Cinesite delivers 400 complex VFX shots for Marvel Studios' box office hit <i>Black Panther: Wakanda Forever</i>
February 2, 2023

Cinesite delivers 400 complex VFX shots for Marvel Studios' box office hit Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sees 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.
Working alongside production VFX supervisor Geoff Baumann, 2nd unit supervisor Michael Ralla and VFX producer Nicole Rowley, Cinesite’s London and Montreal studios together 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. Cinesite’s VFX supervisor for London was Ben White and Jennifer Meire for Montreal.

The work represents one of the largest deliveries of VFX for a Marvel show to date for Cinesite, and some of the studio’s most complex work. The major sequence completed by the London team encompasses a night time 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, spectacular explosions, partial and full CG environments, CG whales, extensive clean-up and of course the stunning hydrobomb which launches Shuri, Okoye, and Riri with a slow-motion blast of water energy.

“The chase across Boston at night really put us to the test both creatively and technically,” says Ben White, Cinesite London VFX supervisor. “In addition to the creatures and digidoubles, 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, where a full CG cargo ship was built based on reference supplied by the production. Full water simulations were required throughout, integrating ships, digidoubles, and even a crashing helicopter into the ocean environment. 

Along with the London team, Montreal also delivered CG Talokanil and other digidoubles. CG vehicles, extensive environments, the recreation of the Zama temple based on actual ruins in Tulum, Mexico, and also the CG mouth covering “rebreathers” which the Talokanil wear to enable them to breathe above water, were all among the challenges taken on by the teams.

“The Montreal team’s scope of work allowed us to show the audience a great range of VFX from otherworldly to invisible,” Jennifer Meire, Cinesite Montreal’s VFX supervisor explains. “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.”

Since its release, Wakanda Forever has dominated the global  box office it’s 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) & Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

Watch Cinesite's VFX breakdown reel:

Images courtesy of Cinesite and Marvel