Marvel: 20 MCU Costumes That Were Abandoned (But Look Better Than The Movies)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the pride of Disney, with each new entry managing to capture the imaginations of fans all around the world and helping to elevate the Marvel superheroes and villains to new levels of mainstream success.

The popularity of each MCU movie means that a lot of work goes into developing the character designs of each hero, villain, and bit-part player, with numerous artists being tapped to put their own vision of each character onto paper.

There are a lot of character designs for the MCU movies that go unused but have been shared to social media or in official Marvel artbooks in order to give the fans a glimpse at what could have been. There are some designs that look even better than the official ones that appeared in each film, or at least they are to some fans.

The decision to choose which design is used for each character in an MCU movie is not one that is made lightly and no one knows for sure how well an aesthetic or costume will look until its in motion. The MCU characters generally look great, with a lot of heroes and villains matching their comic book counterparts, but there are some that almost looked a lot better.

We are here today to see which amazing MCU character designs were unjustly left on the cutting room floor – from the time Thanos almost entered the war between Assassins and Templars, to the Mandarin that should have made his way to the screen.

Here are Twenty MCU Costumes That Were Abandoned (But Look Better Than The Movies)

20 Assassin's Creed: Thanos


Thanos made several cameo appearances before Avengers: Infinity War, with his design changing each time, to the point where he was given a new look in Infinity War, as the producers wanted to make him as easy to animate as possible.

The Thanos design seen above was one of several that showed him outside of his armor. He is wearing a hooded outfit that is reminiscent of some of his costumes from the comic books, which is adorned with small hexagon shapes.

The Thanos design that appeared in Infinity War showed off his muscles as part of Disney's evil plan to make the audience secretly attracted to him, which worked.

The picture above was created by Jared S. Marantz.

19 Elven Sif


Lady Sif was one of the most impressive characters in the original Thor movie, but she suffered from the problem that all Asgardian characters shared, in that her outfit was meant to be a suit of armor but it looked like it was made out of plastic. The heros and villains of Asgard were meant to be gods and monsters, yet they all looked like they raided the set of Power Rangers for their outfits.

Sif almost escaped the curse of the bad Asgard costumes, as one outfit shown in concept art would have given her a silvery suit of chainmail that is reminiscent of clothes worn by the elves in The Lord of the Rings movies.

The picture above was created by Warren Manser.

18 Gamora's Comic Book Outfit


The movie version of Gamora was never going to have a comic-accurate costume, as her outfit was originally too revealing for the general age rating that Marvel/Disney aims for. Gamora's comic book outfit is essentially Borat's beach outfit that is worn with a hooded cloak and thigh-high boots.

The costume shown above was a more reserved version of the one worn by Gamora in the comic books, except that it was toned down to the point where it wouldn't have been too revealing.  The outfit Gamora was given in the movie ended up being a lot less memorable than it could have been.

The picture above was created by Andy Park.

17 Captain Marvel's GLaDOS Costume


Captain Marvel's costume is the same as one that was introduced in 2012 when she finally abandoned the Ms. Marvel name and took on the mantle of one of Earth's greatest superheroes.

One of the strangest costume designs for the movie version of Captain Marvel involved giving her a truly alien appearance that is reminiscent of GLaDOS' from the Portal series. The intention with this costume was to make the audience initially believe that the character was an alien, before the helmet is removed and reveals Carol Danvers underneath.

The picture above was created by Aleksi Briclot.

16 Ebony Maw's Mohawk


Ebony Maw is the most memorable member of the Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War, where he is able to overpower Doctor Strange and take him into space, in order to extract the Time Stone from him.

Ebony Maw was cool, but his wispy hair made him look like an intergalactic version of Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. 

One of the original concepts for Ebony Maw gave him a mohawk and a silvery uniform, which would have helped to distinguish him from the other members of the Black Order.

The picture above was created by Jared S. Marantz.

