Back to the Future was released way back in 1985 but is still shown on TV, and celebrated in pop culture. The film has cemented itself as a timeless classic. And one thing timeless classics scarcely avoid these days is a reboot. Ghostbusters, King Kong, and Jumanji have all had the reboot treatment. And so Back to the Future is left as a ticking time bomb, waiting for a cast and crew brave enough to take on its legacy and diehard fan base.
In fact, the only thing that could stop the eventuality of a Back to the Future remake is if Marty McFly himself came to 2016 and stopped it. Aside from the fact that he would be largely disappointed, as his previous trip to 2015 involved flying cars, he would be fighting a losing battle. Hollywood has become dependent on the legacy of classics, and sometimes it works (like Jurassic World). But with the film industry churning out remakes like it’s nobody’s business (we’re looking at you Disney), we thought we would answer the question of who would be cast in a 2016 remake.
So wonder no more, here are the answers to your burning question: What If Back To The Future Was Cast Today?
14. Goldie Wilson – Donald Glover
Goldie Wilson’s name is a popular one among audiences – many people online rooted for him to be the new Spider-Man. And while he may have lost out in that to Tom Holland, we definitely think that there’s a place for him in Back to the Future. Okay, so maybe we already gave the big parts away – sorry Donald. But since we’re casting lots of big stars into small parts, let’s make him no exception.
Goldie Wilson was an upbeat, fun small role that Donald Glover could definitely master. With his reliable comedy skills, you could be sure to up the laughter count with the use of him playing this small role. And who knows, with his music skills maybe he could contribute to the sound track. They could even switch it up so that instead of becoming mayor, Goldie Wilson becomes a hugely successful music act. Whatever happened with the part, if Donald Glover was cast it would definitely be in safe hands
13. Gerald Strickland (discipline officer) – Christopher Lloyd
The original Doc Brown was an icon, and like Michael J. Fox, we wouldn’t want to see any kind of iteration of the Back to the Future films without Christopher Lloyd’s input. Especially since his career post-Back to the Future proved Lloyd to be more than a one-trick pony, and capable of smashing parts other than the famous Doc Brown. So why not honor that by giving him a different part?
Well, we think we have found the perfect small role for him to take as a tribute to his success with the films. Rather than being the person who changes Marty’s life, let’s put him as the guy who constantly tells him he’ll do nothing with his life. Yes, we’re talking about the mean school discipline officer, Gerald Strickland. He famously tells Marty that no McFly ever amounts to anything, and it would be an ironic joke to have someone we all know and love as Doc telling him that. It would serve as an inside joke between us and the cast.
12. Einstein – Maple
The role of a dog in a film is usually a scene-stealing part, so why not get a famous dog in there? For those of you who don’t have Vine, or those of you who live under a rock, Maple is the stunning and talented dog whose Vines have proved massively popular. With over 300,000 followers to her name, Maple’s place in the cast would gain the movie some extra social media attention. It would certainly be a great breakout role for the social media star. And we’re guessing since she’s yet to venture into the world of TV and film that her fees wouldn’t be too pricey.
Although the part of Einstein was previously played by a scruffy (but nonetheless adorable) dog, we think a well-groomed pooch like Maple would add a nice touch of glamor to the film. They may say don’t work with children or animals, but through her consistent good behaviour in her Vines, we trust that Maple would treat the role with the professionalism required.
11. High School Band – Twenty One Pilots
Twenty One Pilots are something of a musical phenomenon at the moment. They are young, relevant, and less generic than most of the chart topping music at the moment. They would make the perfect candidates to do the soundtrack to the film, but why not take it one step further?
Remember the iconic school dance scene, where Marty plays guitar with the band? Why not throw them into the scene and have them be the band at the dance? It would definitely add something special to the film and set it apart from the Back to the Future that came before. Given that if the film starts in the present then they would be back in the ’80s, it would also be a cool opportunity to see their takes on some ’80s classics – we bet they could do a great, alternative version of “Take On Me”. What’s more, seeing them have cameo parts as awkward teenagers would be hilarious.
10. Dave McFly – Michael Cera
If we were casting this around 8 years ago, Michael Cera would probably pinch the title role and his awkward indie vibe would land the film a box office hit. He had grown up on screen in the brilliant Arrested Development, and become a star in his own right with his roles in films like Superbad, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and Juno. If it was cast between 2008 and 2010, he would have been the perfect Marty. But nowadays, Cera has cowered away from the limelight, and we have all got over the “ironic hipster” phase of our lives (unless you’re reading this from an underground vegan internet cafe).
