The Marvel Cinematic Universe has over 20 movies spanning 11 years since the first in the franchise – Iron Man, which premiered in 2008. Often, fans don't get to see what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite movies and television shows, but that's changing more and more. There's a lot of work that goes into making films, especially ones as big as the Marvel movies. Some of these are massive sfx, while other details are more subtle.
For instance, in an interview with MixKnowledgy, Black Panther co-editor Michael P. Shawver talked about the use of an absence of music to create a different kind of feeling in the movie. The cinematographer for Doctor Strange, Ben Davis, has described at length the amount of behind-the-scenes time, scheduling and coordination it took to set up the fantastical world-bending shots. For all the amazing writing, producing, directing and acting, there are numerous elements and departments that people don't often think about, that put in a lot of work and have to be in sync to bring to life the shows and movies we love. Sometimes fun, sometimes stressful.
Seeing entertainment from behind the scenes can give different insight to how things work in movies and shows. So here's a look at MCU: 20 Behind The Scenes Photos That Change Everything.
20 HELA'S SUIT
Cate Blanchett plays Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Hela is Thor's sister, created before him and used by Odin at a time when he was more warlike. After that time passed, he locked Hela away because her brutality and need to conquer was endless.
Here, Cate wears a “mocap” suit designed to mimic her movements and capture her performance in order to transfer over to the special effects for Hela's outfit. Far less scary without the horns. No stranger to epic fantasy/action-adventure roles, Cate also played the faerie queen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, movies that also required extensive special effects in addition to the numerous practical effects and props.
19 WAR MACHINE, FALCON, AND ANTHONY RUSSO GOOFING OFF
Taking a break between Civil War scenes, “War Machine” and “Falcon” are having a laugh, which is quite different from their characters in the movie. Having to choose sides between Iron Man and Captain America, the movie delves into some serious topics.
When a list is created to keep track of powered individuals, those in favor of the new law oppose those who are not in favor of it, and which side is correct is not as clear-cut as it seems. Anthony Russo joins in sharing a light-hearted moment with Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie. This BTS photo shows that there's still time for fun during grueling shoots on emotional, action-packed movies.
18 GAMORA AND LIL' GAMORA
Seeing double? Not exactly, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and lil' Gamora (Ariana Greenblatt) in this BTS photo are shown taking a break to goof off. Very different from in the movie Infinity War, in which Gamora is sacrificed for the soul stone. After Thanos sacrifices his older daughter he meets with the younger version of her in a vision, and she asked him if he did it.
This is the part in the movie where the audience sees a more “sympathetic” side of his character. It was a necessary scene to add even more depth to his character, but didn't change how audiences viewed him and his actions. This behind-the-scenes photo certainly shows a happier picture of what things are like on the set as opposed to Gamora's tragic ending in the movie.
17 BEFORE THE SNAP
One of the saddest moments in Infinity War is when Spider-Man tries to stay, and he tells Tony that he's sorry. That scene has now been re-purposed into memes and jokes on social media. However it is one of the most emotional parts of the devastating sequence in Infinity War after Thanos (Josh Brolin) snaps his fingers – and it not only made people cry, it made a lot of people angry.
Much of that anger was directed at Star-Lord, who decided to punch the villain in the face when the rest of the team almost had him and the glove. Because of that move, many characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, Bucky, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord himself and others were lost along with half of all life in the universe. However this behind the scenes photo with Pratt, Holland and Karen Gillian gives a playful upside to an otherwise very sad scene.
16 BLACK PANTHER AND KEVIN FEIGE
Kevin Feige takes some time out behind-the-scenes to talk to Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther. Black Panther's popularity has broken records all over the place, far exceeding box office expectations and winning numerous awards. All of the movies in the Marvel universe have spectacular special effects, and Black Panther was no exception to that rule.
Behind Feige and Boseman, a green screen is set up, ready for the next scenes. Black Panther featured new technology not seen in other Marvel movies, notably because Wakanda has advancements unknown to the rest of the world. Bringing these to life required extensive work and preparation from the cast and the crew members.
15 THE AVENGERS TOGETHER
At the end of the Avengers movie, Iron Man sacrificed himself in order to save the city. Fortunately, his friends didn't give up so easily and managed to revive him, after which they went out for shawarma. This behind the scenes shot gives some insight into how that scene was filmed.
Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) runs towards his friends in the bodysuit that will allow them to put in the special effects for the the character later on in the editing process. There's “debris” on the ground, and you can clearly see the green screen and the lighting of the set in the background, making this scene far less ominous than it appeared to be in the movie.
14 LOKI AND BLACK WIDOW POSING TOGETHER
Loki and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) were not exactly friends in the Avengers movies. While Loki (Tom Hiddleston) did eventually become something of a reluctant good guy in Infinity War and Thor: Ragnorok, he's more known for his contentious behavior.
Loki is also a trickster, so an illusion or two was never out of the question for the character. Black Widow used this to her advantage in Avengers, letting him insult her, which resulted in her learning his plans regarding Hulk. This behind the scenes photo shows the good friends and colleagues taking a break after filming. Vastly different from their characters in the films.
13 PREPPING FOR THE INFINITY WAR FIGHT
This scene from Infinity War shows the cast against a green screen backdrop. In the movie, they are in Wakanda, getting ready for battle. Wakanda is a massive country and the amount of special effects used to bring it to life is extensive. While Wakanda was featured in Infinity War, it was, naturally, the main setting in Black Panther.
In that movie, there was an opportunity to create an entire culture and location for the screen from scratch. While a green screen was used, large sets were also built, which required teams of people to complete. Here Okoye (Danai Gurira), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and others stand with Black Panther.
12 HAWKEYE IN ACTION
Three Arri Alexa cameras are lined up for a shot on the set of Captain America: Civil War. Jeremy Renner wasn't in Infinity War, but he's in the trailer for Endgame. His reappearance seems to be a surprise to Black Widow, and fans have speculated that in the snap Hawkeye's family was among those removed from the universe. Many believe that scenario explains the more somber appearance of the character.
This BTS scene photo shows some of the camera work that goes into capturing a scene. While the final scene is seamless, making it appear as though the action was effortless and possibly filmed with one camera, this BTS shot shows that multiple cameras are sometimes used to capture just one fight sequence.
11 VALKYRIE'S INTRO
This behind the scenes photo shows Taika Waititi and Tessa Thompson going over a scene. Tessa plays Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok. She's a mercenary who, at first appearances, doesn't seem to care about anything but getting her bounty. We soon learn that her reluctance to help Thor is because she's the last of her kind, after the rest were ended by Hela.
Here, Taika and Tessa appear to run through Valkyrie's intro scene, when she arrives in her ship. Behind them are several blue screens, which are similar to green screens. In addition to Valkyrie returning for additional movies, the possibility of a female-lead MCU movie starring Tessa Thompson, Scarlett Johansson and Evangeline Lilly has also been mentioned.
10 DRAX PETTING ROCKET
Dave Bautista and Sean Gunn look a bit different here. Wearing a green screen suit, Sean Gunn plays his part as Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Trevor Devall) in this BTS shot. Featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and Infinity War, Rocket Raccoon ends up being one of two members left of the Guardians after Thanos' snap.
Rocket was made against his will and endured a lot of pain in the process. He resents being changed from a regular creature but at the same time realizes he wouldn't exist otherwise. As an onscreen character, he is just as relatable as any of the human characters, so it's a bit strange to see his BTS composition.
9 EGO, GAMORA, AND STAR-LORD TAKING A BREAK
Ego, Gamora and Star-Lord rest and relax in between filming. Kurt Russell played star Chris Pratt's egomaniac deity of a father in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The action-packed movie no doubt had long hours, so breaks while filming would definitely be very welcomed.
Somehow, a universe devouring deity seems a lot less devastating while fast asleep. And apparently the 1980s cassette player has been ditched for a cell phone. If Star-Lord and Gamora return in Endgame or sometime after, one has to wonder if Star-Lord will make a trip to Earth and get a music player upgrade?
8 THE REAL KORG
Taika Waititi puts a different spin on directorial cameos. While many directors (and creators like the dearly departed Stan Lee) make appearances in their movies and some have even starred in the movies they're directing, few have appeared as CGI characters in their films. This behind the scenes photo with the director and Chris Hemsworth shows some the process behind bringing the character to life.
