Alexandra Byrne Describes The Design Process Behind The Costumes In THE AVENGERS

Costume designer Alexandra Byrne looks back at designing each of the costumes for Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Marvel's The Avengers. Ever wondered why Captain America's suit was so different to his WWII one or why Hulk didn't have his purple pants? Find out here!

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By Josh Wilding - 4/14/2013
Talking in the latest issue of Total Magazine, The Avengers costume designer Alexandra Byrne has looked back at the creation of each of the suit donned by Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Joss Whedon's beloved superhero ensemble. There's quite a few interesting tidbits of information here, although as we've already seen from various images from Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we won't be seeing them back on the big screen again...


"Joss was very clear that Captain America's look was a bit more 'superhero' than it had been in his own standalone film. The big differences between the WW2 character and the modern character are the fabrics that are available. Today we have a lot of stretch fabrics and there weren't any 'technofabrics' then. Cap's costume was the most technically difficult. Even though he's a superhero, it has to have integrity. There were a lot of versions with helmets, hoods, cowels, ears/no ears. It's the costume I'm most proud of."

"I wasn't really involved in the Iron Man suit - that's all handled by the visual effects team, it's built by Legacy in America. It's such a mechanical piece, there's a very specialist team that work on fitting it with him. I researched the rock star t-shirts, though. We drew up a shortlist with Robert and Joss and we worked out which way we wanted to go. Joss is fantastic. He's a really wonderful writer, he created his fantastic script - what better starting point? It was a great production, we worked very hard but it was very upbeat."

"The thing about Thor is you've got a big red cloak so you need to take that on board... Everybody felt quite strongly that the cloak would not be good on the heli-carrier. We had to find ways of using the cloak, but also he's a god from Asgard, so we had to make him fit in with the other characters, too. Thor's costume is made of many different things. Obviously a lot of it looks like leather, but a lot of it is moulded in soft materials to allow the fighting. Parts are leather. Parts of it are metal, there are lots of different things in there!"

"There was talk about purple trousers. As Bruce Banner he has a nod to purple when we come to him in Cacutta; we give nods in respect to things without being completely blatant. It's always a fine balance, you have to do your research. And obviously his trousers have to grow! I grew up watching the TV show and I loved it when he burst his clothes. If you're telling a good story, and people are engaged in the film, you're allowed to suspend a little reality. It's carefully plotted throughout the film, there is a story that holds true."

"Because Black Widow's is a form fitting costume, it's all about the body, and Scarlett's got an amazing body! You have the joy of just enhancing everything she has. Of course you want her to be a strong woman too, and Scarlett brings that. With any costume there are huge practical requirements because of all the fight sequences and the action. But also it comes from a graphic novel so they need to have a heightened physicality in order to be believable as these extraordinary characters."

"The comics use purple for Hawkeye. We integrated maroon his costume took on a combat look. Jeremy saw it early on, and clearly the arms are on view, so he worked out and built his arms. It's a big undertaking to play a superhero, they worked really hard. You do a bit of fine-tuning to make it work on camera and some of the fabrics don't give you the muscle cut that is reflective of the muscle physique. The seam, the bulge of the muscle, in some fabrics it gets quite neutralized. The majority of it is the actor."


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thunderpun573 - 4/14/2013, 8:49 AM
Neat.
PsyGuy - 4/14/2013, 8:51 AM
I think I'm the only one that actually liked Cap's costume.
2013venjix - 4/14/2013, 8:52 AM
I liked Cap's costume.
Lightsplasher - 4/14/2013, 8:53 AM
@PsyBoy : The Cap's outfit was awesome ! The helmet was the only thing which wasn't great ...
Anton - 4/14/2013, 8:53 AM
I though that design of the costumes in the Avengers (except Iron Man) was bad and movie's weakest place. It was her fault, okay. Almost ruined decent adventure movie.
zeonsdemon - 4/14/2013, 8:55 AM
'joss created the script'? funny, i thought zak penn created it and whedon did rewrites

