Skip to main content

Star Wars The Force Awakens: The Stormtrooper

In the first article of this series, we talked about Rey's design for Episode VII and how it successfully reflected the character, the situation she was in and the universe it represented. And today we are going to look at how they achieved that with Finn's character.


FINN: THE STORMTROOPER

Finn is a Stormtrooper who deserts the First Order after his first military assault, and he is probably the character that gets the highest number of costume changes (a whooping number of two) only matched by Poe Dameron (who also gets two costume changes).

Being a Stormtrooper, he starts the movie dressed in the iconic Stormtrooper armor.


The design doesn't stray too much from the classic Stormtrooper design of the original trilogy, and while some people might have problems with that, I don't.

1977's A New Hope

And the changes they've done are really logical ones; the suit seems more robust, less flimsy, and the lines are softer, smoother and more aerodynamic. Which is normal considering that it's been 30 years (in universe). It's only logical that they would have made changes in their uniforms.

For Finn, this suit stands for his "predetermined" personality; what he's been forced to become. And his is, after all, the story of a deserter. So, the first thing he looses is the helmet (the key element that makes every Stormtrooper the same).

His second outfit is a very simple one, it consists of a black undershirt and black trousers. This is actually what he wears underneath the Stormtrooper suit.


This is one of the best things in this movie's design; every costume change is justified by the narrative. This, again, is a big change from the prequels.

The simplicity and nakedness of his black suit are a way to visually present his character. Once he casts aside the Stormtrooper suit (his forced personality) he becomes sort of a blank slate, which is represented by this simple, average black suit; now he has the chance to become whatever he wants to become.


Finn constructs a new self for himself from what he'd like to be (basically a rebellion fighter, like Poe). And that is perfectly visualized by the final addition to his costume; Poe's jacket. It's a brown leather pilot jacket with washed out red stripes.

And so, he remakes himself through adopting the look of what he wants to be seen as.


An important element of the jacket that many would make the mistake of overlooking is how run down it looks. It tells a story in and on itself: it's a jacket that has been worn a lot, it has been lived in. That is a key element.

Finn is trying to step into someone else's shoes. He wants to be someone else. And the symbolic weight of using someone else's lived-in jacket is very revealing.


This is a very clever design. Many will think that it's too simple to be such, but, usually, the simpler the design is, the harder it is to do it. So we all should learn no to overlook simple.

Another factor is the fact that, generally, male costumes tend to be simpler than those of their female counterparts.


For me this is a really good design, and, once again, it's very coherent with the original trilogy. It's simple, elegant and very iconic.

Merry Christmas!!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Burning Question: What's wrong with Belle's gown?

Since the first promotional pictures of Disney's new Live-Action remake of Beauty and the Beast hit the internet, there has been a lot of discussion around Belle's iconic ball gown. And, even months after its release in cinemas, there still continues to be a lot of buzz around it. Why? Mainly, because a lot of people feel that it is just doesn't look that good.
The thing is, Belle's animated yellow ball gown is, at this point, an iconic staple of animated cinema. Everybody knows it and everybody loves it. And, as a result, everybody can see the new one and say "this is not the costume I know". Therefore, everyone can compare it down to the smallest detail and see that it just doesn't quite look right.
Today, our goal will be to try and dissect the design in order to answer the burning question everyone has been asking themselves: what's so wrong with the "new" dress? Or, to put it bluntly, why is it so incredibly underwhelming?

This might n…

All hail the Prop in... The Hollow Crown. Part I

If there is an element of the Art Department often overlooked by audiences when regarding filmmaking, it's the Prop.
             PROP (noun) (IN FILM/THEATRE)
An object used by the actors performing in a play or film:

The only props used in the show are a table, a chair, and a glass of water.

But why are we speaking about the prop when this is a Costume Design focused blog? It is true that the prop can be something as far removed from costume as a chair or a plate. But it also can be something that easily and naturally intersects with the Costume Design: a piece of jewelry, a shield or a handbag.
It's in those cases when a great prop design can bring a lot of narrative meaning in a similar fashion as Costume Design itself. And it's those cases that we are going to be looking at in here. We are going to dedicate this series to spread the virtues of the prop and to analyze through specific cases how a good prop can complement the meaning behind the story and even come to stan…

Disney's Cinderella(s) and the evolution of the "princess" aesthetics

Every girl, at some point in life, has wanted to be a princess. It has become undeniable that the concept of the "princess" is, for better or worst, inseparable from girlhood. We live in a "princesses" obsessed era, and we have for a long time now. And a lot has been said about it, with loud people yelling over the internet about the positive and negative aspects of it. So it was about time for us to join the yelling contest, I guess.
If we're going to talk about princesses, the logical place to go is to the Global Mogul Conglomerate that has led the trend and, in many ways, defined it: Disney. They have, undeniably, redefined the fairytale and have turned the term "princess" into a best selling Licensed Entertainment Character Merchandise.

The thing is, even though princesses have been part of the fairy tale canon for a very long time, they didn't become the central figure until Walt Disney placed them there.
In the tales that the Grimm Brothers…

The Huntsman: Winter's War. Untangling the mess. Part II

As we heavily remarked in our last article (click here to read), the Costume Design for the monstrosity that was The Huntsman: Winter's War wasn't really as good as everyone was claiming it to be. And because we are sort of unrelenting in our grudges and hates, we are going to continue hammering down this idea, this time focussing on the true stars of this movie: the two Evil Sister Queens.
So, without further ado, let's get into the madness. IV. FREYA, THE ICE QUEEN That tonal dissonance that we pointed out in the huntsmen characters becomes a cacophony the moment we consider the two Queens in this movie: Ravenna (because how could they do this movie without bringing back the only successful character in the last movie?) and her sister, Freya, who basically becomes Elsa from Frozen.
Before starting, I feel like I need to clarify that my main quarrel about both their designs has nothing to do with if they are pretty or not, which most of them are. But prettiness is not wh…

Marie Antoinette: Working with an historical basis

A couple of months ago, we talked extensively about the narrative aspect of the designs for the 2006's movie; Marie Antoinette (see here). But that's only one half of the story. This movie is, after all, a period piece, so let's have a look at how they translated that period into the costumes.

MARIE ANTOINETTE: WORKING WITH AN HISTORICAL BASIS Period accurate pieces are actually the hardest to get by; that is because clothing in past centuries was way more complex and expensive that our 21st century standards. Because of this, most costume designers end up being constricted by their allotted budgets and have to make compromises with the accuracy. This was not the case with this movie.
Sofia Coppola's Marie Anotinette had a rather large budget, which allowed renowned designer Milena Canonero the freedom to create period-accurate pieces (the inaccuracies were only added for narrative purposes not budget constrictions). Because of this, Canonero decided to work of actual …