Andor's Costume Designer On How Collaborating With Zack Snyder Helped Prepare Him For Star Wars [Exclusive]

Costumes say a lot about the characters in "Star Wars." Darth Vader's helmet may be vital to his survival, but his shiny all-black duds are very much a fashion statement for the edgelord Sith. Then there's someone like Yoda, whose simple brown suit and coarse beige Jedi robes are a reflection of his humility. Either that or his refusal to do his own dry-cleaning. One could imagine either of those being a real possibility for that 900-year-old scamp.

Certainly, the costumes on "Andor" say a lot about the humans or non-humans wearing them. The show's Imperials don white, gray, or blue uniforms so as to designate their ranks while at the same time diminishing their sense of individuality. Prisoners on Narkina 5 are similarly dressed in identical white suits with orange stripes on the sides, allowing them to better blend in with their sterilized surroundings. In both these cases, the message is clear: To the overlords of the Galactic Empire, these individuals are little more than cogs in their fascist machine.

No stranger to sci-fi and fantasy world-building, "Andor" costume designer Michael Wilkinson has come to work on many a big-budget project since getting his start in the late 1990s. Perhaps most notably, Wilkinson has collaborated with director Zack Snyder on several of his films, starting with "300" in 2006 and carrying on to "Watchmen," "Sucker Punch," and Snyder's trilogy of DC comic book movies. In an exclusive interview with /Film's Jeremy Mathai, Wilkson said his projects with Snyder were "absolutely" useful in preparing him to take on a production on the scale of a Star War.

Designing clothing for different worlds

For as well-known and highly-debated as Zack Snyder's filmmaking aesthetics are, it's clear he and Michael Wilkinson put a good deal of thought into how characters dress in his films. In "300," for example, the minimal attire donned by the Spartans reflects their cultural beliefs and the roles they play in their society. That goes double for Krypton in "Man of Steel," a planet where high-ranking officials wear ornate costumes while the members of the military are decked out in heavyset but practical combat armor. Wilkinson commented on this in his interview with /Film, noting:

"I think what helped, the sense of world-building when you are so deep-diving into creating new worlds with the production designer, with your directors, with your lighting directors, it's a very collaborative approach that I definitely had a great education on with all of Zack's movies."

A similar thought process went into conceiving the costumes for "Andor," be they the shabby coats and cloaks worn by the nature-revering Aldhani natives or the pragmatic orange and yellow jackets favored by Ferrix's working-class civilians. Wilkinson explained:

"[It involves] thinking about every aspect of those planets and environments, and how the climate and the raw materials might influence the look of the place, the culture of the people, their beliefs, is it urban, is it tribal? What technologies do they have, and how does all of that affect the look of their environments and their clothing?"

Wilkinson reiterated that he "definitely learned" that approach on his previous movies, his work with Snyder included. Indeed, say what you will about the superhero duds in Snyder's films or even the notorious outfits from "Sucker Punch," it's hard to deny Wilkinson had a sound method for crafting them.

New episodes of "Andor" arrive Wednesdays on Disney+.