Concept Artist Discusses Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver; Reveals Art

Scarlet WitchIntroduced in the post-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Solider, the Maximoff twins made a grand entry into the MCU as they showed off their powers in a quick but effective scene. Their powers looked hauntingly beautiful, blurring the lines between the whole “science vs magic” theme the MCU has been toying with as of late. To achieve a powerful visualization of their powers, Marvel went to Trixter Film, one of the most acclaimed visual effects studios working today. Paolo Giandoso, one of the concept artists, recently released a collection of his Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver concept art. In addition, he spoke with to discuss the images. You can the images out above by clicking NEXT.

The implementation of the twins in the MCU is one that has been discussed multiple times. The character of Quicksilver appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past as well. So, when did Giandoso start working on his designs for the twins?

“I started working on the twins during the production of the tag sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when we first get a glimpse of their powers. Most of my work was focused on the development of Scarlet Witch’s power, but I also had the chance to do some exploration work on Pietro’s trail.”

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, when the twins made their larger debut, we saw their powers working hand-in-hand, with a sense of synergy.

“At the time, I was working in Trixter Film’s art department. We approached the task of Wanda and Pietro’s power as a team, making research and looking for references all together. Detailed reference boards were prepared and presented to VFX supervisor Christopher Townsend, and in turn, he showed them to the director. We needed to understand what the twins potential was and what they could practically achieve. It was a very important step as it allowed us to clarify what Joss Whedon wanted and did not want to see even before starting to draw.”

As a team, they both have radically different powers, albeit they compliment each other.

“Pietro and Wanda needed to have an effect that showed when their powers were active, and since they are twins there needed to be some sort of subtle connection between them. Their skills are radically different. He is a speedster. She, as they say in the movie, is “weird.” So their link was meant to be visual more than conceptual. Therefore, we opted for a colored light “emission pattern” for both of them. Quicksilver would leave a silvery one behind him whenever moving at super-speed and Scarlet Witch have a red one eminate from her hands when altering reality. “

The color that both twins emit speak volumes about their powers, as they leave behind a trail of it.

 “It was important for Joss that this light emission would not appear smoky or whispy in any way. It was something otherworldly (especially Wanda’s) more than a real fluid existing in the conventional space, and it should not behave in a conventional way.”

At the end of the day, both twins have different powers. Pietro was asked what visual references were used for Quicksilver’s powers and here’s what he had to say.

“For Pietro I remember we looked at a lot of images of motion blurs, opalescent objects and transparent films, like the effect of a thin oil layer on water and the distortion of light on the surface of soap bubbles. We also studied the effects that a hypothetical super speedster would have on the environment, such as how much damage would it cause by simply running at the speed of sound down an alley.”

And here’s what he had to say about Scarlet Witch.

“Regarding Wanda, I divided her powers in two categories of “hexes:” matter alteration and mind warping. For her matter powers, research was done on the way objects decay in time and disintegrate accordingly to their base material properties. I thought influenced objects would start levitating around her while being affected by the red light (like Ultron’s heart does at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron). I also experimented with how the red light pattern would flow from her body — from her head, from her eyes, and from her hands — and how close to stay to the spherical shape her red magic displays in the comics. VFX supervisor Townsend’s direction was to make the effect appear more tri-dimensional, so we opted for a less regular and more tendril-like shape, but we kept a hint of a starry geometrical pattern in certain specific moments.”

Going away from visual references and focusing on her powers, here’s what he had to say regarding her mind-control abilities.

“When it was time to investigate the way Wanda “touches” the mind of people, it was quite interesting to understand how much the effect would be apparent. After all, since it was a more stealthy use of her abilities, it could not be as flashy as when she disintegrates things. At the beginning, I imagined that her mind powers would not be visible to normal human eyes, but that they would appear as tendrils of bright red light to people who can perceive magic and higher forms of energy (like Thor, Vision and the audience in the cinema). The only hint of a compulsion would be her and her victims eyes flashing red.  This is the idea I illustrated in the picture of Wanda in the church: the soldiers can not really understand what truly happens, but the audience can. Since there was not time in the movie to establish such a complex concept, the perceptibility point was not directly stated to facilitate immediate comprehension. Nevertheless a visually similar effect can be seen when Wanda compels the Sokovians out of their homes to safety before the movie’s final battle.”

The next film in the MCU that will feature Scarlet Witch is Avengers: Infinity War which hits theaters on May 4, 2018.