The writers for The Flash and Arrow have not shied away from having large, blockbuster spectacles in their shows up to this point. Despite budgetary constraints and the fact that both shows reside on a small network like the CW - both have managed to do fairly well with what they've been given so far (and it's rare when the effects take away from the actual experience of watching the episodes). Although, there have been a few moments where the effects have tripped up a bit - with the Queen's Gambit in the first season of Arrow not providing particularly strong moments visually, for instance.
However, no viewer quite knew what to expect when Gorilla Grodd entered the picture around the beginning of The Flash's first season. How in the world was a series with such a small budget, going to be able to pull off creating a gigantic, telepathic and intellectual gorilla as a serious threat without the effects looking like they came out of a video game from the early 2000s?
Well as fans of the series now know - they pulled it off, and in a recent interview with Comicbook.com, The Flash's VFX Chief, Armen Kevorkian spoke about what the process was like creating Grodd for the series. In regards to how much time was provided to actually create Grodd, Kevorkian said the following:
"We had discussed Grodd in the beginning of the season, so we were slowly kind of looking into it. It wasn't until I think it was Episode 12, the first time we showed him. And we knew that there were certain details you weren't going to be seeing because it was very dark and all that.
So since then, we've improved on him as well, knowing that he was going to be featured in [an episode]. So it hasn't been that long, but we've had a little more time than most episodes just on his asset, basically."
It's true that fans had been hearing about the visual effects for Grodd ever since the showrunners were tweeting about it a few months ago. However, for many months - the only glimpses audiences had seen of the iconic comic book villain came from the shadows where only parts of his body were able to be seen.
When asked if Grodd was the toughest challenge yet for the VFX team - Kevorkian replied:
"He's challenging, I'll tell you for a number of reasons. Obviously, there's a lot of eyes on something like that when you do it for television, you know, doing an animated gorilla, especially coming off a year when Planet of the Apes did what they did. So the challenge is more internal, where you're nervous or like "How are we going to pull this off?"
But again, I think with planning -- and we've got an amazing team of talented artists -- you sort of figure out as you go, what's the best way to do this with the time and resources that you have."
The VFX Chief also teased the team's work on the Supergirl pilot, as well as another project for the Flash team that he did not name:
"We do The Flash, we finished the Supergirl pilot and we did a little thing for them for something else that's coming up."
It'll be interesting to see what this mystery project ends up being - whether or not it's actually a secret worth speculating about or just a throwaway comment is probably too soon to say. However, considering what the VFX team have been able to do with the CW's budget constraints - the effects for Supergirl may wind up being just as impressive, which should comfort fans worried about the newest DC property airing on a separate network.
Now, it's not like Grodd was as amazing of a spectacle as the apes are in the Planet of the Apes franchise, but that's okay because it would have been unfair of viewers to expect that in the first place. For what the show has in terms of resources, budget, scale, etc. - Grodd was one of the series' best visual achievements to date.
The freshman season of the CW hit series is set to come to an end next week with its highly-anticipated season finale, where fans will finally get to see the culmination of everything season one has been building towards so far. With the Reverse-Flash and The Flash set to be the main focus of next week's episode - it likely will be awhile before audiences get to see Grodd pop up again. However, if "Grodd Lives" concluded with at least one certainty - it's that the battle in the sewers won't be the only time the Scarlet Speedster and Grodd cross paths.
The Flash Season 1 Finale will air next Tuesday at 8/7c on the CW.