Black Panther Suit Created by Visual Effects

The creation of the entirely computer generated superhero suit for Green Lantern in the 2011 film was so bad that star Ryan Reynolds mocked it when he played Deadpool earlier this year. However, it turns out that it’s possible to have an entire superhero suit created with visual effects, and you probably didn’t even know that it happened this past summer.

In Captain America: Civil War, we met T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a prince of Wakanda tragically turned king of the nation when an explosion kills his father. But in addition to being the new leader of his people, T’Challa is also the warrior known as Black Panther. And it turns out that the suit he wears just couldn’t be perfected practically, so they opted to have it created entirely with visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic. Find out more about the Black Panther suit created by visual effects after the jump.

You might find this hard to believe, especially since we’ve seen images of both Chadwick Boseman and some stuntmen suited up as Black Panther on the set of Captain America: Civil War (including the one at the top). So we know there was a real suit that was used during production. So why was it entirely created with visual effects in post-production?

On the commentary of the home video release for Civil War (via ScreenCrush), Anthony & Joe Russo talk about the introduction of Black Panther along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the latter Russo brother explained how much work ILM did to bring the hero’s sleek suit to life and why they had to go that route:

“[They] really did a ton of work on that outfit. I mean, we had an outfit that we used on set. It’s impossible when you’re talking about an otherworldly outfit like the one that the Panther wears, which has a certain luminescence to it because it’s made of a woven metal. We could never afford to construct an outfit like that that an actor or a stunt player could move around in without sweating to death or that would capture the luminescence that we need. So what we ended up doing in post is ILM came in and painted over Chadwick and the stuntman. The outfit is completely CG.”

Just to avoid any confusion, McFeely and Markus followed up to clarify that every single frame that we see Black Panther had the suit created with visual effects. The Russo brothers confirmed that the suit is entirely computer generated in every single frame that he appears.

Well, that’s pretty damn impressive. Go ahead and look at any shot of T’Challa in his Black Panther suit and see if you can tell that it was created with visual effects. There are plenty of moments throughout the entire movie that you can tell were created with visual effects, especially with characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man when they’re entirely suited up. But there are so many shots of Black Panther that look astounding, and you’d never know there were any visual effects employed to create his suit.

I’m curious as to just what they would have to make the suit out of to make it look like that on-camera instead of creating it in real life. But I totally believe their assessment that they couldn’t make a comparable suit without killing the person wearing it. Having been on the set of Civil War during part of the airport brawl, I can tell you that whoever is in that suit is so uncomfortably hot that they have a small group of people responsible for bringing small electric fans and water over to Chadwick Boseman and the stuntmen inside the suit to make sure they don’t overheat. So who knows what it would be like if the suit was even more restricting.

The big question is whether Industrial Light & Magic will have to do the same kind of work when Black Panther gets his own movie. There’s a chance that he might have a different suit by the time his own franchise rolls back around, so they might not have the same issue, but we may not find out until after we see the movie.

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