Leave the World Behind: 10 Things in Netflix’s Apocalyptic Movie that Conspiracy Theorists are Obsessing Over


The following article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Leave the World BehindNetflix’s new apocalyptic movie, Leave the World Behind, has conspiracy theorists combing over every scene in the film and slamming it as predictive programming. The movie has its flaws in pacing and dialogue, but it delivers a frightening portrayal of how the world will fall apart if the power is turned off. If you are not scared, you should be. This is how the world can really end – no aliens, no meteorites, and no bioengineered virus. It is estimated that 90 percent of America’s population will be dead after only one year if a solar EMP (electromagnetic pulse) knocks the electricity out.



Social media is buzzing about aspects of Leave the World Behind that are frightening audiences for a separate reason than the plot. The movie is jammed with quiet subliminals like the paintings in the rental’s living room and bedroom, which change throughout the movie, but many online are pointing out darker details of the film’s production, marketing, wardrobe, and set design.

The Obamas Produced It

Barack Obama with his arm around Michelle

At first, like us, when you read this one, you probably thought, “Let me get you the tin foil before you start.” You can put the foil back in the cabinet, because it is true. Both Barack and Michelle Obama are credited as producers. One might make the jump that this is how the movie swept up big name talent for a script that was not so smooth. Barack Obama served as a consultant on the film, giving the director/screenwriter, Sam Esmail, notes to make it more grounded and realistic. Barack should know what the real vulnerabilities to our society are – he was president for eight years and has seen all the intelligence reports on the dangers of cyberattacks and EMP bursts.

The reason that the presence of the Obamas has set off conspiracy theorist alarms is because they are the Obamas. They are viewed as being part of the big club that has no name – the globalist ruling class. The juxtaposition of the Obamas and a movie about an elite cabal that uses a cyberattack to destroy America is admittedly uncomfortable. The positive perspective is that the former president was drawn to this project out of interest in educating America and getting it to talk about the vulnerabilities we have in globalization of industry (just consider the medicines that are not domestically produced) and our over-reliance on electricity and gasoline to keep civilization going.

The Evil Cabal

G.H. Scott (Mahershala Ali) and Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts) in the vacation rental in Netflix's Leave the World Behind

Before we get into the subliminal theories, we should talk about the thing that is on the surface, which we have already mentioned in the first entry: the big club. During a scene between Mahershala Ali’s G.H. Scott and Julia Roberts’ Amanda Sandford, G.H. tells Amanda about a conversation he had with a client and friend who was high on the food chain that G.H. would joke about being part of an evil cabal. He explains that his friend called the previous day to move around money. G.H. says, “He tells me, he’s going away for a while. I joke back to him, ‘Oh yeah, you hanging with your evil cabal this weekend’… but he doesn’t laugh… All he said was, ‘Take care of yourself.’”

What we see in Leave the World Behind is presented as a foreign attack, but a brief shot of a message on a screen in the final scene puts the blame on an inside job. It is a coup from within the government by the cabal that G.H. talks about. Their motive is the destruction of America.

The inference is that this cabal infiltrated the highest offices of government or third party military industry, or both, and developed and deployed this strategy of developing cultural division in America, applying economic pressure (inflation of the money supply from the Federal Reserve), lighting the fuse by turning out the power, and flying to bunkers to wait for 300 million Americans to murder each other over the last can of spaghetti.

Predictive Programming

Julia Roberts searches for her daughter in Leave the World Behind

One of the accusations against Leave the World Behind is that it is predictive programming. This means that the movie is programming the masses to accept that this is how the narrative will unfold when the thing happens. Like a serial killer confessing to the newspaper and taunting those trying to catch them, conspiracy theorists believe that the big club are confessing what they plan to do and delighting in broadcasting it to the world. Evidence in the past that has been used to make this argument includes countless images in movies, cartoons, and comic books in the 20th century that alluded to the date 9/11/01 or the destruction of the Twin Towers (Back to the Future, The Simpsons, Spider-Man 16).

What proponents of the theory of predictive programming argue is that the government creates media about disasters to program the population to accept that this can happen before they pull the trigger on it, and to educate the population on how the response will unfold, so they will comply (quarantine, testing, masking, and vaccination). An alternate theory is, as with the double slit experiment, we are just programming our own movie through the act of perception.

Related: Elon Musk Reacts to Leave the World Behind’s Dramatic Tesla Crash Scene


Mahershala Ali looks at misinformation flier

On the second day, when Clay Sandford (Ethan Hawke) goes out in search of the town (without his GPS), a drone flies over, dropping red fliers with Islamic imagery and Arabic writing. In the final act, when Clay and G.H. visit a neighboring home belonging to a blue-collar man, Danny (Kevin Bacon), he tells them that before phone service was lost, a friend told him about fliers dropped on the West Coast in an unidentified Asian language. This made it self-evident to Danny that whoever was behind the cyberattack was distributing misinformation to confuse the population, exploiting the lack of newspapers, television, and the internet.

This type of false flag strategy is what conspiracy theorists have long accused the powerful of using to psychologically manipulate the population. The employment here of literal false flags being dropped from the air that deflect blame on foreign countries further points us towards rogue actors within the US government at the root of the cyberattack. Misinformation, disinformation, and the fire hose attack are Soviet strategies from the Cold War for creating confusion within a population. When a population cannot tell what is true, the connective tissue of society and the currency of democracy, trust, is lost.

