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Back to the Future Part IV

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Release Date: TBA

Genres: Adventure, Science Fiction, Sequel          

Production Phase: Rumored

Studio: Universal Pictures  

What We Think: Over the years since the release of Back to the Future III in 1990 there have been numerous rumors that Universal Studios was interested in revamping the BTTF series with one or two more sequels.... More »

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The rumors that there could one day be a Back to the Future IV just won't go away. That's the reason why screenwriter Bob Gale took the reigns at the BTTF website to say his thoughts about a proposed sequel.

"As both Robert Zemeckis and I have stated repeatedly over the years, we have no plans or desires to make another Back to the Future movie -- not a Part 4, nor a remake of Part 1.  Nor does Universal or Amblin Entertainment 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."

- Bob Gale via Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, June 1, 2008

A fire ripped through the backlot of Universal Studios today, damaging or destroying many of the studio's famous exterior sets. Firefighters reported that the blaze began at approximately 4:30 AM at the theme park portion of the lot, in a set where a New York brownstone facade had been created. At one point the blaze threatened to consume a storage facility where upwards of 50,000 films were housed and burned for 12 hours before it was put out.

While no one was injured, the sad news for BTTF fans was the fact that firefighters could not contain the blaze before it consumed the famous Back to the Future Hill Valley/Clock Tower courthouse set.

Watch video of the massive fire below:



- Associated Press. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Wednesday, August 4, 1999

Well, scratch the names of Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio off of the Back to the Future 4 rumor lists. Answering a post on his Wordplay web site forums, screenwriter Terry Rossio throughly debunked the rumor that he and his writing partner are penning the rumored BTTF sequel scripts, and added that he hasn't heard of any activity (to the best of his ability) on these rumored projects. Again, if any activity on these projects are happening at all, neither Rossio nor Elliott are working on 'em.

- You can thank Brad Cook and Chiusano for getting it straight from the source. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, August 3, 1999

Stephen Clark's Back to the Future Fan Club web site has been busy kicking some ass these past few days. First off, Clark's contacts have come back with further details concerning the two Back to the Future screenplays secretly in development inside Universal Studios. According to Clark's sources, screenwriter Ed Solomon (Men in Black, X-Men) was hired to pen two outlines for two proposed Back to the Future sequels, the fourth and fifth films in the franchise. Solomon's outline is said to have met with approval at Universal and noted screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (The Mask of Zorro) are said to be writing the scripts out in full. Clark's source within Universal said the fourth script has an expected completion date of September 14, while the fifth movie's script is said to be due about a month afterward.

Clark also uncovered that the two scripts have titles, although what these are remain an enigma for the moment. Total Film magazine reported (and Dark Horizons picked it up last week) their moles told them the fourth script involves a UFO crashing into Doc Brown's time-travelling locomotive (seen at the conclusion of Back to the Future 3). The crash is supposed to cripple the engine and prevent it from travelling through time, while the alien spacecraft fell down around the little town of Roswell, New Mexico -- circa 1947. Clark's sources seemed to indicate the alleged storyline that Total Film reported on wasn't the actual direction of the new script's storyline (the one being penned by Rossio and Elliott) although elements of the Total Film storyline may make it into the final screenplay.

Clark's sources further explained that the new script being written included the established setting of Hill Valley and not the desert backlands of New Mexico. The current script is being fashioned out of the second draft that Solomon turned into Universal, which may explain why Total Film is relating a BTTF story about aliens and crashed saucers, and why elements of the earlier Solomon premise might creep into the new script.

One last note: Clark's sources also said the scripts will be or are being distributed on Xerox-proof copy paper. This type of usually heat resistent, red colored paper makes photocopying extremely difficult...but not outright impossible if you have access to a scanner.

