Star Wars Costumes Designed by Philly Native and U Arts Grad

How his artistic force awoke in the City of Brotherly Love.

Star Wars

One of the movie’s many revamped costumes. | Star Wars.

Local die-hards have yet another reason to get excited for this opening weekend of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. At Thursday’s opening screening, take a closer look at the awesome costumes you see onscreen. Those revamps of classic garb worn by everyone from Stormtroopers to Darth Vader were designed by Philly-born Michael Kaplan – yet another reason to get in the intergalactic spirit. 

In this interview on, Kaplan covers everything from his first Star Wars encounter to designing costumes for Cher (Cher!) to reimagining beloved sci-fi characters’ looks for the big screen. Kaplan studied at Philadelphia College of Art, now the University of the Arts, so Philly natives can take special pride in this weekend’s blockbuster (plus other cult classics like Star Trek and Blade Runner, for which he also designed costumes).

Our favorite part of the interview focused on how growing up in our city shaped Kaplan:

“Philadelphia has so much to offer culturally. I remember school trips to the Franklin Institute and the Barnes Foundation when it was still in Merion. I practically lived at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I saw many shows in tryouts prior to Broadway, like Funny Girl with Babs, frequented the Academy of Music. I used to sketch the young ballerinas during Edward Caton’s classes at the Pennsylvania Ballet. For a while, I lived at 10th and Pine; the brilliant architect Louis Kahn was my neighbor. This all had a great effect on me to this day.”

Head here to find out his favorite costumes from the movie. Be safe out there for opening weekend, and may the force be with you.