Back to the Future: 15 things you didn’t know

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 03 Agustus 2014 | 20.01

A teenager is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence. Courtesy Universal.

Michael J Fox was the star of 1985's Back to the Future. Source: News Corp Australia

BACK to the Future is one of the most beloved films in motion picture history.

So much so that as well as knowing the plot back-to-front, fans also know the story behind the film. From Eric Stoltz initially playing the lead before being replaced by Michael J. Fox, to the latter having to fit filming around his Family Ties TV schedule so that he was something of a zombie by the end of the shoot. But what of the lesser-known behind-the-scenes stories?

Here's 15 things you (probably) didn't know about Back to the Future.

1. It started with a 'What If?'

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis on the Back to the Future set. Source: IGN

Co-writer and producer Bob Gale was visiting his parents in Missouri when he stumbled upon his father's High School Yearbook. Leafing through the pages he discovered that his Dad had been class president. Gale himself was head of the committee to abolish student government, and so got to thinking "If I had gone to High School with my Dad, would I have been friends with him?"

Believing there to be a movie in that simple setup, he pitched the idea to his friend — Back to the Future co-writer and director Robert Zemeckis — and the two started work on the script in September 1980.

2. H.G. Wells was a big influence ...

Through time, not space. Source: IGN

Gale and Zemeckis decided to use the same rules set up by H.G. Wells in The Time Machine, meaning that their own device could travel through time but not space. That's why their machine needed to be mobile …

3. The DeLorean was third choice ...

Better than a fridge. Source: IGN

The time machine was initially housed in a fridge, but fearing that young viewers would copy the movie and accidentally lock themselves in icy kitchen tombs, the two Bobs soon dropped the idea.

They then decided to use a tank, because if you're travelling to a time before roads, the terrain would be rough. But they ultimately settled on a DeLorean because of its similarities to a spaceship, the script riffing on that fact when Marty first travels back to 1955.

4. Money prevented it from ending with a BIG bang ...

More expensive than a bolt of lightning. Source: IGN

In an early draft of the script Doc Brown had worked on the Manhattan Project before going solo to investigate time travel. The screenwriters even toyed with the idea of a nuclear explosion sending Marty back to the future at the end of the film, but shelved it due to expense.

5. The script was too dirty for Disney ...

Mum's the word. Source: IGN

Written at a time when the most popular teen comedies were R-rated, several studios turned Back to the Future down for not being raunchy enough. Conversely, because Marty's mum very nearly falls in love with him, Disney turned the film down for being too dirty.

6. C. Thomas Howell very nearly played Marty McFly ...

C. Thomas Howell was a strong contender for the role of Marty. Source: IGN

When Michael J. Fox couldn't play the part of Marty McFly because of Family Ties TV commitments, it was down to two candidates — C. Thomas Howell and Eric Stoltz.

According to Zemeckis, Howell did a great screen test, but the CEO of MCA told the filmmakers "It's got to be Eric Stoltz. I'm so convinced that Eric is going to be great in this part that if it doesn't work out with him, you can recast it and start all over again."

Which of course is exactly what happened, with Fox finally landing the role. The filmmakers also wanted John Lithgow for Doc Brown, but he wasn't available. However when Christopher Lloyd walked in to audition, they immediately knew they had their man.

7. Bully Biff was named after a studio exec ...

Ultimate movie bully Biff. Source: IGN

Ned Tannen was the president of Universal when the Bobs were making I Wanna Hold Your Hand. In one meeting he got irate about that film, claiming it to be anti-Semitic and throwing the screenplay across the room. They therefore named Biff in his honour.

8. Einstein was very nearly a chimp ...

Einstein was very nearly a chimp. Source: IGN

In the original script Doc Brown's trusty companion was a chimp. Universal boss Sid Sheinberg said he'd done the research and no film featuring a chimp had ever turned a profit. He suggested they use a dog instead, the Bobs took that advice, and Einstein was born.

9. Back to the Future could have been Spaceman From Pluto ...

Tales From Space — the comic that was featured in the film. Source: IGN

Sheinberg also told the guys to change the title from Back to the Future to Spaceman From Pluto, even suggesting script changes so that said title would make more sense. In response, executive producer Steven Spielberg pretended it was a joke, sending Sheinberg a memo saying how much they laughed at his hilarious idea. Sheinberg quickly dropped the matter.

10. Two men inspired the Doc Brown look ...

Leopold Stokowski, whose hairstyle seems somewhat familiar. Source: IGN

Christopher Lloyd modelled Doc Brown on Albert Einstein and conductor Leopold Stokowski, who is the bloke with the crazy hair at the start of Fantasia.

"Doc Brown looks like he's conducting the orchestra of the world," says Bob Gale.

11. History repeats itself throughout ...

Cause ... effect. Source: IGN

Back to the Future is celebrated for the way in which 'cause and effect' permeates the script, the film filled with setups and pay-offs, the most famous of which is Marty knocking down a tree in 1955 that results in Twin Pine Mall turning into Lone Pine Mall in 1985. But there are many, many more, that stretch across all three of the BTTF films.

12. The ending enraged one of the stars ...

Crispin Glover was not happy about the movie's ending, and filmed his final scene under protest. In the above video he explains why.

13. Huey Lewis was robbed ...

Huey Lewis and the News wrote The Power of Love for the movie, and received an Academy Award nomination for their efforts. But they lost out to the somewhat less memorable song Say You, Say Me, from the somewhat less memorable movie White Nights.

14. The ending really was meant as a joke ...

The ending was almost very different. Source: IGN

Doc taking Marty and Jennifer into the future to save their kids at the end of the film really was meant as a joke. As Zemeckis explains on the DVD commentary, if they had planned a sequel, they wouldn't have put Jennifer in the car.

15. 'To Be Continued' was discontinued ...

Did you see this at the end of the film? Source: IGN

When they do zoom off into the future, do you remember seeing the words 'To Be Continued' onscreen? Well you must have watched the video version, as those words were neither in the theatrical cut, nor subsequent digital releases.

This article originally appeared on IGN .

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