When Bob Gale Revealed Biff Tannen’s Character in ‘Back to the Future’ was Based on Donald Trump
Back to the Future fans have long speculated about who was the inspiration behind the antagonist Biff Tannen. So when screenwriter Bob Gale put those theories to rest by revealing that Biff’s character was indeed based on none other than former President Donald Trump, fans were happier than ever. The revelation came as a part of the Back to the Future part II celebrations, commemorating the date October 21, 2015, to which Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled. In an interview back then, Gale spoke about the queer resemblance between Biff and Trump, confirming that the billionaire was on their minds while creating the character.
“We thought about it when we made the movie! Are you kidding?” Gale exclaimed when asked about the connection. He pointed out a scene in the second film where Marty confronts Biff in his office, and there is a gigantic portrait of Biff on the wall. He asserted, “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.”
As per Variety, in Back to the Future Part II, Biff Tannen grows into a successful businessman who opens a 27-story casino and, in an unusually predictive twist, utilizes his wealth to influence US politics. The film depicts a dystopian version of Hill Valley, where Biff's political sway leads to a town plagued by crime and corruption. “We wanted to portray an optimistic, enjoyable, fun future, where the characters are still a mess,” Gale further explained. “We don’t have Jaws 19, but we have Sharknado 3.” The film's imagination of the future included hoverboards, self-tying laces, and other imaginative predictions.
According to The Guardian, the resemblance between Biff and Trump became even more apparent when noticing Biff’s rise to power in the film. Biff builds a towering casino and gains political influence, insisting on being called "America’s greatest living folk hero." This reflects aspects of Trump's career trajectory, with a 37-floor casino, The Trump Plaza Hotel, completed in 1984 when Back To The Future was being made. Biff's character, portrayed by Thomas F. Wilson, becomes deeply entangled with the political landscape in the movie, imitating Trump's ventures into politics. In the real world, Trump's status as the frontrunner in the race to be the Republican candidate for President during the time of this celebration added an intriguing layer to the connection between fiction and reality.
In 2015, While celebrating the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, Gale's admission highlighted the intentional inspiration behind one of cinema's most memorable villains. As fans continue to revisit the trilogy, they now have an added layer of understanding about the subtle political commentary intertwined into the narrative, making Biff Tannen a character both fictional and strangely reflective of real-world figures.
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