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Is Cole in 12 Monkeys actually sent to the past to cause the global pandemic?

After a few plot twists, 12 Monkeys ends with Peters starting a world tour to spread the deadly virus, which he could only obtain because he was instructed to look after the security of the virus storage at Goines' lab, when Cole phoned Goines' father to warn him about the threat.

I wonder if the scientists in the future knew this and sent Cole to cause the events, that would lead to Peters getting access to the virus storage enabling him to cause the global pandemic.

A possible motive could be power. The scientists and leaders in the dystopic future would probably not have power, when there was not pandemic.

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  • This interesting theory has been brought up in answers here before, albeit not yet as a direct question itself, I think. – Napoleon Wilson Jun 15 '20 at 10:55
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    @SZCZERZOKŁY .... I don't believe they are attempting to change the past, i.e. stopping the infection before it is released. I believe Cole is sent back to do research to aid them in their present time. The idea that they NEED to send someone back to create their current history is a new idea to me - but not one that seems inconsistent. – iandotkelly Jun 15 '20 at 14:59
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    There's a theory I've seen that when Jones says "I'm in insurance" on the plane, she's implying that she came back in time to make sure the virus was released successfully. Make of that what you will. – Mike G Jun 15 '20 at 15:48
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    Every time I watch this film, I get a different theory. So far I've not convinced myself that any of them are correct. I do think that was Gilliam's intention, but I doubt he's ever going to give out "the answer". – Tetsujin Jun 15 '20 at 17:59

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