Ray Chan, Art Director and Production Designer for Marvel Films, Dies at 56

Ray Chan, the art director and production designer for Marvel Studios who contributed to Guardians of the Galaxy, three Avengers movies, the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine and more, has died. He was 56.

Chan died Tuesday near his home in Wales, his family announced. No cause of death was divulged.

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“Ray truly was one of the best, in so many ways,” they said. “He had an exuberance for life, which was tragically cut short and will be sorely missed. He loved his career and lived a rich and wonderful life, and his memory will live on through all those he knew and the films he helped make happen.”

Chan served as supervising art director on Thor: The Dark World (2013), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Doctor Strange (2016) and the Avengers films Age of Ultron (2015), Infinity War (2018) and Endgame (2019).

He also was an art director on Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and production designer on the 2021 miniseries The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023) and Shawn Levy’s Deadpool & Wolverine, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman and hits theaters in July.

“He was as valuable a creative force on Deadpool & Wolverine as the writers, director and stars,” Reynolds said on social media.

“I don’t pretend to know every chapter of Ray’s heart, but I know it’s unusual to encounter someone with that level of artistry who simultaneously moved through the world with such indelible humanity.

“He built worlds from scratch — and did so in the most collaborative and inclusive ways. Ray was peerless. He’ll be missed by so many, but most of all by his family.

“The last time I saw Ray was exactly two weeks ago. One of [the] last things I said to him was that he makes magic, and there’s nobody on Earth like him. He and I would also give each other a lot of good-natured shit. So … of all the last things you could say to someone you adore, that’s a little scrap of consolation I’ll hang onto forever.”

Said Levy: “Ray did more than design the world of our movie; he lit up the world around him. Truly, anyone who knew Ray, or was lucky enough to collaborate with him as we were, experienced this beacon of a man: kind, warm, tenaciously devoted and relentlessly inspiring — Ray worked and lived with a joyous and contagious humanity that is rare.”

The oldest of three children of Hong Kong immigrants, Raymond Chan was born on Dec. 1, 1967, in Oldham, Greater Manchester. His mother was a machinist and his father a bus driver. He graduated with a graphic design degree from the Liverpool School of Art, then moved to London to join the new film and television M.A. postgraduate program at Kingston Art College.

After graduation and work as a butcher, Chan served as an art department assistant on The Secret Rapture (1993), then was a senior draughtsman on Hackers (1995). He went on to work on other films including Johnny English (2003), National Treasure (2004), Alien vs. Predator (2004), Children of Men (2006), Flyboys (2006), Knight and Day (2010) and Robin Hood (2010).

Chan collaborated with production designer Charles Wood on six Marvel films and 10 movies in all.

“Each film that Marvel [puts out], it’s always a very involved process, for myself and Charlie, each one is unique and a challenge,” Chan said in a 2018 interview with The Credits. “Guardians of the Galaxy is different to Ultron, which is different to Dr. Strange.

Infinity Wars was probably the biggest challenge. It comes off as a collaboration, working with a great studio like Marvel. There are great scriptwriters, directors, they bring a lot to the table. They’d come up with ideas, first, and we’d bounce off that.”

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Wood called Chan “an incredible talent, a brilliant designer, a true artist and an inspiring and steadfast leader. Ray was filled with the greatest kindness, never-ending generosity and fantastic humor; he had the most extraordinary energy and was so deeply treasured by everyone who met him.”

“From Xandar to the Sanctum Sanctorum, Ray brought distinct, lived-in worlds to the screen, spanning the far reaches of space to a Louisiana fishing boat,” Marvel said. “He was also a wonderful friend and colleague.”

Chan shared excellence in production design awards from the Art Directors Guild in 2015 and 2020 for Guardians of the Galaxy and Endgame, respectively.

Survivors include his wife, Lindsay; his sons, Caspar and Sebastian; and his daughter-in-law, Danielle.

“If not occupied with family or film,” they said, “Ray would most likely have his mind set on one of the three things, each of which, in another life, Ray would have excelled in: food, for Ray dearly loved to cook for family and friends and was a first-rate chef and benevolent host; cars, be it his beloved Range Rover P38, the mechanics of a Jeep’s engine or Formula One; his garden, at his house in Cowbridge, Wales, which he planned with his usual design flair. A lover of classic film, Ray also, perhaps surprisingly, loved musicals, with The Sound of Music being a firm favorite.”

Any stories or memories of Chan can be left here. Donations in his memory can be made to the Stroke Association.

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