Unsettling Marketing

Actors names line up to spell BAAL in Netflix movie poster

This is one that is a stretch. Users online have noticed that one of the posters for the film with four of the actors’ names features the name Baal hidden within the names of the actors. Only the names of Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, Ethan Hawke, and Myha’la Herrold are listed, and Herrold is credited only as Myha’la. It could be a coincidence, but graphic artists are obsessive about composition, symbolism, subliminals, subtextual meanings, and generally being subversive at any given opportunity. One person’s coincidence is another person’s oceanfront property in Nevada.

Baal is the name of a demon in the Middle East who was worshiped before the rise of Judaism. The name has been used as a name for Satan and Moloch. When Moses descended from the mountain and found the Israelites sacrificing their children to the golden bull idol, it is believed the idol was Baal/Moloch. Worship of Baal involved a furnace built into the base of his metal idol, with his palms turned up, onto which worshipers would place their infants as sacrifice.

666 in the Opening Scene

666 appears in opening scene of Leave the World Behind

Perhaps the Baal poster is an unfortunate alignment, but the movie immediately drops a 666 on us in the opening scene when Clay wakes up to discover Amanda packing for a spontaneous beach trip (making us wonder if she knows something). While Clay lies in bed, our attention is first drawn to the large crack in the wall over their bed, symbolizing the division in their marriage. While your eyes were distracted by the flaw in the set, you missed the 666. Screen left, a coffee cup sits with a 6 facing the camera. Between the mug and the bed is an analog alarm clock that reads 6:30. Right of the bed, a third 6 shows on a digital clock.

This set design choice is not a mistake. We can make no presumption of coincidence here. The number 666 is intentionally inserted in Leave the World Behind in the opening and final scenes. The number comes from Revelations 13:18 and refers to the number of the beast.

Related: Leave the World Behind: The Apocalyptic Movie With a Realistic Ending, Explained


Obey NASA appears as subliminal message in Netflix movie

The first subliminal message that most viewers noticed in the movie was on the shirts of the Sandford children, Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). Archie wears an OBEY shirt, a hidden phrase used in John Carpenter’s conspiracy theory magnum opus about subliminal messaging, They Live. Rose wears a NASA shirt. The two are positioned in the frame more than once, with Archie on screen left and Rose on screen right, commanding the viewer to OBEY NASA.

Why should NASA be an issue for conspiracy theorists? It begins with Operation Paperclip, a covert project to bring Nazi scientists to America to work on our space program: NASA. It happened. NASA is alleged to be a cover for America’s black budget space program, which involves the reverse engineering of alien craft (the reason we abandoned ambitions for the moon and Mars). The most delicious conspiracy theories now assert that we have accomplished interstellar travel, and it has been kept from the public to keep the 99.99 percent on Earth, fighting over oil and property prices, while the elite have set to finding a virgin planet to keep for themselves and rule us from like gods.

The Hidden 666 in the Final Scene

Hidden number 666 in Leave the World Behind

In the final scene of the movie, Rose enters a neighboring mansion and gorges on junk food before exploring the house and discovering a vault door. The door leads to an enormous, fully stocked bunker beneath the house. Whoever owned the home was top brass. In the bunker is a computer system connected to a closed emergency alert system network. On the screens we read that there has been a coup by rogue forces. Watchful internet sleuths saw something in the peripheral text. When one of the screens is flipped, we can clearly read DIE666.


Commodus bunker logo at the end of Netflix's apocalyptic movie

The bunker that Rose finds in the mansion she breaks into is built by a company called Commodus. We see the name on the wall when she enters. Commodus is an ironic name for a place that will be the salvation of both the Sandford and Scott families. It is the name of a Roman emperor who went insane, declared himself a god, and was assassinated (strangled in his bath by the wrestler, Narcissus). On one level, the name may be a reference to the mental state of the sitting president or simply an acknowledgment of the fall of the American empire, but it could also be read as a foreshadowing that the two families will go mad in the bunker and kill each other.

Three-Step Plan

Mahershala Ali looks through cracked glass in Leave the World Behind

At the end of Leave the World Behind, G.H. Scott finally reveals what he knows to Clay Sandford. G.H. explains the three-step plan to bring down a nation: isolation (shutting down communication), misinformation (creating confusion), and Civil War.

Cut out the power, and the whole country will literally eat itself, and you never have to drop a bomb. The concept of the three-step plan to defeat America is built on the presumption of our divisions, which are on display with Ruth Scott (Myha’la), who encourages her father not to trust white people, and with Amanda, who exclaims to her husband that she hates people in general in the first scene.

There will be no running water because the pumps require electricity, you will have one flush left in the toilet, there will be no future deliveries to stores, looters will raid stores within the first hour of power loss in cities because there will be no way to contact police, and the only way out of the city will be on foot.

If a national blackout happens in winter, most will have no fireplace to heat their home, and if it happens in summer, people who are not used to working outside in summer will be driven to their edge by the heat. With no more food being shipped, within weeks in rural areas, every animal will be hunted, every fish will be fished, and anyone with livestock or horses will find them killed in the night. Then the cats and dogs will be eaten, and when all other food is gone, the cannibalism will begin.

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