The decision to not continue the Back to the Future movie series has long been established, with the last cinematic outing being the third entry in 1990. Co-writer and director Robert Zemeckis, who holds the final say over the franchise, has repeatedly shot down talk of a Back to the Future sequel, with one of the main reasons being the inability to recast Michael J. Fox.
Now, Zemeckis has again commented on his resistance to a sequel, this time as part of a 35th anniversary virtual reunion. Hosted by Josh Gad, who also recently brought together the cast of The Goonies for an anniversary special, the fundraising reunion included Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson, as well as Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Mary Steenburgen, Elisabeth Shue, Alan Silvestri, and even Huey Lewis.
Gad took the opportunity to ask Zemeckis if his mind has changed on a new Back to the Future, prompting this reply:
“Well, it would have to be that Doc and Marty find out that we’re thinking about making another Back to the Future movie. They come back to stop us from doing such a crazy thing. If I had an idea that I could have pitched to Bob with a straight face, we would have made it. I have no answer to that question.”
It’s fair to say that Zemeckis has a point here, in that the original Back to the Future trilogy is a classic, and provided a satisfying conclusion to the story set up in the original 1985 movie. As some franchises have found out, trying to recapture that magic can risk tarnishing the reputation of the film that preceded it, especially if there’s no good story reason to do so. That’s not to say, though, that we haven’t had plenty of ancillary Back to the Future content, including video games, commercials and regular cast reunions. A reboot of the franchise also seems to be out of the question, even though fans have gone to some lengths to cast Tom Holland and Robert Downey Jr. in the roles of Marty and Doc Brown, respectively.
In any case, Zemeckis must be getting tired of making the same argument to questions over a sequel, especially given that other producers like Frank Marshall and Bob Gale have also dismissed the idea. Indeed, Zemeckis has joked that the only way there’d be a new Back to the Future is if he died.
So, not much more hope for fans wanting a fourth Back to the Future, but maybe that’s for the best.