 minutes

    Writers:
    Bob Gale

    Studio(s):
    Universal Pictures

    Distributor(s):
    Universal Pictures

    Sequel(s):
    Back to the Future Part III

    prequel(s):
    Back to the Future

    Franchise(s):
    Back to the Future

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