Marvel’s special effects have been in the news a lot lately, and not always because they have broken new ground in cinema. In February, for example, a Vulture article citing anonymous sources within Marvel claimed the company’s VFX workers were so overworked they were forced to prioritize Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at the expense of the visuals in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. An artist quoted in the piece also said the studio kept demanding so many changes to their recent movies and shows that some shots would “have to be redone 20 times to get the look that they want.”

Whether or not these issues were overblown in the press, the company’s effects workers clearly think things are not perfect, because this week they voted unanimously to unionize under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). It’s the first time, per Variety, that “a unit of solely VFX workers has unionized with IATSE.”


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An organizer with IATSE gave this statement on the news:

Today, VFX workers at Marvel Studios spoke with a unanimous, collective voice, demanding fair pay for the hours they work, healthcare, a safe and sustainable working environment, and respect for the work they do ... There could be no stronger statement highlighting the overwhelming need for us to continue our work and bring union protections and standards to all VFX workers across the industry.

Simply voting to unionize won’t change anything at Marvel until the company enters negotiations with the union on a contract for all VFX workers. At this point, there are no such negotiations scheduled.

The proof will ultimately be in the films and TV shows themselves — and the stories we see in the press after the movies come out. Will we continue to see anonymous Marvel artists complaining about their working conditions? Will there continue to be moments in Marvel movies that look rushed or weird?

The next Marvel movie, The Marvels is scheduled to open in theaters on November 10.

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