If Marvel Studios had hoped that the opening credits for its new Disney+ series Secret Invasion would get people talking, then the mission has been accomplished — although it’s unlikely that the studio had wanted the response currently unfolding on social media.
Confirming fan suspicion, the show’s director and executive producer Ali Selim told Polygon that, yes, the show’s opening credits were produced using artificial intelligence, something that Selim described as “explorative and inevitable, and exciting, and different.” The titles were outsourced to visual effects company Method Studios, which used AI to create the sequence. The studio also created the titles for Marvel Studios' Loki, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight - although its not clear if AI was used for those projects.
“When we reached out to the AI vendors, that was part of it — it just came right out of the shape-shifting, Skrull world identity, you know? Who did this? Who is this?” Selim said. “We would talk to them about ideas and themes and words, and then the computer would go off and do something. And then we could change it a little bit by using words, and it would change.”
It’s safe to say that the online response to this revelation has not been favorable.
“Big studios are taking a clear stance on AI issues for artists by using exploitative and morally very questionable AI tools for their current productions,” tweeted concept artist David Platt, who noted that the opening titles from Max’s Raised by Wolves appeared to be used as inspiration for the Secret Invasion sequence. “It is disgusting.”
“I will be boycotting Secret Invasion. A slap in the face of artists and the WGA strike,” wrote storyboard artist Jon Lam.
One of the concept artists from the show, Jeff Simpson, tweeted, “I’m devastated, I believe AI to be unethical, dangerous and designed solely to eliminate artists' careers. Spent almost half a year working on this show and had a fantastic experience working with the most amazing people I ever met…”
Mention of the WGA are appropriate; part of that union’s requests is a request for safeguards against the use of AI in writing screenplays; similarly, the tentative deal between the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers includes limited safeguards against generative AI. Use of artificial intelligence is a hot topic right now, and by using AI to create Secret Invasion’s titles, Marvel has dropped itself right in the middle of that conversation… and perhaps not in the way it might have wanted.
Secret Invasion episode 1 is currently streaming on Disney+.
Want to know more about the Skrulls before you dive into Secret Invasion? We’re ready to help you with that.