Already a “fan” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw knew that “Avengers: Endgame” “was going to be the biggest film we’d ever done.” He wasn’t wrong. The Disney release eventually became the highest box office grosser in history, so the pressure to deliver was immense. Watch our exclusive video interview with DeLeeuw and fellow VFX supervisors Matt Aitken, Russell Earl and Jen Underdahl above.
The final installment of this 22-film Marvel storyline picks up where “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) left off, with supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin) having wiped out half the universe’s population with a snap of his fingers. The remaining Avengers (led by Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man) must then find a way to reverse his actions, leading to a climactic fight involving all the heroes in the MCU.
That battle was “incredibly complex” to pull off, Aitken reveals, with “a lot of digital characters” and “custom effects” to create. Combining every set piece in the extended fight sequence gave them “a huge range of different puzzles to solve as we worked our way through the process.”
All four effects artists have previously been recognized by their peers for their work. Aitken previously earned an Oscar nomination for “District 9” (2009). DeLeeuw and Earl both competed for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2015) and “Avengers: Infinity War.” Earl also contended for “Transformers” (2007) and “Star Trek” (2009). Underdahl won a Visual Effects Society award for “Infinity War” (shared with DeLeeuw and Aitken) and could earn her first Oscar bid this year.
“Endgame” certainly looks poised for academy recognition since it just received four bids from the Visual Effects Society, including Best Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, which corresponds to the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
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