ETERNALS: Weta Digital On Making Makkari's Speedster Scenes Different Than Quicksilver & Flash (Exclusive)
Eternals is packed with super-heroes with different abilities, but Makkari's speed sequences stick out as unique, and the Weta Digital team spoke exclusively with us about how they made that happen!
With the massive amount of comic book adaptations on the big screen, it is unavoidable that many speedsters have very similar, if not the same, abilities. So whether you're watching the Quicksilver sequences in Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, tuning in weekly for Barry, Nora, Jay, Wally, Bart, Thawne, and twenty other speedy character scenes on CW's The Flash, or enjoying WandaVision's Ralph Bohner, if you follow super-hero entertainment, speedsters are all but unavoidable.
Marvel's Eternals, which is currently dominating the box office, features so many heroes that a speedster was practically impossible not to include. Thus we have the first deaf super-hero - Lauren Ridloff's (The Walking Dead) Makkari.
When we had the chance to speak exclusively with the Weta Digital team that worked extensively on Eternals, VFX Supervisor Matt Aitken and Animation Supervisor Sidney Kombo-Kintombo were happy to go into detail about how they approached Makkari's speed sequences alongside Marvel to make it. Hence, it looks much different from scenes featuring Flash and Quicksilver, both characters which Weta has worked on in the past.
Read through the transcript below in which they talk about how Marvel worked with them on this process and break down step-by-step what led to them landing on the proper look for Makkari's speed scenes. Then, if you'd rather hear our full interview with Weta Digital, scroll down to the podcast player!
Animation Supervisor Sidney Kombo-Kintombo: One thing that is great about working with Marvel is that they invite us to the table. They are always eager to have a fresh eye to add to what they already have. And they shared that with us, so we nurture each other in that way. So they come with the idea that they want Makkari to go fast. I remember it was Nate Moore that first engaged us on that path, saying, "I want to see Makkari being fast because we say that a lot, but we haven't quite seen her being fast in action." And that, as an animator, is all we need. Tell us you are liking this, we go crazy.
So I and the team, sometimes even have a moment of absence. When the client is talking, Victoria and Nate, and Zooey are saying something, and what is happening in our heads is that a bunch of images start to come together. And when we meet with the team, it's like, "Okay, let's make it move fast. But we don't want it to look like Quicksilver, and we don't want it to look like the Flash. What is it?" And obviously, because we are in the business, we have been thinking about those things, and one thing that I had in my mind was the impression. I have my hand here; if I move fast, you still have, for a microsecond, a feeling that my hand is where it is, but it's already moved.
It's called persistence of vision, it's like your eye can not look past a certain speed. Whatever you see is in the past. So we tried to play with that a little bit. So Makkari is here, but she moves so fast that she's already away. And we did a lot of that; you see that a lot in the fight she has with Ikarus. Because sometimes Ikarus shoots at her, you see her in the distance, but she's already in front of him, and Ikarus didn't notice, and that makes her invincible in a way. He had to catch her before she came, and she was too fast to stop herself, that's the only way he managed to catch her. Otherwise, you can't, because she's always gone when you think that she's somewhere. So that was what we tried to play with when it comes to Makkari.
VFX Supervisor Matt Aitken: And it made for quite complicated shots to produce because oftentimes Sidney would have multiple Makkaris in the scene so that there might be three or four actual copies of Makkari so that they can all be in these different places at the same time, and you get these little glimpses.
But I think we managed to orchestrate it so you never see multiple Makkaris stopped at the same time. The others are always moving, but they just became incredibly complicated shots to manage. But that's alright, that's what we're here to do. (Laughs)
What do you guys think of these comments from Weta Digital's VFX and Animation Supervisors? Were you impressed with how different the speed scenes for Makkari were in Eternals, or did you think it was no different than other speedsters on the big screen?
You can hear the full exclusive interview with Matt Aitken and Sidney Kombo-Kintombo below, so check it out and be sure to share your thoughts in the usual spot!
The focus of this interview is the newest Marvel film, Eternals. Speaking with Weta Digital's VFX Supervisor and Animation Supervisor Sidney Kombo-Kintombo. We go into detail about how they did the effects in the film, including Angelina Jolie's character of Thena being CGI apart from her face for the entire film, the evolution of the deviants, the scenes with Arishem, and the focus on each of the Eternals' celestial powers.
Excitingly, we also spoke about the popular mid-credits scene in Eternals in which Harry Styles and Patton Oswalt are introduced as Eros and Pip the Troll respectively. We learned about how the actors were riffing and ad-libbing in the scene and how Patton Oswalt wasn't even short enough - he had to act on his knees! I think you guys will learn a lot with this one, and Matt and Sidney are awesome guys to speak with and did an incredible job with the cinematics.
Marvel's Eternals is now playing in theaters.