The studio delivered almost 400 visual effects shots, with its London facility producing a single 10-minute sequence and Montreal facility creating a range of sequences, including full water simulations, integrating CG ships, digi-doubles and a helicopter crashing into the ocean.
Cinesite has shared a breakdown reel of its work on Marvel Studios’ latest release, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. In the movie, Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), M’Baku (Winston Duke), Okoye (Danai Gurira), and the Dora Milaje (including Florence Kasumba) fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman) and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda. Introducing Tenoch Huerta as Namor, king of Talokan, the film also stars Dominique Thorne, Michaela Coel, Mabel Cadena, and Alex Livinalli.
Working alongside production VFX supervisor Geoff Baumann, 2nd unit supervisor Michael Ralla, and VFX producer Nicole Rowley, Cinesite’s London and Montreal studios delivered close to 400 visual effects shots, with the London division delivering a single 10-minute sequence and Montreal a range of sequences across the film. Ben White was VFX supervisor for Cinesite London, and Jennifer Meire for Montreal.
The work represents one of the largest and most complex deliveries of VFX by Cinesitie for a Marvel project. The major sequence completed by the London team encompasses a nighttime car chase through (and above) the streets of Boston, a fight on a bridge between Okoye and the Talokanils, and the subsequent crime agency examination of the fight scene the following day. The complex range of work in the sequence included CG Talokanils; airborne Riri in her Ironheart Mk1 suit; her crash back to earth; explosions; partial and full CG environments; CG whales; extensive clean-up; and the hydrobomb which launches Shuri, Okoye, and Riri with a slow-motion blast of water energy.
Check out the studio’s VFX breakdown reel:
“The chase across Boston at night really put us to the test both creatively and technically,” said White. “In addition to the creatures and digi-doubles, we were tasked with creating highly complex, fully CG and FX heavy shots, including the slow-motion Hydrobomb detonations and crashes. On top of that - every shot on the bridge involves high-level environments and compositing, with the added complexity of flashing lights and wet surfaces. We also pushed very hard to match the specific look of the lenses used by Director of Photography Autumn Durald Arkapaw. All these things were needed to ensure the visual effects we created supported the film’s character-driven narrative and kept the audience in the moment.”
The Montreal team delivered a range of sequences, including the extensive Mining Mission, which required building a full CG cargo ship based on reference supplied by the production. In addition, the film called for full water simulations throughout, the integration of ships, digi-doubles, and the crashing helicopter into the ocean environment. Along with the London team, Montreal also delivered CG Talokanil and other digi-doubles, as well as CG vehicles, extensive environments, the recreation of the Zama temple based on actual ruins in Tulum, Mexico, and the CG mouth covering “rebreathers,” which the Talokanil wear to enable them to breathe above water.
“The Montreal team’s scope of work allowed us to show the audience a great range of VFX from otherworldly to invisible,” explained Meire. “We wanted cinemagoers to live the moment with the main characters, when they come face to face to fight their enemies Attuma, Namor, and the Talokanil during the twilight chase aboard a cargo ship in the open Atlantic Ocean, a digitally created environment which seamlessly serves to support the action and narrative tension.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sixth Marvel film to which Cinesite has contributed visual effects in the past five years, following Thor: Love & Thunder (2022); Black Widow (2021); Spider-Man: No way Home (2021); Avengers: Endgame (2019); Ant-Man & the Wasp (2018); and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).