Superhuman hair and giant teleporting dogs were never going to be an easy sell for a feature-length movie in the MCU; indeed, it might be a blessing in disguise that Inhumans will finally hit screens as a TV show rather than a film. Despite the lower budget, small screen endeavors can actually make these fantastical elements more believable by immersing viewers in a particular world for a longer period of time.
However, following the negative reception that the first Inhumans trailer received, there's now extra pressure on the visual effects team to perfect the final cut before it hits IMAX theaters. Fortunately, director Roel Reiné revealed that the FX shots from the first Inhumans promo weren't ready to be seen by the public, and those used in the second trailer were a huge improvement on the first.
Visual effects undoubtedly play a huge role in any Marvel show, and this especially true for Inhumans, which partially takes place on the dark side of the moon. But if there's one area where the Inhumans VFX team really need to knock it out of the park, it's in bringing the giant teleporting canine Lockjaw to life. Fortunately, it sounds like Inhumans' most unique character is in good hands, if our interview with director Roel Reiné is anything to go by.
How Was Lockjaw Created For The Inhumans TV Show?
Inhumans may represent one small step for #Marvel, but the show will also be one giant leap for the future of TV. Developed using IMAX cameras and premiering for the first in IMAX cinemas, Inhumans will star one of the first fully CG characters to ever be cast in a TV show. Understandably then, Reiné and his team worked hard behind the camera to ensure that the adorable Lockjaw will impress viewers enough to convince them that the show's worth investing in.
Reiné described the process of bringing Lockjaw to the screen as a "nerve-wracking one," but assures us that the FX team have done a phenomenal job of bringing the comic book canine to life.
"Double Negative, the visual FX house who worked on Lockjaw are really good at creature design. We were very lucky to have them on board. We used a real bulldog as reference. We were looking at photos of bulldogs and then they created it in a 3D environment. When I saw the first test, I could not see the difference between a real dog and this dog."
Of course, that's all well and good for the final cut, but did the cast of the Inhumans have a point of reference to work with while on set?
"Yeah, the visual FX house didn't want me to use an actor with tennis balls on his head, so the art department built a big foam cut-out that is the size of Lockjaw. It had little wheels underneath so we could roll it onto set, so the actors could rehearse with it, know where it would be, and know how big it is."
Adorably nicknamed Stuffy, this foam cut-out of Lockjaw helped support the actors during rehearsal, providing them with something tangible to act against. However, it sounds like Stuffy was considerable less cute than his CG counterpart:
"The funny thing is, the art department painted Stuffy blue for some reason, which makes no sense, because we would never cue in blue screen or something, so it became a blue Stuffy. Basically, when you see a shot, the actors are acting against emptiness, but rehearsed with blue Stuffy."
How Do Lockjaw's Teleportation Powers Work On Inhumans?
As this is the first live-action adaptation of the Inhumans, Reiné was given free reign to explore how Lockjaw's powers would be depicted onscreen, and it sounds as though fans will be impressed by what they see.
"In the comics, it's never described how the teleportation worked, so I remember pitching to Marvel my version of it. I wanted to stay away from force fields or light flashes or 'Star Trekky' things. I pitched them a version where it would be very natural...where the dog would vaporise into sand and dust, dissolve to one side with the person he is teleporting and then return from the other side... I wanted to make it a very organic version of teleportation, because he is a dog."
The dissolving effect is seen briefly in the trailer, but it'll be fascinating for comic book fans to see Lockjaw brought to life in full slobbering glory on the show.
Citing Lockjaw as his favorite Inhumans character, Reiné was excited to play such an instrumental role in his design, explaining that his "DNA is in Lockjaw" now. According to Reiné, Lockjaw will be everybody else's favorite character on the show too, so keep your eyes peeled for the lovable canine when #Inhumans premieres in IMAX on September 1.
Who is your favorite member of the Inhumans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!