‘Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters’ VFX Supervisor Details Bringing The Monsterverse To Life!

Since the beginning of the Monsterverse films with Gareth Edward’s 2014 “Godzilla” film, visual effects supervisor Sean Korad has always played an integral role in bringing the Titan’s to life on screen. Konrad went on to work on 2019’s “Godzilla: King Of The Monsters” and has now taken on the role of visual effects supervisor for the new Apple TV+ series “Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters”.

The new series follows a family story that spans across continents over a 65 year time period. It picks up right after the events of 2014’s “Godzilla” film where the city of San Francisco is destroyed after Godzilla’s epic battle with the MUTO’s.

We caught up with “Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters” VFX supervisor, Sean Konrad to discuss the making of the new series, the creation of new Titans and more.

How happy are you with the feedback the series has been receiving? It seems like die-hard fans are loving it, however it is definitely opening the door to new fans as well!

SEAN KONRAD: I’m very stoked for people to be getting into it at this point. One of the things that appealed to me with the scripts at the beginning was that this serves as such a great entry point for the series. You have this naive perspective with Anna Sawai’s character that allows you to come into this universe fresh and it doesn’t feel contrived. It’s like you discover all of these things along with her!

Did you feel any pressure to get Godzilla and the rest of the Titans just right to avoid any backlash from the fanbase?

I’m very fortunate that I got to work on “Godzilla” 2014 as an artist and when we were going through that process you learn what works and what doesn’t work, so that was fantastic. But really, we have excellent collaborators at Legendary and Toho that will guide us in the right direction if we are ever going in the wrong one. It’s a lot of pressure, but we’ve got support there.

Without giving too much away, how much fun was it to conceptualize these new Titans? Did you feel you had freer rein with the creative process? 

Yeah, and the thing I’ve been saying a lot is that we wanted to design our set pieces around the emotional journeys of our characters…around the stories we are trying to tell for their characters…and so that is fundamental to not only how you think about a scene and shoot it, but it’s also how do you design creatures that can support that in a way.  Sometimes if you are inside of a building, instead of making this giant creature that is 300ft tall maybe its’ like 2ft tall and there’s a lot of them! That’s a great way to start thinking about it and then looking at the natural terrain and drawing inspiration from that and we would always have these Zoom calls early in the production process where I would bring up these decks, I made of creepy underwater creatures that we would draw inspiration from and again we would find that emotional truth of the action in the scene and support that in some way.

Photo courtesy: Apple

You mentioned using a lot of natural terrain and not a lot of green screens, so I’m sure that led to some additional challenges from an effects perspective. 

Yeah, absolutely and one of the early scenes that is in the show where we see a character being chased by something in woods…we had an idea for what the scene was going to be and we did a scout of Hawaii and we were going around and we couldn’t find something that ticked all the boxes, so it was going to be like oh, we have to shoot this over here and that over there and blue screen over there, so then you are flying to Hawaii to shoot into blue screen and it’s like this isn’t good, so we looked at it and Matt Fraction, our director for the first two episodes, had this idea of a creature that would play off this volcanic rock terrain and so we allowed the terrain to drive the creature creation. That is such a cool thing and its way better than if we had just shot into a blue screen.

“Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” premiered on November 17th and will air new episodes on Wednesdays on Apple TV+.

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