Eternals have some impressive battles against CGI monsters, but some of the heroes’ costumes were also wholly digital, as revealed by the visual effects supervisor Matt Aitken. Talking to Comicbook.com, Aitken explained how Thena (Angelina Jolie) and Starfox (Harry Styles) were brought to life through computers, while the other Eternals had actual uniforms to wear during Eternals’ production.
In one of its credit scenes, Eternals introduces Eros, also known as Starfox. This Eternal is the brother of Thanos, and his appearance in the movie was kept under wraps until the last minute. So, it’s easy to understand how Starfox’s costume had to be made entirely by CGI, especially since the hero’s looks were passing through redesigns while his scenes were still being shot. More surprising, however, is to learn that Thena’s costume also had the same treatment.
As Aitken puts it, “when she's [Thena] in her superhero suit, it's always entirely CG.” Thena’s costume also went through multiple redesigns, so much that the team had to build her uniform entirely inside a computer. As Aitken tells it, “she's [Thena] a CG from the neck down because the suit design changed in post-production.”
Replacing the whole body of a character in post-production comes with a lot of challenges. Explaining the process of remaking Jolie’s entire body with a computer, Aitken points out the biggest challenges of the process were to follow the fluidity of the actress’ performance. In Aitken’s words, the hardest part of the process was:
“Getting her body performance so that it had that iconic aspect to it, they've cast Angelina Jolie for a reason. And part of that is that she has a way of moving that's almost like a dancer. Making sure that we honored that with the digital component of the performance, but the capturing of her face particularly is what I'm getting around to here, getting that authenticity so that we can do a mid-shot as a digi-double and it's not going to be jarring for anybody. It's not going to pop them out of it. They're just going to think, 'Oh, this is another Thena fight beat.'”
Eternals is directed and co-written by Chloé Zhao, who’s coming to the MCU after winning Best Director and Best Picture at the 2021 Oscars for Nomadland. The script is also signed by Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo. Eternals stars Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Salma Hayek as Ajak, and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman. Besides presenting a new team of powerful superheroes, Eternals explains why the Eternals stood down when Thanos wiped out half the universe and reveals the story behind the creation of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Early reviews of Eternals have been mixed, pointing out how the epic scope of the movie sometimes gets in the way of a narrative focused on human relations. However, that didn’t stop Eternals from opening to a $71 million U.S. box office, with another $90 million coming from international markets. Eternals was dethroned by Ghostbusters: Afterlife the last weekend, dropping to the second position of the highest box office. Still, the movie already gathered $300 million worldwide, and while this is lackluster for an MCU movie, it also means Eternals has the chance of turning some profit at the end of its run.
Eternals is now available exclusively in theaters.
Wait, is that Starfox in a silver suit?