JENNIFER PARKER MCFLY (Claudia Wells, Elizabeth Shue), in the "Back to the Future" franchise, is the wife of the Grammy Award-winning American Top Forty bandleader, Marty McFly
. She, almost as well as Marty, knows how a single choice he made in one timeline, and did not
make in another, made all the difference in the world.
Timeline 1: Sympathetic friend
Jennifer easily accepted Marty's advances, such as they were. She couldn't understand why Marty never seemed to have confidence in his obvious ability as a popular musician. She also tried to help him avoid detection as a habitual latecomer by Principal James Strickland.
When Marty and his band, the PInheads, lost the audition for the upcoming "Battle of the Bands" talent show ("Too loud!"), he went down in the dumps completely. Jennifer tried to talk him out of it, and encourage him to send in an audition tape he and the Pinheads made. MCA Records would surely know his greatness! She even repeated what Doc Brown
often told him: if he put his mind to it, he could do anything.
On October 25, 1985, she said good-bye to Marty for the last time in this timeline. She anticipated going up to the lake with him, in his father's car. She would never know that car would be wrecked, and the date would be off.
But before he said goodbye, he looked at the Toyota 4x4, just delivered up to Stadtler's Toyota. "Someday,...!" he said.
Timeline 2: Nobody Calls Him Chicken
In the second timeline, Marty McFly had a much "cooler" home. There was no question of his borrowing a car, because his father had bought that 4x4 and given Marty the keys. So on the morning of October 26, 1985, she boldly approached him, saying, "How about a ride, mister?" To her surprise, Marty greeted her as if he hadn't seen her in a week.
Marty never really explained. And they did go up to the lake.
But the next day, on their way back, Needles, another boy at the school, challenged Marty to a drag race on the street. When Marty refused, Needles asked, "S'matter? Chicken? Bwocck, bwock bwock bwock bwock!"
"Nobody calls me chicken," said Marty, angrily.
And he ran the race.
And ran smack into a Rolls Royce that pulled out of a side street.
Marty survived, as did Jennifer. But Marty broke his hand. Worse, the owner of the Rolls sued him.
That broke his spirit completely. Marty became an office drone, and never took up music again. He and Jennifer got married in the "Chapel of Love" in Las Vegas. They had two kids, Marty Jr. and Marlene.
Marty ended up losing his job after Needles "needled" him into something their boss, Ito Fujitsu, didn't want them doing--something that was, furthermore, illegal. Marty Jr. ended up in jail, having fallen in with Griff Tannen's gang. Marlene also landed in jail, trying to break Marty Jr. out.
And Jennifer went about in a trank fog most of her days.
Timeline 3: Wild Ride
This third timeline began like the second. Marty McFly had a much "cooler" home. There was no question of his borrowing a car, because his father had bought that 4x4 and given Marty the keys. So on the morning of October 26, 1985, she boldly approached him, saying, "How about a ride, mister?" To her surprise, Marty greeted her as if he hadn't seen her in a week.
Before he could explain, the strangest car she'd ever seen--a souped-up DeLorean DMC-12--appeared out of nowhere and pulled into the McFly driveway. At the wheel was none other than Doc Brown. In-between taking garbage out of a garbage can and putting it into a cylinder in back labeled "Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor," he demanded both of them get in to go with him. Marty wanted to know: "What is it? Do we turn out to be [uncool] or something?" The Doc said he and Jennifer would "turn out fine,": but their kids wouldn't.
This was strange. Strange enough for her to get into the car with Marty and Doc, just to find out more. And she watched, breathlessly, as the DeLorean lifted off, shot up into the sky, and disappeared!
They emerged in what turned out to be a "commercial only" lane for levitating vehicles. Hastily Doc dropped them into a "passenger lane," lit by levitating highway lamps! They eventualy set down in Hill Valley--of 2015, a time of levitating cars and trucks, and a town square with the warning NO LANDING on its lanes.
