For years, people have been clamoring for and wondering about a potential fourth Back to the Future movie, whether it’s a sequel or a reboot of some kind. These desires have repeatedly been shot down by the people behind the original trilogy, despite the fact that they themselves aren’t entirely disinterested in the idea – so long as it isn’t a remake. You can’t remake a perfect movie.
The main issue with a potential continuation of the series, aside from not wanting to mess with a good thing, is the health of original star Michael J. Fox. The beloved actor has been waging a public battle with Parkinson’s for two decades now, and as his symptoms have increased, his appearances on television shows and in movies have grown more and more sporadic. After a tremendously successful career in TV (Family Ties, Spin City) and film (Back to the Future), Fox has largely disappeared from our screens – which is one of the reasons it was so delightful to see him and Doc Brown at a charity poker tournament earlier this year and recently he appeared in Lil Nas X’s new video.
Unfortunately, that cameo may be the last time we see Fox on screen.
In his latest book, “No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality,” Fox admits that his career is probably over. Diagnosed at the age of 29 and told he would be lucky to work for another 10 years, Fox carried on for three more decades, continuing to pile up plenty of success and accolades. But now, as his health continues to decline, he is entering “a second retirement.”
He writes: “There is a time for everything, and my time of putting in a twelve-hour workday, and memorizing seven pages of dialogue, is best behind me. At least for now … I enter a second retirement. That could change, because everything changes. But if this is the end of my acting career, so be it.”
That’s sad news for Fox’s legions of fans, who’ve followed him from his breakout role as teenage Republican Alex P. Keaton, through the classic Back to the Future trilogy, and into his adulthood, as he starred on Spin City and made a variety of guest appearances on shows like Spin City, the West Wing, and more.
It’s a shame that his disease may cut his career short, but his resume is the envy of many an actor, and he’s left us with plenty of material to revisit.