Michael J. Fox has recommended that if a Back to the Future reboot concept takes off, the new version of his Marty McFly character should be female.
Michael J. Fox has proposed a twist for any later editions of Back to the Future‘s lead character Marty McFly. In the first Back to the Future movie, McFly is sent back in time from 1985 to 1955 by the zany scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), and he copes with the distortion of interfacing with his teenage parents while trapped in the past. Back to the Future springboarded Fox’s career, and the movie is remembered as one of the quintessential ’80s films.
Back to the Future was an instant hit in 1985, emerging as the highest-grossing film of the year and spawning two sequels. Calls for a Back to the Future reboot crescendoed in 2020 when Tom Holland mentioned the prospect of becoming the new face of the franchise, but a Back to the Future producer speaking on good authority has vowed that the franchise will never be rebooted. If ever rendered possible, the creative team that does pick up the Back to the Future concept would also have to decide what year to set the film in; a Back to the Future reboot based in present would see the new Marty in 1992.
In an interview with ET, Fox pitches a dynamic change to his famed character Marty McFly should Back to the Future score a reboot. “I actually had this thought that if they did the movie again, they should do it with a girl as Marty,” Fox says. Fox adds that because the franchise can connected with everyone, he feels “like it will come around again.”
How A Female Marty Would Change Back To The Future’s Story
One of the primary conflicts of Back to the Future is Marty coping with his mother Lorraine’s twisted attraction to him, as she believes him to be an out-of-towner, and the film light-heartedly plays with a version of the ancient tale of Oedipus. Flipping Marty’s gender would affect this dynamic, but the franchise’s tone is overall farcical enough that the premise isn’t viewed through an overly serious lens. If Marty were recast as female, the more salient, science fiction parts of Back to the Future could go largely unchanged.
However, a female Marty McFly does represent another bold iteration of re-imagining a character from a beloved franchise. The Ghostbusters franchise executed a soft reboot with a female cast led by Melissa McCarthy, but the movie struggled with critics and audiences, and was scrapped from canon. The Ghostbusters swing-and-miss should not be used to leverage against gender recasting in other series; Oceans 8, which also gender-swapped a male ensemble cast, grossed nearly $300 million, about on par with the male-dominated Oceans films. More importantly, a female-led Back to the Future would be incalculable in its benefits to viewers who feel represented on screen. The idea to re-imagine Marty as female coming from Fox himself gives the concept a bit of real momentum, as he portrayed the character in all three films and is inextricably linked to the franchise. Fox replaced actor Eric Stolz as Marty and powered the movie through a difficult production; his word is unlikely to be forgotten if a Back to the Future reboot ever reaches 88 miles per hour.