While many comic book characters have achieved iconic status, their transition to the big screen is not as simple as copying and pasting a look from the page to the screen. As such, characters go through a significant design process when it comes to getting them ready for their close up. We now have a sneak peek at what went into the creation of Black Panther, with some images then ended up not being used, and while the final design isn’t all that different from what we saw in Captain America: Civil War at least in general, they certainly explored going in different visual directions with this character.
The look behind the curtain comes courtesy of Jerad S. Marantz, a character designer who had worked with Marvel’s Visual Development Team to put together what T’Challa would look like in costume. He’s now posted images to his blog of some of his designs. You can scroll through four different images in the gallery above. In truth, this version of Black Panther looks less like a man wearing a costume, and more an actual panther who appears to be walking upright. There’s a strong focus on the musculature of the character. If the plan here would have been to actually have the suit react as if it were his actual muscles, that would have been a very interesting effect.
It’s certainly clear from the first image that the goal was to make Black Panther a hugely imposing presence. The focus on the body of the character in this way makes him look like he’s about ready to strike at any moment. The second and third images do an interesting job of using the muscle motif to look like a superhero costume, without abandoning the general concept. The outfit that we eventually saw looks much more like fabric, and while Black Panther still looks strong, he's most certainly a man in a costume.
The face that we see up close in the final image is also much more "panther-like" as compared to the final version. The mask we saw in Captain America: Civil War had some artistic lines drawn on it, making it obviously a stylized mask. This version comes across as much more feral. The nose and mouth are slightly more pronounced here, making Black Panther look a bit more animal like than human.
What do you think of these concepts? Would you have liked to have seen more of them incorporated in the final version of the character? How would you like to see the costume evolve for the Black Panther movie? Weigh in below with your thoughts.
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