Who’s Your Favorite Marvel Studios Character?

by Graham Edwards

Cinefex Marvel Studios coversOur April 2018 edition, Cinefex 158, is a special issue celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Marvel Studios and, oh boy, did we cover some ground putting it together. For example, while researching our article The Marvel Effect – an epic roundtable discussion covering every Marvel Studios film from Iron Man to Black Panther – we conducted over 60 interviews with effects professionals from all corners of the globe.

You can read the article in its entirety in Cinefex 158, together with in-depth coverage of Black Panther, a visit to the Marvel Studios in-house art department, an exclusive Q&A session with Marvel Studios executive producer and head of physical production Victoria Alonso, and much more.

In the meantime, here’s a little something to whet your appetite. At the end of each of our roundtable interviews, we closed on a light-hearted note, asking our interviewees that most revealing of questions:

“If you could be any Marvel Studios character, who would it be and why?”

So how did our effects experts respond? Here are their answers, alphabetized by character name (including a couple that aren’t strictly speaking part of the MCU, but hey, we’re nothing if not inclusive). Is your favorite in there?


Agent Coulson

“I’d be someone ordinary just going about their day, seeing the occasional wacky things.”
Jason Bath, executive producer, Animal Logic

Cinefex 143 Ant-ManAnt-Man

“All the Marvel characters are pretty tortured – Stan Lee never gave any of them superpowers without also giving them an emotional Achilles heel. But I spent so long designing the effects on Ant-Man that I’d love to see the world from that perspective. Maybe with the Ant-Man suit I can avoid the emotional torture and still have cool adventures!”
Jake Morrison, production VFX supervisor, Thor, The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man, Thor: Ragnarok

“I’m always looking for new perspectives, even from a microscopic level.”
Alexander Schumann, animation supervisor, Rise

“I just really like Ant-Man’s laid-back style.”
Michael Wortmann, VFX supervisor, Trixter

“He has relatable flaws and a sense of humor.”
Brian Meanley, CG supervisor, Whiskytree

Black Widow

“Black Widow is a very strong woman who is an expert in martial arts and can take on anybody – and  it’s pretty cool that she used to be a spy!
Artemis Oikonomopoulou, DFX Supervisor, Double Negative

Cinefex 127 Captain America: The First AvengerCaptain America

“He’s steadfast and loyal, only acts after trying to obtain all relevant information and he always tries to keep the peace wherever possible – many of the same attributes I find needed in animation supervision, as it happens.”
Stephen Enticott, head of animation, Double Negative

“He is a very clear thinker, and a natural leader, and stands for justice!”
Immanuel Morris, VFX Supervisor, Exceptional Minds

“Because he likes to do the right thing.”
Faraz Hameed, previs and postvis supervisor, The Third Floor

Cinefex 150 Doctor StrangeDoctor Strange

“I like his magic abilities and his ability to travel between dimensions. Plus, I have learned to look beyond what is regarded as the status quo to find hope in the most unlikely places. As Doctor Strange would say: ‘Forget everything that you think you know.’”
Susan Zwerman, Studio Executive Producer, Exceptional Minds

“I always wanted a flying carpet – or in this case a cloak of levitation. The Eye of Agamotto to go back in time is not bad as well!”
Alexis Wajsbrot, VFX supervisor, Framestore

“I love the idea of Eastern mythology as part of my superpower. I am a Buddhist practitioner and avid meditator – and have been known to be a little cynical as well!”
Robert Andrew David Frick, CG supervisor, Digital Domain

“Being a parent of two young children, I like the idea of tidying up the mess by reversing time.”
Richard Bluff, VFX supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic

“He’s a full-on wizard who can travel across space and time and has almost limitless powers. I promise to only use my powers for good, though, like ending terrorism or making sure the Chicken Dance is never invented.”
Shannon Justison, previs and postvis supervisor, The Third Floor

“That ‘70s psychedelic retro stamp feels familiar to me!”
Alessandro Cioffi, VFX supervisor, Trixter

Groot

“I’m tall like a tree and I only say a couple of things that actually make sense.”
Aaron Sims, concept artist and founder, Aaron Sims Creative

“Maybe I would be Baby Groot, because he reminds me my nephew. We would make an excellent duo!”
Harry Bardak, CG supervisor, Framestore

