Conspiracy theories, as ridiculous as they may be, are how some people try to cope with our reality as it gets stranger and stranger every day. As we’ve navigated unprecedented times in our own reality — particularly with the coronavirus outbreak — conspiracy theories about the origins and spread of the virus have run rampant, and often, the truth is way more boring than reality.
Such was the case in a conspiracy theory suggesting that Marvel’s 2011 Captain America movie had actually predicted the outbreak and spread of COVID-19. The theory was a bit outlandish and focused on a screenshot from the film depicting billboards featuring a Corona beer and a strange shape that the theorist believes resembles the now-famous microscopic image tied to the virus.
The screenshot was shared by writer, film critic, and broadcaster William Mullally on Twitter, who said, “A friend who’s fully into the covid conspiracies sent me this post that says Captain America predicted the coronavirus outbreak in 2011, and while its obviously bs, I started fixating on that circled image on the right.”
Mullally then went deep into figuring exactly what was on that righthand billboard.
“It looks so familiar. What is it? I began to investigate.”
“At first I thought it reminded me of a YA novel cover design from that era. I went through all the main ones until I remembered the Divergent cover had the same color scheme, but not quite the same design. Close, but no cigar”
“I enlisted my friend Wes for help, who found a clearer screenshot and zoomed in and it felt even more familiar but we couldn’t quite place it.”
“I figured out the filming date of the scene—23 April 2011.”
“I looked up every movie and broadway show released from April through the summer. Nothing.”
“I started watching random YouTube videos and looking for images from April 2011 in Times Square. No clear view of the poster. Wes started scouring Bing and google street view.”
“Finally, Wes found this”
“We recognized the logo and the color scheme. We cracked the case.”
Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction simply for how plain it is.