In 2014, audiences got to meet the Guardians of the Galaxy. One of Marvel’s biggest and most surprising successes, the film took a group of D-list heroes and made them into some of the most bankable characters in cinema. At the center of this was Star-Lord, the gang’s token Earthling and all-around jokey, well-meaning scavenger. A big part of his appeal was Chris Pratt’s revelatory performance – he brought proper leading man gravitas, but constantly underscored it with a relatable joviality – although his striking look certainly helped.
His long red jacket and pop-up face mask have become intrinsically linked with the character, but that wasn’t always the case. Artist Andy Park has shared some concept art on Instagram from very early in the film’s production, just around the time it was announced at SDCC 2012, which shows a very different take on Peter Quill.
Being lesser-known characters, many of the Guardians had their designs changed for the big screen with minimal controversy – Rocket became less cartoony, Groot’s features were made more gentle and Drax’s skin tone became gray instead of green. Many of the most fundamental changes went to Star-Lord. His personality was altered (as well as key elements of his backstory, such as the real identity of his father), but the biggest changes were to his look. When first introduced in 1976, Star-Lord sported what is best described as black cosmic spandex. While that look did evolve over time, the movie took a major leap, basically presenting a top-down redo of the character.
You can see the development of this in this concept art. The core elements of Pratt’s costume are there, but the designs themselves hint at a different direction – everything is more angular and the color scheme a mixture of blue and tan (instead of the finished movie’s red and gray). It’s unknown how much direction was given to this art, but it does show the extent of Marvel’s conceptual stage. While this is a pretty striking look, it’s hard to not favor the Star-Lord get-up we got. It perfectly fit the character and was simple enough to be immediately memorable; something more greebled may not have had quite the same impact.
Star-Lord is back later this year in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The trailers suggest a similar look to before, although other concept art does suggest he’ll get a more solider-style armor at some point.
Source: Andy Park
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