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Veteran Animator Shows off His Student Portfolio: an Animated Wicked Movie

Minkyu Lee has worked on Wreck-It Ralph, Winnie the Pooh, and The Princess and the Frog, as well as directing the Oscar nominated short film Adam and Dog. He’s gotten asked about portfolios so often that he decided to share his own portfolio, which he used to gain entry to the Visual Development department at Disney. It’s structured as a comprehensive series of character design work for a single hypothetical project: an animated adaptation of Wicked.

(Lee’s Tumblr via io9.)

[View All on One Page]

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  • Anonymous

    Great stuff

  • Anonymous

    I love the images! Now I want to see that made.

  • Anonymous

    Gorgeous! I’d watch.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I like it all, but for some reason, white-Fiyero always makes me head-tilt. Unless it’s a stage musical, where you’re casting more for singing/acting/dancing than looks (and some of those have been not-white too). But for character design, I thought he wasn’t white. Kinda woulda been cool to work in the diamonds (since they wanted them in production but couldn’t make them stand out well on stage without messing with facial expression visibility).

    But yeah, I would totally love this as a movie.

  • Sara

    I need this in my life.

  • Jamie Jeans

    That artwork of Elphaba is so damned heart breaking… she seems so earnest and determined and it’s all tinged with sadness.

  • Anonymous

    tres gorgeous

  • Sanjay Merchant

    I sincerely hope that such a movie would look directly to the book for source material. I’ve never actually seen the entirety of the musical, but from what I’ve heard, there’s at least one major change that I object to heartily.

    As for the art itself, interesting. I had always pictured Fiyero as being a lot leaner and more exotic-looking. (In my head he was sort of a mish-mash of various ethnicities, and the tattoos were more prominent.)

    Morrible wasn’t nearly so pretty in my imagination. I’d pictured her as looking like those frumpy portraits of Queen Victoria when she was older, only… less sympathetic somehow.

    Glinda, at least in her outfits was more like an antebellum Southern belle than anything else (OK, maybe a LITTLE less elaborate, but still that sort of overblown elegance.)

  • Victoria McNally

    Not sure I’m a fan of the larger-sized Madame Malkin, given that her character doesn’t exactly end out the story on the best moral footing and the whole larger older woman = evil trope is kind of played out. But everything else is gorgeous — though I definitely prefer the darker skinned Fiyero over the Norbert Leo-Butz looking one, too. Ties into the book better.

    Speaking of which, where are Nessarose and Boq? Would have LOVED to see them.

    Also, I know this is just a musical thing, but I miss Elphie’s braid/glasses/toque combo Those are, like, my favorite things the character wears, to be honest.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Basically, the musical is a concise, easy-to-follow story about Elphaba’s role as a protagonist, viewed as a villain by a corrupt society.

    The book is about a corrupt society and history, random sex with a tiger, and Elphaba’s complicated descent into madness.

    It’s not that one is inherently better than the other. It’s just a matter of what you like. But one of them is far more marketable, especially as a visual story, on a larger scale.

  • Mara Gerund

    Ditto. Desperately.

  • Sanjay Merchant

    Yeah, the scene at the Philosopher’s Club was really weird and I still don’t get what the point was. Even the fallout of having him die of not-AIDS and his boyfriend reduced to Glinda’s Gay Best Friend didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything.

    Anyway, I could probably get into both stories, but learning that Fiyero survives in the musical really left a bitter taste in my mouth. (It’s not that I don’t like a happy ending, but I don’t like a tacked on happy ending, which, based on all that I’ve heard, it is.)

    But my silly musical theatre rants are really wandering off-topic. :-P

  • Anonymous

    OBC was a white guy, but they have cast the part as race blind. Original Broadway Tour was a black male. So see it how you will.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve tried reading a number of McGuires books and all of them, ALL of them seem to have some weird out of place over the top sexual scene in them. I’m sex positive. A lot of people would be shocked with some of the webcomics and books I read. But it’s offensive to me to include kink just for the sheer sake of shock value rather than serving to advance the plot and the surrounding characters.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Eh, I kind of liked it better, just because I was pissed off that the book started to go in that direction (“Maybe Fiyero’s the scarecrow”) and made it seem plausible, then yanked it out. I felt like the book did a cocktease on that, so…eh.

  • Sanjay Merchant

    Eh, I didn’t read it as any kind of plausible outcome. Just Elphaba’s increasing desperation to wring some kind of order or meaning or just simple closure out of her life. Which, naturally, she fails to find. I mean, really, what are the odds that the Cowardly Lion was the same Animal from the lecture hall scene, anyway?

    Elphaba’s life ends up being really sad because every time she tries to make it mean something, it ends up getting screwed up for her (sometimes it’s her own fault, others it’s just bad luck). Giving her Fieyro at the end just sort of tramples all over that arc.

    Though, as has been mentioned, if you can disassociate the two works and just take them independent of one another, I suppose the musical’s fine.

  • Laura Truxillo

    I guess that’s just it. In real life, yeah, most things don’t mean something (although sometimes things get pretty strange), but when if comes to stories, I like for there to kind of be a point to it, and for it to go together, especially if it’s supposed to be a “here’s how we all got here” kind of alternate origin story.

    It may’ve been a little neat, but I just kind of assumed that was the sort of story it was supposed to be, where everything ties into the original some way.

    I just really disliked the book. It was too unpleasant. I was actually pretty leery of seeing the musical because of it. Not *bad* just very much not a book for me.

  • Janelle S

    I can’t go back to the book because I got rid of it, but… why do I remember him having blue skin? My head is an awful place.

  • Laura Truxillo

    He had blue diamond tattoos on his skin. So, not too wacky. (Plus, he was a Winkie, and in the movie, I’m pretty sure they’re blue.)

  • Anonymous

    My problem with the book is Elphaba really doesn’t “do” anything. The propaganda against her is way out of proportion to anything she does in the sense that she’s practically incompetent. Removing her agency is not a good strategy to make me sympathize with the Wicked Witch of the West. Oz could’ve still come off as a corrupt society without the cheap tactic of removing any culpabilty from her. In the musical (& the original Wizard of Oz) she gains a reputation for things she actually accomplished & she owns them. The wishy-washy screw-up in the book lacks the dynamic personality that made her an iconic villainess.

  • Anonymous

    This is awesome! Though Fiyero as a white dude with no tattoos looks just totally wrong to me.

  • Jetstream

    This NEEDS to exist…

  • Raiden

    Its a shame Disney gutted it’s hand drawn animation division. This looks gorgeous.