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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever VFX Team Video Interview

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Black Panther

Almost everything about “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” feels like a leap forward from its predecessor, not just the film’s emotional impact due to Chadwick Boseman’s tragic death before production began, but also its scope and scale. “Wakanda Forever” casts its many characters across the globe, from Wakanda to America to Talokan, the underwater world led by new antagonist Namor (Tenoch Huerta Mejia). The herculean effort to bring the new locations to life required a large team of craftsmen, including visual effects masters Daniel Sudick, Geoffrey Baumann and Michael Ralla.

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“’Wakanda’ had it all. I can’t think of one type of effect that we haven’t done,” Sudick, the production special effects supervisor, tells Gold Derby in an exclusive video interview.

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“I had giant water gags, rain gags, car gags, everything,” he adds, using the language of visual effects creators. “I had everything oversized. It was like going through the drive-thru and saying, you know, give me the oversized water gag. Let’s make a million gallon dump tank.”

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Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe know Sudick’s work, even if they don’t recognize his name. He is a fixture on the production crews of the studio’s production and has 12 Oscar nominations so far in his career, including the Marvel movies “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2,” “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 3”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Avengers: Infinity War”, “Avengers: Endgame” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”.

Black Panther

“There’s a tremendous amount of collaboration on this movie,” says Baumann, the production visual effects supervisor who also worked on “Black Panther” with Sudick.

Baumann and Ralla

As a team, Sudick, Baumann and Ralla discussed where practical effects shots could be taken, such as with the massive flood that occurs in the Wakandan capital during a huge battle with Namor, and where digital enhancement could fill in the blanks. . . “That allowed a lot of the things we did to be successful because, as Dan was saying, we talked about ideas,” adds Baumann. “The ability to be able to have direct and frank conversations with Dan and find out what he could do and where we could help him was great. So when Dan released something, he and I already knew what it was. And that dynamic, I think, rippled through multiple departments: through props, through stunts, all of that stuff. Dan helped out in a lot of those other departments. Much more than I’m sure he wanted because everyone else just put their hands up. And Dan, he’s just a problem solver.”

Sudick and Baumann

Sudick and Baumann worked together on the first film with director Ryan Coogler, but even their familiarity with the filmmaker wasn’t necessarily easy when it came to executing the many effects-based scenes.

“Someone asked us, ‘How difficult was this movie?’” says Ralla, the production’s additional visual effects supervisor. “Honestly, on a scale of one to 10? This was at 11. I think we got there at 12.”

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Wakanda Forever

Water is a big part of “Wakanda Forever” with numerous sequences set in the underwater world of Talokan. That kind of effect is often difficult to execute and even more difficult to make it look realistic.

“How do you make it look good underwater? Well, you get wet,” says Ralla. She credited Coogler with getting into the water and learning to swim as part of preparing for him. “He knew that he had to learn to swim and he directed from inside the pool…. It was really 30 days under water. I think that was an important key ingredient in trying to make this a success.”

Another key component, the team says, is a drive to do effects in-camera and with practical means whenever possible. “The easiest thing is to say, ‘Oh, we don’t have time, let’s go with the visual effects,’” says Sudick. The goal, he says, is to “really fight and challenge yourself to make it, build it up, and bring it to the full set so that you have something to shoot and not so much take the easy way out.”

Black Panther

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is out now.

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