With the success of the video game and the brand as strong as ever, is anyone else surprised we haven’t had a new ”Back to the Future” film?
Yeah, me too. But heck, I’m so glad one hasn’t come to fruition!
Again though, surprise right? What with Hollywood’s woody for everything ‘built-in audience’ right now? “Future” is one of the most recognizable film titles out there and yet, it’s never left Clayon ravine.
The ‘Will there be a Back to the Future 4?‘ question appears reguarly in my inbox. Since we kicked off the ‘Ask Clint’ column, it’s been asked twice – considering the column has only been running for 3 weeks, I’d say that suggests people are still beseeching a new, exciting answer. There isn’t one. Still, since I’m no doubt going to be asked and again – particuarly now that I work with Claudia Wells (‘Jennifer’) – I thought I’d do a bit of a piece on it here (tired of writing up the same answer again and again), and also tell you what I know as of today’s date (punch it into the ).
In short, the Michael J.Fox-less ”Back to the Future 4” we’re all dreading will never happen.
This isn’t so much a scoop as it is an assurance. Here’s the latest update and it’s nothing new : An old friend of mine now works at Pacific title, the company that did the opticals for the ”Back to the Future” films (and several others; I recall he was working on ”She’s Out of My League” last year), and is lucky enough to still be in touch with a few folks from the ”Back to the Future” days. What they’ve told him is that there won’t be a ”Back to the Future 4” – not “their” ”Back to the Future 4” anyway. “The Blu-ray did big bucks too. But we will never see Michael as Marty again” he said over email.
Now before you get scared and start to picture Chris Hemsworth running around in a life-presever back in “good old 1996″ (Oh, the possibilities! “Ha Ha, look! Jeff Bridges made flops back then! White Squall anyone!? HaHa!”, “Hey Butthead, Is anybody home… or are they at a live-taping of Friends!”), this is what he means – there may have been talk of a CGI movie (a’la ”Stuart Little 3” – which was bloody awful, just for the record) and other ”Back to the Future” related projects – which, as I said above, isn’t surprising considering the success of the video games from Telltale and for due to the fact that the movie series remains as popular as ever – but Universal and Amblin aren’t doing a ”Back to the Future 4” because Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis don’t want them to. Their contract stipulates that they have to be advised and to agree upon anything related to the property. And as far as they’re – and most of us – are concerned, the story is over. Marty and Jennifer lived happily ever after… Doc gets to bonk an intellect in the backseat of a flying train… the remains of the Time Machine were melted down and moulded into obscure architecture. Will those other “Future” projects come to fruition? Maybe, depends if the Bob’s (love your work in “Office Space” guys!) approve of them.
At a Q&A event in Florida a couple of years ago, Gale explained why he doesn’t want to do a fourth “Back to the Future” film – for the few who are foolishly convinced the movie would be the shizzle. And it all begins with two words “Crystal Skull”.
“We’ve all seen, sometimes, where they make one too many sequels, and you say, ‘Maybe they shouldn’t have done that.’ I’m not going to name any names of movies, but you know what they are!” He added, “But more importantly, as I’m sure you all know, Michael J. Fox is not in the best of shape with his Parkinson’s. The idea of making another Back to the Future movie without Michael J. Fox… you know, that’s like saying, ‘I’m going to cook you a steak dinner and I’m going to hold the beef.’ You can’t do that.”
Now does all this mean Universal aren’t interested in doing another “BTTF”? Of course they are, and they may have even sneakily mentioned it in passing to former cast members, but again – no Bobs, no Backs.
About 5 or 6 years ago Moviehole spoke to star Michael J.Fox and asked him whether or not he thinks there’ll ever be a fourth film in the series. He doesn’t think so, but he sounded open to the idea of a reboot.
Fox said, “I’m 44-years-old now and I’m not interested in running around on skateboards!” he said. “I think after 1, 2 and 3 we all kind of felt we had done it. And I think if they did it again now they would do it with a younger cast and just do a different realisation of it, which would be fun.”
Has a fourth “Back to the Future” film ever been considered? Yes, albeit briefly. Here’s what I wrote about the once proposed sequel in my 50 Sequels That Never Happened feature :
Yep, they were considering it at one time – if even briefly. Rumour has it that Ed Solomon had been commissioned to write treatments both ”Back to the Future” 4 and 5, the former of which would fix on Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) inadvertently causing the UFO crash in Roswell. Marty McFly (Michael J.Fox) would be replaced by a plucky female scientist (The frontrunner for the role was said to be ”Buffy”’s Sarah Michelle Gellar) who, in this particular two-part adventure, is charged with the task of helping ‘Doc’ set things right.
Despite handing in his treatments for the two flicks, Solomon was never contracted to write the sequels. Either Uni came to their senses (considering they’re apparently still interested in continuing the franchise, it’s unlikely)… or, as is likely more the case, the brains trust behind the films did (“Back to the Future” co-writer Bob Gale has said in the past that they’d never do another “Back to the Future” movie without Michael J.Fox, so he may have played roadblock. “The idea of making another Back to the Future movie without Michael J. Fox — you know, that’s like saying ‘I’m going to cook you a steak dinner and I’m going to hold the beef”, Gale said. “You can’t do that.” Too right!)
Meantime guys, be happy that we’ve got the games… and what cool games they are (I’m especially stoked that Claudia was asked back to reprise the role of Jennifer; she loved returning to the role), they’ve great plots and terrific visuals and… well, you’ll see, here’s the trailer for the latest game :
Here’s the closest thing you’ll ever get to a Marty n’ Doc reunion guys…
Empire Strikes Back
St. Elmo's Fire
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
The Breakfast Club