Want More ‘Back to the Future?’ The Trilogy Has Its Own Extended Universe
Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd in ‘Back to the Future: Part II’ (Universal)
To the delight of movie fans everywhere, Back to the Future Day arrived on Wednesday in a DeLorean powered by plutonium and nostalgia. For those uninitiated with the film trilogy’s sci-fi lore, Oct. 21, 2015, is the future date our hero Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) time traveled to in 1989’s Back to the Future Part II. That’s as far in the future as the franchise will ever go, though; director Robert Zemeckis, co-writer Bob Gale, and executive producer Steven Spielberg have all insisted that there will never be another BTTF sequel. That may be for the best, but what’s a hardcore fan to do once he or she burns through those Blu-rays?
Luckily, if they look beyond the big screen. there are plenty more Back to the Future stories to consume. Here’s a quick guide to all those Hill Valley tales.
Cartoon series: Set after the third film in the trilogy, the Back to the Future cartoon ran for two seasons in 1991 and 1992 on CBS. Doc Brown and his wife Clara move back to present day Hill Valley and promptly begin their adventures in time travel again. Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenburgen returned to voice their respective characters, but Michael J. Fox sat this one out; instead, David Kaufman (a prolific voice actor who played Jimmy Olsen in the Superman TV series) voiced Marty. Over the course of the series, the trio traveled throughout time, with stops during the Civil War, Medieval times, and back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. There are 26 episodes in total and were just released on DVD.
The new ‘Back to the Future’ comic book (IDW)
Comic books: In 1991, a limited-run Back to the Future comic-book series was published by Harvey Comics. They were a tie-in to the cartoon series, though only seven issues hit stands (and are now available on Amazon). But on Wednesday, comic-book house IDW began publishing a brand new Back to the Future comic book, which is co-written by BTTF co-creator and unofficial series keeper Bob Gale. The series promises “untold tales and alternate timelines,” and the first issue tells the story of when Marty met Doc Brown. It’s available at most comic retailers, as well as on Comixology.
Video games: In 2010, Telltale Games began releasing new chapters of the BTTF series in the form of video games. The game episodes begin in 1986; Doc Brown has disappeared, and suddenly, a DeLorean appears to whisk Marty back into the past. But instead of 1955, he goes back to 1931 to meet an even-younger Doc. Fox didn’t lend his voice Marty, but he did show up in later episodes to voice older McFlys. Players who were so taken with the series recorded all of the gameplay and turned it into a pseudo-sequel by putting it up on YouTube (watch above). The 30th anniversary edition is available for purchase or download now.
Novelizations: The novelization of the first film came out early in 1985 to help hype the movie. Because the screenplay — and then the film itself, during production — changed so frequently, there are a number of differences between the book and what actually ended up on the big screen. (Among the inconsistencies: There are new characters like Mr. Arkys, Marty’s social studies teacher, in the book.) Novelizations were also released for the two sequels. You can buy them on Amazon via third party booksellers.
Musical: In 2012 Zemeckis, who has generally taken a hands-off approach to the series after the third film hit theaters, joined Gale in writing a new musical based on the original movie. Original composer Alan Silvestri is writing the music and lyrics, so it’s the biggest Back to the Future creative team reunion in years (the Huey Lewis song “The Power of Love” will also be a part of the show). The production hit a setback last summer with the exit of the director, but it’s now due to debut on London’s West End in 2016, though the cast has not yet been revealed.