While the DC Comics Extended Universe has been something of a more recent revelation, we have been getting movies adapted from DC Comics material for the better part of several decades now. It all started in 1951 when Warner Bros. wanted to release a live action Superman to the world via a theatrically released pilot for the Adventures of Superman serialized black and white series. The film — which was the first ever film adapted from DC Comics material — was called Superman and the Mole Men, and DC was off to the races from there.
Since then, we have seen Supes, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Green Lantern, The Flash, and several other DC owned properties hit the big screen in a big way. And while it has given us some incredible visuals to behold, there are some DC movie moments that left us wanting more. Sometimes, we can’t help but look at the concept art that was created behind the scenes, and wonder if what on the page would have looked better than what we got. And in some instances, there are scenes painted out in concept art sketches which were never even filmed, but we would have tremendously loved to have seen take place in action. But, for one reason or another, these concept art pieces wound up collecting dust on the cutting room floor. Some of those moments are personified in the following entries, which features some of the most intriguing pieces of concept art which never made the final cut of certain DC movies. Continue reading on below for some examples.
SUPERMAN’S COSTUME IN FLYBY
Out of all of the cancelled Superman projects which died in development hell, one of the more interesting ones was Superman Flyby, which would have been created from a script penned by J.J. Abrams.
When concept for the unproduced project hit the internet, it was chock full of sketches featuring spaceships, intergalactic contraptions, and a unique design for Superman’s costume, which actually looks great. Most noticeably, Supes’ cape would have melded into his sigil, and his belt would have been practically non-existent.
WEAPONIZED PENGUINS FROM BATMAN RETURNS
In Batman Returns, we saw that The Penguin’s penguin henchmen were equipped with rockets strapped to their backs. Concept art for those penguins tells us that Tim Burton apparently had more creative plans for the villainous minions.
Not only did he want them to wear rockets, but other weaponized penguins were equipped with devices which ranged from extending boxing gloves, buzzsaws, and bombs. It would have been really cartoony, but so was the film’s tone — stuff like this would have fit right in.
BATGIRL WITH BAT EARS IN BATMAN AND ROBIN
There were a lot of things to complain about regarding the finished product of Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, among them being the costume design for Batgirl, which looked like a complete departure from how she normally looks like in the comics.
Early concept art would have given Batgirl something more fitting of the classic Batgirl, equipped with her signature bat ears. Of course, if they went this route, it would not have made up for all of the film’s issues, but it would have been one less thing to complain about.
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
While Justice League Dark continues to remain in development hell over at Warner Bros., Joseph Kahn recently revealed concept art he turned in for a failed pitch, and these concepts look pretty snazzy. The only thing more visually appealing than the costumes themselves is the dream casting from Kahn.
The director wanted Chiwetel Ejiofor to play Jason Blood/Etrigan, Natalie Dormer as Zatanna, and Dan Stevens as Constantine. We would have given our right leg to see this film come to fruition.
BANE’S MASK IN TDKR
Bane’s mask in The Dark Knight Rises received admittedly mixed reactions. Half of those reactions included fans who were hoping for something more faithful to his comics luchador mask.
For those who fall into that category, this mask from the concept art would have been a better choice as it would have supplied fans a similar mask to his comics look, while providing something new and original. Same with another mask from the concept art, which would have given us more visible scars for Bane’s skin underneath the mask.
ALTERNATE JOKER IN TDK
The Joker as he was depicted in The Dark Knight was the perfect adaptation of the character due in part both to Heath Ledger’s breathtaking performance and the character’s chilling look.
Everything about his costume design is perfect, but looking at this piece of concept art, the character had the opportunity to look even more bone chillingly unsettling by chopping off a bit of his hair and darkening his eyes even more than they were in the film.
ALTERNATE MECHA BATSUIT IN BVS
Love it or hate it, Batman V Superman gave us a very physical contest between two of DC Comics’s finest adversaries. For obvious reasons, Batman needed a mecha suit to be evenly matched with Superman, but early concept art tells us that his suit could have looked a whole lot different.
In fact, there were plans for Batman’s mecha suit to look more similar to the mecha suit seen in The Dark Knight Returns. Which makes sense since that novel also included a Bats vs Supes fight.
SCARECROW IN SUICIDE SQUAD
Since Suicide Squad was jam packed with a star studded cast and colorful characters, it is understandable when we find out that there were some characters taken out of the script before filming went underway.
One of those characters who didn’t make the final cut was Scarecrow, who judging from this piece of concept art would have looked like a spitting image of the character’s classic comic book counterpart. No word on exactly why Scarecrow did not make the cut or what his role would have been in the film.
