Andy Park brings your favorite Marvel characters to life in 'Thor: Ragnarok'
TV and Movies
What were you, the God or the damned?
All right guys and gals, I am here with Mr. Andy Park, Marvel Studios.
I'm gonna get this, Visual Development Supervisor.
And Concept Artist.
Now that's a crazy title but if you were to explain that To someone like my mom, what do you actually do?
Yeah well, I lead, me and the head of visual develop Ryan Mandarin, we lead the visual development department.
And what our department does, is we design al the characters that you see in Marvel cinematic universe, all of the films.
So we've designed the characters and we also do key frame illustrations which are key story moments in any given film.
So we're in the beginning of the process where even sometimes before there's a script.
We're designing characters, we're designing scenes To help inspire the directors, the producers to kind of help visualize what the movie can look like.
So I leaded a group of artists, I also do design, and then we present them to the directors, to the producers.
And come up with the visual look for the Marvel cinematic universe.
One of the movies that is coming out soon Thor: Ragnarok, that's why we're here.
Can you talk to about, you looked at the comics and see what they do.
But you guys are putting a modern spin or a modern twist that stays true to the comics but also breathes new life.
Can you talk about that process in your mind or what What goes into that?
Because a lot of people, they'll see this and be like, that is amazing but they may not know the root on how it all starts.
Yeah I think the fun part of what we do is because, you know we're not just coming up with things out of our thin air we're basing these movies on the source material, which are like
Decades and decades of Marvel comics.
The worlds that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and so many amazing artists have created through the years.
So whenever we do a film like Thor and Thor Ragnarok we get to design characters obviously like Thor.
For this movie Hela introducing the female villain, Hulk in his gladiator armor from World War Hulk storyline.
So we got to take a lot of storylines from the comic book stories And they kinda refigure it and make it work in our universe.
And so much of it is looking at the source material and then the tastes of the director.
So in this case, [UNKNOWN], I will sit down with him, we'll have conversations about.
What he's thinking about when it comes to Hela or these characters for Thor.
He wants Thor to have a new look that's fresh and different than his more traditional Asgardian look from the past two films.
And even his appearances in Avengers and everything.
So we'll look at the comic books, I'll look at all the different.
Cuz she's been drawn in various different ways.
Her headdress Is portrayed in various, various ways so.
I will just paint as many different versions as I can.
I'll do some that are a little bit more realistic and grounded.
And then some that are a little bit more pushed and like more comic booky for lack of a better word.
But the big challenge with Hela was
Her headdress, how crazy do you go?
Your instincts tell you in the beginning, like, there's no way a character that has these horns that stick out like five feet wingspan can move around and fight.
That's exactly what Tyco wanted which I totally appreciated cuz typically you always kinda pull it back.
And make it less comic bookey and make it a little bit more realistic.
But he really wanted to embrace for this movie, this one is gonna be full on Jack Kirby.
We're gonna embrace the source material We're not gonna pull punches so it's a combination of source material and then the director and then of course the producers for Marvel and their input as well.
the Incredible Hulk!
I'm a huge Hulk fan, World War Hulk is one of the great Planet Hulk storylines, just amazing.
When I saw the trailer I freaked out when I saw him in the gladiator garb.
Do you actually have of your own maybe, I mean I know they're all your babies.
But one that sticks out in your mind of the character or concept design that you've done for Thor Ragnarok is there one that kinda sticks out for you personally?
For me, the one that sticks out for me is definitely Hela.
Designing Hela was such a treat because I think at the end of the day, because I'm a fan of comic books, in particular Marvel comic books.
Cuz that's what I grew up reading.
To do a character that's so out there.
It's not just like So when wearing technical clothing, which is fun to do is well.
But she's like a full on comic book character with her cape, and just her body suit, to her helmet, and the headdress with the antlers.
It's just, you can't get more comic booky than that.
And then The icing was when they got Cate Blanchett.
Then it's just like yep.
That's Hela right there.
Now I just cannot wait to see it all come to fruition.
The other thing, you don't always know who the actor or actors is gonna be before you're concepting this.
So does sometimes, once you know who the person that plays that role does it help direct you even more?
Or is A lot of times, the costume you came with, they tend to find the actor that maybe you even, in your brain, have modeled it after.
In any of the movies have you experienced things like that?
Yeah, majority of the time, cause we're in the beginning stage, we're in the beginning stage of all the moving making process at the same time as the script is being written.
So oftentimes there's no actor or actress that's already signed on for a lot of these roles.
And that was the case for Hela, I was doing a lot of designs, other artists were doing a lot of designs for Hela.
