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In the making of Doctor Strange, director Scott Derrickson and his team were tasked with bringing to life the classic Marvel villain Dormammu, and the direction they ultimately decided to go with it is bold and epic. Playing into the character's god-like dominion over the Dark Dimension, the film features him as a threatening and imposing being that also happens to be largely formless. In retrospect it was a great choice, as it works rather perfectly with Dormammu's role in the blockbuster, but it's also cool to think about how the blockbuster may have been different with an alternate design.
Take, for example this look, which was recently posted online by concept artist Jerad Marantz:
As you can see, and as noted in the caption, what makes this version of Dormammu distinctive compared to the version that is in the finished cut of Doctor Strange is the simple fact that he has a more human-like form. One can imagine that he would still be presented as a giant, towering over the titular master of mysticism on the big screen, but it would be a very different kind of towering than what can be seen in the still at the top of this article.
The final look that the film went with really emphasizes the expanse of Dormammu, and instantly lets you know that Doctor Strange is going to be unable to win any kind of physical altercation – which is something that wouldn't necessarily come across the same way with the Marantz design. That being said, this is a character whose strength comes from beyond his physical nature anyway, so perhaps it would have simply added a different dynamic to the "I've come to bargain" sequence. At first you might think that Strange can face Dormammu one-on-one, but then the god-like being would teach both the hero and the audience otherwise with some kind of horrific, threatening display of his power.
Another notable element of this design compared to the final Doctor Strange version is that it is a tad bit closer to the look of Dormammu in the comics – who does have a more human-like body, as you can see in the artwork below:
It's kind of funny, because if you were to put Dormammu's face as it appears in the blockbuster on to a form more like Jerad Marantz's take, then what you would get is a character ripped straight from the pages of Marvel.
As things stand, Marvel fans can be happy with the version of Dormammu that we got, and who knows? Maybe he will make a return in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness next year and take on a form less god-like (it's definitely not impossible, as we really know next to nothing about that film at this point). We'll just have to wait and see as more details about the project become available. For now, know that we will continue to bring you updates about the future of the titular hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe here on CinemaBlend as they become available.