Michael Jackson played a small role in Back to the Future: Part II — and the world took time to remember the King of Pop for the October 21 celebration of the movie.
The New Yorker and other publications are wishing everyone a “Happy ‘Back to the Future’ Day” due to the October 21, 2015 calendar date being used in part two of the trilogy filmed in 1989. Included in these articles are references to Michael Jackson and his cameo in the film.
In Back to the Future: Part II, Michael Jackson is featured as a robot waiter in Cafe 80s when Marty McFly arrives in the future. In addition, Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” is used in the 1989 movie.
What did Michael Jackson think of his cameo? In the book Jackson, Michael the Many Faces by Lee Pinkerton, it is alleged that when Michael Jackson invited a group of 130 YMCA summer campers to Neverland Ranch in 1990, he proudly showed them Back to the Future: Part II in his private movie theater.
Of course, including Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in Back to the Future: Part II was a wise choice considering its subsequent popularity. Michael Jackson King of Pop by Jean-Pierre Hornbach states that “Beat It” was listed as one of the top three songs of all times in a Sony poll — and has been in BTTF2, Zoolander, and Undercover Brothers.
The BTTF2 holiday has been anticipated for a while with news agencies like the CBC naming it in January as one of the “top events to watch for in 2015.” Interestingly, the Back to the Future nostalgia has been in effect for over a year in preparation for the 30-year anniversary, but Michael Jackson is not necessarily included since he had a small cameo in the movie.
For example, around July 21, members of the former cast of Back to the Future got together, according to Blastr, but there was no mention of Michael Jackson. However, they likely did not include Michael Jackson in the presentation because he passed away in 2009 and they would need special permission to use his name and image, according to CNN.
For Back to the Future nostalgia fans that loved Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in the film, it was announced that there is an addition to the soundtracks. On October 21, 2014 (a year before the BTTF2 anniversary), Variety reported that the movie would be shown with a live orchestra in the background. The event was eventually performed by 21st Century Orchestra from the city of Lucerne in Switzerland in London in late May 2015.
Although there was no word about Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It” being part of the presentation, the original composer for the BTTF series, Alan Silvestri, is said to have been preparing an extra 15 minutes of music for the concert by 21st Century Orchestra.
In an article about Back to the Future: Part II predictions that came true is the use of holograms and 3D movies that include Michael Jackson’s image. For example, Hollywood Life writes on the following on January 1.
“Early in the film, Marty is exploring the world of 2015 and walks by a hologram movie theater! He gets freaked out by a holographic shark that looks like it is going to eat him. Films in 3D are everywhere these days, and we have witnessed both Tupac and Michael Jackson give crazy realistic holographic performances after their deaths.”
In May 2014, the world evaluated whether Michael Jackson as a hologram was cool or creepy at the Billboard Music Awards. Nevertheless, it is alleged that the Michael Jackson hologram almost did not happen.
About the Michael Jackson hologram, the Verge wrote on May 24, 2014 that the company used to create it, Digital Domain, “filed for bankruptcy in 2012” after creating the image of Tupac for Coachella 2012. They go on to state the following.
“The companies that purchased the studio’s assets had attempted to halt the performance of Michael Jackson’s hologram at [the 2014 Billboard Music Awards]. Hologram USA and Musion Das Hologram argued that the show violated their patents, but the show went ahead after a Las Vegas judge agreed that the technology was in the public domain.”
As for other nostalgia about Back to the Future: Part II, a few companies have released merchandise featured in the film, but none has been directly related to Michael Jackson so far.
For instance, the Ford Fiesta has a flux capacitor on sale only between October 21 and 26, according to Mashable. Nike is also reported by Wired to be making self-lacing shoes available.
Nevertheless, there is one piece of Michael Jackson-related merchandise from the BTTF2 movie. In the scene where Michael Jackson is included, Marty McFly orders a “Pepsi Perfect” at Cafe 80s.
Now, USA Today reports that there will be a limited edition of a replica of the Pepsi bottle used in Back to the Future: Part II. The replica is not a new version of Pepsi, and will be available for $20.15.
For fans looking to celebrate Michael Jackson’s legacy and role in the movie Back to the Future: Part II, his sister Latoya has a suggestion that can work at any time a memorial to his life is needed. On June 24, 2014, Latoya Jackson told People that the best way to honor her brother Michael Jackson is to “do something kind.”
[Picture by Junko Kimura/Getty Images]