But then she got signed on pretty quickly, and then once you can apply The design that they're liking to the actor.
You adjust things to make it work, I mean, with the information that you have.
We don't always necessarily have a body scan at that point.
So, we don't know exactly body proportions, but Google images.
You can find a lot of stuff.
Anything on Google.
Yeah, like, how tall is Cate?
You can Google it.
[LAUGH] That's true.
And she's pretty tall and
And then you can see pictures of them so you can see, okay this particular actor, I'm not talking about Kate but just in general, has a longer neck than this one.
So you take all those things in to consideration and try to cater the lines of the design to flatter their proportions
Their face, often times.
You don't wanna just hide their face, cuz they're beautiful.
What do we do?
A lot of other movies people may not know he worked on Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man.
I have a question about just Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor.
They both really take place off of Earth.
But, they have different feels to them, right.
Asgard versus just the galaxy How do you kinda differentiate those two in your mind as well?
Because they seem to have a lot more, you can be a little more playful with the environments that they're in as well.
Yeah, I've been working on, over here at Marvel, for seven and a half years.
And I've been Working on all the films since the first Captain America.
So many of our films took place on Earth and they deal with Avengers characters and a little bit more grounded relatively speaking.
But in recent years we've delved into Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor.
So The way you make the distinction is it came from the directors.
With Guardian, it's fully James Gunn and his vision.
And James Gunn's sensibilities.
So much of what he loves.
Especially in the Guardians Galaxy two is, what's that called?
You know Flash Gordon, the pulp, pulp sci-fi, novel covers decades ago.
I thought that was his inspiration for that film.
So, everything we did was in that vein.
It kinda had this retro feel, it's not like this ultra modern Type of costumes and look.
You always like this kinda throwback to that era.
With Thor Ragnarok, Taika embraced Jack Kirby.
So looking at the source material, Jack Kirby and his crazy colors and the way he designs chunky Metal, and kind of mechanical-looking designs.
He wanted that in Thor, so, so many of the designs, especially is the car.
It's not this sleek, sophisticated, swoopy lines.
It's very like, chunky, it's retro in it's own different way, than Flash Gordon is.
So it really comes down to, like, the vision of each of the directors.
And that's how you're kinda able to get a distinct feel.
So working on Ant Man, there's, like Peyton, a different feel that he has and working on Civil War with the Russo brothers.
They've got this grittier Very grounded, visceral action style which is you know very distinct from the way Joss Whedon handled the Avengers, which is very much more like super hero classic comic book you know so it's really fun working here cuz every director has their own flavor.
But we're still dealing in the same universe and the same characters, and it's so fun to see each director kinda doing their own spin on these characters.
So even though this is the third in the trilogy, it's completely different than the last two.
The first one was Kenneth Branagh, the second one was Allen Taylor, and very different feels.
Even those had different feels from each other And this one is completely just like they went for it.
Like okay, let's completely do something different, fresh.
It's still Thor, still a marble cinematic universe, but it's fresh and new.
Taika's kind of personality, just the freak, the free spirit quirkiness of him in it.
Even in the trailer, you could feel it.
Yeah, if you've seen any of his films, he's got that kind of very quirky, but very fun kind of, the characters are always central and really great.
That's what he brought to film.
What movies are you currently working on right now?
I mean we know that Marvel has plans in the future, right?
Are you working specifically on anything like Captain Marvel, or things like that?
What are you working on right now?
Yeah, I am still doing work on Antman and the Wasp.
But that's winding down, at least on our end, and right now we are fully working on Captain Marvel.
So, we're in the thick of it.
We are doing designs.
This is what happens in the movie, just kidding.
[LAUGH] Well, stylistically we know that it's set before
Nick Fury loses his eye.
They didn't really set out a specific genre, 80s, 90s-ish?
I mean, does that kind of lead to some of those new inspirational styles?
What excites you about that movie, specifically, and what you guys are trying to aim for?
Yeah, I mean, it's still early days, and we're still getting, there's not even a full script yet.
They're still working out the story
But I've been working with Anna, and Ryan, and the producers, and we know it takes place in the 90s, that already, you know brings an excitement to like cool all the ramifications of that happens before a lot of the stuff that we see in these movies.
So that's also being flashed out.
We're working on designs.
Just beyond that we're still trying to figure out what exactly is this movie.
But on our end we can at least we can start running with the designs of those characters and Yeah.
I'm having a lot of fun working on that.
Andy, thanks so much man.
I appreciate all your time and all your amazing work.
And I hope people that watch this or listen to this learn a lot about the process just the amazing stuff that you guys here at Marvel Studios do.
So thanks bro.