There’s no going Back to the Future: original movie stars Claudia Wells and James Tolkan say the film franchise is “done.” Now celebrating the 35th anniversary of the hit comedy that sends Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), Wells and Tolkan agree with franchise creators Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale in adamantly opposing a decades-later Back to the Future Part IV. Here’s what the co-stars had to say when asked about turning the Back to the Future trilogy into a quadrilogy during a virtual panel presented by Wizard World:
“There’s always talk of, ‘Someday he’s [Zemeckis] going to do a Part IV.’ We’ve done it, it’s done,” answered Tolkan, who played Hill Valley High School’s strict principal Mr. Strickland. “One, two, and three, please. We’re quite happy with that.”
Added Wells, who played Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer Parker in just the first film, “Bob Gale has always been very adamant about, ‘There is no Back to the Future IV.'”
“I was doing a Q&A once with Christopher Lloyd at this theater where they had shown Back to the Future,” Wells continued. “One of the guys in the audience did [viral video] Brokeback to the Future, and Chris looked at him, he goes, ‘That’s Back to the Future IV because it’s not going to happen otherwise.’ Everyone says no.”
Lloyd, who starred in all three Back to the Future films as the wild-haired inventor of time travel, did remark he would “be happy” to return in a fourth film during a 2019 convention appearance but later said a third sequel is “not happening.”
“I think, really, the most important thing is if they can come up with the right idea,” Lloyd said when asked about a prospective Part IV in a 2018 interview with the Phoenix New Times. “I think that’s the challenge is to come up with something that really is as good as the originals. I suppose it could happen. I have not heard that they’re looking for that, if they’ve made up their minds… ‘Hey, here’s something we could do,’ and they believed in it then they might get going to do it.”
When reached for comment shortly after Lloyd’s answer reignited speculation about a fourth movie, Zemeckis told Bad Taste that “there will never, ever be, in the most absolute way, a Back to the Future 4. There will be no more Back to the Future.”
Gale slapped down the idea of a Back to the Future Part IV in 2010 when he said Universal Pictures is unable to move forward on a sequel or a reboot without joint approval from Gale and Zemeckis.
The franchise creators “have no plans or desires to make another Back to the Future movie — not a Part 4, or a remake of Part 1,” he said at the time. “Nor does Universal or [producers] 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.”
He added, “No such discussions have taken place. We are very proud of the trilogy as it stands and we want to leave it as is.”
The Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy box set, presenting all three films in 4K Ultra HD for the first time, is available to own from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on October 20. Pre-order the set here.