Emmett Lathrop "Doc" Brown, Ph.D., is a fictional character in the Back to the Future trilogy in which he is the inventor of the first time machine he built out of a DeLorean sports car. The character is portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in all three films, as well as in the live action sequences of the animated series. He is voiced by Dan Castellaneta in the animated series. The character's appearance and mannerisms are loosely inspired by Leopold Stokowski and Albert Einstein. In 2008, Dr. Emmett Brown was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, ranking at #20.
Emmett refers to himself as "a student of all sciences" and is depicted as a passionate inventor. His homes in 1985, 1955, and 1885 are shown to contain various labor-saving gadgets.
He appears to be heavily influenced by scientists of previous eras, naming successive pet dogs Copernicus and Einstein, and having portraits of Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein in his laboratory. His favorite author is Jules Verne and his family name was originally "von Braun" before World War I.
Emmett's family moved to Hill Valley from Germany in 1908. Although initially wealthy because of his inheritance, he spent his entire family fortune on his time travel project. When the Brown mansion was destroyed by fire in 1962 and the property sold to developers, Doc subsequently resided in the mansion's garage. Once broke, he established a privately owned business to offer 24-hour scientific services, building ingenious devices for his customers.
Emmett's work appears to be highly regarded, enough for him to win an award for his work. However, he is shown as absent-minded at times, and various statements by other characters inhabiting Hill Valley indicate that he is generally regarded as strange, eccentric, or insane. He often speaks with wide-eyed expressions and broad gestures ("Great Scott!" being one of his well-known catchphrases) and tends to be overly verbose in his delivery, referring in one case to a school dance as a "rhythmic ceremonial ritual".
Doc and Marty met several years prior to the events of the first time travel experiment when Marty, out of curiosity, sneaked into Doc's lab after being warned by his parents to stay away from him. Happy to be revered as 'cool', Doc hired Marty as his part-time lab assistant.
In the original timeline, in contrast with Marty's unassertive father, George McFly, Doc is an encouraging and supportive mentor figure for Marty. Doc's positive influence in turn allows Marty to mentor George in 1955, which appears to encourage his later success as a novelist, and help him become a better husband and father. One line in particular, "If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything," originates from Doc. Marty repeats it to George in 1955, who repeats it back to Marty in the post time travel 1985.
Doc has been involved with illegal and criminal enterprises (albeit as a means to obtain items for his inventions he could not purchase legally) but he is naive and flippant about the consequences of his actions. He excitedly tells Marty how he cheated Libyan terrorists out of stolen plutonium: "They wanted me to build them a bomb, so I took their plutonium and, in turn, gave them a shoddy bomb casing full of used pinball machine parts!"
Doc, somewhat innocent and very enthusiastic about the possible uses of his time machine, initially actively explores the course of the world's future and tries to alter the past or future of the principal characters to improve their lives. However, events lead him to conclude that time travel is too hazardous for humankind. His conviction initially strengthened when he realizes that he has unwittingly altered history by preventing the death of Clara Clayton in 1885; he concludes that the time machine has "caused nothing but disaster" and asks Marty to destroy it once he returns to his own time. Nonetheless, Doc pursues a romantic relationship with Clara despite the risks of further disrupting the timeline.
However, after having been left behind in 1885 when Marty departs in the DeLorean for 1985, Doc starts a family with Clara; the couple have two sons, Jules and Verne. He eventually builds another time machine out of a steam locomotive, and the Browns return to 1985 in order to pick up Einstein before setting out for another adventure.Dan Castellaneta played the character in the short-lived animated series, Back to the Future: The Animated Series. The show was a continuation of the previous movies' storyline though officially rendered non-canon by co-creator Bob Gale. It instead takes place in an alternate timeline. Christopher Lloyd reprised the role of Doc Brown in the show's live-action segments.
Christopher Lloyd reprised the role of Doc Brown for Back to the Future: The Ride. The ride acts as a mini sequel to the film franchise, following Doc Brown and his founding of the 'Institute of Future Technology'. Here, he invites tourists to embark on a time-travelling adventure in his newly made eight passenger DeLorean. The ride was included on the 2009 Blu-Ray re-release of the trilogy.
Lloyd reprised the role of Doc Brown for the 1990 Warner Bros. program The Earth Day Special.
Lloyd also returned to voice Doc Brown in his appearance in Back to the Future: The Video Game.
As a reference to the Back to the Future's ride closure, Doc Brown has a cameo in The Simpsons Ride.
Doc Brown appeared in the Universal Studios show, Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure giving Bill and Ted a ride back to the future due to Ted misplacing their own time machine.
Christopher Lloyd also reprises the role in the video game Lego Dimensions.
Due to the character's success, Brown has also been parodied on shows such as Family Guy and Robot Chicken whilst also being the main inspiration for the character of Rick Sanchez in Rick and Morty.
Christopher Lloyd reprised the role of Doc Brown in the 2015 direct-to-video short film Doc Brown Saves the World, which reveals that he erased the future witnessed in Back to the Future II as the various inventions of that time led to mass obesity and Griff Tannen triggering a nuclear holocaust.
Lloyd reprised the role of Doc Brown for a cameo role in the 2014 film A Million Ways to Die in the West, apparently set during Brown's time trapped in the past, where he hides the DeLorean while talking with the film's protagonist.
The final scene of the non-canonical nonsense iCarly episode "iApril Fools" and in the theme sequence of its Victorious equivalent "April Fools Blank" there is a clear reference of Doc's dialogue with Marty and Jennifer in the final sequence of Back to the Future and in the initial sequence of Back to the Future Part II.
Lloyd plays a very Doc Brown-esque role in the 2016 Funny or Die satire film Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal: The Movie.