Today is March 4, 2014—or as your idiot Facebook friend will tell you, the day Marty McFly goes back to the future. So it’s only fitting that today the Internet was once again consumed by talk insisting that one of the many products glimpsed in Back To The Future II is close to being a reality. Viral videos purporting to unveil a real-life hoverboard have exploded across social media, featuring Christopher Lloyd delivering the invention of “HUVr Tech” to celebrities like Tony Hawk, Moby, Terrell Owens, and Best Coast’s Bethany Consantino, who each take turns swooping across a parking lot and/or singing half-assed songs about hoverboards. Save for Consantino, of course, their enthusiasm seems genuine. The hoverboard, of course, does not.
Those who already went down this whole hoverboard fake-out trail way back in 1989 (when that kid you knew insisted his dad bought him one, only it was too expensive to bring to school) and who have been burned repeatedly since know better than to believe by now. Still, the commitment of “HUVr Tech” to the bit is impressive: The company’s website claims its MIT-based research team has worked in secret for years to solve “the key to antigravity”—a revolutionary technology it’s apparently applied not to landing lucrative government contracts, but to realizing a movie prop so Moby could surf around a parking lot. And on its Facebook page, it replies to skeptics that the HUVr is definitely real, that pre-orders will be “available within the month” for a December 2014 release, and that you’ll soon see just how real it is for yourself in “a series of public live events coming soon to major U.S. cities.”
Of course, HUVr’s website also takes pains, in its extraordinarily lengthy “Legal Terms” section, to say, “The inclusion of any products or services on this website at a particular time does not imply or warrant that these products or services will be available at any time.” It also says that “the information and materials on this website may contain inaccuracies and typographical errors”—like the part where they accidentally typed that hoverboards are real and you can buy one.
Further pointing toward the idea that it’s all a hoax: The project’s “engineer” seen in the video is an actor. The hovering celebrities’ clothes pouch at the points where their harnesses were obviously digitally removed from their suspiciously hunched shoulders; meanwhile, some of the shadows of the cranes holding them up remain. Also, hoverboards aren’t real.
But if the whole thing is just a viral stunt, to what purpose was it created? The presence of Christopher Lloyd and Biff Tannen flunky Billy Zane has some suggesting it plants the seed for another Back To The Future sequel (which, exactly, what better way to get BTTF fans excited than with a chintzy viral video starring mostly silent. tertiary BTTF player Billy Zane?). There’s also the recently promised release of Nike’s self-lacing shoes, though it would certainly seem confusing for Nike to promote something it swears to be real by conflating it with something that’s plainly not.
Others have suggested it’s an ad for Tony Hawk’s upcoming mobile game, or maybe some other app that HUVr is actually behind and hopes you’ll still download, even after pissing you off with yet another hoverboard hoax. Still others have to wonder whether Jimmy Kimmel is behind this, as we must assume for all viral videos now. Though the fact that one of its producers was discovered to work for Funny Or Die definitely also hints at their involvement.
Or, another explanation: This video is meant to prepare you for the harsh truths awaiting in the real 2015, by dashing your silly Back To The Future dreams once and for all.
Send your Newswire tips to firstname.lastname@example.org