The Right Stuff The Martian

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A 3-minute prologue short film that introduced audiences to the crew of The Martian, in anticipation of the film’s first trailer.


Despite being a dramatic thriller, The Martian was a story also known for its quirky sense of humor and very real, down-to-earth characters. We needed to introduce these elements while further humanizing and building deeper backstories for the main crew.


We created a 3-minute prologue video — positioned as declassified NASA footage — showing each character undergoing a psychological debriefing after a 10-day isolation exercise. Complimentary data viz highlighted individual crewmembers and a range of psychometrics.


Following up on “Ares 3 Farewell,” we wanted to give audiences a deeper look at these characters and capture the film’s tonal oscillation between humor and drama. The short unfolds in a NASA Psych Evaluation laboratory and is set shortly after the Ares III crew has completed a 10-day isolation test. Each character describes their isolation experience, giving viewers insight into their individual personalities. Mark Watney ponders life’s most important questions. Michael Peña’s Rick Martinez spent the entirety of his isolation refining his onanism techniques. And Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) stays as cool as a spring cucumber as she responds to a typically sexist line of questioning. Additionally, we designed and animated the UI overlays, which were intended to give the most sharp-eyed fans added facts about each character.


The video was released on social with support from official NASA accounts and NASA astronauts. Everything drove to the launch of the movie’s first trailer the next day—helping to make that a stunning success.


This video was praised for its humor and for capturing the spirit of Andy Weir’s novel, but it was the characterization of the crew that really got general moviegoers excited. Audiences and critics both celebrated the spot’s ability to forge an emotional connection to each character.


“As if you needed more of a reason to be excited for Ridley Scott’s upcoming adaptation of The Martian, here it is.”

— Popular Mechanics


“This little taste is pretty fantastic.”

— io9


“Everyone is so spectacularly in character.”

— The Mary Sue


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