He has now sunk himself comfortably into the indie circuit, and so to tempt him back into Hollywood we would have to aim for a smaller role – like that of Marty’s brother, Dave. With the promise that he wouldn’t be too famous, and the part isn’t too big or mainstream. That’s if we could drag him out of the cave he now lives in, and if his eyes can handle sunlight – not to mention spotlight.
9. Doc Brown – Larry David
He looks like a mad professor, he is known for bringing the laughs, and you know damn well you’d pay good money to see Larry David give intense, accusatory stares as Doc Brown. And although he’s not as traditional an actor as Christopher Lloyd and thus likely wouldn’t be counted on to follow any script other than the one in his own warped head, Larry David yelling nonsensically about Flux Capacitors would make any sort of Back to the Future reboot palatable.
Whether he’s bringing his Curb Your Enthusiasm-style energy/depravity to the role or just saying everyday sentences in some weird way, we have no doubt that Larry David is the perfect Doc Brown. No doubt able to play off a theoretical recast Marty – more on that later – and Larry David could move Doc Brown from being a strange mad scientist icon of cinema into the strangest damn character to ever exist. He’d be annoyed with life, he’d be self-deprecating about his time-travel DeLorean, he’d be slightly quizzical regarding why he spends all his time with a teenager, but all of that would add up to something that’s pretty, pretty, pretty, preeeeetty good.
8. Doc Brown alternative – Melissa Mccarthy
Melissa McCarthy is a big name in Hollywood, and one heavily associated with success and laughter. She also got a lot of attention for her part in the remake of Ghostbusters, which stirred things up and became widely controversial. Given that other classics are being given an all-female revamp, like Ocean’s Eight, if Back To The Future was remade there is a fair chance they would consider adding in more big female roles into the mix. Given that the main two characters of the film are Marty and Doc, the chances are it would be one of them who would be switched in for a female alternate. And when it comes to a kooky, mad professor type, it would be easy to predict Melissa McCarthy’s name being mentioned.
The A-list comedy actress is known for playing characters who are loud, abrasive, and out of touch with reality – the part is perfectly tailored for her. And unlike some of Hollywood’s glamorous actresses, she wouldn’t be afraid of having the white backcombed hair (perhaps without the balding) that the part is known for.
7. Biff – Gabriel Basso
The character of Biff in Back to the Future is one that is integral to the plot of the film, and yet still elicits eye-rolls for being perhaps the most stereotypical portrayal of a high school bully of all time. Although played admirably by Thomas F. Wilson over the trilogy, it’s hard to say that the character of Biff was perfect. That’s exactly why we’d recommend casting someone who can bring a new twist on the conventional bully role, and that someone is Kings of Summer’s Gabriel Basso.
In Kings of Summer, Basso broke out by playing the deeply emotional friend of the main character. With style and subtlety, Basso navigated a tricky role that saw his character turning from a friend into a villain, and the scenes where Basso was able to really let loose and bully his best friend were delightfully chilling to watch. Able to be cold hearted and still have you root for a small part of him, Gabriel Basso’s Biff Tannen would bring the bully role of Back to the Future into a new generation, and would update the part for modern audiences expecting a little more depth than what was in the original film.
6. Jennifer Parker – Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley has earned her stripes when it comes to roles in teen films. From Divergent to The Fault in Our Stars, she has become a go-to actress to play a teenage girl. So it would be wrong really to not give her a part at all, but we have someone better in mind for the leading lady. And so Shailene Woodley gets knocked down the ranks to a small part, but given that her run of blockbuster leads has had a bump in the road after the final Divergent film was lowered to TV movie status, we think she will appreciate the part. And let’s be honest, if you could secure a name as respectable as hers for a part that small, you would easily get an array of big names to follow.
For those of you who don’t remember the part, Jennifer Parker is the present-day girlfriend of our protagonist Marty McFly. We think Shailene Woodley would be able to give this part a bit of life and colour, and make it all the more memorable.
5. Lorraine Baines – Emma Watson
When it comes to playing the lead teenage girl in a film, Emma Watson has a fairly impressive CV. Not only does she have all seven Harry Potter films to her name, but with other hit teen titles like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and The Bling Ring, she has proved to be a success in whatever film she applies her talents to. This role may be a big part of a classic film, but for her it would be a walk in the park.
