The process of making a film can often take months, and sometimes years. In that long space of time, designers can totally change the appearance of a character for various reasons. Sometimes, focus groups don't like a particular character's design. Sometimes a new director can come in and have a totally different vision of what a character should look like. Regardless of the motives behind the changes, the concept art for the 7 characters below was totally different to the finished product! Also, be sure to check out Part 1 below.
1. Yoda — The Star Wars Franchise
Yoda is one of Star Wars's most influential characters, so you can understand why they took their time to try and get him right. You have to remember that #StarWars didn't have any source material to take from, and every single memorable character was totally made from scratch. The original design for Yoda looked eerily like a garden gnome, which wouldn't have been as original as his final design we know and love today. It's hard to know what knock-on effects this design may have caused if it made it to the film, but looking back on it now, it kind of looks goofy and wouldn't have worked the same. But then again, look at Jar Jar Binks two decades later!
2. Smaug — The Hobbit Trilogy
The original plan for The Hobbit was for legendary director Guillermo Del Toro to take the director's chair while The Lord of The Rings Director, Peter Jackson, would produce. This plan fell through mainly because Del Toro's ideas weren't getting the green-light, and so he exited the project. I have to admit, I do prefer the way Smaug turned out, but that's not to say that Guillermo Del Toro's idea isn't bad-ass. His design strayed away from the stereotypical design for a dragon, and opted for a more nightmarish-looking monster. It's interesting to imagine how Benedict Cumberbatch's voice would've sounded accompanying Guillermo's dragon.
3. The Mad Hatter — Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland was one of Disney's biggest box office hits, earning over a billion dollars worldwide! One of the best aspects of the film was Johnny Depp's colorful portrayal of The Mad Hatter. The early concept art for the movie is quite interesting, and almost resembles the Batman villain The Riddler. The final design they went for is totally different, with a completely different color palette and a total re-design. I can't fully decide which one I prefer, but if I had to pick, I'd say I'd go for the concept art design, probably because I just love those steampunk glasses he's got going on.
4. Joker & Enchantress — Suicide Squad
Sometimes concept art can be better than the final film, and this is perfectly illustrated by the the newly released Suicide Squad concept art. Early drawings can be seen showcasing some of the characters from DC's hit anti-hero movie, with some fantastic drawings of Enchantress (pictured above). Many fans of #DC were let down by the final design of Enchantress in the movie which looked kind of silly, especially when accompanied with her questionable dance moves. Another really interesting piece of Suicide Squad concept art shows the Joker with his iconic scars:
The above image shows a similar Joker to Jared Leto's final design, with the exception of those really cool scars, which are reminiscent of the Joker we're used to seeing. I'm not sure why they dropped the scars. Perhaps they didn't want the DCEU Joker get compared with Heath Ledger's, or maybe we'll see Jared Leto's Joker get his scars some time in the DCEU!
Another wonderful piece of concept art can be seen above. This version of the Joker looks strikingly like the Joker we see in The Dark Knight Returns, which would have been a nice nod to Frank Miller's excellent work that influenced most of the #DCEU we see today. It's a real shame — I like the concept art for this movie, and to me, it's a serious improvement on the finished product. But then again, the design of a character can't totally alter how good a movie is!
If you're a fan of Jared Leto's Joker, check out to recreate his look below:
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5. The Genie — Aladdin
Robin Williams's Genie is up there with #Disney's most loveable characters ever, and a lot of this is due to Disney's flawless character design. That's not to say their incredible designs are perfect the first time round — as you can see, this early draft of the Genie is quite scary and wouldn't sit well with a younger audience. Although, it would be an interesting paradox seeing how the likability of Robin Williams would pair with the nastiness of this character design.
6. Loki — The MCU
Thor's brother Loki, is arguably the MCU's best villain so far, and it's interesting to see how god-like he looked in the concept-art. I know he's the God of Mischief, but he looks valiant and noble in the early concept art, as if he was a good guy like Thor. The version we are used to is a lean, sneaky and snake-like character as we see above (centre and right). I'm excited to see where Marvel go with #Loki; last time we saw him, he was up to no good at the end of Thor: The Dark World.
As you can see from the above images, ET our Extra Terrestrial friend from the '80s went through some extreme concept art variations. They seem to have hit the nail on the head with the final design — I mean, can you imagine the one in the middle being our final ET? I would not have helped that alien; I would have called the FBI as soon as I saw it! The first image is the complete opposite however, showcasing an extremely cute ET, which possibly would have made him too cute, maybe?
As you can see, concept art is a vital stage of making a film and can ultimately decide if your characters are going to be likeable or not. We've seen some examples where the concept art was better, like Suicide Squad, and then some instances where the final product was much better, like E.T. I'd love to know what you guys think! Get discussing in the comments!
Which piece of concept art is your favorite?