As an aspiring screenwriter, I know that it takes multiple drafts of a script in order to get the movie you're envisioning just right. And a masterpiece like the 1985 sci-fi comedy, Back to the Future is no exception.
Earlier drafts of the movie had some very different scenes, though the plot remained generally the same. So, here are some of the differences between the original drafts of BTTF and the final version of the film.
Here we go!
The original opening scene had Marty receiving detention for listening to music on his Walkman during class instead of paying attention to a documentary on nuclear tests.
So, we don't get that awesome beginning scene of Marty skateboarding to school, as he is already in school.
Marty has an audition with his band for the YMCA dance (not the school dance). During the detention moderated by Mr. Strickland, Marty starts a fire in the classroom, giving everyone an excuse to leave.
He skateboards to the YMCA center, and his band, the Pinheads perform. The end result is the same as it was in the final film.
In this draft, Marty's girlfriend is named Suzy Parker instead of Jennifer Parker. She motivates Marty to send in the video of his audition the same way she does in the final film.
We get introduced to Doctor Emmett Brown later in the scene, who reminds Marty to meet him at Twin Pines Mall at 1:00 AM. Doc wears four watches around his arm and is said to have once been one of the world's greatest nuclear physicists.
Afterwards, Marty heads home, and he finds the car totaled. The scenes that follow are more or less the same as they were in the movie with Biff yelling at George, Marty scolding George, the dinner scene, and the time travel test.
In this draft, the license plate says "NO TIME", but in the final film, it's "OUTATIME". Also, Einstein travels from 1:02 to 1:03, whereas in the final film, he goes from 1:21 to 1:22.
Marty was originally supposed to go back to March 19, 1955. However, in the final film, he goes back to November 5, 1955. Also, the Flux-Capacitor was originally named the Temporal Field Capacitor, or the T.F.C. for short.
The incident with the Peabodys and Marty exploring Hill Valley in 1955 remains the same. A running gag in the original draft was Marty repeating the phrase, "This is not my day," and this continues when he realizes that it quite LITERALLY isn't his day.
The diner scene is generally the same. Biff and his cronies walk into Lou's Café and start bullying George. Biff turns to Marty and goes, "What are you lookin' at, dips**t?" In the final film, Biff says, "What are you lookin' at, butthead?"
Now, this is because actor Thomas F. Wilson improvised the usage of "butthead" while portraying the character.
Marty saving George from getting hit and finding himself eating dinner with Lorraine's family is all the same.
When Marty goes to Doc's house, he finds that Doc is throwing a party at his house. Marty knocks and Doc arrives at the door with two attractive women. Of course, this was changed drastically in the final draft.
As Marty tries to tell Doc he's from the future, Doc doesn't believe any of it, thinking Marty is a door-to-door salesman using the "future" thing as a sales pitch. Doc closes the door on Marty and goes back to his party.
Doc then goes up to a beautiful woman at the party and whispers something to her. She responds by smashing him in the head with a beer bottle, and this is when Doc has his revelation that leads to him coming up with the T.F.C.
The following scenes end up having the same idea as the original, with Marty showing Doc the tape of the time travel test, the idea to send the DeLorean to the future with lightning, and Dave vanishing from the photograph.
Marty and Doc go to Hill Valley High School, where they see Lorraine cheating on a test. This scene WAS actually filmed, but was cut as it didn't add to the plot.
The scenes after are generally the same. We have a longer scene of Marty pretending to be Darth Vader, and like the previous scene, it was filmed, but a lot of it was cut out.
Also, the infamous scene where Marty tricks Biff into crashing his car into a truck of manure was originally supposed to end differently. In the final film, Marty jumps over Biff's car, causing Biff to collide with the manure truck ahead.
In the original draft, Marty skates over a train track and reaches the other side as Biff is forced to hit the brakes, but his bumper gets run over by a train.
The rest is generally the same. Marty travels back in time, but instead of going to October 26, like he did in the original, he goes to October 5, which was originally the date of the time travel test.
And in 1985, Marty finds that the McFlys also have a maid named Bertha. Doc shows up in the DeLorean, and he gets Marty and Suzy into the car. He turns on the flying circuits, which are powered by Westinghouse Fusion Energizer, which eventually became Mr. Fusion.
The DeLorean flies off and vanishes to the future, just like it does in the final film.
Now, there were earlier drafts. I wrote this article based on the fourth draft of the film. Doc was originally gonna have a pet chimp named Shemp instead of a dog named Einstein, and a draft also had the final time travel sequence on a nuclear test site instead of the clock tower.
But anyways, that's all I have for you today. BTTF is such a good movie.