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Why Back to the Future’s Refrigerator Time Machine Was Scrapped for the DeLorean

The DeLorean is one of the most iconic film vehicles, but Marty McFly and Doc Brown almost used something completely different in Back to the Future.

Many iconic images stemmed from the Back to the Future film franchise. From the brightly colored hoverboard to the classic DeLorean, fans can’t forget Marty McFly’s futuristic items. Almost anyone can recognize the DeLorean, even if they haven’t fully watched the Back to the Future films. In addition to its notoriety, the DeLorean was responsible for the numerous occasions of time travel that occurred throughout the film series, but it almost didn’t exist.

Despite its immense success, Back to the Future had its fair share of hardships. From over 40 script rejections and the replacement of two lead actors, many unplanned incidents occurred. Both Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis put their heads together to appropriately fulfill their intended vision of Back to the Future, especially for the time travel concept. Marty could have been transported to 1955 and avoided his mother’s romantic advances in a much different item than the DeLorean if Gale and Zemeckis had stuck to their original plan.

RELATED: The Real-Life Inspiration Behind Back to the Future’s Biff Tannen

The Back to the Future film series was full of product placements, like Calvin Klein underwear and Nike. The franchise almost featured an advertisement for Coca-Cola if everything had gone to the initial plan. According to The Sun and the 113 once-secret Back to the Future sketches, both Coca-Cola and nuclear power from a US Army atom bomb test site were required ingredients for the time-travel recipe. In contrast, lightning strikes powered up the DeLorean while traveling at high-speed.

Marty was originally supposed to sneak into the atom bomb test site — which looked a lot like the Nuketown map in Call of Duty. He then had to scour refrigerators to find another bottle of Coca-Cola after he clumsily dropped the first bottle. Marty had to figure out how to survive a nuclear explosion. Therefore, he hid himself inside a lead-lined fridge to withstand the impact. Zemeckis’ mentor was none other than Steven Spielberg — who decided to recycle Back to the Future‘s original ending for one of his films.

RELATED: How Back to the Future’s Uncle Joey Landed Himself in Prison

Fortunately, Spielberg was able to reuse the proposed plot point after it was deemed too expensive for Back to the Future. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, arguably the worst entry in the Indiana Jones film series, featured Indy’s survival of a nuclear blast in a lead-lined fridge. To verify its authenticity, Pretty in Pink actor Jon Cryer — who actually auditioned to play Marty — confirmed the outlandish idea in a Twitter thread.

In addition to the financial problem, the refrigerator idea posed a risk to young children. In the 1980s, fridges were equipped with a latch to help ensure food wouldn’t become stale quickly. However, several children died after being accidentally locked inside. According to Far Out Magazine, Spielberg was worried kids would attempt to time travel in a fridge, but the latches would lock them inside. The DeLorean struck by lightning at high-speed was arguably a more amusing concept than a fridge and a bottle of Coke anyway. The nuclear test could have also been poor timing, considering the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred at the height of Back to the Future‘s popularity.

Cassidy Stephenson is a reader, writer, and video game enthusiast. She now works as a Gaming Lists and TV/Movie Feature writer for Comic Book Resources. In her free time, she loves watching movies, listening to music, and pulling 5-stars on Genshin Impact. Follow her on Twitter for more shenanigans @Cassidy_Lee18 You can also contact her at

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