Few franchises in Hollywood's history have shown as much staying power as the Back to The Future series. And yet, despite fans clamoring for more adventures regarding Doc and Marty, there were never any new movies made after the original trilogy ended. In a recent interview, Bob Gale, who co-wrote and produced the trilogy, explained what made the original movies so special within the "time travel" genre of film.
"The thing that people don't always understand about Back to the Future and what really makes it work, because people say, 'Oh, let's do a time travel series.' Well, okay, time travel series are really hard to pull off. Back to the Future works because it's the story of this family, and time travel is an element of it, but you are totally with those characters."
"It's a terrific dramatization of a moment that every human being has in their life, which is the moment when we're kids and we suddenly realize, 'Oh, my God, my parents were once kids, too.' By the time you're five or six years old, you look at your parents and they're these God-like figures, and they don't age, as far as you can tell. They must have always been there, and then suddenly, by the time you're seven, eight, nine, you suddenly start putting it together, that, 'My parents were once kids.'"
It is true that while Back to the Future is technically a scifi movie, what fans love about the films is their emotional center, the friendship between Doc and Marty, and the latter's efforts to save his parents' marriage. According to Bob Gale, it is the humanistic story beats rather than the intricacies of time travel machinations that have allowed the series to stand the test of time.
"That is the power of Back to the Future. It's the human stuff. It's not the logistics of traveling through time because, frankly, you look at a time travel series, both things that they've done on television and things that they've done in comic books, and they fall into this trap of using time travel as a plot mechanism."
Still, despite their not being any new Back to the Future sequels or reboots on the horizon, Gale points out that the franchise has continued in other ways, and there is a great deal of additional Back to the Future material out there for fans to consume if they are willing to go to non-cinematic sources.
"IDW did a comic book series that's very, very good. I was a consultant on it. They've all been reprinted in graphic novels now, so for those who want more Back to the Future that really ties in closely with the Back to the Future canon, I would recommend those. Telltale did a Back to the Future video game back in 2011, and again, I was a consultant on that. That's a very, very good Back to the Future [story]. It deserves the 'Back to the Future' name on it. We did two seasons of Saturday morning cartoons of Back to the Future, animated, for CBS, so those are out there, and those, for what they are, they're very, very good."
This new originates at ComicBookcom.