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SYFY WIRE Avengers: Endgame

A new Avengers: Endgame VFX reel shows Zola, Nebula's real eyes, and infinite CGI

By Brian Silliman
Karen Gillan in Avengers: Endgame (Cinesite VFX Reel)

It's no secret that Avengers: Endgame required the use of an almost infinite amount of CGI in order to create the wonders that it contains. Creating an army of Avengers reappearing out of portals and getting ready to take on Thanos and his army? That's not something that you can really do on a practical level. Though gargantuan scenes like that stick out, when you're dealing with a movie that is this loaded with, well, everything there is, even the smaller moments require digital assistance. 

A new VFX reel from Cinesite reveals the company's own work on the film, which shows digital alterations both big and small. There is definitely some work here that audiences would just assume is digital — the planet Morag does not exist (that we know of), and no, Paul Rudd did not actually take a fantastic voyage into the inner mechanisms of Robert Downey Jr. Other digital tweaks, however, were so subtle (and the story of the movie was so strong), that they sailed by without ever raising our digital detection flags. 

Take something like the eyes of Nebula (Karen Gillan) for instance. We'd just assumed that Gillan wore black contact lenses to complete the look, but the reel shows that her venomously gorgeous dark eyes were, at least in some shots, rendered by computer. The same also goes for almost every background extra at the Army base where Tony Stark has a much needed heart-to-heart with his father (John Slattery). If you're seeing a character in the far distance of a wide shot here, the character is probably digital...they live wherever those armies of digital orcs live when they aren't working. 

Take a look at Cinesite's full VFX reel right here to see wonders both big and ant-sized...including the reveal of a cameo from a classic MCU villain. 

Your non-digitally enhanced eyes do not deceive you — that was indeed the computerized Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) making a stealth cameo during one scene. As this section takes place in the S.H.I.E.L.D. days of old, it makes perfect sense that compu-Zola would pop up here — he reveals in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that the secretly-infiltrated organization has been utilizing his programming for years. If we're going to see this old S.H.I.E.L.D. base again, then it's a brilliant touch to have the Zola "algorithms" going on in the background.

It's another fantastic easter egg from a movie that is already jammed full of them, and yet another instance of the teams behind this movie truly doing whatever it takes.