Waititi wears a mocap suit to capture his performance. It's the same type of suit used for other characters like Hulk and Spider-Man. Taika Waititi, who started out as an actor, played Korg in Thor: Ragnarok. Korg is a rock-like monster and warrior who helped defeat Hela before Asgard was destroyed.
7 VISION PRE-CG
You know those commercials with the Skittles on people's faces? This is kind of what that looks like that. Tropical Skittles? Blue Mentos, maybe? I digress. This behind the scenes photo shows just how much of Vision (Paul Bettany) is really CGI, and how much is extensive makeup and a suit that looks like it was made for VR gaming.
As with the motion capture suit, the blueish dots on his face allow for motion and performance tracking so that SFX can be properly set up in post. In Infinity War, Vision was the final piece of the puzzle (or final stone) that Thanos needed to complete his plot to remove half of all life in the universe.
6 DOCTOR STRANGE FIGHTING
Does this remind anyone else of being a kid, skipping and jumping around while pretending to be superheroes, magicians or beings from another galaxy? Come on, don't pretend it doesn't. This fun-looking behind-the-scenes photo of Doctor Strange (Bededict Cumberbatch), Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) gives a glimpse into some of the work that goes into making an action scene believable.
Though wires are often involved, sometimes they just have to leap and skip about, all while staying completely in character to make sure that everything seems real on screen. This photo shows that there were no wires involved in the acrobatics shown here; much of the action seen in the movie was CGI.
5 STAR-LORD AND SPIDER-MAN'S CONFRONTATION
First impressions, amIright? By now it's pretty apparent that Star-Lord can make an entrance. But this is a bit much, yeah? On their first meeting, Pratt's character takes things more than a little over-the-top with Spider-Man . You can even see Pom Klementieff (Mantis) in the background expressing shock at the confrontation.
This behind the scenes photo, however, makes things seem a lot less threatening and far more surreal. With Tom Holland in a motion capture suit and the green screen in the background, it's easy to forget just how tense that scene was in the movie in infinity war.
4 AGENT COULSON DIRECTING
Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson) directs Florence Faivre (Sinara) in this scene from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While technically the TV series – like Agents, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Iron Fist – are not part of MCU, but are in the Marvel Television division, Agents has more crossover with MCU than any of the others.
Being the first Marvel TV series, it's also the longest-running and featured Coulson as a primary figure in the movies, until his life was taken by Loki. He will return to the MCU in Captain Marvel, further strengthening Agents ties with the MCU. Many fans have expressed an interest in seeing the MCU movies open up to include other actors from the shows, who currently play characters like Daisy, Luke Cage, Deathlok, Jessica Jones and others.
3 TONY STARK IN HIS LAB
By now we all that Tony Stark isn't so great with taking orders from anyone. He's more on the side of giving them or, you know, just throwing a party and letting things sort themselves out. “Carpin' all them diems.” In this behind the scenes photo, however, Robert Downey Jr. takes direction from Jon Favreau as they work on perfecting the scene.
Iron Man was the first of the Marvel cinematic universe movies and quickly solidified the series as a blockbuster hit with fans and critics alike. It also also effectively made Stark the defacto leader of the Avengers (outside of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, of course).
2 ANT-MAN AND THE WASP TRAIN
Evangeline Lilly is Wasp in Ant-Man and Wasp and here she trains with the director Peyton Reed. As in most action superhero movies Ant-Man and Ant-Man and Wasp have highly choreographed action and fighting scenes that can require months of training. At the end of AMAW only Ant-Man is left after the Thanos snap, which happened in Infinity War. As mentioned, a female-lead MCU movie has been talked about and if made Lilly is expected to be in that movie. So, unless it's a prequel, it can be expected that Evangeline will turn in her role is Wasp at some point in Endgame or later on.
1 THE BLACK PANTHER SET
Black Panther has been nominated for several Oscars and has been widely praised for being the first of its kind in the superhero genre. While a lot of CGI was used, sets were also designed and built from scratch to set the unique look of Wakanda. This behind-the-scenes shot features director Ryan Coogler with production designer Hannah Beachler and cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who was the first female director of photography nominated for an Oscar. While production on Black Panther was no doubt intense, there's also clearly fun and friendship as everyone worked together to bring the popular superhero and the world of Wakanda to life on screen.