Marvel Studios finally brought one of the God of Thunder's greatest adversaries to the big screen in Thor: Ragnarok, but the process of bringing Hela to life was difficult behind the scenes.
Visual Development Supervisor Andy Park spoke with ComicBook.com about designing Hela. He spoke about how practical effects and CGI played into the process, and how he continued working on the design long after filming wrapped on the movie.
Park, who is currently working on Captain Marvel, started by saying his initial designs always consider practical costumes, even though Hela's final look was almost completely done in post-production.
"A lot of times we don't always know what's gonna be CGI, what's gonna be practical," said Park, "so a character like Hela, like when I was doing the initial designs, I'm always thinking practical, because regardless if it's going to end up being CGI or practical, practically built, you have to think, 'This has to look like it's practical.'
"It has to look like it could actually work in the real world, in real life, so what I appreciated about Taika [Waititi, Thor: Ragnarok director] was that he really just wanted to push that kind of comic book look into Hela, 'cause from the get go, knowing that Hela has those big old horns, or antlers I should say, coming out of her head, as a designer, I'm like, 'Okay, you can't really do that practically.'"
Park said that his early designs for Hela had the antlers coming out of her back, almost like wings, in order to account for Cate Blanchett not wearing a six-foot-wide helmet.
"But Taika really [pushed me] like, 'No, no. I want it to be that comic book look.' And I would do some that are a little smaller so it's a little bit more palatable," Park said. "He's like, 'No, no. Make them bigger. Make them bigger.' So he pushed us to points where it's a little beyond what were comfortable, but I totally appreciated that, and they did make ... Jose [Fernandez] over at Ironhead [Studio] did make that helmet, or the headdress, practically, but we knew that it was more of like a placeholder, that they were gonna build it in the CG at the end of the day."
Park revealed that Hela's design took the longest — not because it wasn't finalized, but because the look constantly changed throughout the film.
"Her look is ever evolving, from her first look when she comes out of the portal … where she's kind of more goth to her smaller headdress to her bigger headdress to her helmet to her makeup," Park said. "There were just so many aspects to her that I was pretty much working on the Hela design from beginning of production all the way even into post, even after they filmed and they were doing visual effects, I was still designing her."
Park said that he had to continue making designs after they'd get shots back from the visual effects companies, and it wasn't turning out quite as they envisioned. So he'd return to the drawing board and they'd do it again to better match Waititi's version until they got it just right.
Park revealed some of those designs to ComicBook.com, and you can check them out above.
Thor: Ragnarok is now available on Digital HD, and the Blu-ray and DVD will be available on March 6th.