In the DVD extras of Back to the Future Part II (1989), Robert Zemeckis had said that he really did not want the movie to take place in the future. That is because he felt that every time that a movie takes place in the future, it is mis-predicted.
Crispin Glover played George McFly in Back to the Future (1985), but was replaced by Jeffrey Weissman in Part II. Weissman was made up to look like Glover so that this film could incorporate excerpts from the original. All shots of Weissman are either from the back, at an angle, or with sunglasses so that the audience wouldn't notice that it is a different actor.
Crispin Glover sued the filmmakers, as he had not granted permission to use his likeness in Part II. Crispin's suit named John Doe 1-100 as defendants, where he did not have to name all of the individuals he was suing. Crispin ended up dropping the lawsuit after the case was settled out of court for $765,000 by Universal's insurance company, who decided it would be cheaper to pay Crispin than to actually go to trial. The Screen Actors Guild subsequently introduced new rules about illicit use of actors.
When "Hill Valley" was created for the original Back to the Future (1985) they built the town in the pristine 1955 condition and shot the middle of the movie, then damaged it for the 1985 town and shot the beginning and end of the movie. When they decided to shoot Back to the Future Part II (1989) they had to clean the set up and restore it to the same condition it was in 1955. It cost more to rebuild than it cost to build it from scratch.
When the unconscious Jennifer is taken home by the two officers in 2015, it looks as if great pains were taken to conceal the identity of the one officer (Reese). Her face is kept in the dark and her cap is even kept to where the bill is hiding her eyes. The actress portraying Officer Reese was in fact Mary Ellen Trainor who was Robert Zemeckis' wife at the time.
Bits and pieces were cut out of the dinner scene. When Marty Sr. says "I missed that whole thing", he's referring to a cut scene where Lorraine mentions that Uncle Joey was turned down for parole again.
The original theatrical and premium cable TV versions of the film end with the phrase "To Be Concluded" and a teaser for Back to the Future Part III (1990). Russ Meyer and Richard Lester are the only other filmmakers to have ended a movie with a trailer before this release. (Recent 2009 premium cable TV versions have dropped the teaser.)
During filming of the cut sequence where the McFly family gathers around the table in 2015, between takes they had an earthquake, and were afraid the props may have moved around too much to edit the scene seamlessly as Michael J. Fox had played 3 characters in the same shot. To the film crew's surprise however, everything was exactly where it was supposed to be for the sequence.
Mr. Strickland's office placard identifies him as "S.S. Strickland." While it has been speculated that it stands for "School Superintendent", a photo album included with the deluxe edition of Back to the Future: The Game lists his name as Stanford S. Strickland (born 1925).
Renowned scientist Carl Sagan considered this the greatest time travel movie ever made. He praised the accuracy in handling the multiple time lines as what would really happen if time travel were possible. In Back to the Future: The Game, Carl Sagan is the alias used by Doc Brown when visiting Hill Valley in 1931.
On September 8, 2011 the Parkinson's Research Foundation announced that 1,500 pairs of the futuristic Nike MAG shoes based on the sneakers worn by Michael J. Fox in this movie would be auctioned off on eBay. The first pair sold to rapper Tinie Tempah for the winning bid of $37,500.
In fall of 2011, Mattel gave the announcement of their official production of the hover-board, slated for a November/December release in 2012. The company started the promotion orders in March 2012 by taking pre-orders that were extended into April. All the pre-orders included a 1:6th scale of the Hoverboard. Next to the other futuristic items in the movie, it's the fourth official release of a prop from the movie.
Very few of the original costumes from the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance were actually used for production of the sequel. Lea Thompson was the only actress present wearing her dress from the original movie.
At a convention Q&A session, Christopher Lloyd recalled being one of the cast and crew invited to the film's Royal Premiere in London. Since Michael J. Fox couldn't attend, he was one of the first to greet members of the Royal Family, including the late Princess Diana, and was able to sit near her. Lloyd recalls that the loudest the Princess laughed during the film was the scene where Biff has a truckload of manure dumped on him.
A scene in which Marty meets his brother, Dave (played by Marc McClure), in the alternate 1985 was eventually cut because Wendie Jo Sperber (who played Linda, Marty's sister) could not reprise her role because at the time; she was pregnant.
In 2015, several cars from other sci-fi movies can be seen, including a Spinner from Blade Runner (1982) and the StarCar from The Last Starfighter (1984). Other cars seen are (highly) modified Ford Probes and Mustangs, as well as concept cars.
