Flipping through the Back to the Future Official Book of the Complete Trilogy

Time Travel

Back to the Future turns 25 years old this week. It was released on July 3, 1985. This week on the Cavalcade of Awesome we are celebrating this anniversary with several Back to the Future related articles. On Monday I discussed the Back to the Future Official Souvenir Magazine. Today we are looking at the Back to the Future Official Book of the Complete Trilogy.

BTTF Trilogy Guide

The cover for the official book of the trilogy is above.  It was published in 1990 to coincide with the release of Back to the Future Part III (which celebrated its 20th anniversary this past May). As far as I know, Part II and Part III did not receive an official souvenir magazine like the original Back to the Future.  The closest we got would probably be the Back to the Future Fan Club newsletter which I discussed back in May.  So, with the release of the final movie in the trilogy, Universal compiled this “souvenir book” and had it cover all three Back to the Future movies.  The articles and pictures in this book are what you would normally find in a souvenir magazine, but here it’s on a nicer paper stock and bound in hardback.

The book is chock full of on-set pictures and details about the making of one of the greatest trilogies of all time.  The book has a lot of the photos from the Back to the Future souvenir magazine but it also includes lots of pictures from the other movies.  One of the cooler articles in the book is a two page spread on the Mattel Hoverboard (click the image to make it bigger and easier to read).

Mattel Hoverboard

This page is a great resource for one of the trilogies most memorable, and controversial, props.  The text describes how they filmed the famed hoverboard chase in downtown Hill Valley 2015.  The chase was filmed in at least five different ways and no two consecutive takes were done the same way.  Some takes were done with the actors suspended from wires with the board attached to their feet, other takes required the actor to stand on a board that was suspended from wires.  Still other takes required a crane rig with a steering wheel to be piloted by a crew member while the actors were suspended from a harness.  This last one was used to execute turns and spins while on the hoverboard.  It’s amazing the amount of work that went into this one sequence.  The page even makes a mention of the infamous Zemekis interview in which he stated that hoverboards were real and the only reason we didn’t have them was because parent groups were blocking their distribution.  This, of course, resulted in kids all over the world to lose their damn minds over the idea that parents were actually keeping something as awesome as a hoverboard from becoming a reality.  For years afterwards kids wondered, “Why?  Why, if my parents loved me, would they not want me to be happy.  Because clearly, I won’t be happy until I have a f’n HOVERBOARD!!!”  Zemekis eventually had to crush all the kids’ hopes and dreams of a happy life by telling them that he was, in fact, lying and hoverboards are not real. And neither is the Easter Bunny.  Or Santa.  Now get a job.

In the very middle of the book in a nice two page spread we get an official movie timeline for the entire trilogy.

BTTF movie timeline

You can click the image to make it bigger.  This timeline clearly delineates where the time machine traveled and in which movie.  There is even a legend enumerating the time travel events which are then labeled in the timeline diagram appropriately.  Very interesting.  I never really thought about the 1985 at the end of the original Back to the Future as actually being 1985-2 since it is noticeably different than the 1985-1 that started the movie.

Aha, finally!  Deleted scenes from the movies.  Well, from the first movie.  And it’s only two of them.  But that’s two more than we got in the souvenir magazine.  Here’s the two page spread discussing deleted scenes.

BTTF deleted scenes

You can click the image to see it bigger on Flickr.  In the center of this spread you can see a black and white image from a cut scene involving Lorraine (Lea Thompson) cheating on a test.  It happens when Marty and Doc are strolling through Hill Valley High talking about the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.  Marty catches his mom in the middle of cheating on a test (he’s looking through the window of the classroom).

You can also see in the lower right hand corner a black and white still of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly.  Famously, Steven Spielberg wanted Michael J Fox as Marty.  However, the producers of Family Ties wouldn’t let Fox take time off for filming because Meredith Baxter Birney was already taking time off to have a baby.  So Spielberg and Zemekis chose Stoltz as their Marty.  Several weeks of filming commenced and as soon as the producers watched the dailies, they knew Stoltz looked too old and was way too intense for the role of Marty McFly.  So they went back to the Family Ties producers and by this time Fox was allowed to leave as Birney had returned from her maternity leave.  However, Fox still had to work around his daytime Family Ties schedule so he was filming Family Ties all day and Back to the Future at night.  The footage of Stoltz as Marty has never been seen aside from still photographs like you see above.  One can only hope that this footage would be included on any ultimate collection DVD/Blu-Ray  released in the future. You can see more of this casting switch in the below video from a documentary on Back to the Future.  Unfortunately they gloss over Stoltz’s involvement and show no actual footage.

The next two page spread includes unused poster concepts by Drew Struzan for the original Back to the Future movie.

BTTF poster concepts

Once again, click the above image to see it bigger on Flickr.  These concepts are a fascinating look at what could have been. As iconic as the original movie poster was, I love looking at these concepts as they are so completely different than the final design.  My favorite may be the one on the far right.  The blues and reds are really cool.  I also like the next one to the left of that with the giant clock face.  Very interesting where the poster could have gone, but I still love the one they wound up using instead.

Another great reference for deleted scenes and behind the scenes info from Back to the Future is the 1990 documentary The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy hosted by Kirk Cameron.

Secrets of BTTF

For twelve years, the deleted scenes on this documentary were only available on this VHS. Universal finally released this documentary as a special feature on the 2002 release of Back to the Future Part III.  Despite that, it’s still a rarely seen treat for Back to the Future fans. This documentary contains a scene of 1955 Doc Brown going through the 1985 Doc Brown’s suitcase and finding a hair dryer and a Playboy.

So that’s my look at the Official Book for the Back to the Future trilogy.  I bought it many years ago but it can still be found fairly cheap, I believe on eBay.

Oh, before I go, here’s a look at the back cover of the book.

BTTF official gude back

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4 Responses to “Flipping through the Back to the Future Official Book of the Complete Trilogy”

  1. Wow! I feel like I’m having a Back to the Future geek-gasm here, haha. This book/guide sounds awesome and I never even new about all the struggle they had to go through to get Micheal J. Fox to be in the movie. Good thing it worked out, could have been such a different franchise otherwise.

    And what do you mean hoverboards aren’t real?! My second cousin’s uncle (once removed) knew a guy one time that made a hoverboard out of nothing but cardboard, charcoal and a fire extinguisher. Best damn hoverboard ever, I tell you what. 😉

  2. i love this vintage posts of yours! 🙂

  3. Mary Barickman Says:

    Great reading about this book. Now all I have to do is find one to purchase for my nephew!

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