“Despite all the chaos, I always remain calm and I’ve always got my team’s back. Not to mention, I’m a man of few words.”
Dave Morley, VFX supervisor, Image Engine

“I don’t talk much but I get stuff done.”
Rene Grasser, VFX producer, Rise

Hawkeye

“Every time I want to get out, they pull me back in.”
Harry Lam, VFX supervisor, Base FX

“I’d like be Wolverine because he’s angry and gritty – nothing like me. Realistically, I’d be Hawkeye because he seems like a regular guy.”
JP Monroy, art director, Whiskytree

Cinefex 130 The AvengersHulk

“I don’t get angry … but sometimes I wish I could!”
Peter Bebb, VFX supervisor, Double Negative

“I think we would all feel better if, when we got mad, we could just jump and smash stuff, with no consequence, and then stroll back to work as Bruce Banner: ‘Oh, I’m sorry, this always happens when my renders fail!”
Robin Hackl, VFX supervisor, Image Engine

“Because of my calm demeanor!!!”
Michael Perdew, VFX producer, Luma

“Growing up in the ‘70s, I became a huge fan of Marvel Comics and the live-action Incredible Hulk with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, at the same time. Each fed the other – the more I watched the show, the more I collected Hulk issues, magazines, memorabilia, toys, shirts, Pez dispensers—you name it. My dog is even named Bixby!”
Jeremy Lasky, partner and co-founder, Perception

“I like to tear off my clothes when something doesn’t work.”
Andreas Giesen, FX supervisor, Rise

“He’s just an awesome character and very, very different from all the rest.”
Jonathan Weber, VFX supervisor, Rise

“I’m a little bit nerdy and sciencey, overweight … and can have a temper when pushed too far.”
Berj Bannayan, VFX supervisor, Soho VFX

Iron Fist

“My hands are deadly.”
Kenneth Au, VFX Supervisor, Exceptional Minds

Cinefex 114 Iron ManIron Man

“He’s flawed but ultimately has the best intentions, even if reluctantly. He uses his smarts (and his money) to solve problems, and come on – no one does a more heroic three point landing than Iron Man!”
Christopher Townsend, production VFX supervisor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and Captain Marvel

“The suit would really help cut down my daily commute.”
Stuart Penn, VFX supervisor, Framestore

“Billionaire! Playboy! Badass!”
Alan Torres, VFX and design supervisor, Cantina Creative

“I’m not a fan of “super-powers” in themselves – they’re all too magical – but Tony Stark is an inventor who creates his powers through technology.  Plus he’s immensely rich, smart and charming, and has the great houses and playboy lifestyle. And he’s a smartass who gets to wisecrack all the time.  Who wouldn’t want to be him?!”
Ben Snow, VFX supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic

“Because he has all the cool toys!”
Katherine Roberts, head of pipeline, Double Negative

“If he can party, so can I.”
Eli Katz, VFX artist, Exceptional Minds

“Because of his super-cool gadgets and technology.”
Thanapoom Siripopungul, character TD supervisor, Luma

“I have always liked gadgets and robots. Iron Man is also a less “magical” character, so a bit more grounded and easier to identify with.”
Olivier Dumont, VFX supervisor, Method Studios

“Who wouldn’t want to be a brilliant scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur? Plus, having access to a team of Iron Man suits would really help getting these features out the door!”
Madalynn Sadeghian, stereo producer, Stereo D

“Iron Man has been my favorite from childhood – I drew an Iron Man comic when I was eight! My adult connection to Iron Man was having to get a pacemaker around the time the first movie came out. Tony with his Arc Reactor looked a lot like me with my new hardware.  We’re both part-man, part-machine!”
James Baker, previs and postvis supervisor, The Third Floor

“Engineering and developing gadgets comes closest to my character of finding solutions in a technical way.”
Patrick Hecht, CG supervisor and environment lead, Trixter

“It would have to be Tony Stark all the way. How much fun would that be?!!”
Jonathan Harb, CEO and executive producer, Whiskytree

“He’s rich and kicks ass!”
Michael Kennen, digital artist and compositor, Whiskytree

Jarvis

“He has a head-start on us … but we’re all gonna get there someday.”
Tim LeDoux, owner and VFX supervisor, Crafty Apes

