NEW YORK — Where they're going, they won't need roads: a new documentary spotlighted at New York Comic-Con examines the making of the "Back to the Future" trilogy and its 30-year impact on pop culture and society.
Yesterday morning (Oct. 8) at New York Comic Con, 300 fans filed into a panel room at the Javits convention center to get sent back… to 2013, when director Jason Aron first turned to the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to produce a documentary about the beloved time-travel movie trilogy. Fellow filmmakers Louis Krubich and Lee Leshen joined him onstage, where they reminisced about the process and showed clips from the upcoming film that's poised to release right around Oct. 21, 2015 — the time protagonist Marty McFly visits in the second "Back to the Future" movie.
Aron first got the idea for the documentary, he said, when he was making a short film that involved a DeLorean, the iconic car that becomes a time machine in the trilogy. Even though the DeLorean he filmed wasn't decorated to look like the in-movie version, he still found people approaching to take pictures and marvel at the car. Aron became stuck on the idea of the movies' pop-cultural relevance, even after almost 30 years — and the idea for the documentary "Back in Time" was born. [10 Space Movies to Watch in 2015]
To fully document the movies' impact, "Back in Time" talks with its director, creative team — including Steven Spielberg — and many of its stars, including Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), as well as others involved with the movie or affected by it and the super-fans who are driven to buy up DeLoreans or celebrate the movie 50s-style. Plus, the filmmakers get to ride a Hendo hoverboard. (A surprisingly intense workout, Lee said.)
The team also announced a traveling tour for the documentary, which will play for New York City Nov. 22 and 23 accompanied by the movie-inspired band the Flux Capacitors and a creator Q&A.
The trio has hosted its share of panels over the two years of production (and two Kickstarter campaigns — the second, for post-production, raised three times as much as the first), so after a standard question-and-answer session they mixed it up by challenging a fan to chug 26-year-old "Pepsi Perfect" left over from the 2015 depicted in 1989's "Back to the Future Part II." (Spoiler alert: he said it tasted "a little flat." Spoiler alert 2: it wasn't actually the ancient Pepsi.)
Then they invited fans to mob the stage for a replica "Pepsi Perfect" — before revealing that in fact the entire audience would each get their own. Great Scott!
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Sarah Lewin started writing for Space.com in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.