Production for the sequel to Wonder Woman began today. Titled Wonder Woman 1984, first-look photos were also shared by the cast and crew revealing that the film would be set in 1984 — though, admittedly, that title was a tip-off. Also, it was revealed that Chris Pines and his character Steve Trevor would be returning as well.
Some photos of the film set were also shared on social media. In one photo, a Silence=Death poster can be seen, making us wonder: will the AIDS epidemic be covered in this film?
And I went by the Wonder Woman 2 set so today is getting better by the hour! ("Classic" cars for WW 1984) pic.twitter.com/Q5iqcClPVG
— winds-wanderer (@windswandering) June 13, 2018
One Twitter user points out that if Wonder Woman 1984 is set in 1984, the poster wouldn’t have actually been around at that time. They share, “I am excited about the cute set photos from Wonder Woman 1984, but I gotta be that bitch and mention that the Silence=Death Collective didn’t begin designing the iconic poster displayed here until 1985. For the record, this is a helpful and productive tweet. #WW84″
But actually, he’s wrong (partly). While the collective that created the iconic political poster began meeting in 1985, they didn’t actually create the poster until 1986.
What is the history of the Silence=Death poster?
In 1985, Avram Finkelstein and Jorge Socarras began meeting at the height of the AIDS crisis as a men’s consciousness raising group, with the content of their discussions quickly turning political. Brian Howard, Oliver Johnston, Charles Kreloff and Chris Lionel later joined.
“I remember one of our weekly meetings where we found ourselves all looking at each other. There was a shared thought balloon over all of us at that moment… wondering who was going to be the first to go,” Johnston, who ended up dying from the disease, once said. “It was tabled with a bit of a nervous laugh but we knew that it could’ve been any one of us.”
In 1986, the group finalized on the design of the poster and they began wheat-pasting it around New York City in 1987. The Act Up NY website explains:
In 1987, six gay activists in New York formed the Silence = Death Project and began plastering posters around the city featuring a pink triangle on a black background stating simply ‘SILENCE=DEATH.’ In its manifesto, the Silence=Death Project drew parallels between the Nazi period and the AIDS crisis, declaring that ‘silence about the oppression and annihilation of gay people, then and now, must be broken as a matter of our survival.’ The slogan thus protested both taboos around discussion of safer sex and the unwillingness of some to resist societal injustice and governmental indifference. The six men who created the project later joined the protest group ACT UP and offered the logo to the group, with which it remains closely identified.
We hope the poster is not just a simple backdrop for the film, but a key plot point in the narrative of the film. The AIDS epidemic is one of the most important to have shaped the 1980s in the United States.