During negotiations, Crispin Glover's agents told producers that Crispin would only agree to appear in the sequels if he was given script approval and one million dollars. The producers asked Crispin's agents to come back with a more reasonable offer, or they would assume he was not interested in being in the film. Crispin refused to budge on his conditions, so Bob Gale rewrote the script to lessen George McFly's screen time.
Elisabeth Shue was cast as Jennifer, and all the closing shots of Back to the Future (1985) were re-shot for the beginning of this film. Claudia Wells (Jennifer in "Back to the Future") was unable to reprise her role as she had stopped acting because her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She returned to acting for the independent film Still Waters Burn (2008).
In the "1985A" scene where Marty watches a documentary on the life of Biff in front of the casino, there is a still photo of the part 3 villain, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. According to Bob Gale in the DVD Commentary, this was a still of and early make-up test for Mad Dog. The look was changed when Back to the Future Part III (1990) began production.
When Marty arrives in 2015, he looks in the window of an antique store, where we see the denim jacket that he wore in 1985, a Roger Rabbit doll and a Jaws (1987) Nintendo game. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) was also directed by Robert Zemeckis. There's also a JVC Super VHS camcorder of 1988.
The Jaws (1987) video game seen in the antique store window was made by LJN for the early releases on the Nintendo Entertainment System. LJN would go on to make video games based on this movie and Back to the Future Part III (1990). LJN also made the NES game based on Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). A doll of Roger also appears in that same window with the Jaws game.
In promotional material such as Back to the Future Part II Behind-the-Scenes Special Presentation (1989) director, Robert Zemeckis explained that "hoverboards float on magnetic energy". He also added, "they've been around for years, it's just that parent groups haven't let toy manufacturers make them. But we got our hands on some and put them in the movie." He was only joking, of course, but interestingly enough, Mattel (whose logo appeared on the hoverboard props) soon found themselves overwhelmed with callers asking where they could buy one. Although they looked pretty convincing in the movie, the hoverboards were simply wooden props attached to the actors feet. To make the boards fly, the actors were suspended by cables, which were then erased during post-production.
The Wild Gunman (1984) video game in Cafe 80's was specially made for the film. Wild Gunman was an actual light gun game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but was never a dedicated arcade cabinet. It was, however, included in many of Nintendo's Play Choice 10 machines, hence why a lightgun was on the cabinet. The sound effects heard in the movie are from the game, but, the on screen graphics are entirely new, drawn to resemble what appeared. Ironically, the actual game itself had far better animation.
On the fax that tells Marty he's fired, the address, "11249 Business Center Road, Hill Valley, CA 95420-4345," is obviously fictional, but in reality the ZIP code belongs to the city of Caspar, about 500 miles north of Los Angeles on the coast of California.
The football scores Biff hears on the radio while driving are all actual scores from November 12, 1955, and the UCLA/Washington game he and old Biff listen to did indeed end with UCLA kicker Jim Decker hitting a last second field goal to win.
Despite the rumor that circulated in 1997, shortly after the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians for the World Series, the movie does not "spookily" predict the result. No mention is made of "Florida" winning the World Series at all, and the only mention of a Florida-based team is in a news broadcast which announces that the Chicago Cubs beat Miami in the 2015 World Series (a joke at the Cubs' expense - they hadn't won the World Series since 1908). This rumor re-surfaced in 2003, when the Cubs and the Red Sox (both "cursed" teams) were in the playoffs. The rumor in Boston was that the movie said the Sox would win, and the rumor in Chicago was that the movie predicted the Cubs would win. The latter rumor was correct, but the former team went on to win the following year, in 2004. Also worth mentioning is that the Florida Marlins will soon change their team name to the Miami Marlins around 2011 (as part of an agreement to having their own ballpark built in Miami), so technically a Miami-based team would exist by 2015; another spookily-correct prediction. But because the Marlins are in the same League as the Chicago Cubs, they will not face each other in the World Series.
Doc mentions that he left Einstein in a suspended animation kennel in 2015. This line was written in to explain why Einstein was not with Doc when he came back to 1985 to pick up Marty and Jennifer, since in Back to the Future (1985), Einstein had gone with Doc into the future, but was not there when Doc came back at the end of the film/beginning of Back to the Future Part II (1989).
Doc mentions to Marty that he visited a rejuvenation clinic in the future to make him appear younger. This was written so that Christopher Lloyd would not have to constantly wear old-age makeup for the two sequels, since he would primarily be portraying the 1985 incarnation of Doc.
