Posted on Friday, October 23rd, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
It’s two days after Back to the Future Day, and there was so much excitement that we’re still catching up on some of the cool stories and goodies that came out of the woodwork for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future as well as the iconic day in the future from Back to the Future Part II.
One such fun detail that came to the surface seems just as topical as the day in time itself as franchise writer Bob Gale revealed what many fans noticed upon revisiting Back to the Future Part II in our current political climate. The nightmarish alternate 1985 version of Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) was based on Donald Trump, long before he decided to run for President of the United States of America.
Even though there are even more parallels that can be drawn between Biff Tannen in alternate 1985 and Donald Trump in 2015, The Daily Beast has word straight from Bob Gale that Biff Tannen is Donald Trump because the mogul inspired the character while they were working on the film in the 80s.
The visual comparisons alone are worth pointing out, right down to the terrible hair and orange tint on his skin. But Biff also owns a casino and hotel, shakes up the Republican party and eventually becomes a powerful politician, all after obtaining seemingly endless riches, thanks to the Grey’s Sports Almanac from the future. We’ll let Gale answer the question more fully:
“We thought about it when we made the movie! Are you kidding? You watch Part II again and there’s a scene where Marty confronts Biff in his office and there’s a huge portrait of Biff on the wall behind Biff, and there’s one moment where Biff kind of stands up and he takes exactly the same pose as the portrait? Yeah. That’s what we were thinking about.”
The Daily Beast adds:
“Of course, in the movie, Biff uses the profits from his 27-story casino (the Trump Plaza Hotel, completed in 1984, is 37 floors, by the way) to help shake up the Republican Party, before eventually assuming political power himself, helping transform Hill Valley, California, into a lawless, dystopian wasteland, where hooliganism reigns, dissent is quashed, and wherein Biff encourages every citizen to call him ‘America’s greatest living folk hero.'”
However, no matter how anyone hates Trump opening his mouth in the political arena and getting any traction as a real presidential candidate, the comparison feels a little harsh. After all, while Trump may be arrogant and insulting about a lot of things, it would take a lot for him to turn the United States into a dystopian wasteland like alternate 1985 Hill Valley.
Since Trump is hosting Saturday Night Live in November, I hope the writers take advantage of this revelation from Bob Gale and do some kind of Back to the Future sketch with Trump as Biff Tannen. It’s a shame there’s no live show this weekend after all the Back to the Future Day festivities, but they can still make up for it. At the very least, there was a good Donald Trump dig in Jimmy Kimmel’s extensive Back to the Future Day bit from Wednesday night.
UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Tom Wilson, who has tried very hard to distance himself from Back to the Future and currently works as a touring stand-up comedian, had this to say on his Facebook page:
“My friends who care to listen, The internet meme that my characterization of Biff was based on Donald Trump is completely false, and ignorant. I’ve been a working actor for decades, and, though I realize I can’t fight the internet, I’m going to tell the truth.
If you read our initial story, you can see that this isn’t simply a meme that’s going around claiming links between 1985 Biff Tannen and Donald Trump, but actual word from screenwriter Bob Gale. However, just because the character was inspired by Biff, doesn’t mean that Wilson’s performance was informed by the real Trump, so that’s what he’s really trying to say.
From my perspective though, he’s being a little too grumpy and defensive about the situation for a guy who has done everything he can to distance himself from the franchise that made him a well-known actor, for better or worse. Personally, I think he’s trying too hard to avoid all the nostalgia that has surrounded Back to the Future, but I also can’t entirely imagine what it’s like to be in his position where he’s constantly recognized for this one particular role.Cool Posts From Around the Web: