Superhero movies are in such demand now that the idea floats it is easy to film them. You could be forgiven for thinking so as well considering there seem to be like a hundred superhero films releasing nowadays. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has taken to releasing three films a year starting from 2017 and this should only magnify in the upcoming years. But it’s not exactly easy to make these films despite it seeming to the contrary. A lot of time and effort is put into bringing the images to life that we see onscreen. Motion capture takes strenuous hours to translate onto computer imagery and then convert it into the interpretation of the character needed.
As we aren’t actors and have never been on big-budget film sets we don’t know what it feels like to film these movies. But we do know what it looks like thanks to a number of pictures released from set. These images, while sometimes acting as spoilers, are helpful in appreciating the effort it takes from everyone involved to make a superhero movie. They also provide us with humorous situations the actors find themselves in. After all, the superheroes might look impressive in the film but in real life, they are usually the goofiest looking of the cast and crew on set.
The following behind the scenes photos should present a different point of view for the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
21 The True Iron Spider Suit
Tom Holland went on record several times during the press tour for Avengers: Infinity War of how envious he was to see his fellow superheroes be all flashy in their respective costumes while he didn’t get any bragging rights.
A glance at this image will tell us why Tom had reason to feel embarrassed.
In what is surely the final scene from the battle of Titan, moments before Peter Parker is turned to dust after Thanos’ finger snap, we see Tom wearing the motion capture suit while directly behind him stands Robert Downey Jr. Interestingly, the other belligerents from the battle, including Doctor Strange, Drax the Destroyer, Mantis, and Nebula are absent from this picture, while the stunt double for Peter Quill is in the vicinity. The Iron Spider suit from the film could never be used as a real-life costume when one remembers its capabilities had additional limbs protruding from the back like a real spider. There were many other things the Iron Spider suit could accomplish and this meant heavy use of CGI, which isn't something we're surprised about. But on set, Tom Holland had to contend with looking like a child in a onesie (a bizarre one at that).
20 Iron Men In Shorts
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2016 when promoting Captain America: Civil War, Robert Downey Jr. said filming for him in Atlanta had been a breeze, as opposed to his co-stars who had a hard time coping with the intense heat of the environment because every scene that involved Iron Man’s helmet closed and Tony’s face hidden meant Robert had not been on set to film that and had completed those scenes in the comfort of a filming booth. Robert must have been well accustomed to the filming style that was demanded from Iron Man due to his earlier experiences from the Iron Man films. His frequent co-star Don Cheadle had similar experiences filming scenes for War Machine.
Seen here from the climactic fight with Whiplash in Iron Man 2, we see how ridiculous the suits look like in real life. Those huge turrets or armors can never be made as part of an actual costume unless cardboard pieces are applied to imitate something similar to an armor. It can be seen here that the scene requires both actors to expose their faces and so they have to contend with looking like a couple of overgrown kids in shorts.
19 The Real Raccoon
We all know Rocket Raccoon purely from what we’ve seen of him onscreen from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and now Avengers: Infinity War, so it’s easy to overlook the obvious fact that it is not an actual raccoon who has filmed these movies. The same goes for Groot who, of course, is a talking and walking tree. If one were to watch videos on YouTube or TV covering the interviews of the Guardians of the Galaxy cast they would find the actors don’t consider Bradley Cooper to be much of a co-star. Bradley records his scenes once the film is over. So who plays Rocket during filming?
That would be a man called Sean Gunn, and your respect for his skill will increase upon the realization that he also plays Kraglin. This means he pulls in double duty each movie. Sean also has to wear a completely absurd looking onesie, fully green and wrapping his body in order to record his every movement and enable him to be captured so that he can be replaced in the film with the Raccoon. The climactic scene from Guardians of the Galaxy when Drax comforts Rocket can be viewed here with Sean being caressed instead.
18 The Strongest Avengers
The Hulk and Thor are responsible for some of the most epic fight scenes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their bouts in The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok have superb replay value, especially for fanboys who like to claim that Hulk won’t the first one while Thor won in Ragnarok despite neither battle having a definitive winner. Their fight in The Avengers was remembered fondly for many years as it provided us with a real powerhouse fight between the strongest Avengers, who had been labeled as a “Couple of Megaton Nukes” by Secretary Ross in Captain America: Civil War.
The real fight shows they are far from being nuke level.
The helicarrier fight sequence had Thor utilizing his hammer Mjolnir to take down the enraged Hulk. To do so Thor had the Hulk in a headlock with the Hammer in tow to put additional pressure on the big green monster. The filming for this scene shows a stunt double bearing down the weight of Chris Hemsworth as he gives in a committed performance. Sure, it’s a far cry from what we saw in The Avengers but to pull off realistic facial expressions while in actuality fighting a guy wearing a motion capture suit and a green upper half imitation of the Hulk deserves some credit.
17 The Fabulous Archer
One of the most covered shooting scenes from The Avengers, paparazzi wise, was the final moment of the film where the team assembled at Central Park in New York as Thor took Loki and the Tesseract with him to Asgard. Clips on YouTube can be found where Scarlet Johansson is persistently covering her face to avoid being photographed by particularly annoying cameramen. Although an event like the filming of The Avengers in a very public place like Central Park should mean a field day for the press they really should respect people’s privacy and not stick their camera straight to the actors’ faces. Sometimes, though, an actor might become wise on the press’ act and respond with some campiness of their own.
Jeremy Renner acted like a complete goof during the filming of this scene. He can be found making all kinds of faces much to the amusement of his co-stars and friends. In addition to that, Jeremy makes extremely ‘fabulous’ poses all the time the camera was on him. It is not known what the conversation was going on in the actors’ circle but the implication is that Jeremy may have been goofing around to give the press way more than what they wanted.
16 Love For Dad
Anthony Hopkins expressed disinterest in returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Thor: The Dark World but ultimately returned for Thor: Ragnarok. It was a good decision on his part too, as the entire cast loved the experience of filming the movie due to director Taika Watiti making the environment as fun filled as possible. Similarly, Idris Elba called working on the earlier two Thor films as “work” and that he only had fun on Thor: Ragnarok because “Taika was great”. Cate Blanchett echoed these words in her praise of Watiti as well.
Judging by this picture, Anthony Hopkins must have had a great time too. Taika and Chris Hemsworth are among the funniest cast members in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and here they get Anthony in on the fun as well. No doubt the filming for this scene concerned the climactic duel between Hela and Thor when the titular hero entered a vision of his father who called him “The God of Hammers.” Perhaps after a job well done, the actor and director both show their gratitude to Allfather Odin by planting a pair of kisses on his cheek. Odin wasn’t such a grump after all, was he?
15 As Close As Family
Taika and Chris don’t just have love for Anthony Hopkins, they have plenty left for Thor’s brother Loki as well, Tom Hiddleston to be exact. Marvel movies don’t just mean filming your scenes and skidaddling until the movie’s premiere. A whole lot of press tour is required to set up the film’s release. The San Diego Comic Con forms part of the films’ promotion every year. But this can be a tall task when the cast is constantly on high alert. Some minutes for nap time are good to recharge the batteries and that’s what we’re seeing here. The bromance between the cast was evident throughout Thor: Ragnarok.
This picture shows Thor, Loki, and Korg enjoying a nap together.
In actuality it is Tom, Chris and Taika are fast asleep in close proximity perhaps due to the pressures of a grueling press tour. Despite that, it is difficult not to feel a little jealous seeing how close-knit these guys are. What’s more, it is the Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo, who has taken this photo. The friendship between Mark and the rest of the cast was evident as well during interviews and there was no acrimony such as the one seen between Thor and the Hulk.
14 Rollin' With Brolin
Thanos professed his respect for Tony Stark after his victory in the battle of Titan. Tony put up a superb effort to bring The Mad Titan to his knees but ultimately all that was only “for a drop of blood” as the next instant Tony was pummeled by Thanos into submission. The entire fight was large in scale from the start, unlike much of what we have seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. Tony and Thanos even have an unexplained connection as both of them have been cursed with knowledge of the other for the past 6 years.
Unlike the bitter history between Iron Man and Thanos, Robert Downey Jr. and Josh Brolin have a perfectly stable friendship. The fight on Titan is also given another lens to look from as Josh is seen here in his motion capture suit and with the various dots on his face to gauge his reactions during filming and complete the visage of Thanos we see in the film. Brolin has revealed in interviews of his contact with Mark Ruffalo before accepting the role of Thanos as the challenges of motion capture are more difficult than they may seem. After an encouraging response from Ruffalo, Brolin ultimately accepted. Judging by the pointing business going on these images Thanos might be indicating we are next on his hit list.
13 Up In The Air
It’s difficult to make out which scenes have been filmed using CGI and which have been filmed using innovative techniques. Obviously a lot of Avengers: Infinity War was shot making use of computer technology but there were also many instances of authenticity being applied to give us a more realistic scene. In this occasion, the example would be the interrogation scene between Doctor Strange and Ebony Maw. Strange was abducted by Maw during the invasion of New York after the former’s refusal to hand over the Time Stone. Ebony turned out to be way stronger than anyone would have anticipated and used his telekinesis to take Doctor Strange with him aboard his spaceship. When he came to, Strange was subjected to an agonizing ordeal where Maw planned to force the Time Stone off.
Benedict Cumberbatch was held in midair in literal terms to shoot this scene. While the spikes that pricked against Strange’s skin may have been CGI, the actor was in actuality held up so as to add in legitimacy to his precarious position. No doubt being in that stance would not have been the most comfortable of positions to be in and Benedict’s acting abilities generated a well-shot scene of Doctor Strange’s unenviable state.
12 Getting Into Character
In order to play a green-skinned alien, you will need to look the part, and boy did Zoe Saldana pull it off. The actress plays Gamora, the adoptive daughter of main antagonist Thanos. In Avengers: Infinity War the backstory between the two is further detailed and was one of the more impressive parts of the movie as it shed new light on the characterization of both Gamora and Thanos. Gamora came from a species called the Zehoberei whose planet was invaded and half of the population culled by Thanos. The Titan would then adopt Gamora as his own.
The story of Gamora, while certainly being engaging, has to be seen through the portrayal of Zoe Saldana. Filming for the Marvel movies takes a good chunk of hours of the day but for Zoe, it constituted more than that as the get up for Gamora required her to be painted green for three hours! Saldana shared a time-lapsed video of the process on Instagram which makes having to sit through hours of makeup something we won’t envy. Not only does she have to remain stationary while being painted a different color, she has to be painted upon by a whole team of people, and then go and do her actual job of filming the movie!
11 Behind The Scenes Bromance
In Avengers: Infinity War, we saw the Guardians of the Galaxy interact with members of the Avengers. This was a much-anticipated event as the two factions had existed in the same universe but had been galaxies apart. The interest was paramount due to the Guardians’ quirky personalities and the guaranteed unique exchange between its members and members of the Avengers.
Thor and Star-Lord started things off as far as interactions between Avengers and Guardians were concerned.
In the film, we saw these two being slightly at odds with one another. Star-Lord was not all too pleased to see his girlfriend Gamora commenting on how attractive Thor is, even mentioning to Tony Stark later on how Thor’s description was “Tall guy, not so good looking”. Suffice to say these guys weren’t exactly friends as much as reluctant allies. But Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth who form part of the three Chris’ on set had a blast filming together. They are among the funnier ones of the cast and as expected got along famously. Both of them are very burly men but the question has usually remained which one of the two is bigger. Here we see the two comparing muscles and it seems Chris Hemsworth is mightily impressed.
10 Director Shenanigans
Lately, Joss Whedon has been much maligned by fans of the DC Extended Universe due to his handling of Justice League. Zack Snyder had had a five movie vision for Superman’s story starting from Man of Steel to the formerly planned Justice League – Part Two which was scrapped due to the studio having differing opinions on the direction the series was heading to. After Whedon stepped into complete the already half done Justice League he injected a lot of the familiar comedic elements that were found in The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
While Age of Ultron wasn’t all that great, the first Avengers film certainly was. A lot of the credit for the critical success of the film has to be attributed to Whedon who truly employed the style of comedy in Marvel films. Still, there were moments during the Battle of New York where things hadn’t seemed too funny for our heroes. You’ll have a different point of view once you check out his picture where the director himself is goofing around. The scene was supposed to be where Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow get overwhelmed by the Chitauri and maybe Joss here is trying to portray an alien.