Originally only one sequel was planned. The script for this sequel, known as "Paradox" included all the elements of both Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1990), but compressed to fit into one movie. However, it was revealed with the release of the DVD set that there was an even earlier script which involved Marty meeting up with his parents while they're college students in the sixties. (This was probably dropped because no matter how you cut it, George and Lorraine wouldn't have been in college during the "Protest Era", they were too old.)
We learn several bits of information about Needles during his phone call with Marty. In the order they appear on the screen, they are: -Needles, Douglas J. -Occupation: Sys Operations -Age: 47 -Birthday: August 6, 1968 -Address: 88 Oriole Rd, A6t -Wife: Lauren Anne -Children: Roberta, 23 Amy, 20 -Food Prefence: Steak, Mex -Food Dislike: Fish, Tuna -Drinks: Scotch, Beer -Hobbies: Avid Basketball Fan -Sports: Jogging, Slamball, Tennis -Politics: None
Also present in the 2015 antique shop, front and center, is the video game Burgertime for NES. Burgertime which was an arcade game ported to several home video game platforms also including Mattel Intellivision and Atari 2600.
Although Marty McFly comments that his son "looks just like him", there is one notable difference between the two (aside from a faulty jacket sleeve and a white T-shirt): Marty McFly Jr has brown eyes, whereas his father doesn't (this can be seen most clearly in the scene with Griff in Cafe 80s).
Back to the Future Part II (1989) was the most advanced film of its time for using "every trick in the book" according to Robert Zemeckis. It was in the late 1980s when the concept of CGI was starting, however in the film, very few CGI effects were actually needed.
The biggest effect of the picture is the vista glide. There are three scenes that use the effect of the same actor interacting with themselves. The three scenes that were shot was the dinner sequence in 2015, 1955 Biff talking to 2015 Biff in the garage and 1955 Doc talking with 1985 Doc. In order to create the dinner sequence with the vista glide, the camera had to be divided into thirds and Michael had to come in three different times to play his older self, Marty Jr. and his daughter Marlene. Back to the Future Part II (1989) is the first film to accomplish interaction between the same actor on the screen twice as two different characters. If you watch closely, you'll see that old Biff's hand disappears during the scene in the garage.
Doc tells Marty, "Just say 'no'" to Griff Tannen, when they first arrive in 2015. That phrase was the popular Reagan Administration slogan for peer pressure among youth in the 80s. Not only was Ronald Reagan spoofed in this film, but Fox's Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties (1982) was a supporter of the president.
The "Cafe 80's" restaurant in 2015 is a conglomeration of the storefront's two previous incarnations in Back to the Future (1985). In 1955, it was the home of "Lou's Cafe" and in 1985, it was an health/workout club. While the "Cafe 80's" is primarily a restaurant, there are people seen working out on the exercise bikes (seen when Griff tells the riders "Keep pedaling, you two").
Casey Siemaszko, who plays one of Biff's cronies, is named 3D because he wears 3D glasses. In 1955 he wears the paper kind you would be issued at a 50's style 3D movie, but for his scenes in 1985 a pair of real sunglasses with red and blue frames were made to better suit the era. By 2015, Griff's goons wear holographic-type shades.
The hoverboard sequences required many different special effects and camera tricks. In the shots where Michael J. Fox was on a harness, the soles of his shoes had to be drilled in to the hoverboard. This meant that he had to be carried around in between takes of these scenes.
Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have admitted on the DVD commentary that they were originally not interested in doing a sequel to their success hit Back to the Future (1985), and that the open ending of the first movie was simply meant as a final joke. However, when plans for a sequel were made by the studio, they chose to remain involved in the continuation of their creation, and even extended it to two sequels. Zemeckis has claimed that if he knew that he was going to make a sequel, he would have made sure that Marty's girlfriend Jennifer wasn't in the car at the end of the first film; since the movie would concentrate on Marty, there was not much for her to do and she would even get in his way. This is why Jennifer is knocked out by Doc and left behind so early in the movie.
The T-shirt that Doc wears during most of the film that has the train and horse design was manufactured as part of the attire for the attendants when "Back to the Future (1985): The Ride" was running at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando. Since the ride is no longer at these attractions, the shirts have been widely distributed and costs on the average go well beyond US$200 on eBay.
During production a 1:15 sized Delorean was used for several blue screen shots at a distance. In 2008, models of the Delorean in this size were released to the public. New features included several sound bites from the films.
As the flying Delorean gets off on the Hill Valley "exit" of the Skyway, a floating sign can be seen in the background, which reads "HYPERLANE - GRID 4, RN (Rain), 20% VIS (Visibility), PHOENIX : BOSTON : LONDON, LOCAL TRAFFIC HILL VALLEY EXIT NEXT RIGHT".
