'Back to the Future' Screenwriter Bob Gale Happy for Cubs, but Bummed a Good Joke Is Now Spoiled
"We tried to think of the most ridiculous and unbelievable sports event that we could think of, and that was the Cubs winning the World Series."
The Chicago Cubs' lousy luck made for a great gag in Back to the Future Part II, one that screenwriter Bob Gale always loved. But now thing's have changed, and that's OK, he says.
On Wednesday night, the Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908, only one year off from the 2015 victory Gale and Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis predicted in their 1989 time-traveling sequel, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
On Thursday, Gale told The Hollywood Reporter how the Cubs line came to the two filmmakers and how he feels about a real-life win changing the silliness of that particular scene.
"We wanted to come up with something that would motivate Marty [McFly] to go get a sports almanac and think about using the information from his 30-year time-traveling trip to make money," began Gale. "So, we tried to think of the most ridiculous and unbelievable sports event that we could think of, and that was the Cubs winning the World Series."
In the film, Marty, played by Fox, is astounded the Cubs won the Fall Classic in the sweep of a Miami team, which, at the time, also did not exist. The character Marty interacts with, played by Charles Fleischer, says he wishes he could go back to the start of the season and bet on the Cubs, as they were a 100-1 shot.
"Of course this year, they weren't a 100-1 shot, and I don't think they were even a 100-1 shot last year," said Gale. "So Bob [Zemeckis] and I have been talking about this since last year, of course, when it looked like our prediction might actually come true in the right year. So the question now is: So, they've won, is the joke ever going to be funny again? It's not an usual event now."
Zemeckis was so caught up in the moment that he attended Games 4 and 5 in Chicago, but did not go to Cleveland, said Gale.
As for being only a year off with his prediction, Gale, a Cardinals fan, since he is from St. Louis, called the situation "pretty astounding."
"It was mixed emotions because I was thinking, if the Cubs lose, people will still laugh at the joke, and if the Cubs win, then we made an almost accurate prediction," he said. "The best part of it is that it was a gag that was so memorable, here we are still talking about it, and that's gratifying, that Back to the Future means so much to so many people."
And he is right. Social media was flooded with pictures and memes of the Cubs scene from Back to the Future Part II after the team won Wednesday night.
The official Twitter account for the Back to the Future franchise even attempted to explain what exactly happened.
Check out the segment below.