Since superhero blockbusters have been commonplace at the box office for the better part of 20 years, the world of visual effects has grown at an exponential rate. Take WandaVision as an example. Though we've seen both the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) several times before, it wasn't until Marvel's Assembled was released that one revelatory Vision tidbit took the internet by storm. During the behind-the-scenes episode, it was revealed Bettany's human ears were visible the entire production.
The classic Vision look we saw in the series with the computer-like pieces circling his head were entirely computer-generated. As it turns out, Bettany's ears have always been visible in some form since the character was first introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron. That is, of course, according to Lola VFX supervisor Trent Claus, one of the filmmakers responsible for overseeing the development of the look.
"We, at Lola, designed the way Vision looks based on concepts from the Marvel look development department — specifically, a guy named Ryan Meinerding. He did the initial concept for Vision, and then we had the task of translating that into live-action," Claus tells us. "We initially shot it with the intention of using — this is back on Age of Ultron, by the way, his first appearance — we intended to use prosthetics for parts of his head, the cowl and things like that that go around him, and then just do CG to augment his face because he has all these intricate lines and designs carved into his face."
As it turns out, the prosthetics simply wouldn't work. That led Claus and his team to essentially reconstruct the majority of Vision's face during all of his MCU appearances.
"When we started working with the footage, it pretty quickly became clear that that [using prosthetics] wasn't going to work," the FX guru adds. "So we ended up digitally removing all of the prosthetics, even back on that first film, so any of the head prosthetics are and have always been fully replaced with CG."
Claus says a Vision with ears "blow people's minds" simply because it looks too weird.
"They didn't realize that it was normal for him not to have ears. It just felt so natural, I guess," Claus says. "So then when you see him with actual human ears, it really throws people for a loop because then they have to re-examine, 'What have I been looking at? Has he always not had ears?' You know?"
WandaVision is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.
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