- "There’s no Back to the Future IV and there shouldn’t be a Back to the Future IV. I don’t think there should ever be a fourth sequel to anything. Three is a dramatic number. It’s a three-act structure. Four is even. Four is boring."
- —Robert Zemeckis
Back to the Future Part IV is the title of the long rumored, but consistently debunked movie sequel to the Back to the Future trilogy.
No full length movie sequel has ever been produced, and it is unlikely that one ever will be made.
However, in 2015, a short movie was released titled Doc Brown Saves the World, officially created by Universal Studios and starring Christopher Lloyd, reprising his role of Dr. Emmett Brown and set entirely in his secret lab outside Hill Valley, depicted as a a large, white hangar-sized area. The short movie takes place thirty years after the trilogy, and follows Doc as he changes the past to make 2015 more in line to how it is in reality. Doc Brown Saves the World is the only official movie sequel to the trilogy that has ever been created; however, the story has been officially continued in other media — such as IDW Publishing's Back to the Future comic books, for example.
Towards the end of the 1990 behind-the-scenes television show The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy, hosted by Kirk Cameron, which also answered some of the many questions sent in by Back to the Future fans, the final question asked was whether there would be a Back to the Future Part IV. Cameron deemed this unlikely, though he did mention the upcoming (at the time) Back to the Future: The Ride, opening at Universal Studios in November of that year.
On May 27, 2008, after the opening of the first Indiana Jones movie since 1989, cinemablend.com and other sites reported that Bob Gale had ruled out the possibility. At a question and answer session on April 19 at Celebration, Florida, (in conjunction with a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and South Florida), Gale opened the session with a statement: "Let me answer one question before anyone asks it, which is 'Is there ever going to be a Back to the Future Part IV? No."
Responding to what bttf.com described as "an immediate stream of groans and obvious displeasure from the audience regarding the answer," Gale added, "Well now, wait a minute now. We've all seen, sometimes, where they make one too many sequels, and you say, 'Maybe they shouldn't have done that.' I'm not going to name any names of movies, but you know what they are!"
He added, "But more importantly, as I'm sure you all know, Michael J. Fox is not in the best of shape with his Parkinson's. The idea of making another Back to the Future movie without Michael J. Fox... you know, that's like saying, 'I'm going to cook you a steak dinner and I'm going to hold the beef.' You can't do that."
Gale added, "I'm sure Universal would love it if we were to say to them, 'Hey, let's do another one!' but we don't think we could ever make a fourth one that would live up to how great the first three are, so we're going to leave well enough alone."
As stated by several of those that made the trilogy, Back to the Future Part IV is not likely to happen, at least not anytime soon.
In reference, an episode of Spin City in which Christopher Lloyd cameoed was titled "Back to the Future Part IV: Judgment Day".
On April 1, 2009, an April Fool's Day joke was created when a story was published regarding news of a BTTF IV in the works.
Once again, in November 2010, Bob Gale spoke to BTTF.com as part of a Myth Debunking story, and restated that both he and Robert Zemeckis "have no plans or desires to make another Back to the Future movie — not a Part 4, or a remake of Part 1." Gale added that "nor does Universal or Amblin have any such plans. How do we know? Because, per our contracts with these companies, no Back to the Future sequel or remake can even be scripted without discussing it with us first. No such discussions have taken place. We are very proud of the Trilogy as it stands and we want to leave it as is." In 2014, he also said that there would not be a director's cut or 3D version of the first movie. Zemeckis later said in July 2015 that a remake would not happen during his and Gale's lifetime.
In September 2015, during the trailer for the 30th anniversary release of Back to the Future: The Game, Gale said that they have no plans to do a fourth movie, although he added that the game feels close to it. However, in October 2015, Lloyd said that he would reprise his role for one if all of the original cast and crew return, along with a story "worth telling".
Official non-movie sequels
There have been commercially-released sequels to the movie series, but none have come in the form of a full-size, live-action fourth movie. Those sequels take the form of a theme park ride, a TV cartoon series, a set of comic books, and a computer game.
- The amusement park attraction Back to the Future: The Ride presented a limited amount of narrative which took place after the movies.
- The cartoon Back to the Future: The Animated Series and its spinoff comic books loosely followed the events of the movie series, with a focus on child-friendly jokes and science lessons.
- The computer game Back to the Future: The Game presented a more adult-skewed take on the events following the movies.
- The Back to the Future comic series by IDW Publishing, co-written by Bob Gale, tells the story about how Doc, Clara, Jules, and Verne came to the future from 1885 at the end of the third movie.
The canonicity of all of these media relative to the movie trilogy is unclear.
Many fan contributions have been made to expand the Back to the Future trilogy.
One of the most notable is Back to the Future Part IV for Parkinson's UK by Luke Palmer, which goes into the year 2025 when Griff Tannen and Marty McFly, Jr. run for mayor and destroy the city. Palmer continued the series further.
Scott Sensabaugh's Back to the Future: Part IV involves Marty arriving in a new 2015, when Doc had stopped himself from discovering advanced technology as seen in Back to the Future Part II's 2015 due to falling in love, and the effects on their time traveling adventures because of the new future.
Another is short YouTube movie titled Back to the Future IV, created by Edward Harrison in December 2015.
In 2005, Mike Nichols wrote scripts for a fan-made Part IV, V and VI involving the adventures of Marty's third son, Scott McFly, who exists in this timeline because of the changes done in 1985. He steals and uses the time machine when it arrives in 2015.
Notes and references
- No 'Back to the Future 4', Says Writer-Producer
- "BackTalk: Bob Gale dashes any hope for 'Back to the Future 4'", bttf.com, May 25, 2008
- 'Back to the Future' Myths and Misinformation Debunked November 11, 2010
- The Blunt Reason You'll Never See Back To The Future 4
- Back to the Future remake? Over my dead body, says Robert Zemeckis
- Back to the Future: The Game - 30th Anniversary Edition Trailer
- Christopher Lloyd couldn't have foreseen this 'Future'
- Christopher Lloyd Says 'Back to the Future 4' in Public, So React Accordingly
- Edward Harrison's Back to the Future IV fan film
- Mike Nichols' Fan-made Back to the Future Scripts