'most proud of cap's costume' the worst one
RextheKing - 4/14/2013, 8:55 AM
Yeah Cap's helmet was the only bad part of his costume. Maybe if they took the ear-pad things off, it would have looked better.
TheAbaryMan369 - 4/14/2013, 8:56 AM
Yeah, Black Sabbath!
I think it is a good thing we didn't get the purple Hawkeye suit. It is just not realistic for a live-action movie. As for purple Hulk pants... well, his pants color doesn't matter right?
ALmazing - 4/14/2013, 8:58 AM
I know a lot people has issues with Caps uniform in The Avengers, but it was designed by Coulson as a homage to the old fashion suit he originally wore.
TheAbaryMan369 - 4/14/2013, 8:59 AM
Cap's suit was really cool, just the material of the suit could have been better. His helmet needed a chin strap like TFA and WS (and maybe exposed ears could have helped).
LMB10 - 4/14/2013, 9:00 AM
@zeonsdemon Joss threw out Penn's script and rewrote it entirely.
mrteaspoon - 4/14/2013, 9:01 AM
@ zeonzdemon

Wrong. http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/joss-whedon-reveals-the-avengers-started-out-with-a-script-by-zak-penn-which-he-tossed-out-rewrote-20120502
RexDartEskimoSpy - 4/14/2013, 9:03 AM
I liked Cap's costume, but I think it could be improved upon. (And hope it will be.) Especially the helmet. Ryan Meinerding's original concept drawing looked great...

...but I don't think it translated that well on film.

I'd like to see a more fabricky, less plasticky look, like in Meinerding's variant cover to Cap #1:
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:05 AM
I have all of the 'Art of Marvel' books that show all the costume's progression through concepts - and while i love what they did with Thor, Iron Man, even The Hulk (with a nod to the purple with Banner's purple shirt) - They DEFINATELY dropped the ball when it came to Capt's costume in The Avengers.
It lost the utilitarian and grounded look. It was too colourful and spandex-like - too figure-hugging, too radical a gay re-design that didn't take cues re: material and feel-of-concept from the original costume. Of course it really didn't help that Chris Evans lost so much muscle-mass for the second outing as Capt - he genuinely looked skinny compared to the First Avenger - and don't even get me started on that special-needs goofy helmet.
RexDartEskimoSpy - 4/14/2013, 9:06 AM
Every script Zak Penn writes should be tossed out and rewritten. He's a hack. Too bad Joss doesn't have time to script doctor every superhero movie.
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:08 AM
@RDES: Yes, Ryan's work should of been more closely followed - pretty much to the letter. I have no idea how they took Ryan's illustration of Capt's helmet in that first piece of art and ended up with the ridiculous one they used on film.
spidey1994 - 4/14/2013, 9:12 AM
"Scarlett's got an amazing body!"

Damn straight! :D
JacksonVegaIII - 4/14/2013, 9:17 AM
Capts costume was an embarrassment, i struggle to think of ways it couldve looked any shi.tter. Theres so much great capt concept art out there i really cant understand how they ended up with what the ended up with, Evans mustve been pretty gutted.. I know I wouldve been. Id like to see em take a few cues from MOS Supes suit crossed with the more utilitarian capt designs
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:21 AM
He's definately skinnier for The Avengers.

I think he's fed up with getting big for the role.

http://www.blastr.com/2012/09/why-chris-evans-is-not-lo.php

Oh well U.S, you'll just have to make do with a skinny Capt.America.
SageMode - 4/14/2013, 9:22 AM
If the helmet had a chin strap, more white around the forearms, and made the belt brown, it would've looked a lot better.

