Marvel has been criticised for using AI to generate the artwork during the opening credits of its new series.
Secret Invasion, the latest entry in the company’s cinematic universe, premiered on Disney+ on Wednesday.
As is custom with many of the franchise’s shows, episodes open with the names of the cast and production crew against the backdrop of comic book-inspired artwork.
But rather than the work of real artists, Secret Invasion’s credits backdrops are made by AI.
Executive producer Ali Selim defended the decision, claiming it played into the themes of the show, which sees shapeshifting aliens called Skrulls invade Earth.
“When we reached out to the AI vendors, that was part of it,” he told Polygon.
“It just came right out of the shapeshifting, Skrull world identity, you know? Who did this? Who is this?”
‘Slap in the face’ to artists
Marvel, which is owned by Disney, enlisted visual effects firm Method Studios to make the opening credits.
Some viewers were quick to voice their opposition to the use of AI, amid fears it could have a huge impact on jobs across the creative industries.
Stephen Ford, a director, described it as “a slap in the face to literally every artist Disney has ever worked with”.
He said it “overshadows the hard work everyone did on this show”.
‘Hire talented artists’
Independent artist Kelly McKernan tweeted the use of AI was “absolutely disgusting”, saying it could have been “a paying job for many artists”.
Another viewer said Disney and Marvel have “endless cash” and should “hire any of the endless talented artists” out there rather than use AI.
It comes after Disney announced 7,000 job losses in a bid to cut costs.
Chief executive Bob Iger revealed plans to save $5.5bn to improve the profitability of Disney+, the streaming service which lost more than $1bn in the final quarter of 2022 as subscriptions fell.
Sky News has contacted Disney for comment about the backlash to Secret Invasion’s use of AI.
The show, starring Samuel L Jackson, Olivia Colman, and Emilia Clarke, has received mixed reviews from critics.
Fears over AI’s impact on creative jobs
Artists have been among the most vocal in their concerns about AI since the technology has started to become increasingly powerful and accessible.
Comic book artist Dave McKean told Sky News earlier this year that tools like Midjourney and DALL-E 2, which let users generate realistic art using simple prompts, could be a “redefinition of what creativity is”.
“There’s never been such a huge gap between the sheer lack of effort or work or anything going in and the huge sophistication that then results coming out,” he added.
Musicians have also expressed fears over a spate of AI-generated tracks flooding the internet, including ones featuring cloned voices of The Weeknd and Drake, while actors including motion capture master Andy Serkis have warned the technology could potentially render real cast members unnecessary.