Marvel What if… ?: interview with the character designer Alesssandro Turi

Marvel What if… ?: interview with the character designer Alesssandro Turi

Marvel What if… ?

With Marvel What if…? , the mosaic of the Marvel Universe was enriched with a new piece, which showed us the heroes of the MCU from a different perspective. Inspired by the famous What if…? paper, recently collected by Panini Comics in the volume What if? Classic, the Disney + animated series wanted to play on the concept of the multiverse, officially introduced in Loki, having fun imagining hypothetical scenarios in which the events experienced since 2008 with the release of the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Iron Man. Behind the creation of a production like Marvel What if…? , of course, there is not only the narrative effort in seeking new declinations of the adventures of the MCU heroes, but there are also other artistic commitments, a realization complexity that we talked about with Alessandro Turi, character modeler for the first two episodes of Marvel What if… ?.

Interview with Alessandro Turi, Marvel character design What if…?

Alessandro Turi's participation in the making of the first two episodes of Marvel What if…? is a stage of a long professional career, which starting from the achievement of the title of Modeler in Prototype in 2007, saw Alessandro become passionate about the possibilities of 3D graphics, during his studies at BigRock in Treviso, a training school for new talents in the sector . In 2019, Alessandro joins Blue Spirit, a transalpine studio that allows him to become part of Marvel What if….? as a character modeler for the first two episodes of the series.

In our chat with Alessandro, we tried not only to find out more about the making of Marvel What if….? , but also to better understand his role as a character artist within such a production. An animated series, we recall, which relies on a new graphic style, which recalls cell shading but which presents some peculiarities that Alessandro explains to us:

“As a character modeler, for Marvel What if…? I took care of the 3D modeling of the characters and their textures, also developing the contour line that gives that cell shading effect we were talking about, which is still achieved through an internal Blue Spirit plug-in. I don't know if it can be properly defined as cell shading, he remembers it but it is still the result of an artistic direction wanted by Marvel, which required specific work to give this visual sensation, with a style that seems to me very successful, and I hope that the spectators also liked it ”

Alessandro's hope, of course, has found its concreteness, as we have seen in our preview. Seeing the first episode of Marvel What if….? , in fact, one has the feeling of being inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to the excellent work in the creation phase of characters and animations, which reflect the movements of the actors seen in the MCU films, creating a feeling of familiarity even to the within this context:

“There are many winks at the highlights of the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The pitch was just that, inspired by What if….? of the comics of the 70s by adapting the idea to the MCU, which is why we went to find such iconic scenes. I only worked on the first two episodes, but I expect to see the same effect on the following ones as well "

The two episodes Alessandro Turi refers to are What if ... .. Captain Carter was the First Avenger ? and What if… T’Challa had become Star-Lord? . As part of his work for Marvel What if ...? Alesssandro had to face several steps to define the characters of these first two episodes, trying to remain as faithful as possible to their specificity:

"In defining the characters that have been entrusted to me, the most complex aspect, but at the same time even more exciting, it was working on the references of the characters, of the 2D drawings. Working in a 3D environment, however, it was also necessary to grasp the similarities with the actors, making it necessary to work that transformed the profiles of the actors to make them a cartoon, according to the style of the series, without affecting the similarity. It was a wonderful job. "

In telling us about his commitment to the series, Alessandro reveals the satisfaction of a well-done job, never forgetting to pay the right tribute to the work of the animators, who have given life to captivating scenes.

While working on only two of the nine episodes that make up the first season of Marvel What if…? , Alessandro has had the opportunity to follow the character design of several characters, and inevitably we have tried to find out which is his favorite:

“Unfortunately, I would love to name his name, but I would not like to spoil those who he didn't see the second episode, but I also enjoyed seeing him in the finished episode, where he is very different from the figure we saw in the MCU, thanks to an incredibly successful recurring joke. I would have liked to work on other characters, a long list of characters actually, which I hope to see in the next episodes, even if made by others ”

Working on Marvel What if…? , Alessandro Turi has shown to have a good command of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even if he admitted that he is not a particularly voracious reader of the comics of the House of Ideas:

“From the point of view of comics, I do not have a great knowledge of the Marvel world. On the MCU, on the other hand, I am a fan, in the last twelve years I have seen practically all of them. When did I know I was going to work for Marvel What if…? it was a strange feeling, also because everything took place in a particular way. I have been working for Blue Spirit for two years now, but when the recruiting for the Disney + series started, they didn't initially have many details, they couldn't give me too much information, when I found out what I was going to work on it was a shock, when they showed me first pictures, some of the material of the series took me ten minutes to recover! In short, I found myself working on dream material for any Marvel fan ”

Seeing an artist like Alessandro Turi working on an important production like Marvel What if…? it is a pleasure, which reminds us how animation, in our country, is an important sector, even if little valued, which pushes our talents to look abroad to find new projects in which to show off their skills, as happened in Alessandro:

"I completed my studies in Italy, training in a small reality, the BlueRock Studio in Treviso, which can boast of bringing Italy out of Italy, as regards animation and the sector. I don't know why this sector is missing in Italy, and it pains me, but I can't give you a reason for how this situation came about. "

"It is also true that it is a complex working environment, before I went to this school myself, I had no idea what the world of 3D animation really was. I think it's so difficult to explain, to the point where a finished product looks at us and doesn't imagine the type of work needed, how many people participate in the creation of a series of this level. It is easier to criticize any flaws in the finished work than to applaud an impeccably made product, which in any case represents the culmination of years of work "

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