Peacock took viewers back to 1970s New York with its three-episode event, The Continental, focusing on the secretive and elite hotel for assassins that sits at the center of the John Wick universe.
K+C crafted the main title, subtitles and main-on-end sequences in a stark bronze, red and black palette, creating illustrations that represent the hotel, main characters and plot lines that fill in some gaps in the John Wick lore. Over the limited series three episodes, ”the main title unfolded along with the story, enriching the show’s world-building with unique hidden Easter eggs and cryptic clues that embodied the spirit of the night’s events,” wrote K+C. “The fans quickly picked up on this, and within days were dissecting every scene.”
“The Continental inherits such a rich and deeply involved world, so there was an incredible amount to draw from” said Rick Gledhill, director and creative director, King+Country. “Since the series is set in the 70s, we wanted to create a sequence that feels like it could have been produced using the analog technology available at the time—a fusion of illustration, high-contrast photography and bold mondo design. We knew we wanted a gritty print look, but simply layering up grunge gets messy quickly and serves no purpose. Instead, we did an in-depth study of 70s Xerox band posters, taking cues from the grain, print marks and the patterns the xerox leaves while deconstructing the image. Using this method, we created a look that appears to be visually simple and tactile on the surface, but underneath enabled us to plan every shot in 3D and build in some sleight of hand to carry us from scene to scene.”
Every asset of the main title and credits were created from scratch, including the live-action slow-motion shoot-outs. K+C shot actors playing assassins falling on green screen with blue-screen guns during a one-day shoot. Instead of going the high-speed film route, K+C adopted more of a “human puppetry” approach by suspending the actors mid-fall from rigs, allowing them to fine tune the performance and composition.
To keep the viewer engaged when transitioning from the main title from a recap or an opening scene, each element was thoroughly examined and designed to keep viewers’ attention.
“Although the lengths of our meticulous behind-the-scenes efforts may remain mostly unseen, we firmly believe that it shows in the finished product,” said K+C Art Director Sorin Voicu. “We managed to create a title sequence that is both visually appealing to a general audience and filled with satisfying ‘Easter eggs’ for the dedicated fans with carefully chosen imagery that evokes an emotional response as the viewer is exposed, consciously and unconsciously, to the story beneath the story.”
Peacock and Lionsgate were so enamored of K+C’s main title treatment that they aired it as a teaser promo the night before the first episode started streaming.
“There was no better compliment and it was a testament that this project transcended its purpose and became a piece of art in its own right,” said Jerry Torgerson, K+C executive creative director. “It was exciting to have our fingerprints all over the show, from the main titles, title cards, subtitles, through to the end credits. Now we can say King+Country is officially a part of the John Wick universe.”
The Continental premiered Friday, September 22 on Peacock.
Client: Lionsgate, Peacock
Director/CD: Rick Gledhill
Art Director: Sorin Voicu
Post Producer: Ryan Lowrie
VFX Supervisor: Andrew Cook
Executive Producer: Jerry Torgerson
Designers: Voicu, Gledhill, Josh Lewis, Eunha Choi, Jason Guerrero, Ben Hurand, Matt Taylor
Animator/compositor: Voicu, Gledhill, Hugo Condinach, Thomas Kenney, K.A. Batcha, Lewis, Rafael Monguilhott, Li Li, Timur Salikov, Geoff Cicarelli, Chun Lim