NY Times Interview with Costume Designer Michael Kaplan on “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”

The #NYTimes interviewed #costume designer Michael Kaplan, who designed the #costumes for “#StarWars VIII: #TheLastJedi”. Michael Kaplan designed over a thousand costumes for the movie, including the Praetorian Guards, which were his favorites:

Praetorian Guard costumes from “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”

He also designed costumes for the 1982 #BladeRunner and the 2015 “#StarWars VII: #TheForceAwakens”.



Wil Wheaton Wore a “Star Trek” Costume to See “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Life imitated art Thursday (Dec. 14, 2017) when actor Wil Wheaton wore a #StarTrek #costume to a screening of “#StarWarsVIII: #TheLastJedi”! He also tweeted about it:


Wil Wheaton dressed in a “Star Trek” costume at a “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” screening.

Wil Wheaton & friends at the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” screening.

Wil Wheaton, who starred as Wesley Crusher in “Star Trek: #TheNextGeneration”, appears as himself regularly in the long-running sitcom #BigBangTheory, in which he did wear a “Star Trek” costume to a screening of “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens”.


Stormtroopers in “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi” Are Slightly Modified from “The Force Awakens”

A picture of First Order stormtrooper #costumes from “#StarWarsVIII: #TheLastJedi” has been released & shows that there are some differences in the design from #TheForceAwakens.

The most noticeable difference is in the helmet, which now has a more protruding brow with a line running across it. The nose may also have a sharper line at the fold. The protruding brow is somewhat reminiscent of the death troopers & shoretrooper costumes in “#RogueOne: A #StarWars Story”.

Below is an image of the First Order stormtrooper costume from “The Force Awakens” for comparison. Notice the smooth brow on the helmet, which doesn’t protrude as much.

Below is an image of the death troopers from “Rogue One”:


And the shoretrooper also from “Rogue One”, which has a much more protruding brow:



Costumes Aren’t Necessarily Unique

Just because a #costume appears on a TV show or movie doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unique to that show or movie. Sure, #costumes like what Darth Vader & stormtrooers wore are unique to the #StarWars universe (& owned by LucasFilm), but how about the costume worn by an iconic #StarTrek character like Trelane from its original series?

The character Trelane appeared in the “Star Trek” episode “The Squire of Gothos”, which originally aired on Jan. 12, 1967. In the episode, Trelane (played by actor William Campbell, 1923 – 2011) wore a military-styled costume consisting of a long blue tunic with a golden leaf pattern going down the front of the tunic, the back and sleeves; and a matching cape.

Unlike most of the costumes worn when “Star Trek” was in production that were designed by William Ware, Trelane’s military costume was rented from the “Western Costume” company (founded by 1912 and is still in business today over 100 years later) and was seen only 11 days later on Jan. 23, 1967 when it worn by the actor Jim Backus (1913 – 1989), who played as Thurston Howell, III in the 3rd season “Gilligan’s Island” episode “Lovey’s Secret Admirer” during a dream sequence.

This wasn’t all though. Only 2 weeks later on Feb. 6, 1967, the same military costume would be worn by Michael Nesmith in the TV series “The Monkeys” in the episode “The Prince and the Pauper”.

Trelane’s Costume: from “Star Trek”, to “Gilligan’s Island”, to “The Monkeys”

Additionally, in the same “Gilligan’s Island” episode “Lovey’s Secret Admirer”, the Fairy Godfather costume worn by actor Bob Denver (1935-2005) as Gilligan would appear 10 months later in “Star Trek” episode “Catspaw”, which aired Oct. 27, 1967 and was worn by actor Theodore Marcuse (1920 – 1967), who played the character Korob.

A Magical Costume: from “Gilligan’s Island” to “Star Trek”

Thus, while many costumes are unique to specific characters in specific franchises, some costumes are not, especially when production companies rent costumes from suppliers.


  1. Original article
  2. Star Trek” episode “The Squire of Gothos”
  3. “Gilligan’s Island” epidose “Lovey’s Secret Admirer”
  4. “A The Monkeys” episode “The Prince and the Pauper”
  5.  “Star Trek” episode “Catspaw”

A Day in the Life of a Doctor Who Cyberman

A type of #costumer that we rarely discuss are professional actors, but this video of an actor working as a #DoctorWho Cyberman is an excellent example of what professional actors who wear heavy #costumes endure, as well as what can make a professionally designed & worn #costume different from a costume that a costume or #cosplay hobbyist would wear by comparison.

The video begins with professional actor Kevin Hudson arriving at the trailers before donning his Cyberman costume, which begins at about 35 seconds in. What’s interesting about this particular costume is its 3 layers (not including the head):

  1. A spandex body suit at the base.
  2. A cybernetically-detailed rubber body suit worn over the spandex body suit.
  3. Individual armor pieces worn over the legs, feet, arms, chest & back.

The head has 2 layers (a spandex balaclava and a 2-piece fitted helmet) and there are separate gloves.

Thus, when the entire costume is donned, the actor wearing it is fully encased. So, not only is the wearer going to get warm because he is fully encased, he’s going to be very sweaty and potentially uncomfortable due to the rubber body suit at the middle layer.

Where these actors have an advantage is that they’re mostly outdoors or inside an unheated industrial building and it’s obviously cold outside because everyone is wearing winter clothing. Were this episode of Doctor Who being filmed in the summer, these actors would be sweltering in the Cyberman costumes.

And that’s what we want to draw attention to: this particular Cyberman costume is really NOT practical for a cosplayer to wear at a crowded convention. While convention halls aren’t necessarily well heated or air conditioned, thousands of people walking around is going to raise both the ambient air temperature and humidity inside the convention hall. If a cosplayer were to wear a costume like this with their bodies fully encased in spandex, rubber and armor, and a helmet on top of that, it’s going to become very uncomfortable very quickly. Thus, the wearer wouldn’t be able to wear such a costume for very long, probably not even for an hour.

This is demonstrated by the video itself: the actors are only wearing the helmets during filming. The rest of the time, the helmets are off. The spandex balaclava, while it will retain some body heat, will still allow for perspiration so that the body can cool itself. Unless the helmets have built-in fans for moving air across the actors’ heads, the helmets will make the actors begin to overheat even though the ambient air temperature is cold.

By comparison, a #StarWars stormtrooper costume is primarily comprised of 2 layers: a spandex body suit and plastic armor worn over the spandex. Because of the gaps between the plastic armor and the spandex body suit, the wearer will have air flow near their bodies and between their bodies and the armor so that they don’t overheat. The helmets are also larger and allow for the installation of cooling fans.

If a cosplayer wanted to successfully wear a Cyberman costume for several hours at a convention, they’d need to ditch the mid-layer rubber body suit and find a way to get air to circulate across their heads while the helmet is being worn. While this may not be “screen accurate”, it’s practical. If a costume is so uncomfortable that it can’t be worn for even an hour at a convention, you might want to ask yourself whether the investment in time & money is worth having it. Practical considerations always have to be taken into account when it comes to wearing a costume.