×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Crispin Glover didn't return for Back to the Future II

Back to the Future is an iconic series that refuses to give up its place in the annals of pop culture, even 35 years removed from its theatrical debut. The trilogy as a whole is among the most revered in history, despite its imperfections and some of the long-standing drama surrounding it. One of its most well-documented behind the scenes conflicts arose between the minds behind the film and star Crispin Glover during preparation for Back to the Future II, eventually spiraling completely out of control. 

Glover played lovable goofball-turned-rich author George McFly, father of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in the first Back to the Future, but he didn't come back for the sequel. Yes, George does appear in the movie, and it does appear to be Glover's face, but he never actually signed on for the project. Instead, director Robert Zemeckis used archival footage from the first Back to the Future and put actor Jeffrey Weissman under heavy prosthetics for any extra scenes. This led to a lengthy courtroom battle between the two parties, piling onto the already serious animosity between them.

The obvious question to ask here is, why didn't Glover just come back for Back to the Future II so Zemeckis wouldn't have to use his likeness illegally? Well, there's a long history there that made doing business a tricky venture down the line. Here's the real reason why Crispin Glover didn't appear in Back to the Future II of his own accord, as told by the man himself.

Crispin Glover disagreed with the ending of Back to the Future

In the first movie, after going back to 1955, teaching his dad to stand up for himself, and setting up his parents to date, Marty McFly returns to his own time, 1985, to find his whole life is forever changed. His father became confident and successful, his mother Lorainne (Lea Thompson) once again found happiness in her marriage, and Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) became a lowly valet, marking a happy ending for the McFly family. Crispin Glover, however, felt that the conclusion didn't suit the movie as a whole.

The ending of the first Back to the Future was a big point of contention between Glover and Zemeckis, as the actor explained on The Opie and Anthony Show back in 2013. "I thought it was not a good idea for our characters to have a monetary reward, because it basically makes the moral of the movie that money equals happiness," Glover said, going on to insist that, "Love should be the reward." This pushback, combined with constant questioning of the morality of the story, frustrated Zemeckis and dampened his relationship with Glover.

Crispin Glover's offered paycheck didn't measure up to his workload

Creative differences between Glover and Zemeckis weren't what ultimately led to the former's departure from Back to the Future II, but they didn't do the actor any favors. The true straw that broke the camels back was a monetary issue behind the scenes, and while screenwriter and producer Bob Gale's claim that the actor wanted as much as Michael J. Fox was, as Glover puts it, "total fabrication," he still wasn't enticed by the offer he received.

In the same interview, Glover admits that "I wanted to be in the movie, but the offer was less than half of what Lea Thompson and Tom Wilson — who had similar-sized roles — it just wasn't fair." There wasn't a serious effort made to keep him on the project with a better offer, so he and Zemeckis parted ways. Back to the Future II went on to be yet another critical and box office success, but the controversy surrounding the partial recast of George McFly and the departure of Crispin Glover will always stain the cinematic classic.