9 Strongest Avenger In Real Life
This one might make you see the films almost exactly as the film as opposed to in another way. The argument for Thor’s status as the most powerful Avengers has only recently been seen as confirmation due in part to his saving act in Avengers: Infinity War where he was the only one to best Thanos in a fight. This picture would indicate that not only Thor but the actor playing him is the strongest on set. If anything, this picture is a light-hearted spoiler showing Thor as the definitive strongest member.
Chris Hemsworth shows some remarkable display of strength as he not only pulls Scarlett Johansson by one arm, he also pulls forward Chris Evans who does his best to pull the actress the other way. Hemsworth is definitely a beast when it comes to training and while Chris Evans’ physique is stupendous in its own right he still doesn’t compare physicality wise to Chris Hemsworth. This scene was the one where the Vision was about to see his birth. On this occasion, Captain America battled Tony Stark to prevent from Vision being activated but their exchange was interrupted by Thor who brought Vision to life instead.
8 The Real Heroes
Part of the job of playing a superhero is making rounds in character when the time calls for it. We have seen much of the cast visit charities or children while in superhero garb. It is a great initiative by the studio that brings smiles to little children’s faces especially when they most deserve it. The actors are also more than willing to comply. However, when one dresses up in character that would also mean acting as said character. When that happens you can’t expect them to enjoy meeting human children especially when you are supposed to be the God of Mischief.
Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston visited a children’s hospital as Thor and Loki.
Both actors took to Instagram to voice their appreciation for “the real heroes” which were the hospital staff who provided treatment to children in need. This break from filming was when the two were busy in production of Thor: Ragnarok. While Loki might not have much care for Earth’s unimportant children the actors most certainly does not feel that way. But on this day even Loki grew a softer side for the children as he allowed them to wield Mjolnir straight to his face.
7 The Co-Stars That Train Together...
As has been established, the Marvel actors are required to train rigorously to achieve the perfect figure required to play the part. When you are supposed to be the God of Thunder you can’t have flailing arms or when you are playing the role of a super soldier you can’t be scrawny and weak looking. Training for the movies isn’t easy and this means several sacrifices have to be made. It also means putting in extra effort at the gym to maintain the hard work put in to achieve the appropriate physique. While all this can be difficult there are ways to make it more bearable and having your buddies train alongside you is one of the methods.
Scarlet Johansson and Sebastian Stan are very familiar with one another by this point, having starred together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, and presumably Avengers 4 to follow. All that time must have meant they were friendly enough to partake with their crew to engage in some fitness regimen. Judging by Scarlet’s hair color and length this picture was snapped during filming of Avengers: Infinity War. Unlike the Winter Soldier and Black Widow, these two are pretty good friends.
6 Applying The Arc Reactor
Let’s go back all the way to 2007. Before the practices of superhero movies were common knowledge there was much interest in uncovering how Robert Downey Jr. had pulled off wearing the arc reactor in Tony Stark’s chest. The item was necessary for the character and the story so it was impossible to overlook this feature. Some thought the arc reactor may even have been CGI the whole time but behind the scenes footage of the reality of the situation put things in perspective. Like many other characters, whose make up application and removal is an arduous process, Robert also had to sit for a long time while people applied all sort of substances on him.
In order to place the arc reactor in the appropriate area, Robert was required to sport a prosthetic chest which would have the arc reactor fit into it. The substance applied was a bluish known as latex. The latex would be applied in abundance until it was certain enough had been administered. Next came the coloration of the latex to match Robert’s own skin tone. And here we thought Tony Stark had it difficult to deal with the arc reactor when in real life his actor wasn’t all that in a comfortable position himself.
5 The Puny Hulk
Lately, it has become a normal practice to employ the use of motion capture for actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the struggles to act in tandem with all the materials required for it is becoming more well known. The grandfather, as he may be called for this practice seeing that he has been at it for a while, is Mark Ruffalo who has publicly called the motion capture suit as his “Man cancelling suit.”
The Hulk is a completely CGI character which means none of Mark Ruffalo’s actual physique will ever be seen when portraying the Hulk.
