Marvel artists respond to Secret Invasion AI backlash

Marvel artists respond to Secret Invasion AI backlash
Images via Disney

Written by 

Tom Chapman


23rd Jun 2023 16:31

There’s a shapeshifting showstopper arriving in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Kyle Bradstreet's Secret Invasion gives Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury his long-awaited standalone series. Adapting the 2008 comic arc of the same name, it's society versus the Skrulls.

The six-part series is already off to a flying start with a shock death and major Skrull reveal, however, not everyone was impressed with the series premiere. Namely, there were some furrowed faces thanks to the reveal that the Secret Invasion opening was made using AI 

Marvel artists defend Secret Invasion AI opening 

You might've spotted that the Secret Invasion opening looked a little off, with some joking that it looked like it’d been run through a dodgy AI art generator. It turns out this was an intentional style, which only rattled the community further.

Among the Secret Invasion opening's critics were Captain America: The Winter Soldier's David Mack and She-Hulk series artist Kagan McLeod. Secret Invasion director Ali Selim defended the move to Polygon and explained, "When we reached out to the AI vendors, that was part of it.

"It just came right out of the shape-shifting, Skrull world identity, you know? Who did this? Who is this?" It's a plausible argument, but sounds similar to The Flash defending its naff CGI as part of its artistic style. Selim's words were echoed by Method Studios, which created the Secret Invasion AI opening.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Method wrote, "AI is just one tool among the array of tool sets our artists used. No artists’ jobs were replaced by incorporating these new tools; instead, they complemented and assisted our creative teams."

As Method previously worked on the visuals for Top Gun: Maverick and was nominated for an Academy Award for this, we have to trust the process. For many though, this is the start of a worrying future. And you thought shapeshifting Skrulls were the problem. 

It looks like AI is the future

Like it or lump it, AI is everywhere right now. While we should hopefully be safe from it fully replacing our jobs (right now) it's a pretty advanced piece of kit. Squanch Games' High on Life was finished using AI, while an AI-generated The Last of Us Part 3 script wasn't a million miles away from what we imagine it would be like.

We're seeing an increase in job listings for AI-related jobs, as the likes of Blizzard Entertainment are pulled into the row with Diablo. There was also a tease that Call of Duty could also step into the realms of AI. More recently, voice actors Jennifer Hale and David Hayter made their feelings about AI voice work clear.

If the world's highest-grossing franchise is willing to embrace AI - whether it was for an aesthetic or not -  then what hope do the rest of us have? It remains to be seen if the wider MCU will adopt AI artwork, but let's be honest, it can't be worse than Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's CGI. 

Tom is Trending News Editor at GGRecon, with an NCTJ qualification in Broadcast Journalism and over seven years of experience writing about film, gaming, and television. With bylines at IGN, Digital Spy, Den of Geek, and more, Tom’s love of horror means he's well-versed in all things Resident Evil, with aspirations to be the next Chris Redfield.

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