It's not unusual for the look of a character to change throughout the course of a Marvel Studios production, especially since every concept artist is tasked with updating the look of classic Marvel Comics characters to work within the context of the big screen story that is being told.
Under the guidance of MCU directors, as well as producers including Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, Marvel's Visual Development artists are responsible for designing characters' looks and key frames of scenes that will eventually appear in the films. Among those responsible for coming up with some of those designs in the MCU is Anthony Francisco, who for nine years worked on well over a dozen films including "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Black Panther," and "Ant-Man" and their sequels, as well as "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame."
Francisco also has worked on the last three "Thor" films — "Thor: The Dark World," "Thor: Ragnarok," and "Thor: Love and Thunder." In the case of "Thor: Ragnarok," Francisco was given the opportunity to update the look of the God of Thunder's brother, Loki, and much like previous "Thor" films, the design of the God of Mischief underwent several radical changes throughout the production.
In an exclusive interview with Looper, Francisco discussed his new multimedia project, "Creature Chronicles," and his previous work in the MCU, and shared some of Loki's costume designs that didn't make the final cut.
Recalling his tenure as a senior artist in Marvel's Visual Development department, Francisco said that his designs for Loki in "Thor: Ragnarok" were originally quite different because of what director Taika Waititi had envisioned for the character.
"Loki in 'Thor: Ragnarok' started off looking like a Viking, because Taika Waititi really wanted him to feel more masculine and more modeled after Norse God mythology," Francisco said. "I had fur on him, and he looked like he was a warrior and not as androgynous looking. We ended up with him looking like he did in Sakaar and still keeping some elements from Asgard."
Unlike Francisco's designs of Baby Groot and the Dora Milaje for "Black Panther," his task of giving Loki a makeover initially concerned him because the character's look was well-established in previous films. "It was amazing that I got to design him brand new, because [Marvel's former head and co-founder of Visual Development] Charlie Wen had an amazing designer for Loki previously, and that was worrying me a little bit because I had to design Loki's look for 'Thor Ragnarok,'" Francisco recalled. "Since Taika said, 'I want a brand new one,' I went ahead, and it was awesome. I'm glad that he allowed me to do that."
Waititi is known for the vibrant, colorful flair he brought to the MCU with his "Thor" movies, and Francisco's unused designs for "Ragnarok" are reflections of that. "Loki had a lot of wild designs with different colors, and I published some of them on my Instagram account," Francisco said. "There's the banana suit one where the costume is yellow, and then there's one where it's multiple colors, but I don't think I put that out. It's really terrible because I was trying to do something different with it."
MCU fans will soon be able to see Francisco's design for Marvel legend Namor in the upcoming "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." In addition to his work on "Creature Chronicles," you can follow Anthony Francisco's work at his website, as well as his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
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