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Back to the Future arguably ranks as one of the best movie trilogies of all time, if not at the top of the list. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Toy Story are close by, depending on your personal preference, but Robert Zemekis’ franchise has something in particular the rest don't have: it has never dared been touched beyond the original three movies. It's as contained as it gets, and there’s something special about that in a world of Hollywood time traveling with its ideas more than the DeLorean’s leftover mileage could handle.
Even so, there has been interest over the years from fans in expanding Back to the Future. Claudia Wells, who played Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer in the first film before Elisabeth Shue replaced her for the sequels, recalled a moment when Christopher Lloyd famously shot down Back to the Future 4 at a fan event. In her words:
Bob Gale has always been very adamant about, 'There is no Back to the Future 4.’ I was doing a Q&A once with Christopher Lloyd at this theater where they had shown Back to the Future. One of the guys in the audience did (viral YouTube video) Brokeback to the Future, and Chris looked at him, he goes, 'That's Back to the Future 4, because it's not going to happen otherwise.' Everyone says no.
Claudia Wells reunited with Back to the Future’s Strickland James Tolkan for Wizard World Virtual Experiences 2020 to answer fan questions about the original film as it passed its 35th anniversary over the summer. Christopher Lloyd doubled down on the filmmakers’ wishes to keep Back to the Future a contained trilogy, and however many years later it's been since that fan encounter, they still do.
Robert Zemekis has previously said that as long as he has a say in the Back to the Future franchise, he will not let Back to the Future 4 be made. So while Christopher Lloyd’s words may sound a bit harsh, he was just saying it like it is! It’s incredibly rare for a franchise as iconic as Back to the Future to remain at three movies (and a former Universal Studios ride) for as long as it has.
There’s obviously a way the studio could continue the story of Doc Brown, the McFlys, the Tannens and their relationship with the past, present and future, but Robert Zemekis and Bob Gale wrote into their contracts that they would have a say during their lifetimes. And when you think about it, Back to the Future has been such a landmark film to Hollywood that many movies have borrowed from it or referenced it throughout the years in fresh ways. Just look at the time travel plot line in Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing movie ever!
Also, Rick & Morty is heavily inspired by Back to the Future, but has become its own narrative. The closest Christopher Lloyd has agreed to coming back as Doc Brown is his interest in appearing on the Adult Swim show. And then there’s that viral deep fake of Robert Downey Jr and Tom Holland playing Doc and Marty that piqued interest in a remake earlier this year.
Still, it was nice to see Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Shue, Robert Zemeckis, producer/co-writer Bob Gale, singer Huey Lewi and composer Alan Silvestri come back together for Josh Gad’s nostalgic Reunited Apart series. What do you think? Are you interested in Back to the Future 4 even though it may never happen? Vote in the poll below and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more movies and TV news.