The things that we've been lucky enough to see on the big screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are usually great. The people behind these films have done incredibly well when it comes to adapting the beloved comics. That includes the costumes used by our favorite heroes and villains.
It takes a while to get these costumes ready for the final product. That being said, there are often some impressive concepts that never made it to the screen. Something happened that caused the artists to go in a different route, but their designs are worth seeking out. Here are the 10 best concept art costumes that didn't get used in the films.
When a concept art piece is included on this list, it doesn't mean that we think it is better than what we ultimately ended up with. The Loki that appeared in the MCU is fantastic and his look is one of the reasons he's such a fan favorite. However, we have a soft spot for this concept art done by Aleksi Briclot.
Briclot worked on concept art for Thor: Ragnarok. His idea was to portray Loki as more of what he felt a god would look like. The shaved head is a popular style these days and it would've changed a lot for the character. Loki is also pictured alongside Fenris Wolf, who ended up being associated with Hela in the film.
Similar to Loki, this version of Mantis is not one that we think is an improvement on the screen version. This take on Mantis had her looking more like an insect. You can see how the skin color is much yellower, the texture around her forehead is different, and the antennae are skinnier.
This design was made by Andy Park and it was actually approved by the studio. Going into filming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, this was how Mantis was supposed to come across. However, the change was made due to practicality issues. That led us to the Mantis we know and love.
8 Bucky Barnes
As cool as this costume looks, it never would have worked. Created for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this look for Bucky Barnes played into everything that you should expect from the Winter Soldier himself. The coat looks cool and makes sense for a guy who spent years in a cold location. The gun also works considering the story we hear from Black Widow about the Winter Soldier shooting her.
The biggest problem with this look was that it made the character's real identity too obvious. A big revelation in Winter Soldier was that it was Bucky behind the mask. Knowing who he was would instantly take a lot away from the moment. Still, we wish this costume came out in a later film. Josh Nizzi's idea deserved to be seen onscreen.
Another bit of concept art created by Josh Nizzi for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The film introduced Sam Wilson, also known as Falcon. The idea of a character with wings like Falcon's is one that may not have worked in the eyes of most audiences.
What we ultimately ended up with has worked, but we really like this design as well. This went a slightly less flashy route. The wings are thinner and come out of the jet pack at a slightly different angle. It may not amount to the biggest change on this list, but it's one that feels more in line with what a falcon looks like.
6 Bearded Hulk
At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulk flew away in a Quinnjet and we went over two years without seeing him again. His return came in Thor: Ragnarok, where we found out that he's been in Hulk form the entire time and competing as a gladiator. Artist Ryan Meinerding had an interesting take on what Hulk should look like.
This concept art gave us a Hulk that was unlike any other we've seen onscreen to date. Hulk had long hair and a grizzly beard. It was clearly a way to enhance the idea that Hulk didn't care about much during this time. Grungy hair is usually a look associated with a person going through something.
We're back on the talented Ryan Meinerding. He was tasked with coming up with some ideas for Peter Parker's costume in Spider-Man: Homecoming. With that being the first official Spider-Man film in the MCU, it had to be something they got correct. The filmmakers went with a more traditional Spidey suit, but they had options.
As you can see in the photo above, Meinerding had several ideas. The costume was darker, going with a lot more black than usual. He also experimented with making the spider in the middle of the chest a much larger size than we're used to. Though none of these were used, they may have helped with the conception of a similar suit in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
4 Baby Groot
As popular as the Guardians of the Galaxy are, one character topped the rest in terms of popularity heading into the sequel: Baby Groot. At the end of the first film, Groot sacrifices himself for his friends before being reborn as an adorable baby version of himself. His new look was all over the marketing for the sequel.
Josh Herman got to work on the concept art for the film. He claimed it was "super fun" to work on Baby Groot. This version was still darling, but feels slightly bigger. To add to the extreme level of cuteness, this Baby Groot carried around a stuffed raccoon doll. It was done as an homage to his buddy Rocket Raccoon and we would've loved seeing it.
3 Futuristic Chitauri
The Chitauri aren't among the most popular characters in the MCU, even among villains. For those who may not recall, they were the alien race that helped Loki invade New York during The Avengers and they were part of Thanos' army in Avengers: Endgame. While they looked pretty cool in those films, this concept is superior.
Artist Adi Granov wanted a Chitauri that was less scary for the kids coming to see the blockbuster movie. His idea was for an army that looked more futuristic and robotic. Judging by the photo he shared, this version would've most likely translated well to the big screen.
2 Military Captain America
There's almost no way to look at this costume for Steve Rogers and not imagine it working perfectly in Captain America: The First Avenger. Considering how that's the installment of the trilogy where Cap spends the most time on an actual war battlefield, it makes the most sense.
Again, Ryan Meinerding thought outside the box. Instead of going with the traditional Cap garb, he opted for a look that made him more of a soldier. He still sported the shield and the "A" on his helmet, meaning there was just enough of an homage to the costume everyone was familiar with.
1 King Black Panther
From the moment that we meet T'Challa in the MCU, he's royalty. Following his father's death, he took over as Black Panther and king of Wakanda. This design by Andy Park would've combined both of those responsibilities into one fierce look. However, this was originally not even intended for T'Challa.
This look was supposed to be for his father, T'Chaka. The idea was that the high-collared cape added a sense of fierceness to the look, as well as being more regal like you'd expect from a king. The real reason this tops the list is that it flat-out looks cooler than what we ended up with.