Amid our collective celebration for yesterday's Back to the Future Day, most of us were too busy ogling Nike Mags and keeping up with Michael J. Fox to think about the changes that took place between movies.
Now that the streamers have come down and the DeLoreans have been parked, I've been thinking about the most glaring difference between Back to the Future and Back to the Future Part II: the swap of Marty McFly's girlfriend. In the original film, Jennifer Parker was played by the adorable Claudia Wells, and that little lip grab inspired more than a few childhood crushes.
Despite a lovable performance, Claudia was nowhere to be found in the sequel, and the role was filled by Elisabeth Shue. So, what gives?
Considering the casting woes of Crispin Glover (who didn't return after demanding a higher fee), it would be understandable if you thought some behind-the-scenes bargaining went awry. But, the truth is actually much more heartbreaking and proof that Claudia Wells is just as compassionate as her character.
Claudia wasn't fired—she chose family over fame
As director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriting pal Bob Gale got Back to the Future Part II off the ground, Claudia was initially expected to reprise her role. Though the actress was more than ready for a trip to the future, her real-life present was full of a debilitating amount of pain.
Her mother fell gravely ill, and the actress knew that she had to make a tough decision. She told The Huffington Post:
My mother had fourth stage lymphoma...I had so much happening personally that deep down, I never considered reprising my role and deep in my soul, I knew this was the right choice for me.
With her departure, Zemeckis and Gale were forced to recast the role and create a shot-for-shot recreation of the Back to the Future's closing scene, but no one has ever forgotten the original Jennifer.
After devoting so much time to her family, Claudia returned to Hollywood after 15 years away. She may not have been in the follow-ups to Marty McFly's adventures, but she did at least have the chance to lend her voice to the video game.
Outside of Hill Valley, it's amazingly inspiring to see someone in Hollywood put what really matters above personal success.
(Source: The Huffington Post)