LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 22: Henry Cavill attending 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' European Premiere in Leicester Square, London, England on March 22, 2016. (Photo by Tolga Akmen/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Movies - TV
Superman's Famous Symbol Was A 'Huge Design Problem’ For Man Of Steel
Zack Snyder’s 2013 “Man of Steel” retells the Superman origin story and follows a more complex version of the beloved paragon of hope in a complicated world. Balancing the character’s iconography while grounding him in reality began with designing Superman’s symbol, with the filmmakers getting creative to answer why the hero wore an “S” on his chest.
The film’s production designer, Alex McDowell, shared the trouble with Superman’s symbol: “The fact that the ‘S’ in a shield exists on the chest of a superhero from another planet is a huge design problem.” However, McDowell and his crew used this opportunity to connect the symbol to Kal-El’s ancestry, making it a representation of the House of El, as seen in the Krypton prologue.
Costume designer Michael Wilkinson went into further detail: “When you look at the council costumes, they all have their glyphs, their shield. We looked a lot at medieval heraldry, and symbols of dynasties and guilds and things, so we created our own version of that.” Despite the challenges of being an alien on Earth, Superman was always destined to embody the symbol of hope on his family’s crest.