15 Urban Attack Hawkeye


Hawkeye's original outfit is one that would be impossible to recreate on the big screen without the character looking totally ridiculous. The only way Jeremy Renner could pull off the original Hawkeye costume was if there was a scene where he had to sneak into a costume party.

The outfit Hawkeye wears in the Avengers movies has the purple color scheme of its comic book counterpart, but he almost wore something a little more practical. Hawkeye almost wore a more practical outfit that was composed of homemade elements and wasn't purple.

The picture above was created by Charlie Wen.

14 Loki's Dr. Doom Costume


Loki is one of the most popular Marvel villains and was the original villain of the Avengers in their debut comic book appearance. Tom Hiddleston has become so popular as Loki that fans have been crying out for a face-turn and a solo movie.

One of the original concepts for Loki was to show him as a crazed individual who used armor and equipment that was a combination of magic and technology. There is a definite Doctor Doom vibe coming from the original Loki, especially in regards to the color scheme and the style of his armor.

The picture above was created by Charlie Wen.

13 The Hi-Tech Falcon


There is a lot of suspension of disbelief involved when watching a superhero movie and the idea of a character wearing a set of flying gear seems trivial compared to living Norse gods with the power to control lightning and space aliens on the hunt for magical gems, but Falcon's original gear didn't seem to be efficient to keep a character safe when flying around.

One of the concepts for Falcon included a more high-tech suit that was reminiscent of the kind worn by the pilots of fighter jets, which seems like it would be a better fit for a character with equipment that allows him to fly around.

The picture above was created by Josh Nizzi.

12 Thor Stark Of Winterfell


Thor: The Dark World is one of the less regarded of the MCU movies, thanks to a bland villain and feeling only tangentially connected to the other films. Chris Hemsworth still put in a great performance and he almost cut an even more impressive figure on the big screen.

The concept art shown above seems similar to the one Thor actually wore in the movie, but there is one key difference, as the fur on his shoulders was intended to be an intentional reference to the clothes worn by the members of House Stark in Game of Thrones. Thor is already acquainted with one Stark, so why not the others?

The picture above was created by Andy Park.

11 Grandmaster's Comic Book Outfit


There are some actors who are so recognizable that they outshine the roles they are supposed to play. Jeff Goldblum suffered from this when he played Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok, as he just looked like Jeff Goldblum wearing a set of silly robes and the Ichiban – Lipstick For Men from that episode of Friends. 

The original concept art for Grandmaster showed him wearing a more comic-accurate costume and sporting the blue skin that he has in the source material. A lot of actors will allow themselves to be painted another color for a role (such as Zoe Saldana for Gamora), but Jeff Goldblum wasn't willing to blue himself.

The picture above was created by Jackson Sze.

10 Valkyrie's Mace Gauntlets


Valkyrie's appearance is different from her comic book counterpart and her silvery armor suffers from many of the same issues of the other costumes worn by the Asgardian characters in the MCU, though her black outfit was a lot cooler.

One piece of concept art for Valkyrie shows her with a tattered hood and mask in an effort to make her more imposing, while this version of the character eschews a sword for a set of awesome (if impractical) mace gauntlets that could be used to bash at her enemies.

The picture above was created by Andy Park.

9 The Robot Vulture


The Vulture is another character who would be impossible to create a comic-accurate costume for without making the actor look totally ridiculous. The Mr. Burns in his fursona outfit look might work on the page, but it wouldn't translate well to the big screen.

The version of the Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming took the innovative idea of turning the character into a Rocketeer-style villain that combined an old fighter pilot look with futuristic technology. There was almost an even more advanced version of the Vulture that made his way into the movie, who would have used technology that was similar to the kind used by aliens.

The picture above was created by Rodney Fuentebella.

8 The Insect Mantis


There were several cast members of Guardians of the Galaxy who had to endure hours in the makeup chair in order for their costume to be complete, with Zoe Saldana struggling for five hours in order for Gamora's green complexion to be just right.

