Black Panther’s Suit Is The Latest Example Of How Movie Costumes Are Changing

Digital magic is a lot like regular magic — it’s usually more enjoyable, and effective, when used sparingly. Over-reliance on computer-generated imagery seldom yields aesthetically sound results, particularly after several years of hindsight. Hollywood has, for the most part, learned from its mistakes and tends to demonstrate restraint when it comes to green screen technology. Marvel Studios is especially deft at maintaining this balance: though its films achieve new levels of enormity every year, its cast of larger-than-life superheroes always appear grounded in real performances by real people. One character in Captain American: Civil War, however, underwent digital enhancement in every single scene in which he appears. And it’s probably not the one you think.

The film’s Blu-Ray commentary details how king-warrior The Black Panther‘s super suit was created entirely using special effects by Industrial Lights & Magic. This, co-director Joe Russo explains, had a lot to do with the physical limitations of the “luminescent” suit.

We had an outfit that we used on set. It’s impossible when you’re talking about an otherworldly outfit like the one that the Panther wears, which has a certain luminescence to it because it’s made of a woven metal. We could never afford to construct an outfit like that that an actor or a stunt player could move around in without sweating to death or that would capture the luminescence that we need. So what we ended up doing in post is ILM came in and painted over Chadwick and the stuntman. The outfit is completely CG.

ILM achieved similar effects, albeit on a much grander scale, in this year’s video game adaptation Warcraft. What’s noteworthy about Black Panther, though, is just how seamlessly he interacts with his non-CGI friends, foes, and surroundings. Much of this is thanks to actor Chadwick Boseman or his stunt double (real live humans) being there on set every day. Digital enhancements were then superimposed directly onto their performances, creating a near perfect assimilation. This kind of digital material synthesis, whether it’s for one super suit or 20, is sure to change the way superheroes look and fight on the big screen.

(Via Slash Film)