14 October 2022

Black History Month – Black Panther Fever: serious FX at the movies

We like to mix and match, here at mustard FX, and this week we’re blending the brilliant combo of Rotten Tomatoes (the website, not the decaying salad ingredient) and the UK’s Black History Month 2022. In fact, as it’s Black History Month, every mustard division will be posting blogs that celebrate black achievement, to commemorate this important period of the year.

Perfect timing! As no doubt you’re aware, last week saw the second trailer drop for one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We’ve already watched it over a dozen times, and aren’t willing to admit in public how many more views than that we’ve racked up. So if you’ve got Black Panther fever, keep on reading.

Wakanda needs no fanfare – it’s the long-awaited sequel to 2018’s Black Panther, one of the best reviewed movies in Marvel Studios’ history, and currently holding 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. For this is not only a film of towering cultural significance (the first Blackcentric Marvel superhero movie, people), but it also marked itself out as an award magnet.

Panther’s award parade naturally included visual effects. ILM’s work on the movie saw them popping open the champers the BAFTA and MTV awards, as well as delivering them a Critics’ Choice gong. The super talented Geoffrey Baumann served as Visual Effects Supervisor, while ILM worked alongside other effects houses including Scanline VFX, Double Negative, Perception and Rodeo FX to create the fully digital city of Wakanda.

Baumann has revealed that Black Panther presented the sort of dastardly challenges that made previous Marvel movies seem like child’s play. Problem number one was the specific costumes that had been designed for each tribe and character – this meant that the digital spectators during the Warrior Falls couldn’t be a simple copy and paste job on the digital set.  Instead, the visual effects department had to work with their colleagues in costume to model each extra individually. Some serious costuming and VFX prowess!

Those maestros at ILM also created over 60,000 individual buildings for the futuristic city of Wakanda, drawing inspiration from real-life locations like Sydney’s One Central Park and Kampala’s Pearl of Africa Hotel. With each one being a unique design, watching the film is a truly immersive digital experience, and one that we’ll be revisiting next month.

Of course, the biggest conundrum that Wakanda Forever had to deal with, was the tragic and untimely passing of Chadwick Boseman. The actor debuted his T’Challa (AKA Black Panther) performance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, before headlining his own film two years later. After Chadwick’s death in 2020, Marvel made the respectful decision not to recast his role in the sequel. Instead, Wakanda Forever takes place in the wake of T’Challa’s death, and sees Wakanda’s leaders fighting to protect their nation from invading forces.

Although Marvel confirmed they wouldn’t be resurrecting a digital Boseman, there have been more and greater effects challenges for the film. One of these included the design and execution of the undersea nation of Talokan, something we can’t wait to put on slo-mo while we get out our magnifying glasses.

Time will tell whether this latest movie will wow us in the same way as the technically innovative original, but we’re already placing tactical bets on how many awards it’ll hoover up. From the trailer alone, Wakanda Forever looks to be one of the visually sumptuous movies ever to come out of the Marvel stable. For sure, it’ll be a poignant watch, but also a suitable honour to the memory of Chadwick Boseman. RIP, sir!

Recent blog posts

Unreal Engine 5 Meets Rogue Trooper

An animated force to be reckoned with… Metahuman animation has come a looooong way since Polar Express (2004) and Beowolf (2007). Groundbreaking at the point of cinematic release, time has not been kind to the Tom Hanks and Ray Winstone-voiced movies when compared to today’s digital offerings. The… Read More

View more

Co-op Live – A 2024 Arena with Attitude

Mean, green and purpose-built for serious music fans The Co-op is a place we usually associate with going to see the vegetable aisle, not Liam Gallagher. But that’s all about to change, because in April, Co-op Live is opening its doors as Manchester’s brand spanking new arena with attitude… Read More

View more

The Interior Design Hospitality Trend List 2024

What’s hot and sexy for hotels and restaurants Interior design in hospitality has many battles to fight – not least that irritating truism “Well, you can’t please everyone!” Because one thing’s for sure, in the world of hotel and restaurant ID, you’re going to have to delight an awful lot… Read More

View more

The Job Hunt Blueprint

Open a New Employment Door in 2024 With the Christmas and New Year celebrations successfully completed, most of us are turning our attention to implementing our priority resolutions for 2024. Top of most of our lists is how to improve our personal and professional lives, and how to step up… Read More

View more

The Best of our 2023

The cream of our creative year 2024 might well be giving us a saucy wink, but it can just hold on a minute. Because before we embrace the year ahead, we’re taking one last look at what raised our pulses… Read More

View more

Dezeen Interior Design Award Winners 2023

A Showcase of the Best in International Interior Design London recently morphed into Paris Fashion Week, when the world of design flocked to 2023’s Dezeen Awards. This year’s hotly-anticipated international awards ceremony announced 50 winners in a variety of categories. These showcase the world’s top-tier architecture, interiors, design… Read More

View more

Experiential Events Are Now Hot Christmas Brands

The rise of the Christmas pop-up Pop-ups aren’t just for marketing these days – these experiential events are now hot Christmas brands in their own right. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by a lot of hotels, country houses, parks, and just about any public space, which are being transformed into ticket-only,… Read More

View more

Community Food Bank Collection

It’s the time of year to give back to those who need it most, that’s why we’re putting together a community foodbank. The teams across mustard jobs are planning to rustle up as many long-life food, hygiene and sanitary products as possible. Last year’s foodbank donation was impressive, but this… Read More

View more

Early Career Architects and The Pay 100

Fighting for living wage standards within the architectural industry If you’re a fledgling architect, and you’re wondering “What is The Pay 100?”, then it’s time to get acquainted – this motivated and forward-thinking, worker-led organisation has been supporting and inspiring open wage cooperation in the architectural industry since 2022. Read More

View more

Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary Celebrations

VFX and animation that’s fit for a Time Lord If you’re a Doctor Who fan and into its award-winning VFX, then the last 13 months have been an agonising wait. Because that’s how long it’s been since Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor exited the TARDIS onto Dorset’s Durdle Door and… Read More

View more