Black Widow (2021) introduces Dreykov, the military overseer of the Widows, and recruiter of Natasha Romanoff. In a ten-month collaboration, we helped Marvel Studios and director Cate Shortland bring the technology of Dreykov's underground world to life for film audiences around the globe.
The film reveals 'The Red Room' –– a sophisticated yet brutal organization that transforms children into adult assassins. We explored how Soviet Union era technology, Brutalism, and Constructivism might have converged in the technology surrounding Dreykov and the Red Room's headquarters.
In addition to analyzing cultural influences, we helped the Marvel Studios team conceptualize training facilities, predictive visualizations, and unique energy sources.
Leveraging our research, we began developing one of the narrative's core pieces of technology – Dreykov's Map. The seven-layered holographic map incorporates visual mechanics similar to early lenticular displays, subtly adding visual depth while echoing the utilitarian character traits of Dreykov.
We explored how the separate layers of Dreykov’s map
could be utilized to show topography and other narrative elements.
DREYKOV’S MAP DEPTH DISPLAY TEST
DREKYOV’S MAP IDENTITY SCAN FEATURE
DREYKOV’S MAP INTERFACE
DREYKOV’S MAP LOG OUT SEQUENCE
DREYKOV’S MAP TAKEOVER TURNTABLE ANIMATION
DREYKOV’S MAP TAKEOVER SEQUENCE ANIMATION 1
DREYKOV’S MAP TAKEOVER SEQUENCE ANIMATION 2
DREYKOV’S MAP DATA TRANSFER SEQUENCE
DREYKOV’S MAP INTERFACE DESIGN MONTAGE
Additional Screens and Devices
The map set a baseline style for other Dreykov technology elements. We developed a loose style guide to ensure the peripheral technology maintained continuity within the Red Room organization.
We designed Dreykov's handset interface to convey his oppressive technical control over the environment, incorporating design cues from older soviet displays and circuit diagrams.
DREYKOV’S HANDSET INTERFACE 1
DREYKOV’S HANDSET INTERFACE 2
DREYKOV’S HANDSET INTERFACE 3
DREYKOV’S HANDSET INTERFACE 4
For the hand scanner to match the sophistication of Dreykov's other technology, we added visualizations of internal hand anatomy, suggesting it's scanning more than just fingerprints.
MELINA’S HANDSET PIG
We researched medical imaging equipment to give Mel's (Rachel Weisz) pig-control-handset legitimacy, incorporating accurate anatomy and realistic biometrics. While intended as a slightly humorous scene, it was still important to reflect the serious implications of the technology.
MELINA’S HANDSET MAP
We designed the holographic map in alignment with our internal Dreykov style guide, incorporating geolocators to display surrounding threats to Melina’s farm–– a crucial part of the scene.
We researched medical informatics and displays to create a real-world adoption of ordinary low-resolution medical screens.
Yelena’s handset is a hacked secret intelligence tablet. We designed the interface and prison map to reflect the core narrative elements. While a quick on-screen moment, it was critical the design did not appear visually similar to Dreykov's technology.
Black Widow was such a highly anticipated film and it was an honor for our team to collaborate with Marvel Studios on it. Thrilling technology played a huge role in Black Widow and it was great to apply our Science Fiction Thinking to these intriguing interfaces - and then get back to the theaters to see it on the big screen! It was truly exciting to design so many pieces of incredible technology and the opening title sequence for Black Widow!