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The tale of two Jennifers
The last scene in Back to the Future and the first scene in Back to the Future II were meant to be identical. Due to various reasons, however, the second had to be reshot. The main reason for this is quite obvious: Claudia Wells was replaced by actress Elisabeth Shue for the role of Jennifer Parker. Despite the change, the filmmakers attempted to recreate the exact scene as best as they could. But there's nothing getting past the avid fans: Shue's hair appears less curly, the color of the house in the foregroud is more yellow, and the characters don't pause as much in the second version. See a comparison of the two versions here.
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By the time BTTF2 came out in 1989, there were already four Jaws films. The notion that 15 more shark movies were made within the next 16 years is a fun nudge to executive producer Steven Spielberg, who served as the director of Jaws. But what's most interesting is the name of the sequel's director: Max Spielberg, who is none other than Steven's first son and was born in 1985, the same year the first BTTF was released.
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The Goldie Wilson legacy
Audiences first met Goldie Wilson in 1955 when he was working as a busboy at Lou’s Cafe. While talking to a young George McFly, Goldie proclaimed, “Someday, I’m going to be somebody!” That comment sparked an immediate – and accidental – reaction from Marty McFly, who recognized him and told him that he would eventually become mayor. “Mayor! Now THAT’S a good idea!” Goldie said, before quitting his job to go pursue his new political dreams. Fast forward to 1985 and we now see posters of Goldie’s re-election campaign plastered all over Hill Valley.
Government aspirations run in the family as Goldie’s son, Goldie Wilson II, followed in his footsteps and became the mayor of Hill Valley in 2015, as evidenced on the floating sign that welcomed flying cars into town. That same year, Goldie’s grandson, Goldie Wilson III, appeared on holobillboards around Hill Valley advertising hover conversions through his company, Goldie Wilson Hover Conversion Systems.
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Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center
While the two customers peddling on stationary bikes at the Cafe 80's counter seems like a strange sight in 2015, it may be a nod to the former occupants of the space: Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center. In one of the first scenes set in 1985 in the first BTTF movie, Marty waves to the Spandex-clad women working out inside the facility as he hitches a ride to school on the back of a Jeep while on his skateboard.
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Recognize the boy in the green hat? That's a very young Elijah Wood, who is not impressed with Marty's video game skills at the Cafe 80's. Not because he won the round of Wild Gunman so quickly, but because the time traveler was unaware that using handheld controllers was sooo 2010. "You mean you have to use your hands?" the young Elijah, whose role is credited as "Video Game Boy," asks, implying that modern-day games may now be controlled by voice or motion. "That's like a baby's toy!" quipped the other kid, before the two walk away in disappointment.
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Since Nintendo had not released the Wild Gunman game into arcades in real life, a custom-made arcade cabinet had to be built for the movie. What's even more interesting about this game, however, is that it's a foreshadowing of Marty's wild west showdown with Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen in the third film.
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We first meet Terry in 2015 when he's a fundraiser approaching Marty on the street for donations to preserve the clock tower. It was Terry who gave Marty the idea of purchasing Gray Sports Almanac when he makes a comment about wishing he could go back in time to bet on the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. When the film does go back in time, we see Terry again. This time, in 1955, he's an auto mechanic working at the Western Auto store who fixes Biff Tannen's convertible after his crash with a manure truck.
Fun fact: The actor who plays Terry is Charles Fleischer, better known as the voice of Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which starred BTTF actor Christopher Lloyd and was also directed by Robert Zemeckis.
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Blast from the Past
The antique store where Marty buys Grays Sports Almanac is a treasure trove of BTTF easter eggs. Among the many fun finds: a Guess denim jacket with an "Art in Revolution" button (the same outfit Marty wore in the first film), a VHS of Jaws (which was directed by BTTF's executive producer Steven Spielberg), a JVC camcorder (the same model used by Marty to record Doc's time travel experiment in the first film), and a stuffed Who Framed Roger Rabbit doll (the film was directed by BTTF's director Robert Zemeckis and co-starred Christopher Lloyd).