- Thanks to Stephen Clark for keeping the world on top of the latest developments with the franchise! Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, June 8, 1999

Stephen Clark parked his DeLorean outside our studio and sauntered in with another update from his anonymous Universal mole, this time giving us the lowdown on the alleged treatment for a fourth and fifth BTTF movie by screenwriter Ed Solomon. Clark's scoop originally appeared on his site, and here's what his scooper had to say:

"Ed Solomon turned in his treatments quicker than most people (including myself, I have to admit) imagined. The due date was June 15, but he turned them in around Memorial Day. They're still being reviewed by the script department. Some good news for the BTTF 4/5 project, though: the Quantum Leap project has fizzled out (it was something called Quantum Leapers and didn't involve Scott Bakula at all), with Magnum, P.I. on the outs, too. Seeing as this is the only Amblin-oriented project (BTTF), ie: I know about it, I can tell you that people are getting excited about the prospect of BTTF again. A new writer has been attached to the project — a man by the name of Charles S. Haas. I haven't looked into his credentials yet, but word came down last week that Mr. Haas would be handling the further development of BTTF4 and BTTF5, whatever it might be."

- Again, thanks to Stephen M. Clark for sharing the info with us! Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, May 27, 1999

Thomas Chau, the editor of the Cinema Confidential got a scoop from Stephen Clark about the purported BTTF 4 project that screenwriter Ed Solomon (Men in Black) is supposedly working on. Chau summed up what was said by Clark's scooper:

  • There was never a Back to the Beginning script. That script was another fan's idea and is in no way related to Amblin. The only BTTF-related scripts officially owned by Amblin Entertainment are the three feature films and the animated episodes.
  • Ed Solomon has only been commissioned (not contracted) to show the viability of expanding the Back to the Future franchise. There are several other writers doing the same thing for other Universal-governed franchises. It's part of an in-house development project that's been going on since November of 1998.
  • Solomon is only working on a treatment, not script. Currently, the idea is to have a Back to the Future 4 and 5, much like the second and third running together.
  • Best case scenario: the films premiere in the second quarter and fourth quarters of 2001. The deadline for this treatment is June 14, 1999.
  • There's another writer lined up to work on BTTF4/5, but I don't know his/her name, nor his/her capacity on the project. "To be honest, Ed Solomon was working on this project as sort of a 'side job,'" explains Chau. "It's not an official project, you understand."

The original scoop that first appeared on Clark's BTTF site can be accessed here.

- Cinema Confidential. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Monday, May 3, 1999

BTTF fan club president Stephen Clark was sent a scanned copy of an article that appears in this month's Total Film magazine that claims Universal is breathing life into the idea of a new sequel. According to Total Film, Amblin and Universal are "rumored to be considering a revival of their time-traveling franchise. Men In Black scribe Ed Solomon is reportedly working on a script dealing with Christopher Lloyd's Doc Brown causing the Roswell UFO crash and how he sets it straight, with the assistance of would-be scientist Sarah Michelle Gellar. Steven Spielberg and Solomon would act as executive producers while Michael J. Fox may cameo as another ancestor of Marty McFly."

While Clark wants to get his hopes up, he's also aware that this is the first time a magazine has reported any activity on a proposed BTTF4 where names are actually mentioned. We're rather skeptical ourselves. We know Solomon is developing his new superhero Fox TV series right now, so unless he's done the script for BTTF4 already, or he's cloned himself, he should already be up to his neck in work. And what's this about Gellar having a part in the movie? We think if this were legit we would have heard something about it by now. Still, we're asking if anyone out there has heard something they'd care to add. Are there facts to these rumors?

- Scooped by a perplexed Stephen Clark. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, January 31, 1999

BTTF actors Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox are reuniting next month for an episode of ABC's Spin City series. Lloyd will play the friend and political mentor to Fox's deputy mayor character. Who knows -- if fan response is strong enough, the people over at Universal may look upon it as a good omen for a BTTF 4.

- Stephen M. Clark flux capacitor is on the blink -- can anyone recommend a good repair shop? Comment on this Scoop (0)
Thursday, October 1, 1998

Now some words from the president of the BTTF Fan-Club: "For those who think Michael J. Fox wouldn't return to the role of 'Marty McFly', let it be known that the recent Spin City promo with the DeLorean time machine was the brainchild of Fox himself. He came up with the idea for the commercial to use his BTTF-ties to 'transport' the cast of Spin City from Wednesdays at 8:00 to Tuesdays at 9:00. This was reported on ABC's official Spin City page about two weeks ago.

"Speculation is that whenever Universal revives BTTF, we won't see Zemeckis at the helm directing this time. Rather, he'll likely take a seat with Spielberg in the Executive Producer role, and we'll see Bob Gale direct this one. Let's just hope that if Universal is in high-gear to revive the series, they'll not stray far from the proven formula. To the Universal executives reading this, you've got a whole army of 'Backies' ready to make this one a blockbuster in record 'time'! Make it, and we will come!"

