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Why Back To The Future 4 Never Happened (& Never Will)

Back to the Future 4

Despite fan interest in another sequel, Back To The Future 4 has never happened – here's why the beloved series will never return. Back To The Future was conceived by director Robert Zemeckis alongside producer Bob Gale and follows teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally being transported 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean. The original Back To The Future is rightly regarded as a classic now, thanks to a pitch-perfect mixture of comedy and sci-fi and while it wasn’t conceived as a trilogy, audiences wanted to see more of its characters.

Zemeckis and Gale reunited with the ambitious plan of filming Back To The Future Part II and Part III back to back. Such a feat had rarely been attempted during this era, with Part II propelling the characters into the future in addition to revisiting the events of the original from a different perspective. Back To The Future Part III took place in the Old West, wrapping up the story and providing closure to the series.

Related: New Poll Suggests Americans Really, Really Want Back To The Future

In a rare move, Back To The Future is one of the few franchises that’s actually stayed closed. While rumors of Back To The Future 4 pop up now and again, they’re quickly shot down. Let’s explore the reasons Back To The Future 4 has never happened, and why the franchise will never be rebooted.

Why Back To The Future 4 Hasn't Happened Yet

Back to the Future II

Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale made no secret of the series coming to a close with Back To The Future Part III, which is a pact they’ve stuck to. The two men have a clause in their contract stating further sequels can’t happen without their approval – which is something they’ll never give. When the original movie was made sequels and franchises still weren’t a given, with filmmakers tending to look down on them. For instance, director Ivan Reitman, alongside Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, had clauses for Ghostbusters allowing them to veto sequels. Ghostbusters II was eventually made due to studio coaxing, but one of the reasons Ghostbusters III proved so hard to get off the ground was due to Murray exercising his right to prevent it.

Zemeckis and Gale feel the same way about Back To The Future 4. While they’re aware of audiences enduring love for the series, they also know the context of when those movies were made is a major factor. Fans are nostalgic for the same actors and the type of special effects there were used, which could never be recreated in the same way. Basically, they think there’s no way to make Back To The Future 4 – be it sequel or reboot – that wouldn’t be disappointing.

Related: Back To The Future Cast Reunites 33 Years Later

Why Back To The Future 4 Will (Likely) Never Happen

Doc Brown and Marty from Back To The Future

Of course, dormant franchises get brought back all the time. George Lucas swore another Star Wars movie would never happen following the end of his prequel trilogy and George Miller closed the book on Mad Max for 15 years until the concept for Fury Road came to him. There’s always the dim possibility Zemeckis or Gale could be talked around, but that feels incredibly unlikely. Zemeckis has gone so far as to proclaim he won’t allow Back To The Future 4 in his lifetime – and hopes his contract prevents it beyond that.

Back To The Future has continued in the form of a cartoon show and video games, but Zemeckis' theory of fans only being disappointed by Back To The Future 4 holds true. The series wrapped up perfectly with the last movie, and anything less than another adventure with Doc and Marty would be a letdown. In an era where it feels like every moderately well-known property must be rebooted, there’s something refreshing about the Back To The Future series having a proper beginning, middle, and end.

Next: Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Didn’t Know About Back To The Future

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