Jennifer fainted, this after Doc applied an instant sleep-inducing generator to the back of her head. The Hill Valley police found her lying unconscious in the street, identified her positively as Jennifer McFly, and decided she was simply "tranked out"--for which the older Jennifer now had a reputation. So they picked her up and delivered her to what turned out to be Marty's home in Hilldale, "The Adrress of Success"--only it was defaced to read "Helldale: The Address of Suckers." She was on hand to witness Marty getting fired, and to see the cruel faxes delivered in every room in the house, even in the bathroom where she hid. She also saw their wedding picture--in the Chapel of Love, Las Vegas, Nevada. And before the night was over, she got the shock of her life: confronting her older self, stoned on tranks. So she fainted again.
Timeline 4: Hell Valley
Of Jennifer's experiences in the "Hell Valley" of the heyday of Biff Tannen, gambling tycoon, no one tells. Did the Parkers move out of "Hell Valley" after Biff built his Pleasure Palace (an obvious copy of a similar pleasure tower in Las Vegas)? Or did she run afoul of Skinhead, 3-D, or Match, members of Biff Tannen's gang, and wind up dead, or worse? Again, no one knows.
In her time-travel trip, she spent a night in that timeline, but was unconscious the whole time and retained no memory of it, because Marty and Doc cut that timeline off while she was not doing any time traveling. (A time traveler remembers the changes in a time line, but no one else can, except one who was traveling with him.)
Timeline 5: Success
This timeline ran like Timeline 3 above. She woke up to see Marty, dressed as an authentic cowboy from Hill Valley's Wild West days.
But she remembered enough from her stint at time travel to know that Marty should not be ambitious about living in the Hilldale development.
And to her immense relief, the incident with Needles took place--and played out a lot differently. Instead of letting Needles goad him into that drag race, Marty put his 4x4 back into park. "Nobody calls me chicken," he calmly said, "and he's definitely nobody."
Just then a Rolls Royce barreled out of a side street and braked hard to avoid hitting Needles, or having Needles hit it. Marty was shocked. "I could have hit that Rolls Royce!" he cried. Now Jennifer took out the cruel FAX message reading YOU'RE FIRED. And as she stared at it, the words, in 216-point type, vanished off the page as if they had never been!
So much, then, for Marty getting fired in the future. That was a timeline that would never be!
Marty then took time to explain. He took Jennfer out to a spot near the Eastwood Ravine trestle. He showed her what had once been that trick DeLorean and was now a pile of wreckage. Obviously a train had smashed it to bits.
Then something like a thunderclap threw them both backwards. And out of nowhere appeared a steam locomotive, pulling a private car--decorated after the Victorian style, but still futuristic. A clamshell door opened, and there appeared Doc Brown, with a woman and two boys whom he introduced as his wife Clara and their sons Jules and Vern.
Doc had this word of advice: "Your future is not written in stone. No one's is. So make it a good one."
Then the car closed up, and the small train levitated itself off the tracks, turned round, and shot off into the sky.
Marty took the hint. He landed a contract with MCA records, and from then on he was on his way up, and nothing stopped him. But he never went in for the drug culture.Because he never wanted to be dependent on anyhone but himself.
Marty did not marry her in any Chapel of Love. Instead, he bought the old Hill Valley clock tower, restored its clock to working order, gave it to the city, and also set up a perpetual trust to keep the clock operating and the building clean and in good condition. Then he married her in that tower. Mayor Goldie Wilson was there.
Marty has never explained to her why he gave an exclusive auto-detailing contract to Biff Tannen
s Auto Detailing. Except to say, "Say what you will about Biff; he does a good job." If Jen notices that Marty often rides Biff hard, she doesn't say anything. It is the one indulgence by him about which she has any question in her mind.
Marty and Jen occasionally see Doc Brown, but not often. Doc never gives them too many hints, except maybe to warn him not to overindulge.