Back to the Future buffs like to imagine how the trilogy would have been different had Eric Stoltz not been fired as Marty McFly and replaced by Michael J. Fox (which also led to The Office’s Melora Hardin being let go as Jennifer Parker because she was deemed too tall to play opposite Fox). Well, one fan has gone a step further, creating a six issue digital comic about just such a scenario. In David Guy Levy’s Back to Back to the Future, BTTF co-writer Bob Gale and Hardin accidentally travel back in time, but once they are there decide to change history and make sure Stoltz is never replaced in the 1985 film.
The digital comic will be released in six installments, and you can get the first one exclusively right here right now for absolutely free. Just click on this link to download issue #1 of Back to Back to The Future. Levy also spoke with EW.com about the unique project.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you decide to want to do a comic book about Eric Stoltz not being replaced by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future?
DAVID GUY LEVY: I was reading an interview back in 2001 between BTTF.com’s Stephen Clark and the writer/producer of Back to the Future, Bob Gale. The interviewer asked about an actress, Melora Hardin, who had been cast as Marty’s girlfriend. However when Eric was replaced, she then was too tall for Michael, and was subsequently replaced as well. In this same interview, Mr. Gale went on to respond: “…I’ll tell you, it was the hardest thing I ever had to do, breaking the news to Melora, because she didn’t do anything to warrant being let go. She was in tears, of course, and I was sick about it for days. I haven’t spoken with her in about ten years, but now that I’m thinking about her, I just might have to do that.” All I could think after reading this statement was that here was the man who wrote the most popular films ever made about time travel, and he had this major regret. So I decided I wanted to tell the story where he gets to go back in time himself, through a parody of the films he helped create, and right this wrong.
EW: How do you think the movie would have been different had Stoltz stayed aboard?
LEVY: I think Michael J. Fox and Eric Stoltz are both talented actors, but both have very different personalities. I imagine throwing five weeks of work on the cutting room floor only happens when someone just isn’t working for the movie. It couldn’t have been an easy choice, but I’m sure it just came down to Eric’s portrayal of Marty McFly not being the personality that the filmmakers envisioned for their movie.
EW: Were you concerned with rights issues at all when you started the project?
LEVY: Sure. I didn’t want to start production on the comic without doing the proper diligence first. I consulted the best entertainment lawyers in town, became very familiar with Fair Use and Parody law, and even secured E&O insurance for the books in case we missed anything. Last thing I wanted was to spend 3 1/2 years working on the artwork just to find out I wasn’t going to be able to show it to people.
EW: Have you met Eric Stoltz at all or spoken with him or anyone else from Back to The Future about this project?
LEVY: I have never met Mr. Stoltz. I did see him eating at a restaurant in New York in the late ’90s with Tate Donavan. When I began writing this in 2001, I thought it would be amusing if I just pretended they were close, dear friends based on that interaction alone. I have no idea what their real relationship consists of. But I haven’t spoken with him or anyone else from Back to the Future about this project. I would feel too creepy approaching them and saying, “Look what I’ve spent the last decade working on. It’s all about you!”
Click here for your free download of issue #1 of ‘Back to Back to the Future’. For more information on future issues of the digital comic, check out the ‘Back to Back to the Future’ Facebook page.