New concept art for Thor: Ragnarok reveals Thor with much shorter hair – shorter even than the shaved locks he sported in the final design version for the film. Thanks to Marvel Studios’ habit of regularly revealing concept art for upcoming movies and letting its artists show off more unreleased concept art after those movies hit theaters, fans now look forward to these glimpses into the design process with every new film that enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The concept art often shows just how much the set designs and backgrounds evolve over the course of development, but nothing changes more than characters’ costumes and makeup. The process involves getting the general look and then adjusting and revising until the studio feels the look has been nailed in a way that is true to the character and the tone of the film. Sometimes the concept art is even better than what we end up getting in the final version, though that can often be explained by budget and time constraints or the need to simplify a costume’s design for the realities of life on set. Still, it’s fascinating to see the design process and because of that, fans have become familiar with the designs of Marvel Studios’ two most well-known artists in Ryan Meinerding and, in particular, Andy Park.
Andy Park recently shared some early concept art for Thor: Ragnarok showing Chris Hemsworth with a drastically shaved head:
Here's a closeup of an early gladiator concept design l painted up of Thor from #ThorRagnarok @TaikaWaititi wanted to go short w/his hair so I went for it! #thor @chrishemsworth pic.twitter.com/7I7ACiKVCY
— Andy Park (@andyparkart) November 26, 2017
The look that Thor ended up rocking in Ragnarok was a huge change from the flowing locks he’s had since his 2011 MCU debut. To the uninitiated, the short, choppy haircut and neat beard were a shock. But comic book readers recognized it as a clear nod to the Unworthy Thor storyline from the comics, where Thor found himself unworthy of wielding Mjolnir and disappeared for a while after losing the hammer before returning not as Thor, but under the name ‘The Odinson’ – complete with short hair and a beard. Apparently he was as unworthy of carrying a glorious mane as he was his hammer.
Park’s concept art reveals a look that was even more drastic for Thor. It doesn’t depict him as the no-nonsense, more battle-hardened Thor that he has become but more gaunt and further stripped of the things that marked him as the God of Thunder. With the completely shorn head, he looks less like a prince of Asgard and more like any nameless rank-and-file member of the enslaved gladiators. It makes sense that Marvel ultimately decided on a less severe style for the final design – after all, they can’t have their million dollar leading man looking too nondescript. The short hair and beard combo he wore in Ragnarok nicely balanced symbolizing the huge personal changes he underwent while ensuring he still looked lean and mean as the future king of Asgard.
Now that we know he’ll be missing an eye in Avengers: Infinity War, it will be interesting to see what design the studio settles on. At least we know that, thanks to Park and the other Marvel Studios concept artists, we’ll be able to look back at the concept art for the film a year from now and admire all the work the artists and designers put into the massive endeavor that is Infinity War.
Source: Andy Park/Twitter
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