(Note - if you haven't yet seen Daredevil, then mild SPOILERS are to be found below. Also - get on that...)
Now, with over a month now past since Marvel and Netflix's Daredevil hit our (largely computer) screens, a whole lot of the buzz that surrounded the show has finally settled down, leaving in its stead a strong, unwavering sense that the show really was as awesome as we remember it.
Until we settle down to watch it once more, though (whether that's for the second, third or twelfth time), there's now a whole lot of space in which to look a little more closely at some of the show's less heralded elements.
Like, for instance, that red suit.
Much derided by many after it was first leaked, DD's swish new duds ended up winning most fans over, in large part because it actually achieved what it set out to: it looked like a real thing, in a super-heroic world.
The final design of that suit, though, was the product of a giant pile of development from Marvel's design team, headed up by Ryan Meinerding.
And, as it turns out:
The Final Suit Was VERY Close to the Original Concept Art
As in, the kind of level of close where it's basically the exact same suit:
Which actually points to the super impressive design work from Meinerding and his colleagues - Rodney Fuentebella, Andy Park, Jackson Sze, Josh Nizzi, and Anthony Francisco, along with Marvel CCO Joe Quesada - having been grounded right from the get go in exactly what the character required.
As Quesada put it:
“The starting point is always story...We had to come up with a logical reason as to how someone with Matt Murdock’s means and ability to actually make a costume could make that dramatic of a leap from the vigilante costume to the super hero [suit]. Once that logic was in play, which was the Melvin Potter of it all, we had to build to that point. I think if we had gone to that red costume too soon, it would have caused a lot of viewers to bump on the material, because it was so grounded in the real world.”
As Meinerding added:
“The tone that was really communicated was the sense of realism that they were going for...I think the way that [manifested itself in] the costume was through the armor and making it feel a little bit more padded than you traditionally think of Daredevil being. When we do these designs, there’s a concept of grounded and a concept of reality. The grounded nature that they brought to the vigilante costume was the simplicity and effectiveness, because you’re trying to conceal your identity but also [have to be] mobile enough to fight."
Something that he was obviously aware becomes particularly challenging when dealing with as striking a super-heroic costume as Daredevil's:
"When you do a super hero costume in that world, it’s hard to be as real as you need to be, because you’re making it heightened. So you try and find the touchstones for that with armoring pieces that you would want armored, like your shins and your forearms for blocking and hitting as well as having things be riveted on. The overall layout of that costume is really that it’s meant to look like a Kevlar vest with stuff underneath it. That’s what we were going for."
Though, as Meinerding added, there was a surprisingly difficult element he'd never previously factored in:
"One of the most interesting things about Daredevil, that I hadn’t fully appreciated before I started working on the character, is that I think that head is one of the most difficult heads to design for a live action context...Because if you have a mask like Captain America’s, it’s difficult in it’s own ways, but you still have the actor’s eyes coming through. So you get performance, you get a sense of who they are, of their expression, of what they’re doing. [As a result] the bottom half of the face matches the top half, in terms of expression. With Daredevil, because half of his face has to be covered and has its own expression and the actor’s face is going to be doing something else, it’s actually a very difficult challenge to come up with something up top that’s not going to bump with something down below."
Though, as Quesada pointed out, there were other challenges:
"The billy clubs, designed by Andy Park, were also very important,” stresses Quesada. “There was a discussion early in the process, because Charlie Cox [and his stunt double] Chris Brewster are both right handed, of having the billy clubs holster on the right leg. But Daredevil wears those billy clubs on the left hand side. So while it would have been easier to place the holster on the right we all felt that we had to keep to the classic profile and keep them on the left. It made life a bit more difficult for Charlie and Chris, but they caught on pretty quickly. No matter how you sliced it, they were going to have to holster the billy clubs without looking because lets face it, DD would have no need to look."
All of which, though, culminated in one particular image that defines the character. As Quesada put it:
"Ultimately I think the silhouette is always what’s really important. Does it look heroic? Does it look like our character? If he stands on the parapet of a roof and turns his head and we see those devil horns, is it Daredevil? I think that’s where Ryan succeeded and exceeded all of our expectations. It’s Daredevil."
Damn right it is...
What do you think, though?