The Rights (& Wrongs) of 2015 in Back to the Future 2

We love the Back to the Future films. Like, duh. Who doesn’t? All their fun takes on history and science are a source of comfort and cheer for so many. Whether you watched them in theaters or were introduced to the movies later, the mere mention of BTTF can cause smiles, laughter, and a chorus of “Great Scotts!”

If you did watch this beloved trilogy in theaters, however, you got to experience something special. You got to see if the predictions in Back to the Future 2 (1989) came true. Namely, you got to experience 2015 with the hope for flying cars. And maybe you were a bit disappointed, but not all that surprised, when those didn’t become a thing.

Still, Back to the Future 2 did actually get some things right. Below, let’s break down those correct predictions. Plus, we’ll discuss some of the futuristic tech that (sadly) missed the mark.

Wrong: Flying Cars

This one still kind of stings. Flying cars are a huge sci-fi staple. At the time Back to the Future 2 premiered, such impressive vehicles did feel possible in a year so far away as 2015. Seriously — that was a 26 year gap. How could technology not evolve in that direction? But they definitely didn’t happen by then.

Okay, then what about barcode license plates? Did we at least make it there? Again, not so much. Of course, BTTF 2 accurately gauged some aesthetic evolutions. Curvy car designs did in fact become trendy. Slim, smart cars are in, and big ol’ Buicks are out — for the most part.

Right: Handsfree Video Games

These are what they sound like. Simply put, they’re video games that you don’t need to operate with your hands. Both accessible and extraordinary, such a far-fetched idea truly became reality by 2015. A few examples include the Playstation Camera, Kinect, and the Leap Motion controller. While they certainly don’t look exactly like what was on the silver screen in 1989, they’re available nonetheless.

Wrong: Hoverboards

Why can’t we get skateboards to leave the ground? What’s the hold up? Combining fun and function, the hoverboard is the stuff of everyone’s dreams. Unfortunately, by 2015 we just couldn’t make those dreams a reality.

Right: Hovercam (Drones)

Hovercams are another BTTF 2 innovation that look and sound a little different, yet the tech was almost spot on. In the film, hovercams are flying robotic cameras that can broadcast news and report in real time. And in the 2000s, drones are flying cameras that can record images and audio. They can also be weaponized or utilized for search and rescue missions. Thus the basic idea relegated them to a specific task, whereas in 2015, we’ve expanded the concept of flying robots entirely.

Wrong: Automatic Adjusting & Drying Jacket

Marty McFly’s wardrobe was so helpful in 2015. He had a self-drying jacket that could also adjust itself to his specific measurements. Additionally, he had self-tying sneakers to avoid those pesky shoelaces — amazing for people with loss of motor function, or who trip a lot. Sadly, we haven’t figured out how to program our clothes to assist us in these ways. But we should absolutely keep trying.

Right: ’80s Nostalgia

Perhaps the funniest thing Back to the Future 2 predicted was all this 2000s ’80s nostalgia. Neon, leggings, and oversized clothes are so in these days. In 2015, lots of fashion and new fandoms — like Stranger Things, which premiered a year later in 2016 — were ’80s themed. Such affection abounded for a bygone era. And honestly? Even in 2023, that #throwback phase is far from over.

Back to the Future got a few more things right. Binocular cards are used in digital cameras and cell phones. Thumb pads, used on smart phones, and voice assistance as well as video telephones are also all part of our 21st-century technology. So while these predictions weren’t scientifically serious, it’s cool to see what a bunch of creative movie makers had in mind for our oncoming years.

Which Back to the Future 2015 predictions do you wish had actually made it to 2015? Share your thoughts at, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!