To celebrate the home media release of Far From Home, CBR and other media outlets caught a glimpse of some of the magic that goes into creating the costumes of Spider-Man, and other superheroes, during a behind-the-scenes tour of Ironhead Studio.
Ironhead has created some of the most iconic costumes in movies, and its founder, Jose Fernandez, has worked in the industry for 30 years. Fernandez has produced costumes for everything from Batman Returns to the X-Men films to many of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, including Far From Home. The team worked on The Amazing Spider-Man movies and created several of the Spider-suit's more recent technical advancements.
One of those advancements, Fernandez explained, was a skull cap, shown above, for the costume that includes fans that prevent the goggles that are part of Spider-Man’s mask from steaming up. In addition, Fernandez came up with a new solution for keeping those goggles in place. The goggles are kept on by a magnet but occasionally during action sequences those magnets move and the goggles pop out. Not so good. Fernandez helped develop a simple solution just for Spider-Man. He put the goggle's magnets on a moving bellows so they never get out of alignment. That way the goggles stay on when filmmakers need them to, but can come off if necessary, too.
One of Ironhead's specialties is creating the three-dimensional objects that filmmakers specify in flat artwork, including Spidey’s web-shooters. That means they also have to figure out how to make those things wearable for the actors. It requires a lot of problem-solving, but that's what Fernandez enjoys most about creating costumes.
As an example of a particularly difficult problem he solved, Fernandez told a story about working on Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice in which he figured out how to create a Batman suit that enabled the actor to move his head. Fernandez had worked on several Batman movies before and the batsuit couldn’t be built in a way that enabled head movement. The suit's neck traditionally had to be too thick to allow for much flexibility, making real movement seem like an impossibility.
On Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, however, Fernandez came up with a solution. He used different foam densities and sliding plates in the suit’s neck to ensure the actor could turn his head. Meanwhile, the neck of the suit still looked strong and anatomically appropriate. While it was still a bit stiff, Batman naturally turning his head in the movie was something that had never been seen before.
Fernandez also provided some jaw dropping stats on what it takes to make a superhero suit. The creation of a new superhero suit starts with an actor coming into the Studio. In the old days they used to use plaster bandage to get the measurements of the actor, but now they can digitally scan an actor’s body for the same result in a fraction of the time. Yet, still the process of creating the suit itself can be incredibly time consuming. For example, it takes eight to nine months to create a bat-suit.
And some of those suits are unbelievably heavy. The heaviest costume Ironhead has made is the Batman mech suit, which was between 70 and 80 pounds. In fact, the boots alone were 12 pounds each. Spidey, on the other hand, has one of the lightest suits around. Fernandez described it as “effortless” to wear. The lesson seems clear: if you're going to be a superhero without the hassle, be Spider-Man.
Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far from Home stars Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J.B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon and Martin Starr, with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal. Spider-Man: Far From Home is available now on Digital and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD.