Fact check: No, 2011 'Captain America' film did not predict the coronavirus pandemic
The claim: A scene from Marvel 2011's "Captain America: The First Avenger" predicts the corona virus
Since the advent of the novel corona virus at the end of 2019, rumors have circulated about the origin, the method of spread and the possible vaccine of the virus. A Facebook post claims, among other things, that the pandemic was predicted in the 2011 film "Captain America: The First Avenger".
The post shows a still image of Steve Rogers, played by actor Chris Evans, in the middle of New York's Times Square, where, after escaping from S.H.I.E.L.D. The headquarters has just been revived from its almost 70-year sleep in the ice. Various billboards appear in the background, including one for Corona beer and another that resembles an illustration for the Corona virus.
"Behind his right shoulder a Corona beer and on his left the picture of a 'Coronavirus' in New York City ... Let it take effect," explains the text above the picture.
Leave the Matrix, an "entertainment website" that is under many pages on Facebook, to publish the post. She informed USA TODAY via Facebook Messenger that the picture was obtained from another Facebook group (no details about the name could be given). Exit the Matrix expressed belief in the image's claim, although it was recognized that it had never seen the film itself.
Corona virus or pasta?
While the drink's billboard is not to be confused, the image of the alleged corona virus that appears to be in the original film (see the following clip at timestamp 2:07) is a bit of a mystery.
Film critic William Mullally recently found the identity of the blurry screenshot in a Twitter thread.
He found it vaguely familiar and said he first thought it was the cover design of the "Divergent" trilogy written by young adult author Veronica Roth.
"I remembered that the divergent cover had the same color scheme, but not quite the same design," wrote Mullally. "Close, but not a cigar."
A Wikipedia search helped him determine the date on which the scene was shot in New York City - April 23, 2011 - which led him to a search for films and Broadway shows at that time were broadcast.
"I started watching random YouTube videos and looking for pictures from April 2011 in Times Square," he writes. "No clear view of the poster."
With the help of a friend, Mullally was finally able to find a picture of Times Square, circa 2011. Above billboards for the Broadway shows "Wicked" and "Phantom of the Opera" is a blue advertisement with fireworks of brown tendrils.
"It's spaghetti," he tweeted, delivering a close-up of Barilla pasta advertising that matches the blurry image.
Marvel did not immediately respond to a request from USA TODAY for comment.
Snopes also investigated the claim and reached Barilla for her reaction.
"This is definitely not the kind of question we are normally asked ... any reference to the current global pandemic we are in would be purely coincidental," said a spokesman in a statement that Snopes said was cut for clarity. "If the Marvel Universe can predict the future, I hope I don't encounter evil demigods who want to decimate the planet and the universe."
Chris Evans in a scene from "Captain America: The First Avenger".
Our verdict: wrong
We rate the claim that the coronavirus pandemic in the 2011 film "Captain America: The First Avenger" was predicted as FALSE because our research does not support it. Of the two images that are essential to the claim, the corona virus-like image is actually a poster for Barilla pasta. The company denies any association or prior knowledge of the pandemic.
Our fact-checking sources:
USA TODAY, "Coronavirus: How Fox News and Other Right-wing Media Are Threatening Our Health"
USA TODAY, "Fact Check: 5G Technology Is Not Associated With Corona Virus"
USA TODAY, "Fact check: Bill Gates does not plan to microchip the world with a COVID-19 vaccine"
William Mullally, June 11, 2020, Twitter thread
Snopes: "Did the 'Captain America' film predict the coronavirus pandemic?"
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Our fact check is partially supported by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Fact Check: The 2011 Captain America film did not predict a corona virus
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