Back in Time:
The Unauthorized Back to the Future Chronology
To be published in 2013
Great Scott, the space-time continuum can be a tricky place to navigate! But fear not, time-travelers, for your troubles are over. The next time you hop into your DeLorean, bring along Back in Time: The Unauthorized Chronology to guide you through every galaxy-shattering paradox, as we explore the timeline of Back to the Future—including the movies, cartoons, novels, comics and games. Bring some spare plutonium or a few empty cans for the Mr. Fusion, and prepare to blast to the past!
Stay tuned for updates about this project, co-written by Greg Mitchell and Back to the Future Lexicon author Rich Handley, which is currently in production. In the meantime, Mitchell answers four brief questions about his work, and about his love for the Back to the Future mythos:
HASSLEIN BOOKS: How long have you been a fan of the Back to the Future franchise?
GREG MITCHELL: I'd have to say the first time I saw it was in 1989. I was ten years old, and I remember Leslie Nielson introducing it on television. I think afterwards, there was a behind-the-scenes special about Back to the Future II, and they were talking about the hoverboards. I think it was Robert Zemeckis who made the joke that hoverboards were real, and they got the chance to use an actual working model in the movie. Of course, being 10 years old, I totally believed him and went to a great deal of effort to convince everyone I knew that, no, the hoverboards were real! Sigh… I'm still a little miffed that that never came to pass.
HASSLEIN: What inspired your fascination with that universe, and why?
MITCHELL: After that initial television viewing, I watched Part II on VHS—and had my young mind absolutely blown by the Western Union scene at the end—and then saw Part III on opening night in the theater. A few years later, in high school, I really got on a time-travel kick. It was 1996, and I hated every second of it at the time. I wanted to go back to the '80s of my childhood. I remember dusting off a friend's VHS copy of Back to the Future and watching it again for the first time in six or seven years, and I was transported back the short distance to that night when I was 10 and wanted to ride a hoverboard. There's such a feeling of wonder to those movies that I was lacking in my disillusioned, brooding 17-year-old life, and my love for BTTF was really cemented from that moment on. As I grew older, the "gee whiz" factor has remained in that trilogy. I just feel good watching them. There's a magic to them—from the way they're lighted to the style of acting, the camera angles, the scripts, everything. It's just not built like most movies. Very few films allow the audience to be a kid—without shame—and BTTF does that, as far as I'm concerned.
HASSLEIN: How would you sum up the project to tantalize future readers?
MITCHELL: The Timeline, to me, is really a celebration of the entire franchise. We've gone to great lengths to uncover as many obscure sources as we could. I considered myself a BTTF expert before, but there were still things that surprised me, which was exciting. But, I know that the BTTF fanbase is very knowledgeable and passionate about this series, so the project, to me, is not so much about "enlightening" the fans, but to come together and reminisce about all the adventures of Doc and Marty. From the movies to the cartoons to the new video game, this is like a scrapbook of nearly 30 years of memories. I want people to pore over the pages and say with excitement, "Hey! I remember that!"
HASSLEIN: What most excites you about working on this book?
MITCHELL: It's been really exciting going back through the old material. Some of it is stuff that I haven't seen in years. Things like the animated series and the old Harvey comics. In the case of the comics, I'd only ever read the first issue, so it was a real treat to finally be able to read the whole series. And the animated series was a real hoot. It's goofy as all get out, but I was instantly transported to Saturday mornings in my childhood, and it felt great watching those old cartoons again and introducing my young daughters to them. Beyond that, I've been really blessed to work with the Hasslein team. They've been very helpful and kind, and building those friendships has been, perhaps, the most rewarding thing about the process. Everybody is very dedicated to bringing the best possible product for the fans, and I hope the fans enjoy the end results!
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