Wardrobe Secrets From Behind The Scenes Of The Marvel Cinematic Universe

It takes teams of people and hours upon hours of work to develop the Marvel costumes. From the pre-production stage through post-production storage, the care that goes into designing, caring for, and ultimately protecting MCU costumes contributes to the overall success of the franchise.

Each new movie requires Marvel concept artists and costume designers to convey changes within the films' shared universe, something that's often accomplished by updating the costumes themselves. Behind the scenes of the MCU, designers and costumers work tirelessly to find a balance of form and function - all while remaining true to the original comic book source material.

Keeping the cast of the Marvel Cinematic Universe dressed is a balancing act between continuity and evolution alike. 

  • All Of The Costumes Are Saved For Reference When Sequels Are Made

    Consistency is key in the MCU. To ensure continuity between movies, all costumes are stored in a warehouse for safekeeping. According to Wendy Craig, Marvel Comics Wardrobe Supervisor, the costumes are archived and stored for future reference at the end of each Marvel movie shoot. 

    Craig's department maintains the costume inventory and provides supervision and consultation when costumes from previous movies are needed. If a movie features a flashback with a previous version of the costume, Craig is the one to call. "Literally anything that happens with the costumes after their movie wraps, goes through me," she says.

    Working with the costumes doesn't seem to have diminished Craig's enthusiasm for Marvel's movie magic. When roughly 60 Marvel costumes were displayed at the Gallery of Modern Art in Australia in 2017, she found it "awe inspiring to see the costume history of the films in one exhibit."  

  • Comic Artist Andy Park Oversees The Initial Designs

    Comic Artist Andy Park Oversees The Initial Designs
    Photo: Captain America: The First Avenger / Paramount Pictures

    Artist Andy Park transitioned from a concept artist working for the visual department at Marvel to heading the entire division in 2015. As head of development for costume concept art in the MCU, Park has parlayed his decades of artistic experience into foundational looks for Marvel characters.

    Having worked on every Marvel film since Captain AmericaThe First Avenger (2011), Park, along with his team of artists, designs superheroes and villains alike. Marvel costumes evolve with the movies themselves, and are updated as personalities develop and storylines unfold. According to Park, the strong creative foundation laid out in the early days of the studio has given him and his fellow artists the opportunity to "be more daring, even experimental" with new installments.  

  • Every Costume From 'Black Panther' Had To Be Redesigned As Waterproof for 'Wakanda Forever'

    Every Costume From 'Black Panther' Had To Be Redesigned As Waterproof for 'Wakanda Forever'
    Photo: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Ruth E. Carter earned an Oscar for her work designing the costumes for Black Panther, but the work she put in for its sequel tested her limits. While most MCU productions can reuse some costumes for extras and supporting characters, Carter had to completely redesign everything made for the first film so it wouldn't fall apart when shooting in and around water. Carter told Vanity Fair, “What we had built in the first film was no longer available to us because it was built of leather and raffia and all those things that get destroyed in water. So we had to start over and…mold and recreate things in silicone.”

    In keeping with the aquatic focus of the sequel, Carter was also tasked with creating original designs for the Wakandan navy. In the first film and Infinity War, all of the fighting took place on land, so there had never been a reason to show what Wakanda's naval forces looked like. Carter created the new uniform as well as the way Wakanda visually distinguishes rank on naval uniforms.

  • Sylvie's 'Loki' Costume Was Altered So Sophia Di Martino Could Breastfeed

    Actress Sophia Di Martino was breastfeeding during production of the first season of Loki on Disney+ in 2021. Her character's outfit is tight and form-fitting, so costume designer Christine Wada came up with a solution: She placed two hidden zippers in the upper part of the costume so Di Martino could open it and easily pump milk and feed her baby while on the set. Di Martino, who shared a photo of herself in 2021 wearing the opened-up costume on social media, wrote in an accompanying caption:

    Genius #christinewada designed Sylvie’s costume & added concealed zippers so I could pump easily & nurse my baby between takes. Little (big) things like this that made it possible for me to do my job & be a parent. I’m forever grateful.