‘Back to the Future’: Bob Gale’s never-before-seen first notes about the sequels

07.01.15 2 years ago

Universal Pictures

“To be continued…” That”s what many early audiences of “Back to the Future” wanted: More adventures through time with Doc Brown and Marty McFly.

But when “Back to the Future” hit theaters on July 3, 1985, the final shot of the flying DeLorean leaping into the future was meant to be a joke. Writer-director Robert Zemeckis and writer-producer Bob Gale didn”t intend to make a sequel. (And the “To be continued…” title card didn”t appear in the film until the May 1986 VHS/Beta release.)

Soon after “Back to the Future” became an unstoppable blockbuster, the folks at Universal Pictures started talking about making a sequel. Once Bob and Bob were on board, the two screenwriters began chatting about ideas.

HitFix has your exclusive look at two pages of notes Gale wrote after he and Zemeckis had started talking about a sequel. Dated April 1, 1986, they”re Gale”s oldest notes about the sequel, as far as he knows.

Some of these notes feature ideas that made it onto the screen. Other ideas did not. Perhaps a peek at another alternate timeline…

Check out Gale”s handwritten notes below. (Click on the images of the notes to view a larger version.)

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Take a look at that note about McDonalds – you can see on this first page that Gale was already going after the tongue-in-cheek, comedic vision for the future that actually ended up in “Part II” (along with some well-researched predictions for the 21st Century – some were rather spot on; others were not at all).

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You”ll notice that this page includes early inklings of what became the story of “Back to the Future Part III.” Bob and Bob already knew they wanted to go to the Old West, but it wasn”t until Fall 1988 that they decided they had enough material to make two sequels.

Also at this point, the creative team considered sending Marty back to 1955, just like in the “Part II” audiences know. In the first draft of the sequel, though, Biff gives his younger self the sports almanac in 1967, and Marty follows him there.

As for the amusing idea that Marty Jr. (played by Michael J. Fox) be 6 feet tall – towering above his 5″ 4″” father – Gale told HitFix that idea “was close to technically impossible back then. It took Jim Cameron to truly pull that off in ‘Avatar.””

For more of HitFix”s coverage commemorating the 30th anniversary of “Back to the Future,” set your time circuits to right on over here.

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