But as his movements are necessary he is completely clad in motion capture materials. The dots on his face are supposed to capture all facial expressions the Hulk makes, whether in combat or otherwise, and the bodysuit traces movements made by the actor. As mentioned previously, Josh Brolin consulted Mark before accepting the role of Thanos due to Mark’s experience in this area. It is easy for us to appreciate the Hulk’s towering presence in the films but special credit should be given to the actor as it can’t be easy to play the role when having to ensure all aspects of acting, motion capture and the fact that he looks ridiculous must be taken into consideration.
4 Good Food, Good People
One of the first images that were released from the set of Avengers: Infinity War was this one. For the most part, there had been hardly any pictures seen of the cast and crew in preparation for the movie, which was a shame as Infinity War is definitely among the most anticipated films of all time let alone 2018. A little-known fact about movie sets is the abundance of food present. The catering services are magnified tenfold when big-budget movies are in production. This picture of Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Benedict Wong ended much speculation that the filming of Infinity War was as dark as the film’s story.
Without any doubt, this photo was snapped during the filming of the New York invasion where “Squidward” abducts Doctor Strange. While the film was in production the majority of the news released for the story had to do with how the stakes had never been higher and with Doctor Strange having possession of the Time Stone it made him target number 1 for Thanos. But thanks to this picture, where the actors are seen having a jolly good time, we can be sure that filming the movie was a hoot rather than a somber fest as early speculation had us believe.
3 Shave It Off
Before Guardians of the Galaxy came around for Karen Gillan, she was best known for her role as Amy Pond in Doctor Who starring from Series 5 to Series 7. Since 2012, she has focused in appearing Hollywood based TV shows and movies with her first outing being the lead in the short-lived comedy series Selfie. But Karen has proven she is up to the task when it comes to sacrificing herself for the sake of her role. Nebula is a part android and part alien species who is known for her blue skin and bald features. The ‘Bald’ aspect is one to remember as the actress was required to go bald for real for the film.
Shedding her long, fiery locks, Karen went in full on Nebula mode for Guardians of the Galaxy. Now add in the fact that she also had to sit for hours while makeup specialists had their way with her as far as the blue-skinned requirement was concerned, and you will have a new appreciation for the work she put in. Guardians of the Galaxy also has a strict comedic policy which meant Karen had to be on top of her game in this regard as well.
2 Thor's Revenge!
Chris Hemsworth was hounded by repeated questions over his non-involvement in Captain America: Civil War. It’s weird too, considering Mark Ruffalo was also absent from the film yet he was never questioned nearly as much as Chris. Living up to his funnyman personality Chris made a few videos at the expense of the Civil War cast by taking shots at them. There were even high-quality videos filmed during the hyping up for Thor: Ragnarok where Thor and Banner are seen in Australia, and Thor is sour at being left out of the Tony Stark and Steve Rogers conflict.
He took his revenge by smashing all the heroes at the same time.
In a video which was aimed specifically at the belligerents from the airport battle in Civil War, Chris Hemsworth trashed the entire table filled with action figures of the characters. What’s more, he did so by making use of Mjolnir. Chris also adds in his blend of color commentary while smashing all the action figures. Thor may not have been even aware of the Sokovia Accords conflict but Chris Hemsworth certainly isn’t letting the lack of invite slide. To top it all off, this whole skit was filmed on the set of Thor: Ragnarok with Chris refusing to smash Hulk’s toy because he was cool with him.
1 Hawkeye's Big Swerve
Hawkeye’s lack of promotion did not go unnoticed by many when Avengers: Infinity War’s press tour was in full swing. Every character, even minor ones like Shuri, were given their own character posters and were on the cast billing as well. But Hawkeye’s absence was hardly ever addressed. Ant-Man was also missing but his film was due only a couple months later in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Besides, Hawkeye had a starring role in both The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron so he was appropriately seen as an important member. As it transpired, Hawkeye wasn’t in the movie at all which explained why he was never promoted in franchise media.
But the studio and Jeremy Renner himself have to be blamed for making us think Hawkeye was in the movie. When asked about Hawkeye’s supposed absence the directors claimed the character was on his own “special journey” during Infinity War, which was a lie. Meanwhile, Jeremy Renner himself had hyped Infinity War in the time leading up to it such as this Instagram snapshot where he displayed his name clearly above the Infinity War logo a full 13 months before the movie's release. Anyone would have thought this confirmation of his involvement in the film but turns out all it was just a giant swerve.
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