With the release of the Art of Avengers: Endgame visual guidebook, several new details about both Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War have come to light. While much of the book concerns itself with designs and developments for Endgame itself, there are quite a few details from Infinity War that made it into the collection now that the Infinity Saga has concluded.
One of the most surprising details are designs for Wakandan exo-suits and power armor that would have decorated the battlefield in the final fight against Thanos' army in Infinity War. While plenty of highly advanced Wakanda technology has already been shown off in Black Panther, these are more advanced than anything that's already appeared in the movies.
While the Hulkbuster armor that Bruce Banner war in the climactic battle was the only giant mech that made it into the final cut, the concept art shows that the visual designers behind the film were strongly considering giving Wakandan warriors in that could give any Iron Man suit a run for its money. Concept Artist Fausto De Martini, who designed the suits, explained that he wanted to keep the African inspiration front and center when the designs were concerned. Some of the suits proposed even had African masks that covered the pilot so thoroughly that the line between exo-skeleton and robot would be blurred.
"I wanted to make it like this being that is moving around that you initially don't even know what it is," De Martini explained. "But then you see there's a guy driving that." The overall effect of this would have been increased all the more by the robotic panthers that De Martini designed. The sleek and lean designs clearly built for speed could have been a dynamic force on the battlefield as they tore through Thanos' army. De Martini even got into the minutia of their design, thinking of their sesnsors and camera systems housed in the head that were modeled after real-world robotic designs.
While the concepts were likely scrapped due to complexity, cost, and taking attention away from the film's many main characters, they represent a sorely-missed opportunity. While the Wakandan Kingdom was previously established as the most technologically-advanced nation on Earth whose weapons threatened to tip the balance of power in Black Panther, their army didn't really bring all their toys out to play in Infinity War.
While the battle scene in Black Panther's solo film featured armored rhinos and flying warships with laser canons, the army in Infinity War largely just used their vibranium spears and energy shields to fight Thanos' forces.
Including these machines would have gone a long way in further establishing the science-fiction aspects of Wakanda and solidifying them as a formidable force. Considering that the effects of most of the Wakandan army's weapons could have been replicated or outperformed by real-world modern weaponry, mech suits and robot panthers would have been an impressive way to wow audiences while continuing to build up the mythology of Wakanda.
While these designs could always show up in some form in Black Panther 2, this concept art is, for the moment, just a tantalizing glimpse of what could've been.
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