There have been many Donald Trump comparisons made over the years, but no character has come up quite as often as Biff Tannen, the obnoxious bully from the Back to the Future franchise.
Earlier this week, Mark Hamill, best known for playing Luke Skywalker, tweeted a story claiming the Back to the Future screenwriters, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, actually based the role on Trump.
FUN FACT: "Back To The Future" screenwriters Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale have both stated that Biff Tannen, played by the hilarious Tom Wilson (of Wing Commander fame) was, in part, based on our current "President". #TrueStory #DonaldDrumpf pic.twitter.com/2uVwmFIakm— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 15, 2019
“FUN FACT: ‘Back To The Future’ screenwriters Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale have both stated that Biff Tannen, played by the hilarious Tom Wilson (of Wing Commander fame) was, in part, based on our current 'President'. #TrueStory #DonaldDrumpf,” the actor wrote.
However, an important figure in the story was quick to dispute this claim. Tom Wilson, who played the iconic villain, says the story is not true.
False. But on the internet, that doesn't matter.— Tom Wilson (@TomWilsonUSA) January 18, 2019
“False. But on the internet, that doesn't matter,” he wrote. Sassy! We can only imagine that this frequently made comparison has put a slight damper on Wilson’s claim to fame, so we don’t blame him for snapping back. Hamill was quick to clarify, though, making sure Wilson was aware of how much he appreciates his iconic performance.
I didn't say YOU based your (great) performance on him. I was simply relaying what the screenwriters have said in various interviews. Also, wasn't your character in Wing Commander based on Herbert Hoover? It was on the internet, so it must be true! //t.co/mfM4SxfeGN— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) January 19, 2019
“I didn't say YOU based your (great) performance on him. I was simply relaying what the screenwriters have said in various interviews,” Hamill added. “Also, wasn't your character in Wing Commander based on Herbert Hoover? It was on the internet, so it must be true!,” he joked.
Of course, people of the Internet were quick to come to Hamill’s defense, sharing a Daily Beast article from 2015 in which Gale does say Back to the Future Part II Biff was based on Trump. This is truly no surprise considering the character lived a gaudy life in a 27-story casino.
During the interview, Gale was asked if he’d been thinking about the comparisons while Trump was running for president.
“We thought about it when we made the movie! Are you kidding?” he says. “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.”
While it sounds like Biff’s lifestyle and aesthetic in the second Back to the Future film were definitely inspired by Trump, there’s a good chance that wasn’t something they discussed with Wilson, especially considering he had already found his stride with the character in the first film. We’re going to chalk this up to both Hamill and Wilson being correct!
You can currently stream all three Back to the Future films on Hulu or Amazon with the Cinemax add-on.