When bringing a comic-book series to the screen, a costume designer usually inherits a legacy of material and expectations.
Such was not the case when Lizz Wolf joined Jupiter's Legacy in 2018 and began working with original showrunner Steven S. DeKnight to bring Mark Millar's superhero universe to life.
"The job was to pay homage to [artist Frank Quitely's] designs in the comic," Wolf says, "and then pump them into a three-dimensional, cinematic feel. But I was the first person brought on and when I started, there was no script, no backstory, no mythology. After the adrenaline wore off, I was like, 'What the hell did I just say yes to?'"
What this lucky, talented costume designer had agreed to was an opportunity to help build a world and bring to life 31 original superheroes and villains. Working with concept artists Phil Boutté Jr. and Jason Castagna, she says, "We not only created brand new characters, but we created backstories and a design language for each of the generations and figured out the capabilities of each Union member and their descendants."
Her journey didn't stop with capes. Wolf also had to dress stars like Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb for an American story that spans from 1929 to today. "There was an intricate period world and an elevated contemporary world — and they all had to be fused together to make something cohesive," she says. "It was epic! But I had close to 120 of the best artisans and innovators helping me in various stages of this. It was 100 percent a collaborative endeavor.
"This has been one of the greatest jobs of my life," she adds. "It's rare to be brought in this early and put in the driver's seat. With all we were able to achieve, I hope it's a gateway for other costume designers to get that opportunity."
While the series hasn't been renewed for a sophomore season, Netflix has greenlit the Millarworld spinoff Supercrooks — which is why Wolf refuses to spoil that Jupiter's Legacy cliffhanger!
"I haven't lost faith that these characters will be resurrected," Wolf says. "Our show was a gateway into Mark Millar's library, and our costume team leaves behind a distinctive mark and a trail that hopefully leads to that next big adventure. They've said there's room for crossover characters. And, hey, they never said the word canceled ."
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 9, 2021