And someone, give Thor his iconic [frick]in helmet already. Geez!
ManCalledSting - 4/14/2013, 9:22 AM
Yea, I liked his stand alone films suit better, felt more like a soldier would. And his "classic" was where it should have been, on a USO show, and that's the only place for it. I was ok with the Avengers suit because it was his coming back moment, and they would want somthing that would grab America's attention. But in the movieverse with Iron Patriot being the American government's mascot/hero I guess(unless that all changes at the end of IM3) that Captain America's suit would make sense being somewhat more covert and not as brightly colored. If he's going to be going on covert missions and infiltrating bases and what not, it wouldn't make much sense for him to be wearing really bright colors, so I'm liking the concept art for his seconds movies suit. It can still have red white and blue, but in a way that wouldn't make him as easy target. Though for me, I would love to see something like Bucky's Cap suit used in the movies. Either way, can't wait to see more.
MrMartinMarvel - 4/14/2013, 9:22 AM
@spidey1994 Beat me to it!
MrMartinMarvel - 4/14/2013, 9:24 AM
Only things I didn't like about Cap's costume were the helmet, the forearms, and the fact that the stripes didn't go all the way around his body.
ohsoserious - 4/14/2013, 9:25 AM
Caps costume definitely needed to have the ears out or something cause his face looked fat for the most part. But the rest of the costume was ok but they should have wraped the stripes around the waist and threw a star on the back cause it looked bad from the back.
marcvader1 - 4/14/2013, 9:27 AM
Caps costume looked good for the most part. They should have used TFA helmet, added a star and stripes on his back, and used some physique enhancing padding if he couldn't get back to TFA shape. Do those things and voila, you get the perfect Cap look.
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:29 AM
Chris Evans:
"“It’s two hours every day and it’s brutal man. I don’t do a lot of cardio because I’m not trying to lose weight, but gain weight. But, it’s big weights and you’re just [there] so long. You’ll be working out and you’ll be, ‘How long have I been here? Only 35 min? I still have another hour here.’ And you just leave the gym unable to move. You just know you have to do it tomorrow. It’s a chore.”

Even the perfect fanboy-approved suit is not going to work if he doesn't fill it out enough - unless you wanna go adding padded muscles aka: Tim Burton's and Nic Cage's Superman (which is shit).
Someone should sneak horse-steroids into his oatmeal for Capt II.
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:34 AM
@marcvader1:

Ewww no! - physique enhancing padding?! - hell no!.

SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:37 AM
Captain America's helmet as seen in The Avengers:

pumaking6 - 4/14/2013, 9:41 AM
I really liked Cap's costume!
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 9:42 AM
Stick to the day-job Coulson !!!
StrangerX - 4/14/2013, 9:43 AM
Yea the concept art lookef great what killef it was once we saw Cap behind the scenes. I agree without the helmet in Avengers he looked cool. Thors costume I. TTDW should have been the look from the start. I never paid to much attention to Iron Mans look. I was more focused on Tony in the Black Sabbath Tshirt.
thorhulk77 - 4/14/2013, 9:46 AM
Cap looked great without the helmet.
batesmotel - 4/14/2013, 9:49 AM
Cap looked like a mong. Whats with Thor not wearing his helmet
SageMode - 4/14/2013, 9:52 AM
marvel72 - 4/14/2013, 9:52 AM
caps costume was alright,it was just the helmet which ruined it.

should of kept the first avenger costume & made a few updates to give it a more modern look.
RexDartEskimoSpy - 4/14/2013, 9:53 AM
Heeheeheehee.

astromerc - 4/14/2013, 10:01 AM
I wish Brian Singer would approach his comic book movies in this manner. ohhh wellll.
MrCBM56 - 4/14/2013, 10:01 AM
@psyboy

No you're not, I loved it. But I agree with JokerFan, the helmet was really the only downfall if the suit. It seemed to tight on his head.
SimyJo - 4/14/2013, 10:04 AM
@RexDArtEskimoSpy:

*Bows before a Photoshop God*


;)
spidey1994 - 4/14/2013, 10:07 AM
@MrMartinMarvel Haha! ;)
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