We live in an era where 80s franchises can never truly die. The classic team is reprising their roles for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Steven Spielberg is still planning to make Indiana Jones 5, and we’re even getting Bill & Ted Face The Music in 2020. But one franchise has been on ice and seems unlikely to return anytime soon: Back to the Future.
Of course, over the years, there’ve been hints at either a Back to the Future 4 or (more likely) a reboot of the concept. There were rumors that there was a great spec script for a new sequel floating around Hollywood in the mid-2010s that’d have seen a young African-American actor sent back in time thirty years from 2015 to 1985 (the ‘present’ of the original movie). But sadly, that came to nothing, with producer Frank Marshall explaining:
“Yeah [we won’t reboot Back To The Future], as long as I have my say. No, that one exists just like E.T. – we’re never touching those. I love watching it.”
Now, Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, has discussed the prospects of a future installment and agrees it probably won’t happen. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Doc is gone for good. Many have noted that Rick Sanchez from Rick & Morty is heavily inspired by Doc Brown, as both characters are wild-haired mad scientists in suburban settings. Lloyd was recently asked about the show, too, and said the following:
“I think it’s fabulous. I’ve watched it, I love the humor in it, I love the characters. I’ve had a fantasy that they make another Back to the Future, Back to the Future 4. And Back to the Future 4 — it’s not happening — but if it did, Back to the Future 4 collides with Rick and Morty. Someway, somewhere in another time zone, in another space zone.”
He then went on to discuss Back to the Future 4 further, saying:
“I think, really, the most important thing is if they can come up with the right idea. I think that’s the challenge is to come up with something that really is as good as the originals. I suppose it could happen. I have not heard that they’re looking for that, if they’ve made up their minds… ‘Hey, here’s something we could do,’ and they believed in it then they might get going to do it…
The film needs to kind of convey a message about something that’s important to everyone, universally, like climate change. Some way of incorporating whatever fever is going on at the moment into the film and keep the feeling of one, two and three. That’s a tricky, tricky deal. Because you don’t want to do another one and disappoint. So I don’t know. I’d be happy to [return], for myself. But we’ll see.”
Honestly, I doubt a sequel will ever happen, but Christopher Lloyd has always been eager to return to the role, so who knows? In the meantime, if you’re desperate for more Doc Brown, I’d recommend the Back to the Future game by Telltale. It’s a bit dated now, but Lloyd gives a great performance in it as a variety of alternate universe Doc Browns.