There are very few Hollywood blockbusters in history that have come as close to perfection as Back to the Future, which has endured for 35 years as one of the most beloved and re-watchable movies ever made. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t seen Robert Zemeckis’ time travel classic at least a handful of times, and there probably isn’t anyone who actively dislikes Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s first adventure.
Despite the trilogy wrapping up 30 years ago, Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale have no doubt resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll be getting asked about the possibility of a fourth installment, reboot or remake for the rest of their days. Which is just as well, because Zemeckis has already made it clear that Back to the Future will remain untouchable as long as he’s alive.
Gale recently explained why there aren’t going to be any further entries into the canon, and even gave fans a list of additional properties that he views as worthy continuations of the story. Now, in a new interview, the 69 year-old once again reiterated in the plainest of terms why a fourth Back to the Future simply won’t happen.
“We told a complete story with the trilogy. If we went back and made another one, we’d have Michael J. Fox, who will be sixty next year, and he has Parkinson’s Disease. Do we want to see Marty McFly at age sixty with Parkinson’s Disease? Did we want to see him at age fifty with Parkinson’s Disease? I would say no, you don’t want to see that. And you don’t want to see Back to the Future without Michael J. Fox. People say, ‘Well, do it with somebody else’. Really? Who are you going to get? All you’re gonna do is beg comparisons to the originals, and you’re not going to match up. And we’ve seen this repeatedly with sequels that go back to the well after many, many years, and they go, ‘Ah, well, The Phantom Menace, maybe my life would have been better if I hadn’t seen it’. There are a lot of extra sequels like that. We didn’t want to be those guys who did a movie that was basically a money-grab. Universal says to us, ‘You guys would make a whole lot of money’, but we’re like, ‘Well, we’ve already made a whole lot of money with these movies, and we like them just the way they are. And as proud parents, we’re not going to sell our kids into prostitution’.”
Maybe fans are so used to seeing the majority of Hollywood’s premiere brands be remade or given long-delayed sequels that they can’t wrap their heads around Back to the Future being one of the rare instances where the creators have put their foot down. But it seems that’s the case, as there’s no way that a new take on the movie could come anywhere close to recapturing the magic of the original, and Zemeckis and Gale are happy to leave the franchise as it is.