Shazam's Director Talks the Tricky Nature of Superhero Costume Design

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Attentive fans might have noticed that Shazam’s suit in, y’know, Shazam shifted a little between the early images, the trailer, and newly released marketing materials. That’s apparently just how it goes.

David F. Sandberg, director of Shazam, was asked by some of those fans on Reddit, in regards to a recent image: why have the colors changed a bit? And Sandberg, displaying a level of availability one doesn’t see of many directors (for good reason, honestly), answered, citing the complexity of superhero costume design and the fact that Shazam’s costume is still a work in progress.


He said:

Making suits is hard. Like painting a room you can look at little swatches all day but you won’t really see the effect until it’s done. The color of the finished suit didn’t look quite as expected in some lights (particularly daylight) which is on me since I decided to change fabric very late in prep and there wasn’t time for as many tests. I figured we’d just have to tweak it in post. The first image released though unfortunately didn’t have any post production done to it. That was right as we were putting the trailer together. I figured since that image was out there perhaps we shouldn’t stray too far from it in the trailer. Might be confusing.

This image is closer to what I’m going for, but it’s all still a work in progress and we’ll see where we end up. No images (or the trailer) have the finished bolt effect either (it’s not going to be an extreme effect or anything but it’s not just a simple glow).


Superhero suits are incredibly important, and sometimes the most controversial parts of their respective movies. Finding a costume that communicates the core aesthetics of the character will also working in the live-action environment of the film can be nearly impossible. Just look at all the permutations of Spider-Man’s costume across his live-action films.

Sandberg offers a nice insight into how this process works in the production of these films. Like everything else in film, it seems it’s a matter of fine details. Refine, iterate, and refine until it’s done.


Shazam, starring Zachary Levi as the titular hero, comes to theaters April 5, 2019.