MoviesThe Secret to Black Panther's Badass Superhero Suit: It's All CGI
Turns out the best character in this summer's Captain America: Civil War was also one of its best special effects.
These days, Black Panther is one of the best things Marvel has going for it, both in the movies and in the comics they're based on. T'Challa, hero-king of Wakanda, is among the more fascinating characters to make it to the screen in an increasingly crowded landscape of armor, capes, and tights, and Chadwick Boseman's measured performance in Captain America: Civil War is a highlight of Marvel's eight-year box office reign. But Black Panther wasn't just one of Civil War's best characters—he was also one of its best special effects.
According to the film's commentary by directors Joe and Anthony Russo, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, every shot of the Black Panther's costume is entirely CG. That's a huge surprise, since in set photos and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks Chadwick Boseman has been seen wearing an actual costume that doesn't look half bad. But according to Screencrush, where you can read the relevant excerpt from the commentary track, you're not really seeing it at all, since "every frame" of the character's costume is in is CG—mostly out of a desire to make the character's costume consistent with the movie's description of it.
In Civil War (and also in Marvel Comics) the Black Panther's costume is made from vibranium, a fictional wonder-metal that can absorb force to become stronger. It's one of the the materials in Captain America's shield. That's why he can shrug off bullets fired from a helicopter in the character's big debut chase scene, for example. But most of the time the character looks strikingly realistic, save for when Black Panther is doing clearly impossible things like chasing down a motorcycle on foot. And when you put him next to other, more clearly animated characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man, the effect is even more remarkable.
In other words, the forthcoming Black Panther movie continues to sound like the coolest thing in the world.