Marvel Studios
Main on End (MOE)
Titling
Motion Design
Typography
CG (Computer Graphics)
Editorial

Echo

Maya is a complex character. She is torn between two worlds, two lives, two families and at the same time is discovering an inner resource that is both powerful but also mysterious and scary. It was important that the title sequence expressed Maya layered quality and the duality that she lives in. There is both darkness and light. Beauty and grittiness. All the while there is something lurking beneath the surface. Is it a friend or a foe?

The Themes

In order to gesture towards the various tones and ideas from the show the title sequence draws on several visual motifs and themes. These motifs then form the common strands that tie together both the original imagery as well as the footage from the show, giving new meaning and additional context to existing material.

Two Worlds

Maya is trapped between two lives. There is the world of her birth in Tamaha, Oklahoma where her family of origin still lives and then there is New York City where she was adopted into a life of crime and power seeking. One world is humble, but filled with heritage and natural beauty. The other is flashy, impressive, and full of opportunities for those willing to take it.

Combining imagery in surreal and unexpected ways provided a tool to convey the duality at the core of Maya’s identity and inject a bit of the magical reality from the Choctaw narratives. Juxtaposing and complementing visuals allowed us to develop nuanced images that reward multiple viewings and closer examination throughout the series.

Shadows

Throughout the series Maya is haunted by forces. She is hunted by assassins and stalked by visions. Her psyche is bombarded by echoes from her past and she lives in uncertainty.

The shadow motif draws on the shadow puppetry storytelling of the Choctaw origin story and carries it into new contexts, building that ominous, haunted feeling into otherwise beautiful imagery. There is something lurking just beneath the surface in Maya’s life.

Hands

While Maya’s deafness does not define her life it does mean that signing and hands are an important part of the communication and storytelling throughout the series. Whether it is the young girls telling stories with shadow puppets in a blanket tent or a Maya communicating with her family they form a significant visual through-line.

In the end the inclusion of hands in the title sequence was a more poetic and evocative device than a specific invocation of sign language. The hands become gestural elements that bring a sense of humanity to moments, sometimes intimate and tender, other times ominous and foreboding.

Creation

To capture the look of magical realism and create the conceptual and visual blending between images we began each shot with an idea for the tone and type of imagery. With this idea in mind we then sketched the desired layout for the moment to act as a guide for searching out and creating imagery. 

The final composition for each shot was a back-and-forth dialogue between the sourced footage, show footage, original imagery and the initial concept sketch. It was quite often a moving collage of all three types of footage. It was important that each shot feel alive and deep; that there was a whole world within each moment, sometimes multiple worlds. To achieve this required a lot of layering but also some clever uses of CG to either create parts of a world that we could move a camera through or environments into which we could project existing footage—giving a person’s face some shape and subtle rotation or a landscape a sense of grandeur and space.

Though created from many disparate elements the final look needed to feel tonally cohesive and of a single vision. We made use of subtle optical effects, glows, softenings, and techniques to accentuate certain textural qualities within an image in targeted ways. This helped us to bring a heightened and almost dreamlike quality to the sequence but without straying into gauzy cliché. 

Color plays an important part in striking the final tone. The sequence needed to have a sense of style but also balance the more grounded tone of the show and the character of the show’s environments. To do this we controlled saturation and focused on earthy and nature inspired tones, particularly in the Oklahoma moments—letting the warm tones get a little bit fiery and not letting the cooler tones gert too green. For NYC we let things get a little bit rusty and less rich to subtly imply the difference in character between the two worlds.

In the end the process was rooted in carefully balancing a lot of different, layered ideas and sources of imagery into something that feels of a piece and complements that beautiful imagery of the show.

Project Credits 
  • Executive Creative Director
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Executive Producer
    Steven Anderson
  • Creative Director
    Stefan Draht
  • Producer
    Kelsey Hynes
  • Editor
    Tom Pastorelle
  • Assistant Editor
    Jesus Diaz
  • Design & Animation
    Ariel Costa
  • Mollie Davis
  • Stefan Draht
  • Matthew Nowak
  • Jens Mebes
  • Dan Moore
  • João Vaz Oliveira
  • Typography
    Andrei Popa
Client Credits 
  • Client
    Marvel Studios
  • Director
    Sydney Freeland
  • Catriona McKenzie
  • Executive Producer
    Victoria Alonso
  • Jennifer L. Booth
  • Stephen Broussard
  • Etan Cohen
  • Marion Dayre
  • Louis D’Esposito
  • Kevin Feige
  • Sydney Freeland
  • Jason Gavin
  • Richie Palmer
  • Amy Rardin
  • Brad Winderbaum

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