Avengers: Infinity War visual effects Supervisor Dan DeLeeuw has revealed just how far Marvel Studios went in order to keep the film’s full storyline out of the hands of the artists working on the project. With one producer going as far as saying the film was essentially one big CGI scene, it was no small task to keep the details of the story a secret from the artists who produced those visuals.
It hardly needs to be said that Infinity War is a massive accomplishment for the people who helped produce it – as well as everyone who produced the 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films that led up to it. Anyone who sat through the end credits of the film in order to catch the customary post-credits scene also knows that there were a lot of people involved in the production. Yet, leading up to the film’s release, nobody seemed to know what would actually occur in the story. The actors were misled by the directors throughout production with fake scripts and unused scenes. The directors’ care for secrecy extended to a very tight review embargo, as well as the ThanosDemandsYourSilence hashtag meant to keep a lid on spoilers once the film was released.
While the fake scripts and unused footage certainly worked well to keep the actors and actresses in the dark, the studio had to do a bit more work to hide the story from the VFX artists. In a Screen Rant exclusive interview with DeLeeuw, the visual effects supervisor explained the complicated process:
“For the secrecy component of it, when we would work with the different special effects vendors, basically […] we’d do it based on sequences. So each vendor would know what happens in their sequences, but not necessarily what would happen in someone else’s sequence.”
With the different vendors handling different sequences, very few people had access to the full storyline. DeLeeuw was one of those few, and he was able to oversee how the various vendors worked in conjunction with one another.
“Frame Store, they knew what would happen in the Battle of New York with Spidey and Ruffalo and Iron Man and Maw and Cull Obsidian, but they didn’t really know what happens outside of that because it’s on a need to know basis, I guess. But then a company like Digital Domain, they had done Vormir, so they definitely knew what was happening with Gamora on Vormir, and they then did the bit with Thor at the end.”
With these restrictions on who handled which scenes, no single vendor had access to the full story, despite having produced scenes with some major spoilers. The approach that the studio took certainly matches the secretive approach the directors took in other areas. Clearly, Marvel Studios wasn’t prepared to take any chances when it came to safeguarding the many big reveals found in Infinity War.
Yet, with the deaths of many major characters from the MCU occurring in the film, one can hardly blame Marvel for wanting to go to great lengths to hide those details. By keeping the story details as hidden as possible, it’s amazing to see how Infinity War was able to deliver its jaw-dropping twists in a way that surprised even the VFX artists who worked to bring the story to life. One wonders what further lengths Marvel will go to in order to protect the secrets of Avengers 4.