<I>The Continental</I>: Inside King+Country's main title design
October 18, 2023

The Continental: Inside King+Country's main title design

LOS ANGELES — King+Country (https://kingandcountry.tv), the design-based VFX, animation and live action production company, created the main title and main-on-end for Peacock’s The Continental: From the World of John Wick. The three-part event premiered on September 22nd and challenged the studio with creating something uniquely its own for the main title, subtitles and the main-on-end sequence. The focus was not just on the hotel, but on the many irreverent characters and plot lines that connect the dots of John Wick lore. 

The Continental explores the origin story behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins, which is the centerpiece of the John Wick universe. The story is told through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott as he's dragged into the hell scape of 1970s New York City. Over its three episodes, the main title unfolds, along with the story, enriching the show’s world-building with unique hidden Easter eggs and cryptic clues. 

K+C was tapped by the show’s director and executive producer Albert Hughes to get the team back together following their previous collaboration on The Good Lord Bird, which won an Emmy for “Outstanding Main Title Design.”

The Continental inherits such a rich and deeply involved world, so there was an incredible amount to draw from,” explains Rick Gledhill, K+C director and creative director. “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 slight of hand to carry us from scene to scene.” 

Every asset of the main title and credits were created from scratch, including all the live-action, slow-motion shoot-outs. K+C shot all the assassins falling on green screen with blue-screen guns during a one-day shoot. Instead of going the high-speed film route, they adopted more of a human-puppetry approach by suspending the actors mid-fall from rigs, which allowed them to fine tune the performance and composition. 

“Although the lengths of our meticulous behind-the-scenes efforts may remain mostly unseen, we firmly believe that it shows in the finished product,” explains Sorin Voicu, K+C art director, “We managed to create a title sequence that is both visually appealing to a general audience and filled with satisfying.”

“This project was right in our wheelhouse,” states Andrew Cook K+C VFX supervisor, “especially in the way it uses abstract visual metaphor layered with lore and backstory. Pack it full of Easter eggs and you’ve got the kind of deeply-involved world we love to be a part of.”