It’s a new year, and the dead of winter is when a lot of cosplayers start thinking about their costumes for the summer. The new year is also a time when people make predictions. Popular cosplays can be difficult to predict, but there are certain things that make a costume more likely to be popular. Based on these factors, my picks for the likely breakout costumes of 2016 are:
The Legends of Tomorrow
There’s a lot of choice for cosplayers who like DC’s lesser-known characters. Lesser-known for now, anyway. Both parts of Firestorm, White Canary, The Atom, Heat Wave, Rip Hunter, Captain Cold, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are all fairly practical costumes (as far as cosplay is ever practical) because TV costumes have to hold up under punishment in a way that film costumes don’t. There’s also a pre-existing reserve of goodwill for these characters because of their appearances in The Flash and Arrow. Vandal Savage cosplayers will likely start multiplying as well, since new villains tend to be very popular on the cosplay scene.
Jessica Jones is one of the easiest potential cosplays of 2016, but she’s recognizable despite all her gear being street clothes. It also gives cosplayers an opportunity to cop massive amounts of attitude in photos, so expect this one to be popular. See also: Kilgrave cosplays, because of the spillover of David Tennant fans from Doctor Who cosplay.
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman
It’s been a while since a Justice League character had this meaningful a physical redesign without totally changing the costume to something stupid. Furthermore, there’s a pretty long run for this character – he’s said to have a role in Batman v Superman, but his standalone film is scheduled for 2018. When you think about tackling a complicated costume, ideally there’s some guarantee that it will be current for a while, so this one’s a good fit. Also, bearded, vaguely unwashed-looking characters seem to be popular. I don’t want to think about why.
Olivia Munn’s Psylocke
Have you seen this suit? It’s hot. Really hot. It has that combination of color, immediate recognition, and sex appeal that screams “instant cosplay hit”. Other things in this costume’s favor: a bodice just complicated enough to be more than spandex but still able to be crafted out of craft foam, and low-maintenance hair that can be copied with a wig style and color that’s affordable and easy to find.
I think Black Panther will be the breakout cosplay from Captain America: Civil War, because he’s a new character, and his suit design completely obscures a cosplayer’s face. This means anyone can cosplay Black Panther without a facial similarity to actor Chadwick Boseman. The suit is just intimidating as anything too, and has just enough detail to be a challenge to make.
Some existing fandoms are also going to get a boost from successful sequels or brand extensions. They include:
Not only is Star Wars: The Force Awakens likely the biggest movie since Gone With The Wind, but
Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren all appeal to different types of cosplayers, and there’s already a lot of interest in Kylo Ren’s three-pronged lightsaber. Meanwhile, the original trilogy characters are cool all over again, and the new Storm Troopers are just different enough to force the various 501st clubs to invest in the new suits.
Harry Potter fandom is one of the most rabid and loyal out there, and it’s been a while since they’ve had anything new to obsess over. So the original promotional stills for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them led to wizard-loving squees all over the internet. Fandom adoration aside, the colors and textures on Newt Scamander’s costume are also impressive for cosplay aficionados, even if they’re not hardcore into Potter.
Deadpool is already an extremely popular cosplay, and with some great trailers out for the Deadpool movie, I can’t see him going away. But I think Deadpool is going to step out of being a joke character and become a leading man, albeit a comic one… pardon the pun. Equally importantly, the movie interpretation of the suit is legitimately cool looking, and it can be made by augmenting and painting leather gear you can buy off the rack. All signs point to this being an even more popular cosplay this year.
The Suicide Squad movie versions of the Joker and Harley Quinn are already all over the place, and I think that no matter how bad the movie is, there will be a diehard core of cosplaying fans. Harley Quinn makes people lose their minds no matter what she’s in, and once some of the other characters become known to film audiences, expect to see them popping up at conventions.
Sometimes you just want a costume where it doesn’t matter if you’re bloated, it doesn’t matter if you have perfect makeup, and it doesn’t matter if you shave your legs. The upcoming Ghostbuster’s movie is perfect inspiration for this sort of costume. And since there’s already a robust network of Ghostbusters cosplay clubs out there, expect them to fly their colors when the film is out in July.
The Black Face Sock Daredevil
I didn’t know what else to call Matt Murdock’s original DIY outfit before he gets the red Daredevil suit, but expect to see more of them because they’re fairly easy to put together and, again, they obscure the cosplayer’s face. Further increasing the appeal of this cosplay is that you don’t have to be in the gym every day to pull it off – Matt Murdock has a leaner build.
And finally, some cosplays won’t die off, but I don’t expect them to multiply either:
I think Batman vs Superman is going to be a lot better than the critics fear, but the costumes are dark, dreary, and very complicated. The TV DC costumes are much easier to reproduce, so I don’t foresee a huge increase in cosplayers for the DC trinity.
X-Men and Avengers
The Avengers aren’t expected to have significant changes to their costumes, and many of the most popular X-Men have minimal costumes in the film versions. With so many fresher choices out there, I don’t foresee a big increase in Marvel stuff because it’s already very popular.
Mixed trends on this one. The latest game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, got a lot of press and a lot of people who played it seemed to like it. On the other hand, sales wise, it got wiped out by Fallout 4, and the Xbox exclusivity means a staggered launch. So I don’t see a huge spike in Laras at conventions, but I don’t expect her to go anywhere either.
The more anyone complains about Metal Gear’s Quiet, the more guys will dress as her out of spite. And good for them. The only reason I didn’t put this in the “see more of” column is that spite costumes are kind of niche market. But I salute you, Quiet crossplayers. I salute you.
What cosplays are you planning in 2016? Which ones do you hope to see? Let me know in the comments!