- From an email sent to us by Stephen M. Clark in 1885. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, September 27, 1998

Could there finally be some action on this project? We received the following anonymous scoop:

"Universal is dredging up its archives to produce in-house films based on properties it already owns. While it's been rumored BTTF would be revived in some manner for a long time, there looks to be a full-scale effort in the works to tie some project directly to its BTTF franchise. The Back to the Beginning telefilm that was never produced was an IDEA of Bob Gale's, but was never officially commissioned nor really considered. Any live-action BTTF property would enter production at the feature film level. Universal Television never had a BTTF project in the pipeline. Whatever the case, there are discussions to involve Michael J. Fox's character as a sort of bookend to a new story. Using Doc Brown's time travel technology, a couple of teenagers are sent through a series of different eras."

- Anonymous. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, July 14, 1998

Stephen M. Clark informs us that in a July 13 report published on the Hollywood Stock Exchange, the virtual stock market began to list the film on the exchange (as 'BACK4'). That means people who want to wager on the probability that another BTTF film will be in development sometime in the future (no pun intended, honest) can now aquire stock of the property. Clark takes the new listing and last weekend's box office stats as good sign for any possible sequel. "With Lethal Weapon 4's box office bonanza this past weekend of $34.4 million, surely the other studios are scrambling to get Indiana Jones 4 and Die Hard 4 back on the fasttrack! LW4 proved what Batman 4 and Alien 4 failed to -- there's still a lot of life left in these good ole' trilogies!"

- Stephen M. Clark. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Sunday, June 28, 1998

This one has taken us a while to get it posted up to the site but we've received the scoop ever since the show aired...which shows us that there is fan interest in the BTTF series.

Early last month on Late Night With Conan O'Brien actor Michael J. Fox appeared on the program. Fox chatted about his series Spin City and when the coversation turned to plans for the summer O'Brien asked him about whether he'd do another BTTF movie. Fox response was this:

"No, you know, I feel too old. People say 'Why don't you make another Back to the Future over the summer?'. I'm like George Burns! If I get on a skateboard, I'll break a hip or something! It'd be terrible."

After the laughter died down a bit, an unaudible shout came from one bold audience member. "I'm sorry?", Fox questioned. O'Brien repeated the shout. "He said, 'DO IT!'. Go for it!".

That's gotten BTTF fans to send in their support with the vocal audience member. Perhaps Michael J. will return to the franchise again one day in the future?

- Thanks to BL, galan, time@traveller, Lizzy, HWellson, Amax and a few other anonymous time travellers for sending in their letters. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, November 25, 1997

The Marlins/BTTF2 prophecy turns out to be false. Thankfully, people with a currently-valid Blockbuster Video membership rented the tape and confirmed it's not so. When Marty's in 2015, he sees a billboard proclaiming that the Chicago Cubs beat the Miami Gators in the 2015 Series, which motivates him to get the Sports Almanac.

Well, who better to set the record straight than Stephen from

"Please allow me to clear up this crazy rumor that has been running rampant ever since the Marlins won the World Series last month.

"This is a recent rumor that has been completely distorted and blown out of proportion. The scene in question is indeed from Back to the Future Part II, and involved Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) being in the future in 2015, and him seeing a holographic billboard that announced that the Chicago Cubs had won the World Series against the Miami Gators. The date was October 21, 2015. An old gentleman Marty was talking to said that he wished he could go back to the beginning of the season to place some bets on the Cubbies, and that sparked the idea with McFly, who bought a sports almanac containing sports statistics from 1950-2000 to take back to 1985 with him. However, the plan backfired, and the main plot of the rest of the movie was to get that sports almanac back from falling into the wrong hands (i.e. Biff Tannen) in the past.

"So while Bob Gale & Robert Zemeckis were able to predict the future in that Miami would have a team, there was never anything mentioned about 1997 -- it was just the current year, which was 2015. And the film predicted that Miami had a team, which they didn't until 1993, but the name of the team was the Gators. Back to the Future Part II was released 8 years ago on November 22, 1989.

