Jon Cryer - Alternate Back to the Future Ending

This week, we learned about a new 35th anniversary box set of Back to the Future that will bring the time traveling trilogy home in 4K for the first time. For those who may feel no immediate urge to purchase yet another edition of the Back to the Future trilogy, this new box set comes with some exciting never-before-seen footage of auditions for the film’s cast. Perhaps most notably, Jon Cryer and Ben Stiller auditioned for Marty McFly, and while the latter would just as soon forget how that audition went, the former recalls a very different script being used at the time.

Jon Cryer and Ben Stiller both addressed their auditions for Back to the Future on Twitter:

While Stiller was brief in his recollection of auditioning to play Marty McFly, Cryer went on to to discuss some of the differences in the script that he read at the time. This includes an alternate Back to the Future ending before the DeLorean time machine was even part of the story. It’s something we’ve heard about before, but Cryer shines some new light on it from his perspective.

In a thread that followed from the tweet above, Cryer said that the original opening scene of the movie had Marty playing the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind on his guitar as he’s pirating a copy of the movie on VHS. Tsk-tsk, Marty. You wouldn’t steal a car? Why would you steal a movie?

Cryer also recalled that the time machine at the time was not yet a DeLorean. This is something that hardcore Back to the Future fans know, but it’s not exactly common knowledge. So if this isn’t new to you, just carry on with your day.

In the original climax, the only way Marty can get back to his own time period is by harnessing the power of nuclear fission to activate what was then apparently just a generic time machine. But there was also another ingredient needed to make it work: Coca-Cola. We can only assume this was in the wake of product placement from E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial doing wonders for Reese’s Pieces.

Anyway, in order to do harness the power of nuclear fission, he sneaks the time machine onto an atom bomb test site so the explosion will activate the machine along with the Coca-Cola he has at his disposal. The test site is full of suburban houses and mannequins used to simulate a neighborhood, so scientists could study the effects a nuclear explosion would have on the general population. Some of you probably already know where this is going.

With the time machine ready to go, and the bomb counting down to detonation, Marty reaches for the Coca-Cola to prepare to activate the machine. But he drops the bottle, spilling the Coke all over the place. He makes a mad dash to the surrounding houses, hoping that Coca-Cola is part of the mock housing development’s set dressing

Upon finding a Coke in a refrigerator, he’s finally good-to-go, pouring it in the time machine, and ready to go back in time. But that’s when he realizes that he needs to be able to survive a nuclear explosion in order to actually travel back in time. That’s when he climbs in the lead-lined refrigerator where he found the Coke and gets shot back to the future.

That’s right, the sequence used to open Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was once intended for use in the climax of Back to the Future. How’s that for a slice of movie trivia?

We can’t wait to see what other hints of the old Back to the Future script might lie in these unseen auditions from decades ago.

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