VFX Legion conjures up effects for Disney+ series Just Beyond

(VFX Legion created magic for new series Just Beyond)

When you think of Disney+, you immediately gravitate toward the Marvel, Lucasfilm and Pixar collections. But there is a healthy offering of other series worth watching. One of them is the supernatural kids’ series, Just Beyond.

Inspired by the writings of R.L. Stine, Just Beyond is an eight-episode anthology series that tells astonishing and thought-provoking stories of a reality just beyond the one we know. Each episode introduces viewers to a new cast of characters who must go on a surprising journey of self-discovery in a supernatural world of witches, aliens, ghosts and parallel universes.

Stine, prolific author of young-adult horror fiction, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series, has been scaring readers worldwide for over 35 years. The show’s creators referenced his popular page-turners while developing their new series of hair-raising stories. Episodes acknowledge teenage struggles, such as bullying, peer pressure and anxiety, through supernatural storylines that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Who better to bring those bumps and terrors to life and perfection than the team of VFX Legion?

The Disney+ series relied on VFX Legion’s creativity, technical ingenuity, and experience developing and producing intricate digital effects for a complex mix of shots. Legion was brought on board to design the elaborate effects for Which Witch? (Ep. 3) and create the magical feats of digital sorcery that drive the otherworld tale.

The protagonist in the story is Fiona. The only witch at her high school, she successfully navigated her teen years by keeping her powers a secret. Everything changes with the arrival of her cousin Luna, who, unlike Fiona, is eager to show off her magical abilities. As the story unfolds it called for an increasing number of challenging displays of computer-generated wizardry – from awe-inspiring to horrifying.

Headed up by Co-Founder and VFX Supervisor, James David Hattin, Legion’s LA and B.C. studio’s team crafted a variety of digital simulations, seamlessly matching camera angles and blending the photorealistic imagery with practical footage. Throughout the story, conjurations are manifested by a range of dynamic visual effects simulated by artists in Houdini. Take a look at the video below and then the gallery of before and after shots provided by VFX Legion:

For this scene, artists modeled a ‘hero’ cockroach, replicated it adding different animated movements, raining down 100’s of digital insect from CG  storm clouds.

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Just Beyond is currently featured on Disney+, the premiere streaming service.


  • Title: Just Beyond/Which Witch?
  • (Ep.3)Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi, Young Adult  
  • Streaming Service: Disney+       

Ryan Zaragoza – Director


  • 20th Century Fox Television
  • 20th Television
  • Boom! Studios
  • KatzSmith Productions


  • Seth Grahame-Smith – Creator
  • Seth Grahame-Smith -Executive Producer
  • David Katzenberg – executive producer        
  • Seth Grahame-Smith – executive producer 
  • Aaron Schmidt – executive producer 
  • David Walpert – executive producer 
  • Stephen Christy – executive producer 
  • Marc Webb – executive producer 
  • R.L. Stine – co-executive producer 
  • Jeffrey Downer – co-executive producer  
  • Rob Rosell – co-executive producer


  • R.L. Stine – based on the BOOM! Studios graphic novels by
  • Seth Grahame-Smith – created by
  • Mitali Jahagirdar – written by


  • James David Hattin – visual effects supervisor                   
  • Antonio Gallardo – visual effects producer                
  • Nate Smalley – head of production Legion/LA
  • Dylan Yastremski – head of production Legion/B.C.
  • Alanna O’Brien – visual effects coordinator   
  • Matthew Noren – visual effects coordinator  
  • Mace Al-Hendi – quality control coordinator 
  • Joseph Soloway – quality control coordinator 
  • Rommel S. Calderon – cg supervisor            
  • Eric Ebling – cg artist                         
  • Julian Gleizer – cg artist                                
  • Bryan Shepperd – cg artist                           
  • Ruy Delgado – tracking artist                        
  • Michael G. Jackson – tracking artist             
  • Dave Tipper – matte painter                                      
  • Nick Guth – digital compositor                      
  • Matthias Lowry – digital compositor              
  • Eugen Olsen – digital compositor     


  • Rachel March (Fiona)
  • Jy Prishkulnik (Luna)
  • Sara Borne (Madison)
  • Will Kindrachuk (Emilio)
  • Gabriella Garcia (Gemma)
  • Hannah Kepple (Lianne)

Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1