JOKER AND HARLEY AT THE DRIVE-THRU IN SUICIDE SQUAD
It’s no secret that Suicide Squad was far too serious for it’s own good. It needed a dash of color, and we think a scene like this would have spruced things up a bit. As depicted in the concept art, there were plans for a scene where The Joker and Harley Quinn pull up into a McDonalds drive-thru and grab a meal.
We are not sure if this was one of the Joker scenes that was cut from the film — as Jared Leto said, a lot of his scenes got cut — or if this was filmed at all. We just know that it would have been something hilarious to see on the big screen.
HUMANOID PARALLAX IN GREEN LANTERN
Green Lantern has an entire plethora of problems that fans continue to complain about to this day, but one of the bigger ones was the film’s interpretation of Parallax, which was more or less just a huff of yellow smoke with a face attached — not threatening in the slightest.
The Parallax depicted in this concept art is the complete opposite. This one would have given Parallax a more humanoid creature look. Seeing this thing fly at our heroes would have made for an absolutely horrifying sight.
ALTERNATE ENCHANTRESS IN SUICIDE SQUAD
Despite her name, The Enchantress’s look was far less than enchanting in Suicide Squad. Her costume looked more grimy and filthy than anything, and nothing about her look was befitting of someone named Enchantress. Granted, the gritty look fit the film’s tone, but it didn’t help us understand why Enchantress was so enchanting.
If the design team stuck with an early rendition of her costume, it would have been easier to see what was so alluring about the character. This look makes her look more like a goddess, which would have made more sense considering the end of the film.
JOKER IN THE BATMOBILE IN SUICIDE SQUAD
While we did not see Batman and The Joker trade diatribes with each other in Suicide Squad, early concept art suggests the two would have interacted in a much bigger fashion. Apparently, as this art work suggests, The Joker would have somehow nabbed Batman of his precious Batmobile and took it around the streets of Gotham for a spin.
Not only do we think this would have made for a fun scene, but the sight of The Joker taking the Batmobile out for a joyride is too juicy to pass up. It’s a crime that we never got to see it on the big screen.
ALT ARES IN WONDER WOMAN
While early concept art for Ares in Wonder Woman doesn’t look all too different from what we got in the film, there are enough minor differences that make the concept art version look better than the real deal. Most noticeably, the concept art does not look so much like a bootleg Sauron, or a B-level action video game character like he does in the film.
If the designers had stuck with this costume for the character, the end result would have given us a much more intimidating, villainous look for Ares.
MAN-BAT IN BATMAN V. SUPERMAN
Batman V. Superman saw many familiar characters joining the franchise, but one who was missing that was originally in the cards for a big screen debut was Man-Bat. While there were no plans to include Man-Bat as a big bad, there were plans to include Man-Bat in the film as a terrifying part of Bruce Wayne’s ongoing nightmares.
One piece of artwork gave Man-Bat more bat-like characteristics, while another highlighted the more humanoid half of Man-Bat.
BRANIAC IN SUPERMAN RETURNS SEQUEL
Before Warner Bros. decided to pull the plug on a supposed sequel to Superman Returns, Bryan Singer had big plans to include Brainiac as the big bad. The film would have seen Brainiac “fixing” flawed planets by destroying them, and Superman tries to stop him when he starts targeting Earth.
A close up on Brainiac’s face on the concept art tells us that Singer would have opted to give Brainiac a distorted, unsettling twist on the classic big head alien look.
DOOMSDAY IN BVS
Out of the several different criticisms that fans had against Batman V Superman, one of the bigger things that left fans unhappy was the design for Doomsday, which looked like something more akin to an oversized Gollum than what Doomsday looked like in the comics.
Early concept art for Doomsday tell us that there were plans to give Doomsday a look that was more faithful to the comics. We are disappointed that the filmmakers did not go in this direction.
GENERAL ZOD ARMOR IN MAN OF STEEL
Early concept art for Man of Steel reveals that General Zod was originally supposed to have a suit that was more distinguishable from the rest of his shoulders — something to highlight his rank as a Kryptonian General — and it would have been equipped with a freeaky looking helmet.
One could argue that this just looks, for lack of a better word, weird, but let’s not forget that Zod and the rest of the Kryptonians are aliens. Aliens are, by definition, supposed to look weird compared to standard earth customs. This would have highlighted his alien heritage.
BATMAN BAT CYCLE IN JUSTICE LEAGUE
A couple months ago, Ed Natividad revealed concept art that he created for Justice League that saw him sketching out a bat cycle for Batman. The cycle looks like it was decided to be some sort of a hovercraft. Despite the intricate design, we never got anything like this in the movie.
We got plenty of brand new vehicles for Batman in the film — such as an updated Batmobile, the Flying Fox Batjet, and the Knightcrawler — but no Bat Bike to speak of. No reason was given as to why the Bat Cycle never made the final cut.
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