Hollywood producer Bob Gale got real lucky in the 1980s. While many other people in his position have to work pretty hard their entire lives to produce a wide range of content, he didn’t have to after 1985, when his co-creation, Back to the Future, blew the lid off Tinseltown.
It was a mega hit and spawned two good-but-not-great sequels, a short-lived animated series that I didn’t know about until writing this, and those collective shrugs of Telltale Games (RIP) titles. Lucky for us though, despite only producing one other film, Gale has never relented and given up control of the BTTF franchise and apparently, never will.
Of course, Gale has been approached numerous times about giving up the rights to the series to allow remake-hungry Hollywood to try and recapture that 1.21 jiga-watts of lightning in a bottle. The producer will never relent though, and in a recent chat with BBC News, basically told the world they’ll have to pry the rights from his cold, dead hands.
“You know, you don’t sell your kids into prostitution. It was the wrong thing to do. We put ‘The End’ at the end of part three… Plus Michael J. Fox isn’t in the shape to do a movie, and nobody wants to see Marty McFly having Parkinson’s disease, and nobody wants to see another actor playing Marty McFly if it’s supposed to be a continuation.”
You know, I like that. I mean, I don’t like his comments about Parkinson’s, but his sentiment is strong. Both Bob Gale and the series’ director Robert Zemeckis actually had it written into their contracts that a new BTTF would have to specifically be greenlit by them. That’s some forward thinking, especially considering the hell it was to actually make the first film. I’m glad at least one producer has some integrity when it comes to their products.
I also feel like this discussion was spurred by that recent deepfake that put friends-for-life Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. into the iconic roles of Marty McFly and Doc Brown, respectively. It looked fine, but felt off, like most deepfakes. In any case, I’m glad we’re getting one series that keeps its place in time, especially such an ironic, iconic example.
Bringing 80s time capsules into the modern age just really hasn’t panned out, with so many crappy remakes stinking up Hollywood’s landscape. So I, for one, am glad that Back to the Future, one of the most fun, highest-concept films of the era, will keep its integrity. Good on ya, Bob!