With the release date of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice approaching, I want to talk about a detail change that has had me scratching my head ever since the first trailer for the film dropped.
Superman, portrayed by Henry Cavill, returns to the big screen to take on DC's other greatest superhero, Batman, portrayed by Ben Affleck. However, amidst all of the excitement and anticipation for the new film, I noticed something that would probably be considered to be a small change to the normal viewer: Superman's costume.* And yes, while it is common in modern superhero movies for heroes (and even villains) to get the modified costume treatment, it doesn't really make sense from a storytelling perspective. Often, the purpose of changing a character's costume is really for toy companies to have a better opportunity to capitalize on toys. That's about it.
*To be honest, this detail is still pretty insignificant in the larger scope of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe); however, I felt it would be interesting to talk about it still.
For a while, I began to ask myself why Superman would need to have his costume changed. Did his suit get damaged in Man of Steel? Did he not like it? Was it too "alien"? Is there actually a legitimate reason?
I found a possible "answer" to this question while reading an article at www.batman-news.com. Here's a snippet from a Comic Con Experience interview with DoJ costume designer Michael Wilkinson by the Brazilian website Omelete:
" Omelete: Is the Superman costume the same one from Man of Steel?
MW [Michael Wilkinson]: It’s a little bit different. The amazing thing about working on these big franchise films is that every time you do another, you get to make the costumes even more compelling and more exciting. The one thing I love about my job is that we get to explore new costume technologies and new ways of making costumes. Two years later, there’s new materials, new digital technologies. We use a lot of 3D printing and we scan our actors and we build costumes in the computer.
MW: So, with the Superman costume, we have a new material. The suit is a little bit more sheer, so you really get the sense of this metal undersuit coming through the blue oversuit and we have a new fabric for the cape. And, also, Zack wanted to include a Joseph Campbell quote in the suit, so there’s a quote from Joseph Campbell: ‘Where we thought to stand alone, we will be with all the world‘ and we decided to translate that into Kryptonian and we put it through the ‘S’ on his chest, through his cuffs, his belt, through his bicep, just to give a little extra something for the fan with very sharp vision to appreciate. "
It's understood that Zack Snyder and Michael Wilkinson are trying to give a fresh update the Man of Steel for DoJ. However this explanation does not give a reason why or how Superman gets a new costume in context of the story itself.
Whether or not they will explain it in the film, this remains quite a mystery.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out in theaters in the United States on March 25.
"‘Batman v Superman’ costume designer just dropped some major spoilers". www.batman-news.com. Batman News, 6 December 2015. Web. 3 March 2016.