Spider-Man: No Way Home had so many characters and stories packed into its run time that some details were left on the cutting room floor. With many actors returning to familiar hero and villain roles throughout the film, the story called for explaining where they were before, how they got there, and what they wanted. As a result, Doctor Strange's interesting new cube which essentially acted as a reset button for his spell had a deeper backstory which got left on the cutting room floor as it was subjected to changes throughout the process of its animation.
Adrien Saint Girons, the visual effects supervisor at Framestore who worked on Spider-Man: No Way Home, explained in an interview with Before & After what happened with the story of what is referred to as "the green cube," because it was just that on the film's set before it was made to look like a magical block for the final cut. In the film, this object was called the Machina de Kadavus and (spoilers ahead!) offered the ability to unleash the botched spell which prompted everyone to forget about Peter Parker's existence to send characters like Doc Ock and Electro back to their respective alternate universes.
"We designed that. That was, very bizarrely, one of the things that we spent a lot of time on," Saint Girons explained of the Machina de Kadavus. "You wouldn't think it, but it was a very time-consuming process. It took a lot of iterations to come up with exactly the right look and the right mechanism for the box. There were a lot of changes that occurred. It used to be a much more mechanical kind of puzzle-I don't know if you ever saw those Chris Ramsey videos online where he's solving big puzzles. There was a whole backstory to it that got simplified in the end."
The "backstory," which ended up "simplified," seems to fall in line with Matt Murdocks's appearance in the film, which came in an abbreviated fashion and fast-tracked the film through Peter Parker's legal issues as his super heroics broke the laws in place with the Sokovoa Accords. Whether the backstory of this magical cube is going to be revealed later is unknown.
"The initial brief was that it should look ancient, that it should look complex, and that it should be an interesting mechanism," Saint Girons said. "It should look like something that would take a strong wizard to solve. The initial design was all exploded and Strange is bringing all the pieces back together. We had these hinge mechanisms, and then the look was something where we had to figure out the right amount of metal versus wood versus stone to give a sense of an ancient artifact."
Though the story attached to the magic box might have been removed, Saint Girons has nothing but love for the entire collaborative process. "One thing that was pretty great with this film from the start is that we were involved in the creative process," Saint Girons said. 'The box started off as a green cube and the idea behind the box evolved. How the box worked actually changed throughout the lifespan of the project. The general idea was always that it was something that Strange is solving and to send the guys back to their worlds. But in this case, in the end, it was to contain the spell that had gone wrong. So, it got a little bit of a hybrid role and transformed in that sense."
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