Well, this would have been different, in a bad way. Originally, the Back to the Future time machine was a refrigerator that had a laser attached to it. Not quite a sexy DeLorean, if I say so myself. The reason why the producers ditched the refrigerator time machine from Back to the Future was a sensible one.
Who would have thought that a refrigerator was part of the original time machine in Back to the Future? The refrigerator in Back to the Future had a relatively small part in the first draft, only appearing at the end of the film. The actual time machine was a laser that was housed in a building.
In the first draft of the movie, Marty was shot with the laser that sent him back to 1955. The only way for him to return to 1985 was to attach the laser to a refrigerator and take it to a nuclear test site in the Nevada desert, essentially nuking him back to 1985. The producers, Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg scrapped the idea of a refrigerator in Back to the Future because they didn’t want young children climbing inside them and getting trapped.
It wasn’t until the third draft that the DeLorean was used as the time machine. This solved several problems, especially the mobility of the initial time machine. Although they opted for the DeLorean, they persisted in using the nuclear test site as the means to return Marty to 1985. Due to costs associated with that idea the producers eventually decided to use the famous lightening scene.
Had they decided to use a laser and refrigerator as the time machine in Back to the Future there would be so many pointless memes today that would make no sense.
It’s ironic that Spielberg decided not to use a refrigerator in Back to the Future due to fears that young children would try to emulate the scene. Thirty years later he would revive the idea in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.