23 costume & set secrets from Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron

Camera drones for filming, Thor steps out in party clothes, and The Hulk gets some… stretchy pants? Here are 23 wardrobe and set secrets about the superhero dream team in Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron!

  • The Hulkbuster is a new piece of Iron Man tech – a prebuilt super-suit designed to take on the Hulk. We learn that BFFs Tony Stark and Bruce Banner built the Hulkbuster suit together in case something goes really wrong. A satellite in low orbit is always around Banner and at a moment’s notice, Tony Stark can deploy the Hulkbuster armour, get into it and stop the Hulk in his tracks. (Theoretically.)
  • The woman behind the characters’ iconic suits is Oscar-winning UK costume designer Alexandra Byrne. It is her fourth Marvel outing: in addition to costuming period dramas such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Phantom of the Opera, Byrne also costumed Thor, the original The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • For the first time ever, we see Thor in party clothes. (Phwoar.) Byrne worked with Chris Hemsworth to find the right combination of jeans, jacket and shirt that would dress his shape and not look themed or fancy.

Thor party clothes in Avengers Age of Ultron 2

  • Robert Downey Jr. wanted a more sophisticated look for Tony Stark (as if that was even possible) in the same party scene. “Instead of making a suit, we went for proper Savile Row tailoring and that is about five fittings and a lot of work but that was the draw of being in London,” says Byrne.
  • Working on The Avengers sequel brought new challenges for Byrne, such as the number of super heroes in one film. “Getting all the looks right, making the costumes work, the number of repeats, knowing who is doubling for who, how many stunts—it all becomes really complicated,” says Byrne.
  • One of the most interesting and practical costume changes was a pair of much-needed stretchy pants for Hulk. No longer will Bruce Banner be left with shredded clothes after Hulking out; he now always wears a pair of high tech, microfibre stretchy pants under his regular ones.

Hulk stretch pants

  • Cast and crew worked at Andy Serkis’ motion-capture studio Imaginarium in London to create the characters of The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Ultron (James Spader). Since the last film, the technology now allows for facial capture while they’re doing motion capture as well.
  • Byrne started from scratch to create costumes for two of Marvel’s latest additions: Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). “The point was that we needed to start them off in Sokovia, in Eastern Europe, and we needed to believe that they were orphan children living there,” says Byrne. “(So) there were the roots of the Super Hero look in what they’re wearing in their ordinary clothes and there is an evolution.”

Pietro and Wanda in Avengers 2

  • For Wanda, Byrne looked at a lot of Eastern European fashion and more ethnic clothing. “It was a very interesting mixture of clothing meets costume meets Super Hero.” For Pietro aka Quicksilver, it’s all about speed and being aerodynamic, so his costume design needed to illustrate that.
  • Another new character on The Avengers team is Vision, played by Paul Bettany, who previously had voiced Jarvis in the Iron Man films.
  • In total there are five versions of Captain America’s shield required for filming: a hero, a lightweight hero, a durable, a biscuit foam and a stunt rubber.

Captain America shields used in Avengers Age of Ultron

  • Director Joss Whedon wanted it to look like Tony Stark or Stark Industries had applied new technologies to all of the Avengers’ old weapons.
  • This means Captain America’s shield can now be called back to him, much like Iron Man’s suits. Instead of having two handles in the back, Cap’s shield has a magnetic element that clips onto the gauntlet.
  • Hawkeye’s bow is now maroon, not black. Repeat: Hawkeye’s bow is now maroon.
  • It also has an infrared-sighting device, a sonic-sighting device and his quiver is faster loading and can hold nine arrows.

Hawkeye new bow

  • The search for a place to be used as Strucker’s stronghold (used for the film’s opening sequence) started a year before production. “We scoured the planet and sent out locations team in a car, all across Europe. They spent two months going to every single historical site that had a building on it,” says executive producer Jeremy Latchem. Eventually they chose a 1000AD historical edifice in the seldom seen northwestern Italian region of Aosta Valley (Val d’Aosta).
  • Other locations in the Aosta Valley doubled as the fictitious “Sokovia”.
  • On this film, production designer Charles Wood and his team built an enormous, new Avengers Tower set that is the largest set ever built for a Marvel film. (Yes, even larger than the Helicarrier Bridge.)
  • Much of the movie takes place there on its many different levels. A large expanse of glass opens the view to New York City and one can also see a hangar for the Quinjet. The multiple environments are all connected, with the ability to move from downstairs to upstairs and vice versa. It is also Tony Stark’s house, so it had to be big, high-tech and flashy.

Avengers Tower party scene

  • The Avengers Tower set is designed to serve the story in multiple ways. In the movie, the Tower, designed and built by Tony Stark, is a gathering place for The Avengers—a place to plan, do business, relax or study. There is a lounge area, three laboratory areas plus a machine room, a gym, a relaxation area and a locker room. The Tower was also designed to provide everything Tony Stark needs for his work and research.
  • The scene in which Cap is chasing down an 18-wheel truck from his motorcycle was filmed on Mapo Bridge in Seoul, South Korea. In order to shoot the sequence, the production shut down the one-mile, 10-lane long bridge – the first time the bridge had ever been shut down completely.

Captain America in Avengers Age of Ultron

  • Drones and remote control cars were also used in Seoul under the guidance of two Korean experts – and brothers – named Menstru Pa, who is the Korean National Champion in drone flying, and Pak Min Keu, who is the Korean National Champion in remote car racing. This put the cameras in places inaccessible by manual operators or helicopters.
  • The redesigned Quinjet has a more militaristic look this time around and the pilots are now able to have a good look at the environment around them while flying. The design of the canopy was based on a helicopter cockpit with glass in front and below, which will give audiences a tremendous sense of speed when the Quinjet is flying through city airspace.

the author

Marie C

Feature writer by trade, movie maniac by night, Marie-Christine grew up watching films from the projection booth at the local drive-in and now she's lucky enough to write about them.

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