Clothes maketh the man (and the God). In Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi, the character of Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), is on a mission to discover what kind of man he really is. The evolution of his superhero suit throughout the film reflects his epic journey of self-discovery.
We were excited to once again be working with critically acclaimed Costume Designer, Mayes Rubeo (Wanda Vision, Jojo Rabbit) after collaborating with her in 2016 on Warcraft and in 2017 on Thor: Ragnarok. For 2022’s Thor: Love and Thunder, Mayes asked us to create two versions of Thor’s new suit for the film, dubbed ‘Extreme Thor’, and ‘New Thor’. The former includes a winged helmet and is completely metallic, while ‘New Thor’ has a more muted colour palette, with leather in place of the anodized blue pieces.
We also had the pleasure of working with Marvel Studios Director of Visual Development Andy Park, who created the incredible concept design for the suits. Collaborating with Mayes & Andy, we transformed the concept design into a real-world costume.
The costume design was inspired by the original 1960s comic books, and our brief was to create superhero suits reflecting Thor’s inflated ego as he regains his place as the God of Thunder. For our crew, this meant creating a god-worthy suit of armour, with bold metallic colours: gold, silver, and metallic blue - which would be light and comfortable to wear, safe for stunts, and quick to get in and out of.
“We achieved this tricky combination of ‘perfect surface-finish’, and ‘light-and-flexible’, by developing a composite material made from urethane-rubber and foam. This provided an excellent surface for our chromed paint finish, while reducing the weight by 50%. Developed by our paint team, the finish was a hybrid processes, allowing us to fine-tune the colour, and brightness of the metallics while achieving a durable, automobile quality finish.
To improve freedom of movement and comfort for the actors, we split the larger metallic armour components into sub-panels and rigged them together with sliding fasteners and elastic expansion panels. This allowed the panels to stretch apart and move during stunts.”
- Lans Hansen, Art Director in Manufacture, Wētā Workshop
‘Extreme Thor’, is the more lavish of the two, adorned with a magnificent helmet, golden sleeves, scale texturing and a full-length cape in a brilliant red. In keeping with the film’s plot, the cape on the ‘extreme’ suit is comically huge. It has an effect of flying up and away from the suit rather than just draping like a fabric normally would. It was our aim for the cape to not only look right, but also be quick for Chris Hemsworth and his stunt double, Bobby Holland Hanton to get on and off.
‘New Thor’, is a more subdued version to reflect Thor’s ‘humbling’ after reuniting with Jane. He loses his helmet and golden arms. His cape is shorter and some of the detailing and colouring throughout the armour is toned down.
Mayes asked us to make the suits as comfortable, lightweight, and easy as possible for Chris and Bobby to wear on-set.
“The design of the suit was very tight-fitting, superhero-style - yet it needed to look like hard, rigid metal in places, while still being flexible and comfortable enough for the actor and stunt double to perform high action scenes. Our crew’s challenge was to choose the right combination of materials, methodologies, and paint finishes to cheat the audience’s eyes into believing this was full head-to-toe battle armour”
- Karoliina Varcoe, Production Manager, Wētā Workshop.
We delivered the project during worldwide COVID-19 restrictions, and the fittings with Mayes, Chris and Bobby took place via Zoom. Our teams routinely work with clients remotely in this way, we were confident we could deliver. Each actor actors had 3D body scanning sessions (a method for extracting real-world 3D information via a laser scanning device) providing our crew with digital 3D files of their bodies. From these scans, we created full body mannequins to use as a fitting reference.
"For our crew, the experience of working with Mayes and her talented team and contributing to a fun, superhero film like Thor: Love and Thunder was very special.
Mayes is amazing to work with. She is such a warm, genuine person and has a huge amount of creativity and passion for what she does, and this is clearly reflected in her work. She knows what she wants and has a very good eye for detail. We all really enjoyed working with her and her team and can’t wait to do it again!"
– Karoliina Varcoe, Production Manager, Wētā Workshop
When it comes to specialty costumes, we take great care to understand each costume designer and the actors’ specific requests and preferences. This was especially important with a suit as complex and involved as Thor’s armour. Comfort and functionality are always key. During each part of the manufacture process, we rigorously tested each component to ensure it performed well under pressure and on set. We also involved our client’s stunt department as early as possible in the manufacture process. This ensured we knew exactly how the suit needed to perform in specific stunts or high-action scenes.
In total Wētā Workshop created 15 Thor suits for Chris and his stunt double Bobby. This included 22 capes, four helmets, 16 pairs of trousers and five sets of Gold ‘chiclet’ sleeves across the two costume looks. We also manufactured a variety of hero weapons, including Gorr the God-Butcher’s iconic ‘Necrosword’ and hero weapons for King Valkyrie and Lady Sif.
Thor: Love and Thunder is in now streaming on Disney+
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