Loki

“I would want to be Loki. I have no explanation.”
Kevin Souls, VFX supervisor, Luma

Mysterio

“Maybe it’s strange that I would pick a villain, but Mysterio’s look, and his ability to create special effects and illusions, make him one of my favorite characters.”
Jason Smith, VFX supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic

The Phantom

“Technically, the Phantom has no superpowers but relies on his creative intelligence and reputed immortality to defeat his foes. The only skills you need as a VFX supervisor!”
Paul Butterworth, VFX supervisor, Animal Logic

Red Skull

“I could vary my commute to work between a VTOL rocket powered aircraft (based on a Focke-Wulf Triebflügel) and a six wheeled V12 Mercedes coupe.”
Charlie Noble, VFX Supervisor, Double Negative

Cinefex 153 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Rocket Raccoon

“Because he’s an angry little trash panda in space!”
Venti Hristova, VFX supervisor, Cantina Creative

“I’d like to be Rocket, rudely commenting on everything I see on other artist’s screens.”
Oliver Hohn, compositing supervisor, Rise

“He is cheeky, blunt and rude. But he is loyal, has a big heart and a great sense of humor.”
Yukio Satoh, head of technology, Trixter

“He’s a character full of contrast – not always nice, but he has a good heart and is really skillful with all the gadgets that he’s created.”
Simone Kraus, animation supervisor, Trixter

“I really would love to be able to live a life without any verbal filters.”
Guy Williams, VFX supervisor, Weta Digital

Silver Surfer

“Silver Surfer, hands down! He can fly, is almost indestructible, and surfs through the cosmos! How awesome is that? He can go anywhere and look cool doing it.”
Nordin Rahhali, VFX supervisor, Method Studios

Cinefex 154 Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man

“Spider-Man was the first comic book I remember reading.”
Stephen Lawes, creative director, Cantina Creative

“I would want to be Peter Parker simply for who he is as a person.”
Mason Taylor, VFX artist, Exceptional Minds

“Because I want to do what a spider can!”
Patrick Brady, VFX artist, Exceptional Minds

“He’s a great role model when it comes to independence and never giving up.”
Tony Saturno, VFX artist, Exceptional Minds

“Because I’m never in one place for more than three seconds.”
Florian Gellinger, VFX supervisor and executive producer, Rise

“He’s got fun powers, a sense of humor, he’s smart but doesn’t let it go to his head, he’s grounded and real despite his powers. He cares about the consequences in life and has a lot of heart. All qualities worthy of aspiration.”
Christopher Smallfield, CG supervisor, Trixter

Cinefex 156 Thor: RagnarokThor

“Sure, he’s able to regenerate limbs and organs, live practically forever (as long as he keeps eating his mythical Asgardian apples of immunity) and can fly with the help of his hammer. But look at his hair!”
Theodore Bialek, VFX supervisor, Sony Pictures Imageworks

“The guy can travel across the universe and lives for thousands of years.  What’s not to like about that? Not to mention those muscles!”
Gerardo Ramirez, previs and postvis supervisor, The Third Floor

“He is super strong, seems always quite happy ,and even in the eye of the storm keeps an optimistic attitude.”
Dominik Zimmerle, VFX supervisor, Trixter

Vision

“People say I look like Paul Bettany! But besides that, I think he is very cool. And he has a great name for a visual effects supervisor!”
Stephane Ceretti, production VFX supervisor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the Wasp

And finally …

“I have no idea what Marvel character I am. I think I’m probably Budget Guy!”
Shane Mahan, co-owner, Legacy Effects

“Well, my name rhymes with Tony Stark, but I don’t think I’m that cool. I really liked Korg, but I’m not that funny. I’ll settle for Magneto – torn between using my powers for good and evil. I’m also something of a metal fan!”
Tony Clark, managing director, Rising Sun Pictures

“If I could choose to be any Marvel superhero it’d be a toss up between Avi Arad and Kevin Feige. They are probably the two most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe!”
José Fernandez, owner, Ironhead Studio

“I’d be Stan Lee. He’s clearly having the most fun.”
Ged Wright, VFX supervisor, Double Negative


Don’t forget to order your copy of Cinefex 158, where you can read the complete article along with cover-to-cover analysis of the Marvel Studios phenomenon. Don’t miss out!

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