At the school dance, Biff is shown 'spiking' the punch with alcohol. In Back to the Future (1985) George is shown drinking the punch before confronting Biff in the parking lot. It may be that George's uncharacteristic courage in the original scene is attributable to drinking Biff's spiked punch.
In the entire Back To The Future trilogy, the "present" date is October 26, 1985 (2015 is the future, 1885 and 1955 are the past). Exactly 25 years later on October 26, 2010 the entire Back To The Future trilogy was released on Blu-ray in a 25th Anniversary Edition.
The futuristic looking cab that takes "old Biff" to the DeLorean, while it is parked near Marty and Jennifer's 2015 home, is a Citroen DS. This car went into production in October 1955, so it could, conceivably, have appeared in the original Back to the Future (1985). The same car appears as a wreck in the "alternative" 1985.
Lea Thompson (Lorraine McFly) and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff Tannen) are the only actors who play their exact same characters young and old in four different time periods: 1955, 1985, 1985-Alternate, and 2015. Both Thompson and Wilson also appear in 1885 in Back to the Future Part III (1990), Thompson as the wife of Hill Valley's first McFly and Wilson as his Mad Dog Tannen, his 20th century characters ancestor.
Terry the tow truck driver from 1955 also plays the older version of his character, who wishes he had bet on the Cubbies. Fleischer also provides the off-screen voice of Biff's grandmother.
The two police officers are named Reese and Foley, which are the names that director Zemeckis and screenwriter Bob Gale use for any police or government agents in the films they have written.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
When the producers knew they were going to make a sequel they tried to get as much of the original cast back together. The only actor who did not agree straight away was Crispin Glover, who requested a salary that was seen as extortionate considering his acting experience and the role he was playing. Bob Gale (who was in charge of casting) asked his agent to call him in 2 weeks with a reasonable offer or he would assume Crispin was not interested. Crispin's agent called Bob Gale back and said Crispin would not budge in salary negotiations and so the character of George McFly was written out (murdered in the alternate future).
In the original script, Pa Peabody was to have been evaluated at a mental institution for claiming to have seen a spacecraft (the DeLorean in the first film). As soon as he is released, he sees a flying DeLorean and fires his shotgun at it, damaging the time circuits. This is the reason the destination time display flickers over to read 01.01.1885. On the Region 1 DVD commentary, Bob Gale mentions the scene was dropped when Will Hare was not available to return for the sequel.
In 2015, when Doc and Marty look at the USA Today newspaper and see the headline change, the following headlines and blurbs are: Across the top: 1. Slamball Playoffs Begin (Slamball would become a televised sport in 2002) 2. Cubs Sweep Series In 5 (a World Series sweep would be in 4 wins thus implying the playoffs have been expanded in the future) 3. Marshall Runs 3min. Mile 4. Washington Prepares For Queen Diana's Visit (the film was released 8 years before Princess Diana's death) On The Side: 1. Thumb Bandits Strike (Reference to an unused concept of Bob Gale's that no one would use paper money but would have their thumbprint to pay for things. Thus leading to crimes of thieves cutting off people's thumbs) 2. Man Killed By Falling Litter 3. Tokyo Stocks Are Up 4. Swiss Terrorist Threat 5. Shredding For Charity 6. President Says She's Tired 7. Queen Diana... (Repeated Headline) 8. Kelp Prices Increase 9. Pitcher Suspended For Bionic Arm Use 10. Slamball Playoffs (Repeated Headline) 11. Jaws (1975) Without Bite (Movie review of the "Jaws 19" gag in the film) Main Headline of Griff and His Gang's arrest: "Gang Jailed" "Hoverboard Rampage Destroys Courthouse" "Gang Leader: I Was Framed" Caption below Griff's picture: Gang Leader Had Bionic Overload.
One scene from Back to the Future Part III (1990) was filmed during the shooting of Part 2. After filming the scene where Doc and Marty return from the future to "1985A" and drop Jennifer off on her front porch swing, the cast and crew waited for daylight and film the Part III scene where she is awakened.
When Doc sees the future newspaper headline change to tell him that he was "commended" instead of "committed", a headline at the bottom of the page changes from "Nixon seeks fifth term" to "Reagan seeks second term". (Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan).
In the alternate timeline, George McFly is murdered on March 15th - the ides of March. This date was made infamous by the assassination of respected Roman leader Gaio Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) in 44 BC.
