Guardians of the Galaxy’s colorful, diverse setting and characters lend themselves well to creating vivid concept art for the movie franchise. It can make earlier concepts of characters, like the recently revealed early Groot design, all the more intriguing. One of Guardians of the Galaxy’s more colorful characters is blue-skinned space pirate Yondu Udonta, played by Michael Rooker, who could be joining the Guardians team in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Director James Gunn’s design team had a different-looking Yondu from the original comics to draw from for their early designs, the only major similarity being his familiar bright blue skin. A newly-released concept of Yondu for the first Guardians of the Galaxy shows that Rooker as Yondu could have looked more like his comic-book predecessor than he did.

Gunn posted the Yondu concept art on his Instagram account Tuesday, revealing a sleeker, shinier look more inspired by Yondu’s appearance in the comics. The concept art, created by Andrew Kim, more closely resembles the original Yondu’s statuesque gladiator look than the rugged, leather jacket-clad Ravager in Guardians of the Galaxy. The Yondu depicted in the concept art sports a gold eye patch over his left eye, more hair than the small Mohawk on Rooker, and what appear to be gills or fins protruding from his cheeks.

Sweet early concept art for #Yondu in #GotG by Andrew Kim featuring a fantastic vision of @michael_rooker's abs.

A photo posted by James Gunn (@jamesgunn) on

The original Yondu from the comics did sport a large fin down the middle of his head, which Rooker appears to have added based on a photo of him released ahead of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Yondu’s final design appears to have gone the same route as Groot with the simplified version ending up in the final cut. Other recent Guardians 2 art teased a new monster, which presumably looks closer to its concept than Yondu does to his.

Rooker’s performance in Guardians of the Galaxy and Yondu’s fit in the movie’s version of the comic’s world made it a sensible choice to make the space pirate look more modern than a gladiator warrior. The veteran character actor’s distinctive voice and persona certainly fits better as a devious criminal than the role he played in the original version in the comics.

As any concept art can do, the early design shows what could have gone very differently in the final movie. If Rooker looked more like the concept art, it could have completely changed the feel of the character. Rooker owned his performance enough that his appearance as it is feels familiar enough, even if he’s still adding elements from the original character, like the fin on his head.

Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming– July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.

Source: James Gunn

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