There's a reason concept art is called just that -- it's often merely a concept and not the design that ends up appearing as the final version in a given film. It can get especially tricky for movies based on comic books or graphic novels that already have "built-in" artwork. As far as the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, some recent concept art for a new monster may ultimately look completely different, as could new team member Mantis, who was also recently revealed in a concept art design.
Despite the general uncertainty surrounding early concept art, it's also possible that an artist's early rendering could end up making the final cut. Some recently revealed concept art of Guardians of the Galaxy's humanoid tree, Groot, proved that both can be true.
Guardians concept artist Jackson Sze posted on his Instagram account recently an early rendering of what would turn out to be one of the film's most memorable scenes. The art depicts the early attack on the Xandarian prison by Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and the feisty talking raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) that helped them ultimately escape, along with Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and form the Guardians team. Besides a slightly fiercer-looking Rocket, the art bears an extremely strong resemblance to what ended up in the final version of the film.
The newly revealed concept art differs greatly from an early version of Groot posted by Sze two years ago, depicting a much bulkier, more knotty version of the sleeker, more slender final version -- although, apparently, no less sensitive. It's difficult to imagine this character wreaking havoc and warming hearts as nimbly as the final version of Groot did.
It's possible that Groot's design was somewhat streamlined due to the immense difficulty that animators could have had to make the earlier Groot concept a reality. The first Groot would have required a level of detail that would have been tough to bring to life with the final version, especially for action scenes. However, Diesel said he was "blown away" by footage from the upcoming sequel, which bodes well for the look and feel of the much-anticipated "Baby Groot" storyline set to play a major role in Guardians 2.
As interesting as it can be to see what early versions of characters looked like, it's also something of a risk to take to reveal it to fans, who could offer up a wide range of reactions based on how the final design turned out to them. But Groot has become a popular-enough character that it's hard to imagine him looking -- or speaking to other characters -- any other way.
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, 2019; Untitled 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.