- "Hey, the big "M"! How's it hanging, McFly?"
- "He [Marty] picked up the remote control and banished the art channel painting to the corner of the screen. / Needles smiled his gap-toothed grin as his head and shoulders filled the rest of the video display and his identification code flashed on: NEEDLES, DOUGLAS J. ADDRESS: 88 ORIOLE ROAD. A6TB-94. That was his home address; not that Needles was ever home. From the row of vidmemos behind him, Marty could tell the other man was still at his station at work. Sometimes Marty wondered if Needles ever left the office."
- —From Back to the Future Part II by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 86)
- "Jennifer looked closer, and saw Needles behind the wheel [of the truck] — only now he was seventeen years old, not middle-aged like he he had been in the dream from the future. Jennifer frowned. He was supposed to be seventeen, wasn't he? They were all seniors in high school, weren't they? Then why did she keep seeing everybody the way they were in the dream?"
- —From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 208)
Douglas J. Needles (typically referred to as just Needles) was an acquaintance of Marty McFly and his girlfriend Jennifer Parker though likely not a friend. Unlike Biff Tannen, who typically bullied Marty's father George into getting what he wanted, Needles appeared more of a rival to Marty who could goad Marty into doing foolish things by calling him "chicken".
In 1979, Needles moved to Hill Valley from Bakersville, and bought his way into The Pinheads with his mother's money. Since Needles couldn't play his guitar and he was a showoff, Lee and Paul told Marty they didn't want him in the band. Needles overheard this and started his own band. This furthered Needles' grudge against Marty.
The clerk told Needles to either buy something or leave the store, whereupon Needles picked up a bag of Snacky Chips and threw it into the clerk's face, telling him to hold it for him while he browsed the store.
After Needles had finished harassing Marty and Jennifer, he picked up the bag of chips and threw it in the clerk's face once again, saying that he had changed his mind about buying the chips due to the cholesterol content.
In 1985, Needles was indirectly responsible for ruining Marty's life by talking him into racing their trucks. Marty ended up crashing into a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I. The Rolls-Royce driver ended up pressing charges against Marty, who had broken his hand in the accident and would later give up on his music. It was not known to Jennifer until they returned to 1985, however, that the race had been Needles' idea.
By 2015, Needles and Marty had begun working together at a plant, with Needles possibly being in a higher position than Marty (similar to George and Biff in the first film). Needles was attempting to convince Marty to join in on an illegal scam — which involved the use of Marty's CusCo credit card — to make more money. Marty was hesitant at first, but went along with it when Needles called him "chicken". Unfortunately, their boss, Ito T. Fujitsu, was monitoring the entire transaction and fired Marty on the spot. Whether Needles himself faced any consequences is unknown; he seemed to be smirking as he hung up, indicating that he set Marty up. However, it is also possible Needles was smirking because of his supreme confidence in pulling off the scam, which may mean that Needles got his comeuppance by Mr. Fujitsu or the plant upper management. Since Fujitsu had monitored the transaction, and quickly fired Marty, he certainly would have fired anyone else involved in the scam. It is also possible that Needles knew that Fujitsu would fire him if he went through with the crime, that he bribed him to keep his job.
Just after Marty's return from 1885 to 1985, Needles (seen at age 17) met up with Marty and Jennifer at the point where he proposed the race along with his friends. This time, however, Marty had learned not to lose his judgment because of name-calling and avoided the drag race by pretending to go through with it, thereby preventing the accident and changing the future. Needles and his gang took off and were nearly the ones to hit the Rolls Royce, but they barely evaded an accident themselves through evasive steering. What this meant for Needles is unclear, although his causing Marty to get fired in 2015 may not come to pass — bearing in mind that the words "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" on the fax sent to Marty by Mr. Fujitsu subsequently disappeared before Jennifer's eyes.
Needles was a troublemaker, who goaded Mary into doing foolish things by calling him chicken. When they were teenagers, he goaded Marty into racing him by calling him "chicken", but this ended badly for Marty, as he crashed into a Rolls Royce, breaking his hand as a result, which forced him to give up his dream of playing guitar, as well as being sued by the driver. When they were working at the same company as adults, Needles manipulated Mary into joining in on an illegal scam by calling him chicken, but this caused their boss Fujitsu to promptly fire Marty.
However, after returning from 1885 to 1985, Marty learned to stop worrying about what people thought about him and avoided the drag race by pretending to go through with it, thereby preventing the accident. Following this, the words "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" on the fax sent to Marty by Mr. Fujitsu subsequently disappeared. It is unknown if Needles interacted with Marty again, but judging by Marty refusing to participate in the drag race despite the latter's goading, and the words "YOU'RE FIRED!!!" on the fax disappearing, it is probably fair to say that Needles could no longer goad Marty into doing whatever he wanted.
Behind the scenes
- Michael Peter Balzary (better known as Flea, lead bassist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers) played the part of Needles in Back to the Future Part II, and reprised the role at the close of Back to the Future Part III — being billed in the closing credits on both occasions as Flea.
- In the novelization (see Quote above), Needles' address is given as being 88 Oriole Road, A6TB-94.
- Back to the Future Part II (First appearance)
- Back to the Future Part II novelization
- Back to the Future Part III
- Back to the Future Part III novelization
- Back to the Future: The Card Game (Mentioned only)
- Back to the Future: The Game
- Back to the Future: The Game - Episode 3: Citizen Brown (Mentioned only)
- Doc Brown Saves the World (Mentioned only)
- Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines
- Back to the Future: Continuum Conundrum
- Back to the Future: Who Is Marty McFly?
Notes and references
| The McFly Family|
Marty McFly | George McFly | Lorraine Baines McFly | Jennifer Parker | Seamus McFly | Maggie McFly
Dave McFly | Linda McFly | Martin McFly, Jr. | Marlene McFly | Arthur McFly
| The Brown Family|
Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown | Clara Clayton Brown | Jules Brown | Verne Brown | Einstein
| The Tannen Family|
Biff Tannen | Buford Tannen | Griff Tannen | Irving "Kid" Tannen
| The Strickland Family|
James Strickland | Roger Strickland | Irene Strickland | Edna Strickland | Gerald Strickland
Match, Skinhead & 3-D | Goldie Wilson | Douglas J. Needles | Marcus Irving