Everyone knows that the super suit is the first thing people think about when a new superhero movie is announced. Sure, you want a cool actor to portray your favorite characters on the big screen, but they also have to look good in the suit. It doesn’t matter how much a person might look like the character; if the costume sucks, it’s going to look extremely bad. Remember superhero movies in the ‘90s? We’ve come a long way since the bat nipple.
By the end of 2017, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will include 17 feature films, nine television shows, and many more on the way. That’s dozens of superheroes across multiple mediums, all with carefully designed and well-rendered costumes to wear. Though we get to see these characters on the screen in all their glory, we don’t normally see all the effort that went into making these superheroes look just right. That means hundreds of iterations of the same super suit over and over again until the creators come up with the right one. We know what each hero ended up looking like in the end, but what about what could have been? Here are 15 unused superhero costumes that Marvel doesn’t want you to see.
As Comic Book Resources recently revealed, one potential supersuit Peter Parker could have worn in Spider-Man: Homecoming was based off the Superior Spider-Man. Concept artist Ryan Meinerding recently shared his design that looked a lot like the costume Doc Ock wore during his tenure as Spider-Man.
Of course, Homecoming showed Peter go through several different versions of the Spider-Man costume. He has the traditional suit that Tony Stark gave to him, which we saw in Captain America: Civil War. Midway through the movie, Peter is forced to revert to his homemade, Scarlet Spider-like costume. Stark also gifts him with an Iron Spider-inspired suit at the end. If the movie was giving homage to past iteration of Spider-Man, maybe the Superior Spider-Man design just barely missed being in the final movie.
14. DOCTOR STRANGE
In 2016, Marvel introduced Doctor Strange into the MCU as the universe’s first real magic user (sorry, Scarlet Witch). As such, the Sorcerer Supreme was given a costume befitting the Earth’s resident expert of the mystic arts. The flowing robes and magical cape look like they were ripped directly from the comic book, however, things could have looked very different.
Early in 2017, Marvel Studios concept artists Andy Park tweeted out unused designs that didn’t end up making it into the final movie. Park’s design gives Doctor Strange a much more modern flair, making him look like a former resident of the planet Alderaan instead of the medieval sorcerer look he has in the film. While the design probably wouldn’t have looked too bad in the end, Marvel made the right choice here.
13. THE WASP
Despite her particularly small role in the Ant-Man movie, Marvel’s team of designers put a lot of work into creating the Wasp costume we saw for a matter of seconds. The Art of Ant-Man book shows off previously unseen designs for Janet van Dyne’s super suit, but there were still other ideas that never made it in.
Andy Park showed off a few of his designs for the character on Twitter. One that seemed like a direct translation of the Ant-Man suit onto a female figure and another that offers a sleeker look than what they ultimately went with. This Wasp costume has a sweeping trench coat effect that might ultimately look too modern for a Cold War-era suit. It still would have looked cool, though.
12. THE VISION
During the planning phase of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the designers tried many different concepts for every new character that was being introduced. One such character was the hero known as Vision. The android took on a form that very much resembles his comic book counterpart (minus the fancy underwear), but things could have looked very different.
Conceptual artists Phil Saunders and Ryan Meinerding attempted to bring the Vision to life in a variety of ways. In one design, Saunders showed off the character’s red body with white limbs. In another, the Vision looks far more mechanical than he ends up being. The one with all the white would have been a more dramatic departure from the source material. Meinerding, on the other hand, included the green suit, which looks much closer to what we eventually got.
Marvel’s concept artists also help out on the Netflix shows when they’re not busy working on the Avengers. Designer Josh Nizzi was instrumental in the creation of Daredevil’s costume for season 2, but there were more versions designed than what we saw in the show. We got a good look at these unused costumes back in 2016.
Nizzi created an all-red costume that is very reminiscent of the comic book version of the suit. It has a few modernized additions, but the DD symbol is front and center to offer a slightly retro look. Another concept seems more black than red and is far more militarized. There is a belt with pouches along with boots and knee pads that don’t seem fitting for the Man Without Fear. In the end, it seems that Marvel might have combined the two.
Were you someone who was disappointed with the costume designs for the Asgardians in the first Thor movie? If you were looking for something a little more Kirby-ian, concept designer Benton Jew was thinking the same thing. The artist who worked on G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Incredible Hulk, and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace also briefly worked on bringing the Mighty Thor to life.
Jew released his unused artwork of Odin on his personal blog a few years back, and the designs are far more eye-popping, grandiose, and colorful than the final product. Maybe these images were a little too complex to implement, but there’s no doubt that the All-Father would have looked stunning in oversized armor and cape. Jack Kirby would have been proud.
9. BLACK PANTHER
When the Black Panther debuted in Captain America: Civil War, he showed up in a high-tech battle armor with a sleek and powerful design. Things could have been very different based on the concept art of artist Jerad S. Marantz, though. He worked directly with Marvel’s Visual Development team to craft the final outfit.