In this movie a disguised "1985 Doc Brown" holds a conversation with his 1955 counterpart. 1985 Doc is wearing a brown trench coat and hat. If you look carefully in Back to the Future (1985), you can see a man dressed exactly like this (and therefore, presumably Doc) walking away shortly before the clock-tower scene. In the DVD commentary it is explained that this was not intentional, as the script for Back to the Future Part II (1989) hadn't even been written at the time that they filmed the first one.
Several elaborate sequences were deleted through various revisions of the script, including: -During the 2015 hoverboard chase, Marty grabs on to a flying car that actually pulls him into the sky to a very high altitude. When Marty loses his grip, he is rescued by Doc in a flying van. -Marty and Doc, after learning when Biff received the almanac, have to escape in the DeLorean during a police shootout. When the car's flying circuits are damaged by gunfire, Doc plunges the time machine straight toward the ground in order to reach 88mph. -While Marty and Doc try to recover the almanac, the fusion generator (and in later revisions, the time circuits) is damaged by Farmer Peabody - a character Marty encountered in the first film - who still thinks the DeLorean is a space ship. -With Mr. Fusion and the flight circuits heavily damaged, Marty and Doc fly the DeLorean into an array of power lines over the Grand Canyon to generate enough power to return to 1985.
Biff Tannen's rise to fortune occurred in 1958, not in 1955. It is mentioned during the Biff Museum's video presentation. Also, Biff would have been 17 going on 18 years old in 1955. Too young to legally gamble, he had to wait until 1958 (when he was 21 years old) to get into the race track to place any bets.
One initial idea for the sequel had the first two acts the same, but the third act had Biff giving his younger self the almanac in the 1960s, not in 1955. When Marty went back to stop him, he ran into his parents again (who were now hippies) and almost stopped his own conception. Robert Zemeckis decided that it was too similar an idea to the first film, and George and Lorraine would have been too old to be hippies. He came up with the idea of revisiting the original Back to the Future (1985) from different angles with the two Martys in 1955.
The principal actors committed to the sequels before any scripts were written. Crispin Glover did not return and writer Bob Gale came up with the idea to have George be murdered as a way of writing Crispin Glover out of the script.
According to the revised $6 USA Today newspaper article (which formerly featured Marty McFly Jr. arrested for theft and now featured Griff Tannen's gang arrested for destruction of the Hill Valley courthouse's window), the real names of Griff's 2015 gang - Data, Spike and Whitey - are Rafe Unger, Leslie O'Malley, and Chester Nogura, respectively.
After Biff gets his cane stuck in the DeLorean after return to 2015, he starts to thrash around in pain, apparently having a hard time from the exertion. However, Robert Zemeckis has stated that Biff was experiencing the same thing that Marty did at the dance in the first movie: fading out of history. The idea was that, by going back in time to give the sports almanac to his younger self, Biff had somehow altered his own future so that he no longer existed in the year 2015. According to script drafts, Biff's wife (Marty's mother) had shot and killed the abusive Biff in 1996. A deleted scene in the DVD extras makes this much clearer as we actually see Biff vanish.
When the DeLorean is struck by lightning at the end, it travels back to January 1, 1885 at 12:00am (as shown by the malfunctioning time circuits before the jump). At the beginning of the movie, they travel to October 21, 2015 at 4:29pm. This means that the total time the DeLorean has passed through during the entire series, counting all the on-screen jumps, is 130 years, 9 months, 20 days, 16 hours, and 29 minutes. This, however, doesn't include the off-screen jumps Doc Brown made before he returned to 1985 to pick up Marty and Jennifer (he does mention those jumps to Marty and even shows him a newspaper from a slightly more distant future).
The ending of Doc's departure to 1885 via weather and his ensuing telegram to Marty is foreshadowed. During the beginning, Doc commented how he wished postal delivery was as reliable as the meteorological service.
More time periods are visited in Back to the Future Part II (1989) than in any other Back to the Future movie: The good 1985, 2015, 1985-Alternate, 1955, and 1885. Although the last one was not visited until Back to the Future Part III (1990), the trailer for Part III is shown just before the closing credits, so in a way, it could be considered part of this movie as well. The only time period that isn't represented in the movie in any shape or form is the "original" 1985 that Back to the Future (1985) starts in.
Doc expresses his regret that he will never be able to visit his favorite historical era, the Old West, and suggests that instead he should devote himself to studying women. He gets to do both in Back to the Future Part III (1990).
The film depicts an alternate, dystopian 1985 where President Richard Nixon has been elected to a fifth term. This was also a plot point in the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel Watchmen (1986-7). Both Alan Moore and BTTF series writer Bob Gale have written for Batman comic books.