I got a tip from a trusted source. The Russo Brothers have started a Twitter account, I was told. They're posting only mysterious photos, close-ups and out of context imagery, from the set of Captain America: Civil War. But I already follow the Russo Brothers, and they have already made one - and only one! - tweet:
But hey, maybe they lost the keys to that account. So I went looking at this other account and I was intrigued. It's a really low-key account, without any official bio. The avatar is from Vampire Hunter D, which is puzzling - if you're making a phony Russo Brothers account, wouldn't you use either a picture of them or maybe some Captain America art? The account isn't @ replying anyone, isn't drawing any attention to itself, which isn't how phony accounts usually operate. The first tweet:
All of the tweets are like that, but this one, of a figure walking down a hallway with a flashlight, is the most coherent image. It isn't from the post-credits scene in Ant-Man, but doesn't it have sort of the same vibe as the abandoned space where Cap and Falcon are hanging out with Bucky?
Before I get to the rest of the pictures on the account, I want to examine one last thing that I think may answer the question of authenticity. The account follows the usual suspects - the stars of the MCU and of Community - but what counts is who is following the account. And there are two followers, two very early followers, that make me think this account is legit.
The first is Jason Stamey, who works in casting on pretty much all the Marvel movies. The second is Ryan Stankevitch, who is the VP of global marketing for Disney. That, to me, feels like a real smoking gun - why would this tiny account with 31 followers boast a high level Disney marketing exec as its fifth follower? Even if Stankevich wanted to keep an eye on phony accounts why would she do it from her personal Twitter feed, which doesn't even list her job title? That's the sort of thing you leave to an intern.
Am I convinced? Not entirely, but I am intrigued. The original tip came from a very good source, one that has never led me astray. The circumstantial evidence is compelling. I could send emails to Disney marketing, but it's interesting to note that this account is unverified and has maintained a very low profile for a couple of weeks - I doubt I would get confirmation. What's more, I doubt that I want confirmation. This feels like a game. So let's play it.
A lot of the pictures the account has tweeted are incredibly vague. Check out this bullet hole:
That could be from anywhere. This looks like a shot of a sweatshirt or something:
But other pictures are more intriguing. Look at this cool chair with arm straps, a chair that reminds me of the one into which Bucky was strapped during mindwipes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier:
Then there's this, a close-up on some kind of... plaque? Sign?
Could that be The Sokovia Accords? The Accords that Steve is talking about in the Ant-Man post-credits stinger, the Accords that won't allow Tony to help him?
Now we get down to the interesting stuff. There's this image:
What is that? It's atop red fabric. It looks, to me, like some kind of a goggle, one with shutters. What if - and I'm just spit-balling here - this is Spider-Man's goggle? What if those shutters allow his goggles to squint and go wide-eyed, just as he does in the comics, where artists are free to change the expressions on the eyes on his mask?
Then there's this:
To me that's a superhero costume. The texture, the colors - that just screams superhero costume. And the red and black say one thing to me: Spider-Man. It's important to remember that when Spider-Man was introduced his costume was red and black; the colorists of the time used blue to provide highlights (this is why Clark Kent seems to have blue hair in old comics). Over time the colors morphed into red and blue, but in his earliest appearances he was in straight-up red and black. That's a color scheme to which Marvel has returned for the Miles Morales Spider-Man, by the way, making it a version of the Spidey costume familiar to younger audiences. Could this be Spidey's costume, reflecting a color scheme that harkens back to his first appearances?
Hey, I'm just playing the game.
Here's the latest picture tweeted from the mystery account. I have no idea what is happening here. It seems to have been shot off a monitor:
Am I wasting my time? And yours, by extension? Maybe, but I keep coming back to who is following this account. Besides the two people mentioned above there's Marilyn Bitner, who runs a locations service for studios. And then there's this guy Andrew Stamm, whose IMDB profile has this:
I mean, I don't want to get all Truther on this but this is some convincing circumstantial evidence.
I leave it up to you. What do you think? Is this really the Russo Brothers having some fun? Are the pictures above glimpses at the Spider-Man costume? I'll be keeping an eye on this account - I recommend you do the same.