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When Doc returns to 2015 to pick up Marty, he's changed into a Hawaiian shirt emblazoned with a train pattern. Perhaps a nod to the train time machine he builds at the end of the third film?
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In both versions of BTTF's 2015, plastic surgery is as popular as ever. While Marty McFly Jr. was flipping through the TV channels in his home, with the 1985 Jennifer Parker hiding in the closet behind him, we see a quick glimpse of a commercial on the top right screen for a plastic surgery company called Bottoms Up. The store was offering two types of implants as part of a "2 for 1" special: "The Super Inflatable TIT" and "The Headlight TIT." Ironically, in the alternate 2015 ruled by Biff, Marty was shocked when he saw the drunk, flashy version of his mom, Lorraine Baines McFly Tannen, who was forced to get implants when she married Biff Tannen.
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Who's that girl?
That's Marlene McFly, the daughter of the 2015 version of Marty McFly and Jennifer Parker, and sister to Marty McFly Jr. She looks eerily similar to her father, doesn't she? That's because it's Michael J. Fox playing the role.
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That's not just Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise in the alternate 1985 – that hunk of gawdy real estate is located on the exact same spot as the Hill Valley courthouse. Note the non-functioning clock tower behind the neon sign of Biff lighting a cigar with a burning $100 bill.
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Biff's many loves
Lorraine McFly wasn't the only woman to catch Biff Tannen's eye! Before their alternate 1985 marriage, the tough guy previously dated Hollywood sirens Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe, as video from the museum dedicated to his life shows.
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The second time Buford "Mag Dog" Tannen was foreshadowed in the film was when Marty comes across Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise and its adjoining museum in the alternate 1985. It is there where Marty briefly watches a documentary dedicated to Biff's life, in which a vintage photo shows Biff's great-grandfather. Fans with a keen eye may notice that this version of Mad Dog is noticeably different than the one that ended up in the third film. That's because, at the time, the filmmakers were still unsure of what the rugged cowboy would look like.
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In yet another foreshadowing of what's to come in the third installment of BTTF, we see the alternate 1985 version of Biff Tannen watching Clint Eastwood's 1967 western A Fistful of Dollars as he's sitting in a jacuzzi alongside two women. The scene, which later inspires Marty when he travels back to 1885 in the next film, shows Clint's character cleverly surviving gun shots as he reveals his "bulletproof vest" made out of a piece of metal. "Bulletproof vest!" the gaudy Biff exclaims. "Great flick! Great frickin' flick!" Clearly the flick made more of an impression on Marty as he used the alias "Clint Eastwood" when he traveled to the wild west.
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Going back in time
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment right after Doc saves Marty from the top of Biff's hotel in 2015, the time circuits in the DeLorean briefly malfunctioned and flashed the date January 1, 1885. At the moment, it seemed like a glitch, but it was actually a foreshadowing of Doc accidentally traveling back to that date from 1955.
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Fifth time's a charm
Thanks to Biff Tannen's help in the alternative 1985, Nixon was seeking a fifth term as president, which means the Watergate scandal never even happened.
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The role of Marty McFly's girlfriend wasn't the only character that was recast for the sequel. Due to a disagreement over the script and his salary, Crispin Glover did not return to play George McFly in BTTF2. Instead, the filmmakers spliced together new shots of actor Jeffrey Weissman playing the part (in prosthetics) with extra footage of Glover from the first film. The latter scenario was used without Glover's permission, prompting him to file a lawsuit against the producers (and win).
"I was asking questions that the producers, director didn't like. There was a different end ... I had questions about it, and it did get changed," Glover said on the Opie & Anthony Show in 2013. "If I'd have played that part, I would have played it different. I didn't like the way that guy played it, and people think that's me. It's still gets to me that there's that confusion."