Emmett Brown

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Emmett "Doc" Brown
Back to the Future character
Doc Brown.JPG
Christopher Lloyd as Emmett Brown
Portrayed by Christopher Lloyd
Voiced by Dan Castellaneta
James Arnold Taylor (Young Emmett Brown, Telltale Videogame)
Appearances Back to the Future
Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part III
Back to the Future: the Animated Series
Back to the Future: The Ride
Back to the Future: The Game
Information
Occupation
Relatives Judge Braun Brown (father)
Clara Clayton Brown (wife)
Jules Eratosthenes Brown (son)
Verne Newton Brown (son)
Time travel
Original time 1985
Known years visited 1885, 1955, 1985, 1985A, 2015

Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Ph.D., is a fictional character in the Back to the Future trilogy. He is the inventor of the first time machine, which he builds out of a DeLorean sports car. The character is portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in all three films, as well as in the live action sequences of the animated series. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta in the animated series. The character's appearance and mannerisms are loosely inspired by Leopold Stokowski and Albert Einstein.[1] In 2008, Dr. Emmett Brown was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, ranking at #76.[2]

Biography[edit]

Emmett refers to himself as "a student of all sciences" and is depicted as a passionate inventor. His homes in 1985, 1955, and 1885 are shown to contain various labor-saving gadgets.

He appears to be heavily influenced by scientists of previous eras, naming successive pet dogs Copernicus and Einstein, and having portraits of Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein in his laboratory. His favorite author is Jules Verne and his family name was originally von Braun before World War I.

Emmett's family moved to Hill Valley in 1908. Although initially wealthy because of his family's savings, he spent his entire family fortune on his time travel project. When the Brown mansion was destroyed by fire in 1962 and the property sold to developers, Doc subsequently resided in the mansion's garage. Once broke, he established a privately owned business to offer 24-hour scientific services, building ingenious devices for his customers.

Emmett's work appears to be highly regarded, enough for him to win an award for his work. However, he is shown as absent-minded at times, and various statements by other characters inhabiting Hill Valley indicate that he is generally regarded as strange, eccentric, or insane. He often speaks with wide-eyed expressions and broad gestures ("Great Scott!" being one of his well-known catchphrases) and tends to be overly verbose in his delivery, referring in one case to a school dance as a "rhythmic ceremonial ritual".

Emmett seems to have no friends besides Marty and Jennifer, Marty's girlfriend. Doc and Marty met several years prior to the events of the first time travel experiment when Marty sneaked into Doc's lab after being warned by his parents to stay away from him. Happy to be revered as 'cool', Doc hired Marty as his part-time lab assistant.[3]

In the original timeline, in contrast with Marty's unassertive father, George McFly, Doc is an encouraging and supportive mentor figure for Marty. Doc's positive influence in turn allows Marty to mentor George in 1955, which appears to encourage his later success as a novelist, and help him become a better husband and father. One line in particular, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything," originates from Doc. Marty repeats it to George in 1955, who repeats it back to Marty in the "improved" 1985.

Doc has been involved with illegal and criminal enterprises (albeit as a means to obtain items for his inventions he could not purchase legally) but he is naive and flippant about the consequences of his actions. He excitedly tells Marty how he cheated Libyan terrorists out of stolen plutonium: "they wanted me to build them a bomb, so I took their plutonium and, in turn, gave them a shoddy bomb casing full of used pinball machine parts!"

Doc, somewhat innocent and very enthusiastic about the possible uses of his time machine, initially actively trying to alter the past or future of the principal characters to improve their lives. However, events lead him to conclude that time travel is too hazardous for humankind, and that the time machine should be destroyed. His conviction is strengthened when he realizes that he has unwittingly altered history by preventing the death of Clara Clayton in 1885; he concludes that the time machine has "caused nothing but disaster."

However, after having been left behind in 1885 when Marty departs in the DeLorean for 1985, Doc starts a family with Clara. He eventually creates another time machine and builds it into a steam locomotive, which he uses to return to 1985 with the intent of collecting his dog, Einstein.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale Q&A, Back to the Future [2002 DVD], recorded at the University of Southern California
  2. ^ "Empire's The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  3. ^ mental_floss comment by Bob Gale

External links[edit]