Every Shot of Black Panther in ‘Civil War’ Was CG
Here’s another mind-boggling tidbit from the fascinating Captain America: Civil War Blu-ray commentary: Every shot of Black Panther in Civil War is CG. Not just the obvious ones, like where Panther’s chasing the Winter Soldier on foot or in a hand-to-claw fight with Captain America. Every single shot.
There was a Panther costume on the Civil War set. You might have seen pictures of it, like this one:
That does look fairly close to the final costume in the movie; the practical suit eventually became the “template” for visual effects artists to do their work. That revelation comes in the commentary conversation between directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. In the scene where Panther makes his in-costume debut (the fight with Bucky that then leads into their chase in that freeway tunnel), they talk about how much anticipation there was for the character, and how they’re all happy with the final results.
Then Joe Russo goes on to give ILM credit for their largely unheralded work on Black Panther. His full quote:
[They] really did a ton of work on that outfit. I mean, we had an outfit that we used on set. It’s impossible when you’re talking about an otherworldly outfit like the one that the Panther wears, which has a certain luminescence to it because it’s made of a woven metal. We could never afford to construct an outfit like that that an actor or a stunt player could move around in without sweating to death or that would capture the luminescence that we need. So what we ended up doing in post is ILM came in and painted over Chadwick and the stuntman. The outfit is completely CG.
The writers ask if that applies to “every frame” of the movie, and the Russos confirm it. Every frame of the Black Panther in Civil War is a CG outfit.
That’s really incredible. A lot of the special effects in Civil War are quite obvious, but then there’s this work that is so subtle and photo-real. Some of the other Marvel characters in the cast are obviously CG (including the new Spider-Man, who looks great but also mostly looks like a very good digital effect), but Black Panther? Every frame? I never would have known.
Rewatching the movie with that knowledge, you can see a few instances where it’s more obvious that Panther’s a digital effect (like the scenes at the end where he removes his mask and you can see Chadwick Boseman’s face; there’s just something a little ... off about his body). I’m curious whether this same approach will be used on the Black Panther movie, which is due in theaters in February 2018, or whether they will be able to find a workable solution for a practical suit that works both for camera and stunts. Either way, it’s nice to know I likely won’t be able to tell the difference.