“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”

June 2, 2016

Anna Wyckoff

Sarah Edwards was faced with a complex puzzle designing the costumes for the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Having created the first “Turtles” film two years ago, Edwards was a step ahead. “It was interesting, even though we had different characters,” she notes, “I was able to pull out some of my research from the first movie. Also, I looked at the original comics and spoke with Kevin Eastman, its co-creater. We tried to be faithful to the material, but at the same time, since it is a new franchise, we wanted to give it a new energy. The turtles are completely different from the nineties versions and our goal was to update them for a new generation.”

In order to handle the extreme time constraint of a four-week window to build, Edwards worked ahead with an illustrator, designing the costumes and having them approved before the characters were cast. The “walk-arounds” could not be made inclusively in one shop. Their assemblage was in Edwards’ words a “military operation.” She found it challenging to find armorers in New York and went to California, to Legacy Effects and Quantum Creation FX, for that component of the costumes, while creating the leather-work and other elements in town.

The fabrication was tricky because the costumes had to be completely modular, fitting on an army of principals, stunt men, and extras, as well as coming in at a specific budget. Edwards had only 40 duplicates total, some of which were destroyed during the filming of the fight sequences. As well as the aesthetic considerations, the costumes also had some unique requirements: they had to hold battery packs in order to light up, be able to be worn on a motorcycle and comply with safety regulations, and accommodate a lycra cooling suit which had tubing that needed to be plugged in.


Despite their technical difficulty, Edwards enthuses, “I loved doing it. I really enjoyed the process of connecting with the actors, and somehow making each costume work for them and their version of who they want that character to be. It is that collaboration I find really exhilarating.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in theatres tomorrow.

User ID


I forgot my user id/password