Conceptual artist Phil Saunders, who helped design The Avengers in terms of its conceptual design, recently released some unused art that had been designed for the film that didn’t make the cut. Despite not being included in the film, the unused conceptual art for Iron Man’s suits, the Helicarrier, and aliens are definitely worth checking out.
Included in the recently released concept art, Saunders revealed three different designs for Iron Man’s suit in The Avengers. Phil’s explanation for why Marvel went with the design that ended up in the film is interesting. He says, “Below are the initial 3 sketches I did early on before we knew what the Mk 7 should be. The first was actually a revision of a design I had been thinking of initially for Iron Man 2 before ultimately choosing another project. It was a lighter, more streamlined version of what had come before, trying to integrate a flowing theme wrapping around the ‘RT’ on the chest and mirroring that fast line through the body. This was more of the evolutionary design, and ultimately was approved pretty much immediately as a starting point for the Mk 7.”
Alternate Iron Man suits for ‘The Avengers’
“The next design was playing around with the stance of the suit toward more of a brawler attitude, somewhat beefier and less aircraft-like.” – Phil Saunders
“Lastly was a more extreme departure, trying to create a very different silhouette, sort of the Stark Industries answer to a more heavily militarized suit like War Machine, but drawing from Air Force form language instead of Army.” – Phil Saunders
“The function of the suit in the script lead to the idea of having a more armored suit that over the course of battle would shed its ammo packs and additional armor.” Going on to use some of the styling elements from the first and third concepts, which were then integrated into the new design.” – Phil Saunders
“The final design would incorporate a thruster backpack for the pivotal final battle, which wrapped around the “lats” and “serratus” areas under the arm to form flush mounted adjustable intake vanes.” – Phil Saunders
Alternate Helicarrier concept art
“Before working on the Mk 7 suit with the Visual Development team, I was initially brought into the Art Department to work on the Helicarrier. While ultimately the Production Designer James Chinlund’s direction was pursued by Nathan Schroeder to the version you see on screen, I was tasked with providing some alternative approaches. Below is a sampling of some initial sketches pursuing a combination of naval and stealth-inspired forms. In a more radical departure from the concept of ‘Heli-‘ carrier I was exploring some form of vertical jet engine clusters to lift the massive hull rather than the traditional ducted fans.” – Phil Saunders
Alternate Alien concept art
Saunders also did some work with the Ch’tauri (Aliens) in The Avengers, although the final work was developed by Ryan Meinerding. He had this to say about his work on the alien concepts: “I had a brief stint working on the Ch’tauri (though they weren’t called that at the time) while in the Visual Development department. I took a couple of passes of refining Justin Sweet’s original designs and attempting to define the look of the armor & weapons and how they might integrate into the creature. Ultimately Ryan Meinerding developed the final look in Z-Brush.”
“I imagined the helmet as being a little deceiving, so that ultimately when the mask was ripped off you would find that the creature had air holes in the place of eyes.”
Alternate Quinjet concept art
The next thing that Saunders worked on was the Quinjet. Saunders says, “The initial mandate was a craft that could carry the team plus pilots, travel at hypersonic speeds and take off and land vertically on a carrier deck or in the middle of Times Square. It needed to have windows in the roof (to see Thor land on it in flight) and a ramp opening in the back for loading.”
“My first ideas never went past the rough sketch form as Jos Whedon considered them too sci-fi.”
It’s pretty astonishing to see how these designs originate and where they end up going until they eventually arrive on set of what ended up being the biggest film of 2012. If you’d like to check out more of Phil Saunders’ work, be sure to check out his official website.