In the Blu Ray commentary for Back To the Future, producer Bob Gale says
The opening shot, when the camera is going through Doc's laboratory, there's a newspaper on the wall that says the Brown mansion was destroyed in a fire. You can infer from that that maybe Doc set his house on fire to collect the insurance money.
Infer possibly. But are we right to do so. In today's Back To The Future #2 comic book from IDW Entertainment written by Bob Gale, it seems not. Well, not entirely.
I mean, he did burn down his mansion. But it was only to restore a timeline. Some have wondered why, after the information and experience with a working flux capacitor in the original movie, the 1950's Doc Brown didn't then go one to build a better, faster time machine, funded by the military. Well, it seems, he did.
And it changed the future even more. So he had no option but to destroy the original. By using time….
And telling himself in the past to burn the lot down before the military arrived.
So he did burn down his own mansion. But it wasn't for the insurance money.
Though it obviously came in quite handy. To see the future that Doc Brown averted, you'll have to pick up the comic book in question, out today…
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London. Where, tomorrow at 5.30pm, Noelle Stevenson will be signing Lumberjanes and at 7.30pm hosting an Orbital Director's Commentary. The signing is open to everyone, but the Director's Commentary is ticketed to avoid over-crowding.