Marvel Studios' superhero team-up Avengers: Age of Ultron may not have managed to top its predecessor's performance at the box office, but it remains one of the biggest blockbusters of 2015 so far. The movie sees Earth's Mightiest Heroes come together once again to face off against Ultron, a malevolent A.I. created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner (and voiced by James Spader), who threatens to wreak devastation on the planet when he decides that the best path to peace is human extinction.
Ultron is particularly dangerous because he's not confined to any particular body, and is able to both evolve his own form and build an army of drones to carry out his bidding. Aside from some fundamental design elements, Ultron's appearance has varied in the comics and in the movie he first appears as the jumbled wreck of Ultron MK1 before becoming the more formidable Ultron Prime. But what might he have looked like?
Artist Andy Park, who has regularly created concept art for the Marvel movies, shared some very cool early designs for Ultron on his Facebook page, describing the movie as "a crazy fun project to work on." The first of these designs looks somewhat similar to Ultron Prime and the second is more or less the exact design that Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon went with for Ultron MK1, but the other four designs look like nightmarish Halloween versions of Ultron, channelling the demonic as much as the robotic. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but might have been a little bit too dark for a Marvel movie.
They might be a little too creepy, but these alternate designs could have looked really fantastic on the big screen. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been criticized in the past for having weak villains, and while Ultron wasn't really lambasted in reviews, he also wasn't often picked out as a highlight of the movie. Essentially he's like many of the MCU's villains: introduced and then killed off before the character could be properly explored.
Still, this artwork is a fun look at the Ultron that might have been. Check out more of Park's work (including concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America and Thor: The Dark World) on his official website.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is expected to release on DVD and Blu-ray later this year. Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.