The opening sequence receives backlash from fans, but here’s why we love it. Also, read to find out the reason behind director Ali Selim’s deliberate usage of AI for the show.
Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you don’t know that Marvel’s Nick Fury finally gets his due center stage in the latest Disney+ series Secret Invasion. The spy-thriller premiered on June 21 and is the first series of Phase Five of MCU. The show feels different from its first look, and this time, there’s a lot at stake. “Who are you, really?” is the question that is at the heart of the show.
The ‘Homeland’ inspired style of the show opened with a 30 second grim, green and gloomy montage generated by AI, which fits perfectly well with the theme of the show where Skrulls, the shape-shifting alien race, are on a mission to take over earth. However, many fans expressed concerns about the ethical implications of utilizing AI to replace artists. The inclusion of generative AI in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) appears to come at odd timings, considering the recent context of the ongoing writers strike, and Marvel’s toxic past with its VFX artists.
“I will be boycotting Secret Invasion,” a user wrote on Twitter. “A slap in the face of artists and the WGA strike.” Method Studios replied to a lot of these concerns with the following statement – 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.
Even though Writers Guild of America (WGA) has acknowledged the potential threat posed by generative AI and called for regulations in response to its emergence, we feel that utilizing a custom AI tool perfectly aligns with the show’s desired aesthetic and recurrent motifs of shape-shifting green bodied extraterrestrials. Utilizing AI creates a sense of “foreboding” resulting in a surreal and remarkable opening credit. Director Selim mentions that “Skrull cubism” was used as a prompt purposely to nod at the theme of aliens in the show, specifically alluding to AI technology, which he personally finds unfamiliar and uncertain about. What Method Studios has put together feels “explorative, inevitable, and exciting” and might just be what we need from the future of TV.
While some fans on twitter feel that Samuel Jackson’s image in the opening credit is not up to the standard, we can’t help but wonder if this is intentional – perhaps even a hint about Fury actually being a Skrull? Or maybe he isn’t a Skrull, but what if he is still on S.A.B.E.R (the human-Skrull aerospace defense system) and has sent one of his shape-shifting friends on Earth to take his stead.
Also, if you haven’t noticed yet, in true espionage fashion, Secret Invasion Episode 2 managed to sneak in some pretty big developments for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that many viewers may have missed. But more on this later.
Mansi is the Co-Founder of The Blahcksheep. An independent journalist, writer, and musician, she is currently pursuing screenwriting from New York Film Academy in Burbank, LA. She is often found overwrought with overthought; plagued by the idea of losing – of oneself and of the other. She is an avid archiver of memories and feels strongly for the cause of ecological-justice. Most of her written work revolves around the idle optimism of love regained. She goes by the stage name Vyznn. Her instagram handle is @mansibee