Head Of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding Dishes On The MCU’s Path To What If…?

For anyone who might not know, what do you do as head of visual development, and why does this process make Marvel so unique?

I lead a team of concept artists that essentially are responsible for designing the heroes and villains of the MCU. So we’re unique in that, in a lot of the other movie studios, a person like me would work for someone else, like a costume designer or for a production designer. But we are actually an in-house part of Marvel Studios that has stayed with the characters since the beginning, so I’ve worked here since “Iron Man.”

And the notion that we are our own department, we do drawings and paintings, listening to what the filmmakers want to accomplish and essentially present those and say, “Hey, here’s 15 versions of Iron Man, which one’s going to work for your movie?” And they can say, “Well, we like these two, but we don’t like the rest of them. Can you do more variations?” Then we do more and more variations until the filmmakers are happy with what’s being presented, and then we sort of help … That art becomes the stuff that goes down the different pipelines, either to visual effects or the costume department, and we work with those different departments to help execute and then make sure that those characters are as well represented as possible.

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