Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder is one of the most anticipated and pivotal movies of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four slate. Storming into the scene in 2018 with the universally acclaimed Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi re-defined the God of Thunder who was finding it hard to match the popularity of Iron Man and Captain America.
Despite being one of the most important characters of the Avengers, the Norse God of Thunder was yet to become a global phenomenon even after two solo movies. The lackluster Thor and fairly forgettable Thor: The Dark World had pushed the character to the back who was only known for his powerful lightning bolts.
Taking everyone by surprise, Thor: Ragnarok was a wild and exciting take on Thor Odinson, the Prince of Asgard. Filled with colorful sequences, memorable fight sequences, and irreverent humor, Ragnarok became widely popular and revamped the mighty Asgardian.
Thor: Ragnarok‘s massive popularity promptly paved the path for another sequel for the God of Thunder; Thor: Love and Thunder. Thor’s popularity in Ragnarok did not just stop there. His role in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame further helped his newfound popularity, which makes Thor: Love and Thunder a widely anticipated movie.
The fourth installment of Thor will reunite the God of Thunder and his love interest, Jane Foster, after a long gap. However, his lady love will reportedly take a new avatar in the movie; the Goddess of Thunder. Though it is not yet revealed how Jane Foster will become Thor, one theory does suggest that Loki might be behind this event, unsurprisingly.
According to Natalie Portman, who plays the role of Jane Foster, Thor: Love and Thunder will reportedly begin filming next year in Australia. Though the ongoing CoVID-19 crisis has brought the entertainment industry to a screeching halt, Thor: Love and Thunder might have found a pathbreaking way to avoid filming at various locations.
Taking a leaf out of The Mandalorian‘s book, Thor: Love and Thunder can safely begin filming next year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucasfilms’ VFX Unit, Industrial Light & Magic will lend its support to the fourth installment of Thor.
The expansion of Industrial Light & Magic is also a part of Lucasfilms’ diversity initiatives which also supports a training program too. For those who are not aware of this revolutionizing technology, it is more commonly known as The Volume and was entirely used while shooting The Mandalorian.
Jon Favreau‘s The Mandalorian currently sits at a staggering Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93%, making it one of the highest-rated Star Wars live-action property after Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Starring Pedro Pascal and Giancarlo Esposito, The Mandalorian has received critical acclaim and won 15 Emmy Award Nominations, including one for its visual effects.
The Virtual Production Technology, or The Volume, includes a LED StageCraft set at the Manhattan Beach Studios. The setup was calibrated for Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian which made the show’s picturesque sequences possible despite minimal location changes.
The massive success of The Volume promptly led the way for a second StageCraft LED in Manhattan Beach Studios. Another set will soon be created in London for Pinewood Studios. The fourth Stagecraft LED is reportedly much larger than the existing one, and will soon be installed in Australia to aid in the filming of Thor: Love and Thunder.
According to the company, the newest stages are larger, use more LED panels than ILM’s original stage, and offer higher resolution. “When combined with Industrial Light & Magic’s expert visual effects talent, motion capture experience, facial capture via Medusa, Anyma, and Flux, and the innovative production technology developed by ILM’s newly integrated Technoprops team, we believe we have a unique offering for the industry,” said Rob Bredow, head of ILM.
Instead of overly relying on green screens, The Volume is a curved 20-foot high 270-degree LED video wall made up of 1,326 individual LED screens topped with an LED ceiling. Inside the 75-foot diameter performance space, a variety of physical props and partial sets, created by production designer Andrew Jones and his team, could be swapped out to match the screens and quickly transform the innovative arena into any location you wish.
Added with camera tracking technology, The Volume is a blessing for crew members who laboriously toil at their screens during post-production. The entirely immersive structure accurately re-creates backgrounds, leading to a seamless marriage between imagination and technology. Case in point, using the traditional green screen for The Mandalorian would have been a nightmare for crew members. Hiding various lights reflecting from Mando’s reflective armor would have been an arduous task that would have taken months of work. But with The Volume, the workload has reduced significantly, and the results of this superior technology are the visceral sceneries of The Mandalorian which are integral to the show’s success.
Jon Favreau, the showrunner of The Mandalorian has also been quite vocal about The Volume‘s numerous uses. In the current pandemic, The Volume can be a gamechanger as the set’s contained size prevents crowding of actors and crew members, thus significantly reducing the risk of infection.
Taika Waititi, the man behind Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit, has also served as director of the final episode of the first season of The Mandalorian. Known for using a wide range of color palettes and outlandish backgrounds, The Volume can be of great help while filming Thor: Love and Thunder.
According to Waititi, Thor: Love and Thunder will be outrageously over the top but in the best possible way. The movie shall also focus a lot on New Asgard and fan-favorite Miek, apart from the God(s) of Thunder’s space adventures. Apart from Thor: Love and Thunder, Taika Waititi has also confirmed that he will be directing a Star Wars movie in the near future.
The Mandalorian‘s widespread popularity made The Volume an integral part of its success. As the fourth installment of Thor would be using this pathbreaking technology, future MCU movies might follow suit soon enough.
Thor: Love and Thunder is slated to release on 11th February, 2022.
The second season of The Mandalorian will premier on 30th October, 2020 exclusively on Disney+.