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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever VFX Animator Explains How Fish Poop Factored Into Creating The Film

If you've seen "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," then you'll know that a good chunk of that movie actually takes place entirely underwater — particularly when we visit the bountiful undersea kingdom of Talokan. About halfway through the film, Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) finds herself abducted and brought to the vast undersea kingdom, where she is given a tour of Talokan's capital city by the kingdom's godlike ruler, Namor (Tenoch Huerta).

This sequence is one of the most awe-inspiring moments of the entire film, as Shuri is guided through the buzzing streets of Talokan to witness how the people have adapted to life underwater. Her journey across the kingdom is filled with breathtaking shots of Talokan's beautiful Mesoamerican architecture and unique construction, including a "Sun" under the sea, which Namor claims he constructed using vibranium.

The dazzling spectacle of Talokan is undoubtedly one of the highlights of "Wakanda Forever," especially since other parts of the movie still suffer from the lackluster visual effects that have plagued Marvel's Phase Four. That said, it might surprise some fans to learn part of what makes these underwater sequences look so real is actually the simulation of the grainy "marine snow" we see in the ocean — most of which, according to the team from Wētā FX, is actually just fish poop.

Animators modeled fish poop to create the perfect marine snow effect

Considering the fact that Wētā FX has been one of the most prolific visual effects companies of the 2000s (with past projects including Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and James Cameron's "Avatar"), it should come as no surprise that the team went to great lengths to craft the perfect "marine snow" for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" — something which apparently involved simulating the behavior of fish poop in the water.

"A lot of it's really fish poop," explained VFX animator Chris White during an interview with Screen Rant. "It's floating around everywhere, there's all complex layers of fish that feed on other fish in it, you could go into it forever talking about it. We modeled every little bit of it, we had someone full-time doing the simulations."

White went on to explain that the simulations were so detailed that they allowed this grainy fish poop to move realistically around the actors as they moved around within the scenes — even if they weren't actually filming underwater. This intense attention to detail is just one of the many reasons that these underwater scenes look so realistic, though one still has to wonder what kind of research went into these impressive fish poop simulations.