For a feature on superhero movie and television costumes, Fashionista spoke with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice costume designer Michael Wilkinson. Wilkinson was responsible for the designs of the suits worn by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. All of these have been praised for their accuracy to the source material, and Wilkinson says that he and director Zack Snyder were also aiming towards grounding these costumes in a way to connect with our modern world. “He really wants these characters to connect directly to our world. So if you were walking down the street and you came across Superman or Batman — of course it would be startling and powerful — but it could actually happen in our world rather than in a stylized version of our reality.” With this goal in mind, Wilkinson has looked to the likes of ancient Greek sculptures and military apparel for inspiration.
Designing the look for Aquaman was particularly a “huge challenge,” Wilkinson says. He notes that, “People have a lot of complaints about the orange skin and the green tights and that whole thing.” The classic costume would have served as a difficult adaptation from comics to film without it looking silly. Instead, this Aquaman looks to be heavily inspired by the 1990s version from the comics. This look is a better fit for actor Jason Momoa anyways.
Talk then turned to the Batsuit which will be worn by Ben Affleck. A recurring problem in the various Batman movie costumes is that the neck portion of the cowl would be stiff, making it impossible for the actor to turn his head. Thankfully, that problem was remedied with The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. And, despite the Batman v Superman cowl’s neck looking thicker than Christian Bale’s, Affleck will also have no issue in turning his neck.
“That’s actually one of the first things that Snyder mentioned to me in one of our initial meetings,” says Wilkinson. “It’s a very important thing to Zack that the Batsuit would be comfortable and very flexible, but then would be able to perform in a very natural and forceful way. So a lot of incredible engineering went into the development of the new black cowl.” This is good news for fans who were worried that the Batfleck suit will return to the “stiff neck” trend, which began with 1989’s Batman.