"But don't let this fool you -- Back to the Future Part II was indeed a predictor of many events yet to come. Besides predicting that Miami would have a major league baseball team, the film also predicted at least two other interesting future events that were yet to come: the downfall of laserdiscs and the procedure of using thumbprints as signatures.

"In an early scene, Doc & Marty carry the sedated Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) out of the DeLorean and lay her in an alley behind Fusion Industries. You'll notice that the bundled stacks of waste they put her on are mounds of laserdiscs ready to be incinerated. Many people, including some folks at Entertainment Weekly, point out that this scene clearly predicts that laserdiscs won't be a source of entertainment media in the future, apparently paving the way for the new format of the future - DVD.

"As any fan remembers, practically all in-person financial transactions were handled in the future by scanning the thumbprint of the consumer. This is now a reality, as in the past year, a several major banks primarily across the south have instigated new check cashing policies for customers without accounts at those particular banks -- requiring 'thumbprint signatures' by these customers.

"So, what's next? Judging from Zemeckis & Gale's track record, flying cars and hoverboards are probably not too far behind."

Remember 1982's Blade Runner? That now-classic sci-fi film was set more than 30 years ahead of when it was originall released. Blade Runner was filled with the logos of many companies that, while they were titans of industry back in '82, have gone out of business since like Atari or Pam-Am.  Thankfully, BTTF2 didn't have much corporate placement (well, except for Pepsi insignias).

- Thanks to Stephen M. Clark, oracle for all BTTF lore. (OK hot shot, explain why Marty's son and daughter both looked like him.) Comment on this Scoop (0)
Saturday, November 22, 1997

We have to agree with the scooper: this is damn creepy. Seems that in a scene from Back to the Future II, Marty buys a sports almanac to take back to 1985 with him and get rich quick. Well, in one part of the movie the young Biff is told Florida will win the World Series in 1997...and they did. The thing that also makes it a clear sign of the Apocalypse is that, back in 1989 when the movie was in production, Florida didn't even have a baseball team yet.

- Prophetic decoding done by Tood Dupler. Comment on this Scoop (0)
Tuesday, November 11, 1997

There's been a tantalizing report that a script may exist for a proposed television movie titled Back to the Beginning. According to a source that spoke to Stephen M. Clark, Amblin Productions had a script commissioned 4 or so years ago: in the script a young Marty McFly first meets Doc Brown, who's considered to be pretty much a crazy old man. At first the young Marty takes part with the other neighborhood kids in playing mean-spirited tricks on the Doc, like toilet papering his home, but eventually Marty realizes that the Doc is simply a somewhat-unusual inventor and not a sinister old man as Marty's friends would have him believe.

Stephen M. Clark explains why he believes the project to actually exist somewhere in Amblin's vault: "The story behind this is that in 1993, I know for a fact through the office of Bob Gale (BTTF screenwriter/producer) that there were some very SERIOUS talks about doing a fourth movie or some other type of similar continuation with the BTTF series. Universal was in dire need of some hit movies during that time, as they were in a drout. The BTTF Ride was getting ready to open in Hollywood, and so Universal was giving the series some serious consideration for a reprisal. But two key factors killed the talks at that time: Jurassic Park opened in theaters and rocked Universal's foundation, and CBS cancelled the BTTF cartoon series. These talks were being held around May of 1993.

"In 1995, I had a phone conversation with Alan Sutton at Universal marketing (now a Senior VP of Marketing for Universal), who told me then that two years prior to our conversation, there had been serious plans to turn BTTF into a weekly television series, but that the idea had been put on indefinite hold for reasons unbeknownst to him. That conversation validated the information I had been given by an assistant in Bob Gale's office in 1993."

A second reply also came to Clark's attention, this time from a person who also claimed to have seen the BTTF MOV script in Amblin's vaults. The source said that the story featured a pre-teen Marty starting to make friends with Doc Brown, and possibly providing inspiration for the Doc to eventually construct his DeLorean time machine as a result of the death of one of Marty's friends.

Now that Zemeckis has allied himself with Spielberg's DreamWorks, the possibility exists that the studio may resuscitate the franchise as a spin-off series or a movie of the week.

- Stephen M. Clark. Comment on this Scoop (0)


HypeMeter Rating: Perfect

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