Why Back to the Future 4 will never happen, according to writer Bob Gale

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

With the sheer number of sequels, reboots, and revivals launching these days, you’d be forgiven for expecting most iconic franchises to get an extra instalment at some point. Back to the Future remains one of the most famous (and loved) sci-fi trilogies of all time, but the films’ co-writer Bob Gale has explained why there won’t ever be a fourth movie. 

On The Collider Podcast, he shared his reasoning: “We told a complete story with the trilogy. If we went back and made another one, we’d have Michael J. Fox, who will be sixty next year, and he has Parkinson’s Disease.” 

Gale went on to say that an older Marty McFly with Parkinson’s Disease probably isn’t something people would enjoy – and added that Back to the Future without Michael J. Fox is unthinkable. He also commented that an extra movie probably wouldn’t hold up against the original, drawing on the much-maligned The Phantom Menace as an example.

“And we’ve seen this repeatedly with sequels that go back to the well after many, many years, and they go ‘Ah, well, The Phantom Menace, maybe my life would have been better if I hadn’t seen it.’ There are a lot of extra sequels like that,” he said. 

“We didn’t want to be those guys who did a movie that was basically a money grab. Universal says to us, ‘You’d guys would make a whole lot of money,’ but we’re like, ‘Well, we’ve already made a whole lot of money with these movies, and we like them just the way they are. And as proud parents, we’re not going to sell our kids into prostitution.’”

Plus, as Gale explained, there’s an extra speed bump: “We have an understanding with [Steven] Spielberg and Amblin that there would never be another Back to the Future movie without our blessing or being involved. So it’s not going to happen.”

As much as some of us might want to see the DeLorean race into action again, Gale’s argument is pretty much rock-solid. Luckily, we’ll always have the Back to the Future trilogy to binge-watch – and you can enter our competition to win the 4K box set right here

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.