Superhero fans have been divided between Marvel and DC for ages. Even though they like both, the inclination is always more towards either of the two. It was heightened ever since the printed heroes but brought into life on the screens. This has fuelled a series of debates over DCEU and MCU movies and DC and Marvel TV series. But instead of comparing them today, we have stayed focused on DCEU today. Regardless of their commercial and critical performance, we will be talking about the immense work and brains put behind the DC characters’ wardrobe. The directors collaborated with some of the greatest design teams to create costumes that are partly loyal to their comic book sources, carry a spark of novelty, and are also describing the character arc. Every costume worn by superheroes and villains in the DCEU has a story behind them. Find out the 10 interesting details about DCEU costumes from behind the scenes.
Aquaman’s Casual Clothes
Even though Arthur Curry aka Aquaman wore regular clothes for the most part of Aquaman, the costume designer’s workload hadn’t reduced. This is because of Jason Momoa’s physique and unique measurements. Momoa wears custom-made jeans and shared his wardrobe details with the designer. He also hooked designer Kym Barrett with the brand that makes his clothes. In fact, most of his clothes on screen were created by his personal brands.
Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, maybe fighting alongside the heroes of today like Batman and Superman, but she is one of the most ancient superheroes who was born in 3000BC. The directors and costume designers wanted to adapt a costume that would define her experience as a warrior through millenniums. So, they took inspiration from ancient history combat costumes.
According to designer Michael Wilkinson “We wanted to create something incredibly strong and portray her as a legitimate fighter, so we looked back… because we wanted her to look like she’s been wearing the same costume, in a sense, for thousands of years – since she’s immortal, after all. We were inspired by the metal armor of Greek and Roman warriors and gladiators. It seemed like a good fit for her. We created a costume that looks like metal armor, but of course, in these films, the fight scenes are very intense and challenging so I had to come up with a solution that would allow her to move and breathe, but also to have this very iconic, sort of hourglass shape in a modern and interesting way. We used a combination of old and new technology.”
The newest member of the DCEU’s superhero team, Shazam played by Zachary Levi has won fans from across the world. Unlike the films, Shazam is one of the oldest and earliest characters of DC Comics who used to be called Captain Marvel. He drew powers from ancient gods such as Solomon, Hercules, Zeus, etc. So the costume designer Leah Butler took inspiration from ancient Greek. She also paid tribute to one of the recurring characters from Shazam’s comic book named Mr. Trawny, an anthropomorphized tiger, in the superhero’s gold plated button latching onto his cape.
According to Leah “In Ancient Greece, gold was a metal that was precious to the gods, to the extent that they were dressed in gold. The color and luster of the gold continue to be associated with the sun and the sacred masculine. The approach to the costume is also borne from organic elements, and will feel sacred and true as opposed to machine-like, severe, or manufactured.”
Batman’s Suit In Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
When Zack Snyder took the charge to translate his version of Batman in Hollywood, he decided to follow the comic books that portray Batman as a hunky man. He and costume designer Michael Wilkinson envisioned Ben Affleck in a Batsuit that looked simple and rough but amplified his muscular outline.
According to Wilkinson “Zack was quite clear about the direction he wanted to take. He really wanted our Batman to look more like he does in the comic books, so when he was drawn in 2D, he’s just a solid ball of muscle – but he’s more of a boorish brawler than an armor-and-high-tech figure. So we kind of went back to his roots and portrayed some of it through his massive strength and fighting technique, more than armor… That was important, to show our Batman really battle-worn and a little older than Batman from recent films, so he’s fighting crime in Gotham for a long time now and he has the scars to show it.”
Harley Quinn’s Costume In Birds of Prey
After the events of “Suicide Squad”, Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn went through a breakup with her serious boyfriend, Joker. The fascinating character also got her looks and wardrobe upgraded in her standalone” Birds of Prey”. Her costume designer Erin Benach snuck in a lot of hidden messages and details in her costume and jewelry.
She said “Everything had a reason, and a point, and a story behind it. There was the child-like bottle cap. It’s something that Harley would do. She would sit there and drink Coca-Cola – out of a Twizzler straw probably – and then take the bottle cap and put on her necklace. There’s feminist iconography in there in a female symbol, in a bust of a woman, and then she’s got her Bruce tag for her pet hyena.”
Flash’s Prototype Suit
Flash aka Barry Allen is the youngest member in the Justice League who hasn’t been in his suit for long. He is a brand new hero in the making who is still experimenting with his suit. That’s why Zack Snyder wanted his suit to look like a prototype- an amalgamation of high-tech and low-tech items and metals.
In costume designer, Wilkinson’s words “For this costume, Zack [Snyder] wanted this great mixture between a very high-tech approach, but also low-tech. Lots of beaten-up kind of textures, sort of feels like a prototype suit. It’s been scratched and messed around with. Flash is kind of working out his look in this early stage of his story… I had this idea that it’s almost like a sports shoe, in a way, that you combine soft, flexible materials, and then layer it up and so it becomes harder and harder.”
Message Superman’s Suit
Every Superman fan is aware of what the signature ‘S’ on his chest stands for. It’s not a regular ‘s’ but a Kryptonian symbol for hope. But this point isn’t about the ‘S’. Henry Cavill’s suit in “Man Of Steel” and “Batman V Superman” had one of Joseph Campbell’s quote written all over it in Kryptonian. It meant “where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”
Bruce Wayne’s Daily Wear
While the Dark Knight dives into the depth of Gotham’s pit to fight crime, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire. Therefore, the design team collaborate with Gucci and laid out the character arc. Bruce Wayne was a wealthy man who had “eight white shirts, five bespoke navy suits, 10 bespoke black suits- he had a very austere approach to fashion”. Gucci designers from Milan customized the shirts to cater to the superhero’s highest standards.
Ray Fisher plays Cyborg in Justice League whose costume mainly depends on CGI. While his costars wore awesome superhero costumes on the set, Ray literally got to wear his own set of pajamas.
Wonder Woman’s “Tiara”
Director Patty Jenkins was not sure about using a tiara for Wonder Woman who is a warrior. So the costume designer Wilkinson recommended turning the tiara into protective headgear.
According to him “The tiara was an interesting challenge. We thought, there’s something sort of girly and princessy about the word “tiara,” so we thought we should use the word “headdress,” which sounds much tougher and warrior-like. So, for the headdress, traditionally it’s been a classic five-pointed red star. I looked more into her legacy and I chose a gold pointed star, based on an iconic Greek star. I thought that would be appropriate knowing her background, and so I created a different shape for the star.”