Like the handful of characters The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended up introducing to the masses, the series also added Madripoor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fictional island country is often associated with select mutants and members of the X-Men; even though that wasn't the case during the Disney+ show, the country did serve as a pivotal location for the batch of six episodes.
The establishing shots of the country were built by Sébastien Francoeur and his team of around 250 visual effects artists at Rodeo FX. Just like Westview before it — additional shots for WandaVision also created by Rodeo FX, coincidentally enough — Madripoor is built digitally from the ground up. As with most other things that come from Marvel Studios, the studio-side visual development team had already crafted concept art for the island by the time Rodeo FX got involved. The second Francoeur and his team landed the job, it was off to the races.
"The primary inspiration for those wide views was Hong Kong, those kinds of tall buildings with those lights moving around, so that was one of the references," Francoeur tells us of his Madripoorian inspirations.
The team, however, needed to take it a bit further to create Madripoor and separate High Town and Low Town from each other. To that end, the VFX supervisor says he and his team envisioned a "spooky" Las Vegas packed full of modern-day pirates and crime lords.
Rodeo FX producer Graeme Marshall adds the difference between the two locales was paramount in the development process. Furthermore, as Marshall says, it was important to not play into the outdated artwork of the Marvel Comics source material.
"But what we had to do was we had to build a city that was able to be put into different views and you could see that there was a resemblance between the shots," Marshall says. "There's the shot in the shipyards for instance, where you see Madripoor in the background right before they go into the lab and we had to be able to reposition our city so that you could still see it was the Madripoor that you'd seen in the establishing shot, same can be said for when we're walking across the bridge with Zemo and Sam and Bucky. Obviously that's a different view than the establisher as well."
In addition to Hong Kong, Marshall adds Singapore and Shanghai as other locales that helped to influence the final look of Madripoor. The plates filmed for the establishing shots were filmed in Prague and features the Trojo Bridge as a main focal point.
In total, Rodeo FX worked 504 shots in total between Madripoor, the high-octane tractor-trailer fight between the titular heroes and Flag-Smashers, and various other shots throughout.
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