‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ Costume Designer on Using Sneaker Technology to Craft Netflix Series’ Superhero Outfits

Jupiters Legacy
Courtesy of Steve Wilkie/Netflix

When costume designer Lizz Wolf was tasked with creating the superhero outfits for the new series “Jupiter’s Legacy,” based on the comic books by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, she understood the Herculean task that lay ahead of her. What she didn’t realize was how sneaker technology would be integral to her work.

Flying onto Netflix May 7, the series follows two generations of superheroes as the first passes the torch to the next. Spanning timelines but largely set in the present day, the action considers the younger heroes’ struggle to reconcile their identities and their legacy.

Wolf was one of the first crew members tapped by executive producer Steven S. DeKnight, who had helped get Marvel’s “Daredevil” off the ground. “He and Netflix saw the value in trying to develop this world, and I was brought in to build this cinematic universe from the ground up,” Wolf says.

For Wolf, the comics served as a road map. She not only felt the pressure to honor the original but aimed to create designs fit for the future. All the materials were customized. “I wanted to take everything to the next level, so we did a lot of printing and texturizing and experimental techniques to the fabrics,” she says.

Wolf wound up partnering with the developers of Nike’s Flyknit, who have also worked with Yeezy and Tesla, to apply their 3D-engineered knitting strategy — which translates complex textural designs into single-piece footwear — to entire costumes.

“It’s knit with multiple patterns, single threads, and there are no seams,” Wolf explains.

The idea was to create sturdy and breathable outfits that were like a second skin for cast members including Kathryn Davis (Phaseout) and Tenika Davis, whose alter ego is Flare II. Like her father, Flare II has the ability to fire blasts of energy. The vivid ombre color palette of her suit was designed to suggest the power within her. When she’s in fight mode, her dark red chest emblem lights up. Orange accents radiate out, and her gloves are white to represent intense heat.

Wolf says the technology bodes well for designs in the genre. “I think it will revolutionize how super suits can be made in the future,” she says. “We were ultimately trying to use sneaker technology as the main source of inspiration for the next generation [of superheroes].”