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Marvel Studios' new “Secret Invasion” TV series launched today on Disney+, and as early viewers are quickly discovering—and as the entertainment giant has confirmed—the opening credits were created using AI tools.
Speaking to Polygon, “Secret Invasion” director and executive producer Ali Selim revealed that the title sequence was designed by Method Studios using artificial intelligence. Selim described the move as an artistic decision that matched the vibe of the show.
“It just came right out of the shape-shifting Skrull world,” that the show explores, said Selim, with deception and paranoia noted as key themes of the show. Selim went on to say that he “[doesn’t] really understand” how AI works, but using it felt “explorative and inevitable, and exciting and different.”
— Brian Long (@BrianLongFilms) June 21, 2023
“We would talk to [Method Studios] about ideas and themes and words, and then the computer would go off and do something,” Selim added. “And then we could change it a little bit by using words, and it would change.”
The credits for the first episode of “Secret Invasion” confirm that an AI technical director was used, alongside an animator, a VFX technical director, an art director, and a creative lead. Method Studios has previously worked on other Marvel TV shows like “Ms. Marvel,” “Loki,” and “Moon Knight,” but this is the first time AI has been used.
And some fans and creatives aren’t happy about it. Already, angry fans and fellow creators are sounding off on social media, with backlash echoing that seen around other AI-assisted projects in recent months—not to mention previous and ongoing backlash to NFTs.
“I’m devastated,” tweeted artist Jeff Simpson, who said that he worked with the visual development team on “Secret Invasion” character design, props, and animation keyframes. “I believe AI to be unethical, dangerous, and designed solely to eliminate artists' careers,” he continued.
Looks like it was outsourced to Method Studios. I’m really concerned about the impacts of this.
— Jeff Simpson (@jeffsimpsonkh) June 21, 2023
“A lot of people will rave about how good ‘Secret Invasion’ is, but this show marks the first major invasion of AI on a major studio’s piece of work,” artist Brian Long wrote on Twitter. “It’s utterly horrifying to think about and this is only the start. Think about all the amazing intros created by REAL HUMANS,” he added, sharing the opening titles of “Daredevil,” “True Detective,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Sopranos.”
“I really loved the first episode of ‘Secret Invasion,’ but using AI ‘art’ for their intro is just wack. Do better Marvel,” added pseudonymous filmmaker Okiro, while a cartoonist who goes by Mr. Chau told Marvel to “spend some money on an artist, so your opening credits don’t look terrible. You’re a comic book company, you have plenty of artists.”
However some fans have theorized that the purpose of the AI opening credits is to “showcase the gradual threat” AI apparently poses to human artists—a subversive thought that plays well with the vibe of the show. “Same with the objective of Skrulls in taking Earth from Humans by shifting themselves into human form,” one Twitter user suggested.