‘Back to the Future Part II’ Turns 30 and We’re Going Back in Time for a Behind-the-Scenes Look

It’s impossible not to consider the passage of time when you think about Back to the Future — and, in some ways, that can be pretty mind-blowing when you consider the fact that Back to the Future Part II just turned 30. It’s increasingly obvious that the BTTF franchise isn’t going anywhere, the trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd remaining beloved by so many people, a tribute to the films taking place at The Hollywood Museum on December 5, a stage musical scheduled to make its debut in England next year before coming to America and the films’ time-traveling element becoming a point of contention in Marvel’s epic film Avengers: Endgame.

Back to the Future was co-created by writer/director Robert Zemeckis and co-writer/producer Bob Gale, the latter of whom has remained very involved in all things BTTF, ranging from video games to comic books and co-writing the book/script for the musical with Zemeckis. Appropriate considering the inspiration for the concept in the first place.

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Ralph Nelson/Universal Studios and U-Drive Productions

“I attended the same high school that my father did in a suburb of St. Louis,” relates Bob exclusively to Closer Weekly, “and in the summer of 1980 I was visiting my parents. I was there to promote our film Used Cars, and I found my father’s high school yearbook in the basement. I’d never seen it before and I learned, much to my surprise, that he’d been the president of his graduating class. I looked at this picture of my dad looking very straight and proper, and I thought about the president of my graduating class, who was filled with raw school spirit. So I thought, Was that the kind of guy that my dad was. If I’d gone to high school with him, would I have been friends with him? Bingo! That was the proverbial lightning bolt that hit me to say, ‘There’s a movie!’ Bob Zemeckis had always been toying with the idea of figuring out how to do a time travel movie of some sort, but never found an idea that worked. After I had this revelation, I came back to California and I said, ‘Hey, Bob, remember we’ve always been talking about how to do a time travel movie? Here it is…‘”

That 1985 movie saw Michael J. Fox playing teenager Marty McFly, who is best friends with Christopher Lloyd’s eccentric scientist Doctor Emmett Brown, the latter of whom invents a time machine out of a DeLorean that inadvertently leads Marty to 1955. There he interferes with his parents’ first meeting, threatening his own existence in the process. In the end, more positive changes for the McFly family take place due to changes in the past, and things end with Doc Brown whisking Marty and his girlfriend, Jennifer, into the future because “something has to be done about your kids.”

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Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures/Kobal/Shutterstock

The connection of this adventure to the audience was immediate, turning Back to the Future into the top-grossing movie of the year and leading to discussions of a sequel — despite the fact there had not been plans for one at the time. “If we had known we were going to do a sequel, we would’ve never had Jennifer get in the car at the end of part one,” says Bob, “because when it came time for us to try to figure out what Part II was going to be about, we kept saying, ‘What are we going to do with Jennifer? She’s not a very well drawn character,’ and we ended up knocking her out for most of the picture.”

For more on how Back to the Future Part II came to be, please scroll down.