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Tom Holland’s No Way Home Spidey Suit Was a Unique Challenge to Create

Spider-Man standing in the street in No Way Home

Tom Holland has had a wide range of suits as Spider-Man, but apparently, it wasn’t always easy bringing them to life on the big screen. The visual effects supervisor Chris Waegner, who has worked with each of the previous Spider-Man stars, was excited to come back to the series and, in an interview with befores & afters magazine, shared what it was like to see all three Spider-Men together and the importance of bringing the three Spider-Mans to life:

Firstly, It was a very exciting opportunity to work on this film having worked on quite a few of the previous Spider-Man films while being at Imageworks. Having worked with each one of the actors and each one of the directors, each of them brought their own style to the franchise and to the big screen for the fans. It’s such a passionate fan base which spans across many different age / gender groups. There will be children seeing this film with Tom Holland as Spider-Man for the first time, while there are folks who are older, maybe comic book fans, who originally saw Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man on the big screen, or years later saw another instalment with Andrew Garfield in that role. It was very important to us to do the franchise justice. I know Director Jon Watts and VFX Supervisor Kelly Port were equally as passionate about this franchise.

Holland’s complicated suit

While it was exciting to see all three of the former Spider-Man actors together, Waegner also pointed out that Holland’s suit was a bit different from the ones that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield wore.

“Tom Holland’s new suit on the other hand had its own set of challenges,” Waegner said. “During principal photography, filmmakers decided that Tom’s character was going to have what would be called the ‘Hybrid Spider-Man Suit’. So for our sequences, we replaced the practical suit Tom was wearing in camera with a newly designed digital suit. His new digital suit is composed of fabric with metallic inlays and overlays all woven together. Replacing Tom’s suit in every shot was a very laborious process which involved various in-house techniques across many departments in order to ensure the final look would hold up to intense scrutiny. It was critical to our filmmakers that this new digital Hybrid Spider-Man suit accurately mimic Tom Holland’s subtle underlying muscle movements, twitches and physical interactions with onset actors.”

Holland’s suit has practical elements and digital components, so it took a lot of time to make them both work. “There are so many subtle things Tom does when he’s physically interacting with Ned and MJ,” Waegner said. “All the suit wrinkles and physical compressions when he hugs someone, these were captured in camera, and now had to be duplicated in this new digital suit. A relatively straightforward blue screen shot now took on an additional level of complexity because of the suit replacement.”

He went on, explaining exactly how they went through the process of bringing Holland’s hybrid suit to life.  “We’d start the process by matching to the set lighting, then proceed with highly accurate rotomation to match all the physical interactions he might have with MJ, Ned or Doctor Strange, or his environment. Things you take for granted, like, suit wrinkles or compression of his feet all needed to be matched to the plate photography. When filming an actor all these subtle details are captured in camera, but when the actors body is replaced with a digital body, all the subtle nuances need to be duplicated and put back into the shot.”

While it might have taken a long while, it all came out beautifully and now with Spidey’s new suit, maybe it will be a bit easier in the future.

(image: Marvel entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.