Marvel Studios' latest venture into AI-generated animation for Secret Invasion has inadvertently provoked the ire of millions of fans online. The studio used a real-world analogue of the AI character Ultron to create the opening sequence of the recent series, leading to an avalanche of criticism.
In an era where artificial intelligence is increasingly challenging traditional forms of art and creative expression, this daring experiment by the Secret Invasion team has stirred the pot.
Following an enigmatic cold open, the introduction sequence presents a series of abstract images of key characters such as Nick Fury and the Skrulls.
AI takes center stage in Secret Invasion's debut: Director Ali Selim explains the studios' creative approach
Ali Selim, director of Secret Invasion, has confirmed that Method Studios conceived the initial credit sequence using AI. This was not a case of technological over-reliance or indolence, as Selim sees the use of AI as a fitting symbol of the mysterious and shifting nature of the "Skrull world" featured in the series.
"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.
Selim confessed his lack of comprehensive understanding of the AI process but outlined their methodology:
"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," he added.
Fan outrage over Secret Invasion's AI-made images
Viewers were swift to voice their discontent following the first episode of Secret Invasion, Resurrection, specifically targeting the AI-rendered opening.
One user, Brian Long, lamented on social media:
"So Marvel really used AI to make the intro for #SecretInvasion… it's actually over."
Former Marvel Studios concept artist Jeff Simpson expressed his devastation, deeming AI "unethical, dangerous, and designed solely to eradicate artists' careers."
Viewer @TheFirstOkiro praised the first episode but derided the AI-generated intro as "wack," while @GVgalore compared it unfavorably with the end credits of Marvel's She-Hulk.
Influencer Matt "Supes" Ramos decried AI, fearing it's a step towards replacing artists. He highlighted the contrast between the recent Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse projects, which were "infused with love by its creators," and Secret Invasion's AI art.
John Cullen expressed his disdain for the AI-driven sequence on Twitter, revealing that he quit the show due to the AI-produced intro. On a lighter note, @VegasBabyKJ used humor to express disappointment, posting a meme that implied the series' intro was worse than Ant-Man and The Wasp Quantumania.
Marvel's dilemma: To AI or not to AI?
Marvel Studios, led by President Kevin Feige, finds itself in the eye of a storm, dealing with the repercussions of venturing into unexplored territory using AI. This bold move was presented as an artistic decision, but the backlash from fans indicates resistance to artwork created by machines.
Marvel will likely exercise more caution in its future use of AI, especially when human artists or writers can undertake tasks.
The first episode of Secret Invasion is now available for streaming on Disney+.