Christopher Lloyd Almost Lost Back To The Future To Iconic ’80s Rocker

By Douglas Helm | Published

Everyone knows the story of how Eric Stolz was originally cast to play Marty McFly before he was replaced by Michael J Fox in Back to the Future. But a lesser-known bit of almost-casting happened with the other major character in the film, Doc Brown. While it’s hard to imagine anyone but Christopher Lloyd uttering the iconic “Great Scott!” there’s an alternate universe where Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh played the role instead.

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh Was Almost Doc Brown

Before Christopher Llyod was cast as Doc Brown, Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis approached Mothersbaugh and offered him the role. Mothersbaugh talked about the encounter during an interview with The Wrap, where he revealed he thought the duo would ask him to score Back to the Future. It’s an understandable mix-up, considering Mothersbaugh is best known for being part of a major rock band and not for his acting.

Mothersbaugh Turned Down The Role

christopher lloyd back to the future

Mothersbaugh revealed Zemeckis and Spielberg approached him after a Devo show to talk about something they wanted to work with him on, but when they had their eventual meeting, they revealed they wanted him to place the role of Doctor Emmett Brown in Back to the Future, which he decided to decline. He talked about the meeting in the interview with The Wrap, saying, “I go, ‘I don’t wanna act in a movie.’ And they go, ‘Well, you act on stage.”

Back To The Future Is A Nearly Perfect Movie

Funnily enough, what disappointed Mothersbaugh most about the interview was that they didn’t ask him to score the film. While Mothersbaugh would have undoubtedly done a great job, that role went to Alan Silvestri instead, who made one of the most iconic movie scores of all time. Of course, Christopher Lloyd would end up as Doc in Back to the Future, and the rest is history.

Mothersbaugh Found Work In Movies

chris hemsworth
Thor: Ragnarok

While Christopher Lloyd was busy playing Doc Brown in Back to the Future, Mothersbaugh would go on to continue his rock star career in Devo. However, he would also score plenty of films and shows later, as he scored Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise with his bandmate Gerard Casale. He would also go solo and score numerous films, including Mitchells vs the Machines, Thor: Ragnarok, and multiple films for Wes Anderson like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

An Alternate Timeline Has A Very Different Back To The Future

It’s interesting to think what could have been, but it’s safe to say that the version of Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd is better than the version with Eric Stoltz and Mark Mothersbaugh in the lead roles. The Back to the Future franchise would quickly become one of the most iconic sci-fi trilogies of all time, and Fox and Lloyd’s performances played a major part in that. Though it would be pretty cool if someone did a meta Back to the Future spin-off that stars Eric Stolz and Mark Mothersbaugh time traveling in a Delorean to take the roles from Fox and Lloyd and change cinema history as we know it.