Thursday, July 12, 2018

We Can't go Back to the Future

By Cat

My husband recently came to me, all excited, after stumbling across a post on Facebook that purportedly originated from Michael J. Fox (Stuart Little, Spin City, A.R.C.H.I.E.). There was going to be another installment to the beloved Back to the Future (1985) Trilogy, he said.

Say what?!

Naturally, I was confused and skeptical because everyone involved with making the original trilogy had stated there wouldn’t be any more sequels – ever. The story was always meant to be a Trilogy, and multiple movies were even shot back to back to preserve the seamless flow of one into another. The movie experience of these interwoven tales was always meant to remain grouped and frozen in time as-is.

Yet, I couldn’t help feel this glimmer of anticipation for seeing such beloved characters on the big screen again. I let myself get roped in for a moment. I was even set to write an article to shout it from the rooftops that a new movie was coming, along with my burning questions. Why did they change their mind? Was it another bid to ride the 80’s nostalgia wagon? What could possibly be the plot that would justify a 4th installment after they’d said ‘never again’? Would EVERYONE be involved? I even found what claims to be an “official” trailer. (It's not.) Perhaps it was leftover from that April Fool's joke that went out in the last few years. 

Cue the klaxon that sounds on a game-show when you get the answer wrong.

I began my quest for research to find the allegedly ‘official’ post that my husband had shown me, and to round up all the information I could. I quickly became frustrated when scouring Fox’s legit official Twitter yielded nothing but bumps for his foundation for the fight against Parkinson’s; his current TV project, Designated Survivor (2016-); amazing food pictures showing off his wife’s culinary genius; and the random on-stage pics with guitar in-hand and a celebrity musician by his side.

Surely, if the actor was dropping the bomb on one social media, it would be everywhere, right?

Thus my disillusionment began; only to culminate with a trip to Snopes, which confirmed that this was, indeed, a hoax. There will not be a 4th installment to this franchise – certainly not now, and likely not ever, if the writers and director have anything to say about it.

Director and co-creator, Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Polar Express) was quoted in The Telegraph as answering the remake question with: "Oh, God no...That can’t happen until both Bob [Gale] and I are dead. And then I’m sure they’ll do it, unless there’s a way our estates can stop it."

To be honest, I’m relieved that the creators of the beloved movies had that iron-clad clause in their contracts.

 Huey Lewis, Mary Steenburgen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, and Robert Zemeckis at 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray & DVD Release Press Conference -Article by Collider
So many of us have asked time and time again why Hollywood can’t seem to generate any new ideas. We shake our fists at the sky and rail against all the reboots, recycling, and runaway strings of sequels and prequels. Yet, our familiarity and attachment to the original works sets off buzz with these projects and we inevitably create a vicious cycle because of the attention paid to the very thing we roll our eyes at. Hey, I’m guilty of it, too. My curiosity always wins – I usually want to see what’s been done to tweak the material or if a new cast can give a story nuance that could elevate the material….or if it really was a giant turd pile marketed in a rose perfume box.

There are good reasons to re-try a concept from our cinematic past. Special effects have advanced lightyears ahead, and could make all the difference in bringing a storyteller’s vision to reality where it might have been limited before. The Director’s Cut of a film isn’t always what we see on the big screens. For whatever reason, sometimes good scenes get left on the editor’s cutting-room floor. (Or in the recycle bin folder in this digital age.)

I don’t think that Back to the Future falls into either of those categories. The trilogy was fully realized, and even with whatever limitations existed with VFX in the timeframe the movies were filmed – they were spectacular and effective. We are still obsessed with the hoverboards and flying cars that were predicted for the ‘future’ as these movies portrayed.

If anything, I’d agree that a quick short film wouldn’t be out of order to show what’s going on in the character’s current lives in a ‘where are they now’ sort of vibe – but not a full-length feature. There’s already been one short officially released by Universal featuring Doc Brown, and the cast worked on the official video game. That’s really where we should leave it. How many times can you really capture lightning in a bottle, after all?

It would be cool if DeLoreans would make a real comeback, though. It’d be fun to see more of those on the road. As for the movies themselves? Don’t hold your breath. You’d run ‘OUTATIME” before there’d be a chance for that to happen.

If you'd like to learn more about current events regarding the Trilogy, its cast, and officially licensed products (games, videos, toys, etc.); you can find that info at

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