The Simpsons ‘predicted’ Richard Branson’s zero-gravity spaceflight in 2014

Prescient image featured in 2014 episode ‘The War of Art’

Kevin E G Perry
Thursday 15 July 2021 20:47 BST
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Simpsons has once more been credited with “predicting the future” after an image of Sir Richard Branson enjoying zero-gravity in a 2014 episode went viral.

Earlier this week, Branson successfully touched the edge of space on board a Virgin Galactic flight. The Virgin boss rode on his company’s space plane in its first fully crewed test.

Pictures of Branson floating in zero-gravity were similar enough to the image from The Simpsons that Twitter user Aditya Kondawar was moved to ask: “How can The Simpsons show predict every Damn thing?”

The image of Branson in space is taken from the 2014 Simpsons episode “The War of Art”, the 15th episode of the show’s 25th season. In the episode, the art forger Klaus Ziegler (Max von Sydow) tells Lisa that his “forgeries give pleasure to people all over the world”. As he speaks, we see people looking at art in various locations, including Branson floating in his spacecraft.

Branson founded Virgin Galactic in 2004 and has long been known as an advocate for commercial space travel, so his eventual trip to zero-gravity was clearly pre-empted by the Simpsons writers.

“The War of Art” is one of four Simpsons episodes that Branson appears in. He is featured most prominently in the 2015 episode “The Princess Guide”, in which he voices himself as Mr Burns’ Flanders-esque neighbour. Branson greets Burns by saying: “Hey-Dibbley-Do, neighboroonie!” to which Burns replies: “Stupid Branson”.

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