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In Memoriam: Ray Chan's Biggest Contributions To The MCU

Rest In Peace, Ray.

By Kristy AndersonPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Ray Chan on the set of 'Falcon and the Winter Soldier'. Credit: Disney.

In sad news, Raymond 'Ray' Chan, an Art Director/Production Designer died unexpectedly on April 3, 2024, at the age of just 56. Chan worked on a number of well received projects over the years, including Nanny McPhee, National Treasure, and the cult classic Children of Men, but he will almost certainly be most remembered for his quite extensive work within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Across his time working in the world of the MCU, Ray Chan contributed to art and design work in some of it's biggest films and shows. His final work for the MCU will be seen in the upcoming and long-awaited release of Deadpool & Wolverine, on which he served as Production Designer. Let's look back at some of Chan's biggest contributions to the MCU.

Xandar

One of Chan's earliest MCU projects was as a Supervising Art Director on the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. Following characters that were then largely unknown to the general public, GotG was seen as Marvel Studios' greatest risk to that point, but also a very important film in regards to larger scale world building, introducing the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe for the first time.

Chan was deeply involved in designing the look of the planet Xandar. Conceptualised as a hub planet, Xandar is the home base of the Nova Corps police force, and houses a melting pot of different alien species. It is the location in which four of the five OG Guardians meet for the first time, and also where the final conthrontation with Ronan takes place.

While Xandar hasn't been revisited in any other live-action films as of yet, Chan's designs live on in multiple What If..? episodes, and the Xandar pavillion that serves as the pre-show for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind ride at Disney World's EPCOT.

The Sanctum Sanctorum

Where Guardians of the Galaxy introduced cosmic elements to the MCU, Doctor Strange took a turn towards the mystical. As with GotG, Ray Chan acted as a Supervising Art Director on the film. One of his biggest contributions was the design of the Sanctum Sanctorums, magical bases around the world from which Sorcerors defend Earth from mystical threats.

The most notable among these is 177A Bleecker Street, aka the New York Sanctum, of which Doctor Strange becomes guardian by the end of the film.

The New York Sanctum has subsequently appeared in every MCU film featuring Strange, and will likely continue to be seen in future films, another lasting legacy for Chan.

Vormir

For Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the closing chapters of the MCU's Infinity Saga, Chan took on larger responsibilities on the Production Design team. This gave him a large amount of input on the look of the new major locations in each film, including Thanos's ravaged home planet, Titan, and, perhaps most notably due to its plot importance in both films, the planet Vormir.

A barren, mountainous planet near the centre of the known universe, Vormir is the home of the Soul Stone. To obtain the Stone, the one who seeks it must sacrifice the thing they love most over Vormir's cliff, and it is in this capacity that the planet becomes host to two of the MCU's most tragic death scenes. The first is when Thanos sacrifices his own daughter to obtain the Stone in Avengers: Infinity War. The scene is then tragically inverted in Avengers: Endgame when Natasha Romanoff instead sacrifices herself to ensure Clint Barton obtains the Stone for the Avengers, ultimately saving all those who had been lost to the Blip.

While Vormir, unlike the Sanctum Sanctorum, is not a location that will be regularly revisited, it's status as the death place of one of the original Avengers gives it an important place in MCU history.

Madripoor

On the event series Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Chan took the lead as head Production Designer for the first time. One element of this job that will likely have an impact as the MCU heads into the future is Madripoor, an island in the Indonesian Archipelago under the control of the mysterious Power Broker. The core location of the series' third episode is Madripoor's Low Town, a hive of criminal activity.

Madripoor hasn't been seen again since the series, so why is it important for the future? Well, in the comics, the island has close ties to the X-Men, who's entry into the MCU is in active development. The Princess Bar, visited by Sam and Bucky in FatWS, is co-owned by Wolverine in the comics, which some fans took as a sign that a version of the character may already exist in the MCU.

Though Ray Chan is gone, his work will live on in the iconic locations he helped design. It will be a gift to see his work one last time in Deadpool & Wolverine.

Rest in Peace, Ray.

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About the Creator

Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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Comments (2)

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    Rest in peace

  • Mika Oka2 months ago

    Rest in peace, Ray

Kristy AndersonWritten by Kristy Anderson

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