5 Things You Didn't Know About Back to the Future

On July 3, 1985, "Back to the Future" was released to theaters and became the highest grossing film of the year. Here are 5 surprising facts you probably didn't know about everybody's favorite time travel movie...


The Studio Wanted to Call the Film, Spaceman from Pluto. # The head of Universal didn’t like the title of the movie and wanted it changed to “Spaceman From Pluto.” Fortunately, Steven Spielberg thought it was a joke. Image credit: WikiCommons Co-creator Bob Gale had to shop the Back to the Future script for quite a while before getting a bite from Universal Pictures (Gale claims he was rejected more than 40 times). And the studio was understandably concerned about certain aspects of the movie—namely that one scene with Marty and his mom in the back of the car and the film's title. Executives had seen a trail of recent time-travel movie flops and were concerned Zemeckis's film would suffer the same fate, so they suggested an alternate name: Spaceman from Pluto. Executive producer Steven Spielberg quite literally laughed in their face about it.

Michael J. Fox Almost Wasn't Marty McFly # The DeLorean in the film was souped up with blinking lights and aircraft parts. In the three movies that were made, five different vehicles were used. It's hard to imagine anyone but Fox playing the film's protagonist, but Robert Zemeckis almost had no choice. Though his original choice was Fox for the role, the actor's obligations to his popular television show, Family Ties, got in the way of scheduling. Zemeckis then hired Eric Stoltz for the role, but quickly realized he'd made a huge mistake. Stoltz was an accomplished young actor, but he didn't quite have the comedic chops needed to capture McFly. You can still see Stoltz’s arm in a fight scene with “Biff” Tannen. The studio eventually negotiated a contract for Fox with Family Ties, and the rest is history.


The DeLorean in the Film Could Have Been a Refrigerator The original draft of the movie was much different from the finished product. Originally, the time travel machine was described as a refrigerator and Doc Brown was a professor that bootlegged movies. After discussing it, Zemeckis and Speilberg agreed that using a refrigerator might encourage children to act out the movie, and this would have been dangerous. They scrapped the refrigerator idea for a DeLorean, which looked space age with its gull doors. However, about 25 years later, Indiana Jones climbed into a refrigerator to escape a nuclear blast in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

The Dog, Einstein, Was Originally Supposed to Be a Chimp The original movie script called for Professor (later changed to Doc) Brown to have a pet chimpanzee called Shemp, not a dog named Einstein. The head of Universal, Sid Sheinberg, nixed the idea, saying that movies with chimps in them didn’t make any money. Although Clint Eastwood had made a hit movie that co-starred an orangutan, Sheinberg seemed to think that wasn’t the same thing as using a chimp, so they went with a dog.

Chuck Berry Played Hard To Get The script called for Marty McFly to pick up a guitar at the school dance and invent rock'n'roll by playing Johnny B Goode. But it was written without Berry's permission, and the rocker kept Zemeckis and Gale waiting until the day of filming to give them the go-ahead. The $50,000 check they agreed to write possibly helped.