How many times have we seen beloved franchises ruined by sequels, spin-offs, prequels, and reboots? While they’re not always terrible, many are still completely unnecessary, and lack the charm, along with many other special ingredients, of their predecessors.
So it’s no surprise than fans are often up in arms whenever such a movie is announced. In some cases, though, the fanbases practically beg for a follow-up to their favorite movies, but the sad truth is that, even when they’re prayers are answered, they’re often left disappointed.
There are so many examples of this happening that it’s difficult to know where to start! But the one movie that comes to mind where sequels are concerned is Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015). While in no way a disaster, it didn’t quite live up to fans’ expectations.
In hindsight, though, the film is a masterpiece compared to the two movies that followed – Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (2017) and Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker (2019), which are both widely hated for ruining beloved characters.
Examples of recent spin-offs gone wrong are the Alien prequels, Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017). Despite being directed by the original Alien (1979) director Ridley Scott, both movies remain divisive, largely because the premise totally undermines the original film.
And then there are the Fantastic Beasts movies, which serve as prequels to the Harry Potter film series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) somehow captures the magic of Harry Potter, while Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) is a complete Squib.
As for reboots, while there are countless examples, perhaps the most controversial is Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016). The movie got a few things right, but there’s no denying that it remains one of the most controversial and hated reboots of all time.
Even before the film hit theaters, many Ghostbusters fans weren’t shy in pointing out how bad the film looked. While the end product is hardly a masterpiece, it’s likely the film never stood much of a chance anyway, because remaking an ’80s classic is a cardinal sin.
Speaking of beloved ’80s-born properties, let’s move on to the Back to the Future Trilogy, which, for the time being, has refreshingly been left untampered with. Which is part of the reason why it’s considered a “perfect” trilogy, along with the fact that all three films in the series are classics.
But how long can Back to the Future go unnoticed by Hollywood? The truth is that there have probably been many attempts to cash in on this enormous IP, but its creators, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Bob Gale, have applied something of an embargo to the films.
A few years ago, Gale explained why Back to the Future 4 will never happen, saying that there would “never” be a sequel, and likened such an event as “selling your kids into prostitution”. He added that a fourth movie couldn’t happen anyway due to Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.
So it looks like we may never get a Back to the Future 4, which, to be perfectly honest, is great news! As we’ve already touched upon, sequels, spin-offs, prequels, and reboots are seldom as good as the movie or movies in their rear view. But suppose it was on the table…
Exactly how much power Zemeckis and Gale have over the property remains to be seen, and unfortunately, it may transpire that Back to the Future is no more immune to going under the Hollywood knife than any other major blockbuster franchise.
While in no way as classic as the Back to the Future movies, the Planet of the Apes Trilogy, which is also considered a perfect trilogy, is now getting a fourth movie. It might turn out to be a great film, but its existence alone upends a nice round little number of excellent movies.
So, will Back to the Future remain untouched, like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy, or is it doomed to get a new movie? Well, if it’s the latter, then take note, Hollywood, because there are a few ways in which a new Back to the Future movie could actually work…
6. Back to the Future Musical
We know what you’re thinking — this already exists! But what is the Back to the Future: The Musical about? Well, it’s actually based solely on Back to the Future (1985), but perhaps a new story could take on this form, not unlike the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016).
Theatrical productions sometimes tend to go down a lot easier with fans than new movie installments do. While the likes of The Cursed Child is considered canon, it’s also pretty divisive, yet it’s not something that’s often discussed as having ruined the franchise.
5. Back to the Future Animated Series
Even Back to the Future fans tend to forget the Back to the Future animated series (1991 — 1992), which was also created by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. The show even saw the return of iconic characters such as Marty McFly (David Kaufman) and Emmett “Doc” Brown (Dan Castellaneta)!
A new animated show, or even a movie, might be the best follow-up to the Back to the Future Trilogy. Now more than ever, such shows and movies are accepted as canon within their respective franchises, with Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008 — 2020) being the best example.
4. Back to the Future Video Game
Sequels, spin-offs, prequels, or reboots don’t always take on the form of a movie. Sometimes they can take on the form of a video game. And Telltale Games’ Back to the Future: The Game (2010) even features Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd, and is widely considered canon!
But is Back to the Future: The Game a sequel? Yes — it follows the events of the Back to the Future Trilogy! There are other examples of this, like Ghostbusters: The Video Game (2009), so a new Back to the Future game could work — maybe even something open-world like Hogwarts Legacy (2022)!
3. Back to the Future Prequel
If a fourth Back to the Future movie does ever happen, it might work better as a prequel. With that said, this would of course require younger versions of Michael J Fox (Marty McFly) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), so the filmmakers should take note from Star Wars.
Like Marvel, Star Wars has now mastered the art of de-aging, with the most recent example being The Book of Boba Fett (2021), in which Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) looks so much more realistic than he does in The Mandalorian Season 2 (2020)!
2. Back to the Future Sequel
De-aging could also be used if a new Back to the Future movie is a sequel, as the present-day Marty McFly and Doc Brown may encounter their younger-selves, or even past or future relatives, as seen in Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), in which Michael J Fox plays both his own son, Marty McFly Jr, and his ancestor, Seamus McFly, respectively.
There would be a risk, though, as having veteran actors return usually feels a little awkward and contrived. However, Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) managed to pull this off, and features the likes of Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), and Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) in cameos only.
1. Back to the Future Reboot
Another option is recasting. The idea of replacing truly beloved actors like Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd is blasphemous, but hear us out. For starters, Back to the Future more than likely has its very own multiverse, a concept which could justify a “recasting” and “rebooting” within the narrative itself.
And speaking of such concepts, it was previously rumored that Tom Holland, whose Peter Parker/Spider-Man met fellow Spideys in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) ,would be stepping into the self-tying sneakers of Marty McFly for a Back to the Future reboot.
What do you think? Will Back to the Future 4 happen? Will they ever remake Back to the Future? Let us know in the comments below!