No Way Home’s VFX Team Talk Creates Its Villains


Image: Marvel Studios

Visual effects are a big part of MCU movies, but Spider-Man: No Way Home did the work for it. Return five villains from previous films, plus two from the former Spider-Men was quite an undertaking, and VFX supervisor Kelly Port recently spoke about the process of bringing these characters back for the MCU.

Port previously worked on Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and the original Thor, and his team knew they had to do all these villains justice. As for the creation, it was important to “be true to the nuances of each character”, and the previous films were watched for reference. Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2, for example, had plenty of reference photos for the team to pull from. Looking at the pictures of the puppeteers, Port’s team was able to completely CG the tentacles and believe they are “quite consistent” with the archive photos. Proud as he is, he also admits it couldn’t be for every character, as much of the reference material simply no longer existed.

As for the villain, the biggest hurdle turned out to be Spider-Man 3 baddie Sandman, again played by Thomas Haden Church. For No Way Home, the villain is in his sand form for most of the film, and Port admits it was an ordeal interviewing companies (several of which have worked on Spider-Man movies before) to work on the film. to work. Creating the character was difficult in 2007 because the technologies to create him did not yet exist. Even with advances in technology, Port admitted there was “a collective post-traumatic stress disorder” for Flint Marko’s second outing. Church recorded some achievements, with a simulation taking over from the millions of grains of sand. In the scenes where you see Church, the team used alternate takes from Spider-Man 3 and re-projected them onto their fully CG version.

No Way Home’s narrative conceit of taking the villains out of their climactic battles with their respective Spider-Men means they had to grow up. (Unless it was during some action scenes, where full CG doubles of the villains were made.) Molina needed a facial tracking system to remove wrinkles and tighten the skin, which was “time-consuming”, but that seemed to work the most. Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin was also outdated, but apparently “very minimal” as the team didn’t want to use facial details. “We’ve kept all the details of the original photography,” notes Port.

In total, No Way Home has 2,500 VFX shots, much of it clearly from the action scenes. Pitting the three Spider-Men against the savage five villains on Liberty Island was “all digital,” even down to Tom Holland’s costume. Because of the time it took to replace Spider-Man’s costume with his digital Iron Spider suit in those sequences, Port calls it “a bit of a nail biter”. Good thing it looks like the Iron Spider suit is finished at the end of the movie.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]


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