The costume designer for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman (working title) movie is Michael Wilkinson, the same guy who came up with the textured supersuit for Man of Steel, Babydoll’s schoolgirl seifuku in Sucker Punch, the high-tech bodystockings of TRON: Legacy, the realistic superhero costumes for Watchmen and the minimalist battle togs in 300.
In addition to making some fixes to Superman’s (Henry Cavill) uniform and creating something new for Batman (Ben Affleck), Wilkinson — a frequent collaborator with director Zack Snyder — also had to design some version of Wonder Woman’s (Gal Gadot) classic star-spangled costume that would feel new but also respect her 70+ years of history. Wilkinson told TheWrap that the process was a “thrilling and slightly scary prospect.”
“It’s so important to get her right. She really deserves to be presented on-screen in her full glory. So what I do is I look at the history of how the character has been presented on the big-screen and the small-screen, and in comic books, and graphic novels. We process it all. Then we kind of put that aside and work out what is right for our film, for the cinematic universe that our director, Zack Snyder, is putting together. We try and create a Wonder Woman that’s relevant for today’s audiences.”
But no matter what Wilkinson has come up with, does he think the outfit is suitable for fighting crime?
“Absolutely! I mean, you just have to look at the gladiators from ancient Rome, they did their thing in little loin clothes and a shield…. It works for Thor, it works for 300, so let’s see what happens.”
Wonder Woman is a tough nut to crack — not only on the small and big screens, but many comic book artists have fallen short of creating a new look for the character. She is the definition of an iconic character: When you think of her, you get a specific image in your mind, and anything different just feels somehow wrong. To be the character from the comics, she has to be sexy — but in an empowered way. She can’t just run around half-dressed and spouting off about “Grrrl Power.”
I believe Gal Gadot was a great choice for WW if one judges by looks alone. She’s beautiful, but there’s a sort of vulnerability in her eyes that might soften a “warrior woman” version of the character and make her more approachable. The way WW looks is going to be an important part of the first impression the character makes in the Man of Steel sequel. Like it or not, it’s reality: A female character is going to be judged (and judged harshly) by her physical appearance. Whatever Wilkinson comes up with here will at least be the base for all of WW’s future appearances.
Filming on BvS should be getting under way soon to allow for extensive post-production work ahead of a May 6, 2016, release.