Before you go on a rampage in the comments, I want you to understand this: I am fully aware that it is extremely unlikely that we will ever get Back to the Future IV. I also realize that virtually nobody wants a sequel to the trilogy. I get that. So please don’t throw a tantrum over a hypothetical situation. This is merely just a fun “What If?” for fans of the franchise who always wondered more about the lore behind Back to the Future.
You may be thinking, “But what else is there to say?” We’ve seen the 1950s, the 1980s, the 2010s, and even the 1880s. The films have covered a wide variety of timelines. But there is so much more to be done when it comes to time travel. What if Marty and Doc teamed up for one last ride? What if their jobs weren’t done yet? As we saw in the final moments of Back to the Future III, Doc still has a time machine, so the possibilities are out there. Here are just three possible storylines they could use for Back to the Future IV.
Note: This is based completely off the film canon. Comics, video games, and animated series don’t count.
3. Meeting Jules Verne
In Back to the Future III, we learned that Doc Brown has a strong admiration of Jules Verne, renown science-fiction and adventure novelist. It’s implied that Brown’s love for Verne’s works is what inspired him to pursue a life of science, which eventually led to his discovery of time travel. Doc can also thank Verne’s stories for helping him bond with his future wife Clara. Do I need to mention the fact that the Browns ended up naming their own kids after the author? So yeah, you can say that Doc’s a huge fan.
If you had a time machine, wouldn’t you want to go back and meet a person who inspired your life’s work? What if Doc decides to head back to the 1800s in order to finally shake hands with Jules Verne himself? But let’s say something happens along the way. Maybe Doc causes Verne to have a near-fatal accident? Maybe Doc accidentally causes Verne to give up his life of writing before he could pen any of his great works? Something could happen to Verne that would alter the timeline and eventually lead to the time machine being erased from existence. It’s now up to Doc (and maybe Marty if they can find a way to incorporate him into the film) to fix the timeline and to get Verne to accept his destiny as a science fiction author.
2. Biff Tannen, Hero
Biff Tannen ranks among the greatest villains in cinematic history, and I have to applaud Thomas F. Wilson for his role in all three Back to the Future movies. One of my favorite parts of the trilogy is the various versions of Biff we encounter: old Biff, teenage Biff, powerful overlord Biff, etc. But there’s one version of Biff that we never get to see: the heroic Biff.
Sure, Biff is never meant to be the good guy. He’s a sadistic, conniving, perverted sociopath with the IQ of a coke bottle. But maybe something happened in his youth that caused him to be this way? I’m no psychologist, but there had to have been something that influenced his upbringing and caused him to grow up to be such an ass. What if Marty felt bad for him and decided to change it?
So here’s an idea: Marty and Doc go back in time to see what caused Biff to be so evil. It could be a neglectful or abusive parent, or even a childhood accident. Marty interferes and saves Biff, which acts as the catalyst for Biff to grow up as a good person. But there’s a problem: if it wasn’t for Biff, Marty’s parents might have never fallen in love (at least in the rewritten timeline Back to the Future). Marty tries to go back to change the past, but he disappears before he has a chance. Instead, young Biff has to team up with Doc from the 1950s in order to restore the timeline to save Marty. Spoiler warning: at the end, Biff realizes he HAS to grow up to be evil to allow Marty to exist.
Yeah, let that sink in.
1. When Marty Met Doc
Unless you’ve done some research, there’s one thing that’s always baffled you about the Back to the Future franchise: how the hell did Doc and Marty meet? It’s a little weird that this old, eccentric scientist just happens to know a high school guitar-playing skateboarder. How exactly did they become friends? Well, according to the co-creator of the films Bob Gale, the story all began with a young Marty growing up being told to avoid the dangerous neighborhood lunatic known as Doc Brown. One day, Marty’s curiosity got the better of him and he ventured into Doc’s lab, where he was fascinated by all the cool stuff he found. Doc found the boy and the two became fast friends. Marty took up a part-time job with Doc, helping out with experiments and looking after his pet dog Einstein. Thus, the timeless friendship was born!
So how can we make this into the plot of Back to the Future IV? It doesn’t have to be a prequel; or at least not a traditional prequel. Here’s an idea: Marty and Doc get into a huge fight. Some harsh words are thrown around, and some people say things they shouldn’t have said. In a fit of rage, Doc says that he wishes he never met Marty. Marty decides to grant his wish by stealing the time machine and going back to his youth. He tells the younger version of himself to stay away from the dangerous Doc Brown. You can guess what happens next…
Eventually, Marty realizes his mistake and tries to rectify his errors. He’ll have to team up with the past version of Doc Brown to help him form a friendship with young Marty. In the meantime, adult-Marty slowly fades away as his very existence is being erased. Yeah, it sounds like a slight rehash of the first Back to the Future, but that was arguably the best one of the trilogy, so who cares?
Back to the Future is a timeless film trilogy that should be left alone, but it’s always fun to think about the possibilities. I wonder what director Robert Zemeckis would say about my proposed storylines? Do you think he’d hate me too much?
What kind of storylines would you like to see in Back to the Future IV (if they ever make it)? Sound off in the comments or on Twitter!