Ian McQue's Mortal Engines Concept Art Design

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Artist In McQue has had a bit to do with Mortal Engines. He recently helped out with the redesign of the Mortal Engines book covers, including the new Anna Fang short story collection, Night Flights.

Seem's he's quite the fan of Philip Reeve's books as he draw this one before he even had an official connection:

Here's some more ME related sketches and doodles by McQue:

mortal engines inspired sketch

traction city sketch ian mcque

Here's an early draft for the redesigned cover of Predator's Gold:

predator's gold concept art book cover

Will there be a Mortal Engines movie sequel?

Saturday, August 11, 2018
mortal engines concept art nik henderson

Is there going to be a Predator's Gold sequel to Mortal Engines?

While Peter Jackson and company are keen on doing Mortal Engines sequels, there has been no formal announcement of sequel plans.

Making a Hollywood movie blockbuster is no mean feat. If it were easy to do so, every good story about space aliens driving trains would be turned into a film. So, to convince a studio executive to plump up some cash for an untested 'Intellectual Property' is a mission and a half.

It's why sequels are so popular, they are cash cows with less risk than something untested. Look at Marvel's Ironman, it's had like 16 sequels already...

So, when it comes to the Philip Reeve novel, Mortal Engines, no studio exec is going to take a punt on a book about giant cities driving around eating each other.

Unless Peter Jackson is attached to write and produce it.

So, that's the angle the studios are taking. Jackson and his NAME have been tasked to get Mortal Engines across the line.

Given the novel has three sequels and three prequels, there's a mapped out path that a movie sequel can take (Predator's Gold etc) but will ME get one?

Film producer Peter Jackson said:

“As for whether we go ahead or not with the others, it’s not in our hands,” said Jackson. All we can do is to make the very best film for Mortal Engines that we can. And I’m certainly confident that we’ve done that. I don’t know how we could made anything better than to be made to be honest, you know, based on that book. So we’ve done our job and now it’s really a case of making the film and seeing the audiences show up.”
Oscar winning scriptwriter and long time Jackson associate, Philipa Boyens had this to say when asked about the possibility of a second film:

"I certainly never sat down and I know Pete did sat down and thought of this in terms of a sequel–you know, sequels. I mean, we’re just, like, get this thing working first. And then think about what may happen."

"But, mostly, this has to work as a film. This may be the only one. Who knows? I hope not because I think it’s a–I think the story just keeps getting better and better. And I want to see the other traction engines now that I’ve seen in this one. I want to see Panzerstadt. I want to see Arkangel. I want to see these ones that are bigger and meaner."

Boyen's 'has too work' as a film comment is telling and I think it almost has a double meaning. Obviously, ME needs to be a good film, one that viewers enjoy watching. But it also has to work for it's success. It needs to perform at the box office.

Big time.

I don't think ME will get a second sequel if it just does OK. It will need to perform all around the world, especially and obviously in the United States.

So will Mortal Engines be a success and earn a sequel? This author is personally worried.

The trailer was nothing to write home about in terms of feel or giving one a sense of 'instant classic'.

While London looked fabulous & Anna Fang feels absolutely murderous overall, it felt somewhat underwhelming.

As we get closer to the film's released date, we can expect the hype to build and some real marketing to begin. Hopefully it features the reveal of Shrike, the giant zombie / robot played by Stephen Lang.

I suspect a lot of the movie is going to hinge on how bad ass that character is.


The glorious concept art is by the talented Nik Henderson.

Hester and friend?

hester attacks shrike concept art

This concept of Hester and Shrike about to face off is absolutely incredible! Found on bowolfskin's Instragram, I think they are the author. The colours, though soft, feel so real and that sword just feels pretty dangerous!

Some scars never heal Pt 117

Friday, August 10, 2018
hester shaw fan art

The very talented Loles Romero (lolesillustration on Instagram) has had a crack at their version of Hester Shaw. They had this to say "Hi! I recently did this illustration of the upcoming movie 'Mortal Engines'. The movie looks good!".

Feels like Hester is a wanna-be Clint Eastward self styled train robber?

Tom Holkenborg AKA Junkie XL talks about the Mortal Engines film score

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
mortal engines composer

Film composer Tom Holkenborg has had a rich vein of form in the last decade scoring for movies such as Mad Max, Batman V Superman (Wonder Woman theme), Tomb Raider, Dead Pool and the forth coming films Alita: Battle Angel and Mortal Engines. 

Tom took a turn on Score's podcast in which I think this is the first time he himself as actually publicly confirmed that he has composed the score for the Peter Jackson production. 

Somethingorother at the Mortal Engines Discord Server have transcribed some of what was said for your reading pleasure:

Tom: At Christmas, it’s in the same week as Alita comes out (This is a mistake, it comes out the week before) which is Robert Rodriguez directing and James Cameron producing movie. But what’s interesting for me working on these two movies, working with these directors and producers, is I have the freedom to really explore all these new things which is really really great. And it feels also to me like a new time period, like where you are growing into a new level of what you’re capable of, and better combinations of styles and elements, and that’s always great to feel, that you grow as a composer or as a musician in general. 

Host: I think that you also are working with two filmmakers who actually exemplify the visual aspect of what we’re describing. They use both computer generated imagery, and actors, parallel to synthesis and orchestra. So you are working towards a new way of making art. 

The other thing you said that’s really interesting is you said they both allow you an amount of freedom. Isn’t it amazing that the directors who are the top of their game are the ones that allow you freedom where it’s the young ones that are the most nervous, ‘I don’t know if the composer should do this’ ‘I don’t like that’ ‘Is that right’ The guys that they hire an artist and I’m sure you get notes and there’s conflicts on certain things, but it’s just wonderful to hear they give you freedom. 

Because you think wow a guy who’s that big, James Cameron or Peter Jackson, they’re going to have specific ‘you do this, don’t vary from my idea’. It’s wonderful to hear you say you have freedom.

Tom: Well I have been very blessed actually, to be honest, because I always get a lot of freedom. What usually happens with me is that they let me develop the initial concept of what the score is, the themes, the sound, and I make these really elaborate pieces that I sent to the directors and they give me feedback. 

What I usually would ask is ‘do you recognise your movie in this?’ and with one or two exceptions they embrace immediately the concept that I come up with. And so that’s what I mean by creative freedom. Now when it comes to actually scoring a cue to a scene, that’s where the director becomes very important in guiding you to what he’d like to see and what is important for him and what is not important for him. And like I said I’ve been very lucky to have been able to work with directors and studios who are very open minded and even if they were not happy with stuff they were always able to very easily let me see what they would like to hear there, and what was important in the storytelling. 

And because I really noticed that I liked films so much that I tried to make that transition into film from 2000 on or so, we can chat about that a little later, but what I really understand, from the beginning, was that if you are going to be good at this, you’ve got to be a filmmaker. You can’t just be the music guy. That’s very important. 

Host: You’ve just articulated what makes the greatest composers. And I learned this from someone I know you’ve worked with and we’ll talk about in a minute.

Check out the full pod cast, the ME discussion begins at the 34 minute mark. 

I like Shrike

shrike fan art by Ronaldo Santana

Here's a sweet fan art version of Mortal Engines favourite stalker, Shrike.

Designed by Ronaldo Santana, this version really captures the darkness of the character.

Some scars never heal - a great fan art poster of Mortal Engines

Sunday, August 5, 2018
Some scars never heal indeed.

This is the best poster I have seen thus far:

some scars never heal fan poster

Fine artwork design by mr.juandalf. Nice work!
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