This art is particularly intriguing because it shows a progression in design that ultimately led to the final product. Initially, Black Panther took on a very organic design with a skinless, muscular appearance. Over the course of creating the suit, T’Challa took on a more armored look until we were left with the the final design from the movie. Black Panther looks fantastic now, so imagine if they went with that first design.
Quicksilver, the first and, so far, only Avenger to die in battle, sported what looked to be an athletic wear sweater in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The usage of different hues of blue was reminiscent of his most famous costume from the comics, but that’s not the only one Marvel played around with.
Designs by Andy Park and Jack Dudman surfaced that show just how many iterations of clothing Quicksilver went through. There were designs that attempted to incorporate his trademark lightning bolt and others that made him look like he was just coming home from his pickup basketball game at the park. One of his looks is definitely closer to his comic book costume, but a few of these would have definitely been worse.
7. SCARLET WITCH
Like her brother, the Scarlet Witch also received multiple designs during the pre-production phase of Avengers: Age of Ultron before a final design was selected. Graphic artist Andy Park shared a few different takes he had on Wanda’s costume back in 2015. These designs also follow a street-level style that make it look like she is wearing ordinary clothes.
It seems that Park carried over the same basic color scheme and general look, but tried a few different clothing options before arriving at the final product. These designs seem to be a lot more intricate than what she wore in the movie, with black and red sections throughout and gauntlet-like sleeves. There’s even a sleeveless outfit with her trademark tiara, which would have been really fascinating to see on the silver screen.
Since his addition to the MCU, Hawkeye’s design has been based on his Ultimate Comics counterpart. Instead of his famous purple costume with the mask, Clint has worn tactical gear that is fitting for a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. In subsequent movies, his garb has increasingly looked more comic book-friendly, leading to his appearance in Captain America: Civil War.
Andy Park showed off a design on Twitter that looks like it used his appearance in the Ultimates as a direct reference. We saw the more purple tactical suit in the final design, but what we didn’t get was the hood, which would cover his entire face and get us ever closer to that beautiful purple head covering he is known for.
5. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
After two Guardians of the Galaxy movies filled with vibrant colors and stunning designs, it’s fun to look back at what things could have been like. Concept artist Justin Sweet, who did work on The Avengers, also did design work for the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The images he released were dark and gritty, essentially the opposite of the direction Marvel decided to go in.
The biggest differences in these designs include a grimy looking Rocket Racoon and a more monstrous version of Groot. What appears to be Star-Lord looks more like a rebel fighter from the Star Wars Alliance. Gamora looks far more like a barbarian and Drax is wearing armor. It’s clear that this would have been a very different franchise had Marvel gone with these designs.
Before the Falcon made his on-screen debut in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Josh Nizzi ran the gamut on potential costume designs. Given his jet pack’s status as experimental military equipment, it looks like Nizzi tried to blend the idea of a tactical uniform with that of a jet pack with wings. It got a little weird.
Several versions of the costume were created, many that looked very different from his comic book suit. There were designs with army fatigues, a jet plane back pack, and even a flight suit with metal wings that look to be straight off the back of a Transformer. Falcon’s final look is still very militarized, but it’s far more accurate to the comics than these unused concepts. It’s probably better that these designs didn’t make it through production.
Long before Tessa Thompson was cast as Brunnhilde for Thor: Ragnarok, conceptual artist Josh Nizzi created several designs that would have brought Valkyrie to the big screen in Thor 2: The Dark World. This is a more traditional imagining of the character than what is planned for her in the third Thor film, but that doesn’t mean she’d be more interesting.
Nizzi’s designs provide Valkyrie with a range of possible depictions, from fairy warrior to Wonder Woman Amazon to alien guardian. While they certainly have their own merits to them, it’s a good thing Marvel held off from including her in the films up until this point. Thompson’s depiction looks to add some fun to the character that these designs might not have allowed for.
2. BLACK WIDOW
When designing the look of Black Widow for her debut in Iron Man 2, the designers on the movie no doubt threw around a few different concepts before giving us the finished product on the screen. One such design was created by Ryan Meinerding, who shared with us his early vision of Natasha a few years ago on Instagram.
Meinerding’s Black Widow is decked out in paramilitary apparel, looking more like Scarlett from G.I. Joe than the Russian superspy we all know and love. Perhaps the actor’s inability to remain mobile and limber in this getup is what led them to strip the costume down to the simplistic black bodysuit she is known for. As one commenter mentioned, this looks more like Maria Hill than Black Widow, but it’s stunning nonetheless.
1. IRON MAN
We may never know how many different Iron Man armors were designed since the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into being. What we do know is that Josh Nizzi created a few designs for Iron Man 3 that never made it into the movie. Some of these armor looks like they just missed being among the Iron Legion, while others were a little more out there and were probably dropped earlier on.
These concepts included an army fatigue armor and a space suit model. Others, like the spaceship turbo jet version, were a little more out there. Who knows if they all had in-story reasons for existing, but it’s unfortunate not all of these could make it into MCU canon. Browse through Nizzi’s different concepts online; which one is your favorite?
Do you know of some other MCU concept art that Marvel most definitely doesn’t want you to see? Tell us about it in the comments!
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