Back to the Future: Christopher Lloyd Reflects on Eric Stoltz Being Replaced by Michael J. Fox

Back to the Future delivered Michael J. Fox what was arguably a career-defining role with Marty McFly, though it was an opportunity that almost never happened, as Eric Stoltz was originally hired for the role and even filmed for weeks before ultimately being replaced. This understandably came as a shock to everyone involved in the production, especially other members of the cast who had been developing an on-screen relationship with the performer, especially Doc Brown actor Christopher Lloyd. The actor recently looked back on the experience and how he wasn't only disappointed to lose the co-star, but also the challenges it personally presented him with.

"There was another actor and Michael came in after we shot for six weeks. They just decided that they needed somebody with a comic flair," Lloyd recently recalled to GQ. "And Stoltz is a wonderful actor, I had no idea that change was coming. One night, we were shooting the mall, beginning sequence. We were all asked to come to one of the trailers at one-o'-clock in the morning and [producer Steven] Spielberg was there and made the announcement of the change. My biggest fear was that, because I was really working to get Doc right, that was the start. I thought, 'I don't know if I could get it up to do that again.' I was worried about it, but it all worked out."

Those issues of not being able to effectively embrace the character were unwarranted, with Lloyd noting, "Michael [and I], we had a chemistry which lasted the whole time. We could come back after a break and just be there, we didn't have to work for it. So that was great."

Given the nature of any beloved property, some fans can't help but wonder if there would ever be a sequel in which Fox and Lloyd could return, but original writer Bob Gale previously expressed what made the original trilogy so special and why we shouldn't count on the concept being revived.

"The thing that people don't always understand about Back to the Future and what really makes it work, because people say, 'Oh, let's do a time travel series.' Well, okay, time travel series are really hard to pull off," Gale explained to back in 2020. "Back to the Future works because it's the story of this family, and time travel is an element of it, but you are totally with those characters. It's a terrific dramatization of a moment that every human being has in their life, which is the moment when we're kids and we suddenly realize, 'Oh, my God, my parents were once kids, too.' By the time you're five or six years old, you look at your parents and they're these God-like figures, and they don't age, as far as you can tell. They must have always been there, and then suddenly, by the time you're seven, eight, nine, you suddenly start putting it together, that, 'My parents were once kids.'"

He continued, "That is the power of Back to the Future. It's the human stuff. It's not the logistics of traveling through time because, frankly, you look at a time travel series, both things that they've done on television and things that they've done in comic books, and they fall into this trap of using time travel as a plot mechanism."

Stay tuned for details about Back to the Future.

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