Back to the Future II screenwriter on the one big prediction he missed

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Oct 9, 2015, 12:40 PM EDT

Despite the fact that it’s 26 years old, Back to the Future II did a solid job of predicting what 2015 would look like. But there’s one big prediction they totally whiffed on. 

The film’s screenwriter and producer, Bob Gale, chatted with The Hollywood Reporter about the film’s legacy — specifically the awesome alt-future they created with hoverboards and endless Jaws sequels. But the one thing they (and pretty much no one else) could not predict is the invention of the smartphone. They were expecting universal fax machines, not a super-computer in your pocket.

Here’s what Gale had to say about the missed prediction:

“It's the Swiss Army Knife of today. The fact that everyone can have one device that's a computer, that's a camera, that's a recording device, that's a calculator, that's a flashlight ... we didn't think of that … I would have bet that the flat-screen TV and the Skype-like communication — I would have put money that we would have that.

The fact that we have drones that can take news pictures — now that was just a joke. We weren't seriously thinking about how that technology would work, but wow. They don't walk our dogs yet, but that'll happen. Part of what makes the movie still so watchable, even as goofy as some of the stuff is, is that everybody understands that we're having fun with it. We’re not saying, 'We're going to seriously try to predict what life is going to be like in the year 2015,' no.”

The version of 2015 conceived in Back to the Future II is an awesome exercise in retro-futurism circa 1989, and despite the occasional misses, we wouldn’t change a thing. Now, where’s my bathroom fax machine?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)