We Asked 'Back to the Future' Writer Bob Gale to Predict 2045

Back to the Future Part II
Amblin Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Back to the Future writer and producer Bob Gale knows that you won't stop talking about Back to the Future in 2015, and he's glad.

"Both [director] Bob Zemeckis and I are totally jazzed that kids that saw that movie back in the day are now adults trying to invent hoverboards because they saw it in our movie," Gale told Newsweek this week. "Robert Goddard, the father of rocketry, he always said that he read [Jules Verne's] From the Earth to the Moon when he was a kid."

Gale, with help from a team of future-obsessed concept designers, got more right about the year 2015 than he expected when writing 1989's Back to the Future Part II. So we asked him to cast his gaze another 30 years into the future: What if there were a fourth Back to the Future movie, set in 2045? What would that year look like?

"First of all, we're not doing a sequel," Gale replied. "So let's take that part of it out of the equation."

Still, the famed screenwriter, who also collaborated with Zemeckis on lesser-known films like 1941 and Trespass, entertained the thought experiment. "It will be pretty normal to have people live to 100 years old 30 years from now," he said. "I think there will be a lot of medical advances that will make us better."

Aside from that, his predictions were not as sunny as those in Back to the Future Part II. "There's of course the big question of whether or not some religious fanatics will get their hands on a nuclear bomb and do some serious damage," he speculated. "That's certainly something I'm concerned about…. And undoubtedly, there will be something that happens in the next 30 years that will be one of those things that nobody saw coming. And yet when it happens, everybody will say, 'Oh yeah, how come nobody thought of that before?'"

Of the 1989 sequel, Gale added, "We did a lot of research. We didn't want it to look completely silly, at least not to audiences of the day. And a lot of the humor is making jokes about the present day. So I'd guess that in the year 2045, there'll be a Cafe 2015. People will have a big wave of nostalgia about this decade. All of our iPads and electronic devices—they'll be sitting in antique stores."

Newsweek asked what sort of gadgets people of 2045 will be using instead. "I have no idea," Gale conceded. "Maybe we'll have some kind of biometric thing, or just something that's so small that we're able to actually fold it up and really make it small."

Gale added that there are "some things brewing" for Back to the Future fans in 2015, but would not elaborate. Alas, none of those things include a Back to the Future Part IV. Maybe that'll arrive in 2045.