The role of Lorraine Baines, although a big one, is a lot less iconic than the film itself, whereas Emma Watson’s parts are usually a large part of the film’s legacy. By casting her in this part, the role is likely to be made much more exciting and build on the film’s already massive legacy. And hey, with Beauty and the Beast coming out soon, Emma Watson will have experience at taking on remakes of a classic.
4. Linda McFly – Maisie Williams
Although the part would be in a massive film, the actual role of Linda McFly is quite small. For Maisie Williams, it could be beneficial for a transition from the small screen to the big screen. And for the film, having someone well known for such a small part would be beneficial too. It’s a perfect match!
The part is quite small, but with the attention of a known actress could be made into something worthwhile. When we first meet Linda McFly, she is struggling with boy problems. After her brother’s life-changing (literally) adventure she is a boutique worker with an array of male admirers to choose from. Maisie Williams could definitely bring something here – she has the right attitude to do the awkward teenage part and enough acting talent to develop the same character into something more glamorous. It may be a whole world away from the stuff she’s doing in Game of Thrones, but it’d probably be good for her sanity to take on something a bit more light-hearted.
3. Young George McFly – Dylan Minette
By just one criteria alone Dylan Minette deserves this part: he is the spitting image of our chosen actor for Marty McFly so having Minette play Marty’s dad at his age is a pretty perfect bit of casting. But we should probably talk about acting too, and in that case, fear not – Dylan Minette doesn’t let down in that field either.
The guy has been playing major roles since he was 8 years old, and so is both young enough to look the part and experienced enough to play the part well. One of his recent parts in Goosebumps also gives him an edge for the role – he’s got the whole comedy sci-fi/fantasy thing covered. Add in the fact that Minette has the wicked ability to throw some one-liners into a scene and you can imagine him playing off of Marty and Doc quite easily. And again, let’s just keep mentioning how the guy looks exactly like our chosen Marty. They’re just destined to be cast together!
2. Old George McFly – Michael J Fox
Whether it be as a remake or as a sequel, or even if the original movie was first made in 2016, we would like to think Michael J. Fox would still have a part to play. He carried the 1985 classic (and both the sequels) with great success, and the film’s legacy would be completely lost without him.
We – reluctantly- accept that he is now too old to play a teenager, even in the world of time travel. And so a cool way of keeping him as close to his original role as possible would be to have him play the adult version of Marty’s dad. Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to play the much younger teenage version that Marty meets in his travels, but we reckon the cheesiness of having a different actor play a younger him could be used as an opportunity for some self-aware jokes and gags.
Runner-Up Marty McFly – Sean Giambrone
If you’ve ever seen The Goldbergs on ABC then you know not only how perfect Sean Giambrone would be in the role of Marty McFly, but how perfectly meta it would be for the actor who plays Adam Goldberg – TV’s most ’80s character – to step into the most iconic ’80s film of all time. It would be inspired casting of an actor who is actually the right age for the part, but that’s not all that Giambrone has to offer.
The role of Marty is one that requires the right dose of inspired optimism mixed in with realistic scepticism, and that’s something we know for a fact that Giambrone could bring to the table. Naively in awe one moment and then suspiciously inquisitive the next in The Goldbergs, it’s easy to see how Giambrone’s character parallels with the iconic ’80s role of Marty McFy. Add the fact that Giambrone can deliver comedy like few on this list, and that his slightly more nerdy take on the character would be a refreshing change of course while still fitting with the rest of the film, and you have a ready-made casting choice that few could argue with. Unless you consider…
1. Marty McFly – Logan Lerman
The part of Marty McFly is undeniably iconic, and would have to be cast very carefully. Firstly, given that it is a big film you would want someone who is a recognizable name. Secondly, you need someone who is good at playing the teenage boy in movies, but who also has enough weight on screen to be able to handle leading a movie such as Back to the Future. Simply put, whoever plays Marty has to be the type of good-looking, funny, clever actor that Michael J. Fox was when he was the lead, but he also has to have that unique Michael J. Fox ability to inject genuine excitement, wonder, and charisma into every scene he’s in.
The thing that leaves Back to the Future as iconic as it remains today is not only Fox’s role as Marty, but director Robert Zemeckis’ ability to make the film feel as fresh, magical, and nostalgic as it was the first time with every subsequent viewing. And for that to happen the whole film would hinge on an actor like Logan Lerman, who has proven time and time again that he’s much more than the typical Hollywood heartthrob. With Lerman’s depth and ability to bring subtlety to every character he plays, it would be thrilling to watch the world of Marty McFly through the wide eyes of Logan Lerman.
Who would you cast in a Back to the Future reboot? Let us know in the comments!