When we look back and think about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the superheroes that take the center stage in our mind. When we visualize Captain America, we see Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers swinging his shield at his opponent. We think of Black Panther and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa comes to mind. When the Hulk hogs our thoughts, all we can remember is Mark Ruffalo’s face and CGI version of the Jade Giant with his face on it. It is almost impossible for the most of us to see them any different than what we remember them as right now. But the truth might sting you a bit – Our beloved Marvel Superheroes almost were given a completely different look than the one the MCU features right now.
If fate could have had its way with Marvel Studios, our Marvel Superheroes could have looked way, way different than how they are right now.
How do we know that you ask? Marvel Superheroes almost got a cinematic facelift. That is what the sources say. According to Ryan Meinerding, the Marvel Studios’ head of Visual Development, that is indeed the case. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Meinerding claims Marvel Studios holds in its shack a plethora of his unused concept art designs for various superheroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And not even the sidekicks, Mienrding drew several whacky concept art first look designs for several of Marvel’s greatest flagship superheroes including but not limited to Captain America aka Steve Rogers and the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana).
It is understandable for Marvel Studios to have tried on several of the Superheroes’ designs before settling for the final version. They try and try to make it better. Ever since Meinerding’s work in Iron Man in 2008, his designs have been held in extremely high regard by both the Studio and the Fan Base. As the head of the Visual Department, Meinerding has to work on several different and sometimes whacky projects that never see the light of day but has to complete nonetheless.
Meinerding’s top-most priority has always been to somehow connect the comic book versions of the superheroes to their cinematic counterparts. It is his job to make them looks as relatable as possible, both to the comic book and non-comic book fan buffs of the MCU. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is trying hard to stay true to the comic books while trying to forge a path unique enough for themselves.
Without further ado, let us bring on the superhero concept arts that never made it to the theaters:
Captain America is the flagship superhero of the MCU. He is the face of Marvel Studios right alongside RDJ’s Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Throughout the years, the MCU has given Cap a darker, less childish and an edgier look. This version of Cap though screams World War 2. Just imagine it – Cap fighting the Chitauri in The Avengers (2012) while wearing Second World War fatigues.
Vision’s red and green look in the MCU has become somewhat of a trademark for the Superhero Android. The colors could have been way different for him if Meinerding got the final say. He wanted to make Vision look as synthetic as possible. The gold and grey color was suitable for that purpose. Glad to see it never quite worked out.
The Galaxy’s deadliest woman also had somewhat of good luck when it comes to nabbing the right look. With a Green skin and a smooth, granite-like face – it is how we like our Gamora to be. But Meinerding’s original design made her look purple instead of green. She even had weird designs on her face.
Mantis was initially drawn to look even more of an alien than she already does. She was given an insect-themed costume and the facial protrusions on her face were supposed to make her look exotic but ended up looking extremely gross.
Black Panther’s slit-eyed helmet and black suit were almost changed at the very last minute into that of the picture shown above. The suit did look more majestic than the current one. We are still not sure why it never happened.
The Hulk was almost given a beard, even some hair locks to go by in Meinerding’s original designs for the green, angry rage monster. The designs were to take effect either on or after Thor: Ragnarok. It never took place and Hulk’s look stayed the same (almost).
Spiderman’s costume in the MCU was not at all comic book accurate. Meinerding tried to rectify that by giving him a new, more classic look in Civil War. The design that Meinerding came up with borrows heavily from Mark Bagley’s Spiderman designs. This too never came into force and Spiderman as given an even more classic look than the original in Homecoming.