The costume used for Mantis was pretty alien, but it was almost even more so, as one piece of concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shows a yellow-skinned version of the character that is even more insect-like than the one that appeared in the movie. The concept art for Mantis also had a costume that showed more skin, which meant that Pom Klementieff almost spent even more time in the makeup chair.

The picture above was created by Andy Park.

7 Star-Lord's Armor


Star-Lord's costume has had several different costumes in the Marvel comic books, most of which have a Raygun Gothic-style that gave him the vibe of a futuristic Victorian policeman. The costume worn by Star-Lord in the MCU is a lot simpler and it's mainly the helmet that references the source material.

Star-Lord's outfit was almost a lot more complex, with a suit of armor that is composed of different plates in order to give it a more patchwork appearance that makes it seem as if Star-Lord created it himself out of necessity.

The picture above was created by Andy Park.

6 Yondu's Tribal Gear


Yondu suffers from a lot of the same issues as Gamora when it comes to having a comic-accurate costume, as his original outfit was very revealing and it was topped off with a huge fin on his head that would have looked ridiculous on the screen. Michael Rooker is an awesome actor, but he doesn't have the rocking 'bod necessary to pull off the original Yondu look.

The concept art for Yondu showed a look that toned down his original appearance, with the fin on his head being reduced to a mohawk and his clothes covering most of his body, except for his abs, which Michael Rooker could have prepped for if this costume had been chosen over the generic one from the film.

The picture above was created by Andrew Kim.

5 Black Window's Armor


Black Widow has a fairly accurate costume when it comes to adapting the outfit worn by her comic book counterpart, but that's only because Black Widow has worn a black leather skintight suit for years, which is about as easy to emulate on the big screen as it gets.

Black Widow's outfit might be pleasing to those who find Scarlett Johannson attractive (aka most of the audience) but it doesn't seem to be a practical choice for an assassin/secret agent. One of the original costume designs for Black Widow was going to include more armor, more gadgets, and her gauntlets wound have been more prominent.

The picture above was created by Ryan Meinerding.

4 Ego's Alien Design


Ego was always going to be a tricky character to put on the big screen, as he is essentially a planet with a face. The producers of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 chose to dress Kurt Russell like a hobo and used him as the avatar for Ego throughout most of the movie, which came off as underwhelming, even though Russell was great in the film.

The original idea for Ego was that he would look more like an alien creature than a human, with the body of his avatar fused into a throne in order to show his connection to the world around him.

The picture above was created by Jerad Marantz.

3 Scarlet Witch In White


Scarlet Witch's original costume would be tricky to do on film, considering that it has a large headdress and mostly consists of a leather one-piece bathing suit, which sometimes has a skintight outfit covering her arms and legs if the artist wants to make her outfit less revealing.

The movie version of Scarlet Witch's outfit goes to the other extreme and is just kind of boring to look at. One of the original concepts for the Scarlet Witch involved a white outfit that was more tattered and worn to better fit with the witch part of her name.

The picture above was created by Andy Park

2 Proxima Midnight's Thanos Gear


Proxima Midnight seemed as if she was the dedicated "chick fighter" of the Black Order, as she spent most of her time fighting the female superheroes, which led to her demise when she went up against the Scarlet Witch.

The aesthetic of Proxima Midnight that appeared in Infinity War was similar to that of the ones that appeared in her concept art, except that the original version of the character had a bright color scheme and her horns were more pronounced. The muted colors of the movie version of Proxima Midnight made her blend in with the nondescript CGI soldiers that served Thanos.

The picture above was created by Tully Summers.

1 The Mandarin's Armor


Iron Man's nemesis in the Marvel comic books used to be a Chinese villain named Mandarin, who used magical rings in order to over Stark technology. The movie version of Mandarin turned out to be fakeout, as Ben Kingsley was actually playing an actor who was portraying a criminal called Mandarin, in order to obfuscate the actions of the real villain.

The Kingsley version of Mandarin was only ever shown wearing robes, but one piece of concept art shows a suit of armor, suggesting that the Mandarin might have actually donned it and gone into battle at some point.

The picture above was created by Ryan Meinerding.

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