Eternals is far from the first time we've seen a speedster in superhero cinema. In Marvel movies, we've got a look at the running styles of two different Quicksilvers, and that's not even factoring in The CW's Flash or Ezra Miller's silver screen counterpart either. Eternals, however, used a speedster named Makkari (Lauren Ridloff), whose running style looked arguably the most different the skillset has ever seen before.
The team at Weta Digital—led by VFX supervisor Matt Aitken and animation supervisor Sidney Kombo-Kinombo—were largely responsible for Makkari's powers, including a massive scene where she raced around the planet. While some productions have used visual effects around plates featuring the actors slowly running in place, the Eternals team opted to circumvent that entirely. Instead, they used a digital double of Ridloff for the scene in question.
That means that the entire sequence was completely computer-generated, all the way up until the time she skids to stop.
"Animating a character so that it can look like it is moving at thousands of miles per her hour, without her legs just doing a kind of a ridiculous Road Runner kind of circular motion is an art that Sidney and his team, obviously, surpassed at," Aitken tells us.
"Having that idea that, 'Okay, the visual persistence of her presence in one place is something that you see, but she's already actually there,' that's what we tried to put a little bit here, and we couldn't really expand as much as we wanted, because the story wasn't allowing for that, but there are some areas where we try to do that," Kombo-Kinombo added. "Ikaris is shooting at her in a direction and he doesn't even see that she's right on his face already. So he's just shooting at an overall impression of Makkari in the distance. So the impression—the printing of Makkari's here, but she's already punching you from the left. When you look from the left, she's already behind you, and just leaving Makkari in frame as the other Makkari's appearing, that was something that we wanted to play with and have fun with. Oh, we did have fun with that one."
Eternals is now in theaters while Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is streaming on Disney+.
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