A pair of early designs from Thor: Ragnarok reveal strikingly different looks for Surtur and Valkyrie. Both characters played major roles in the sequel as Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie aids in the climactic fight against the giant, fiery demon Surtur, whose ultimate destruction of Asgard turns out to be the only way to stop Hela (Cate Blanchett) from her reign of terror. The demon was only reborn after Thor (Chris Hemsworth) obtains his crown in the movie's opening scene, which featured a motion-capture performance from director Taika Waititi and voice work from Clancy Brown.
Thompson's performance was memorable enough to make it hard to imagine the character looking or acting any differently. But some newly revealed Ragnarok concept art shows the Asgardian warrior-turned-bounty hunter in a uniform that is far off what ended up as her final design. The same can be said for Surtur, who wasn't always going to be filled with a raging fire.
You can check out the early alternate designs for Surtur and Valkyrie below, via Ragnarok senior illustrator Jackson Sze on Instagram and visual development supervisor Andy Park on Twitter. Sze's design of Surtur realizes the demon as a "twisted" figure made of steel, forged in fire rather than made of it. Park's early Valkyrie concept is markedly different from both of Thompson's final looks, depicting the warrior with heavier armor, a winged cape, and a large, pointed helmet.
An early take on Surtur. I thought I could bring the fire demon aesthetic closer to Thor's world by designing him with twisted and forged metal works reminiscent of fantasy armors. - - - Final Surtur design for the film was done by @aleksibriclot - - - - #thorragnarok #surtur #marvelstudios #marvelcinematicuniverse #fire #armor #demon #conceptart #characterdesign #digitalart #digitalpainting #illustration #conceptdesign
Alternate concept design painting I did of the Asgardian look for the Valkyrie. I wanna watch a whole film with @tessamaethompson and the Valkyries of Asgard. Right? pic.twitter.com/Q0FJ7fBW28
— Andy Park (@andyparkart) November 21, 2017
Park has been busy promoting Ragnarok in the wake of its release, mainly by sharing his own top-notch concept art for the sequel. He recently revealed an alternate design for Hela that isn't significantly different from his final approved design, which he has also recently shared online. Sze has also posted artwork for Thor's escape from Sakaar and Hela's arrival at Asgard to his Instagram in recent weeks.
These early concepts may be significantly unlike the final appearances for both Surtur and Valkyrie, but they are the latest examples of the incredibly detailed work that even goes into unapproved designs. Park's alternate Valkyrie is certainly believable as what could have ended up in the movie, and Waititi's directorial work was so sharp that he could have made a metal Surtur work just as well.
Park's tweet doesn't just share concept art, he also calls for an entire movie about Valkyrie. Thompson stole scenes as the dangerous but frequently drunk warrior, a performance that has even raised questions of whether she could lead the Thor franchise in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But even if Valkyrie never reaches those kinds of heights, she's still one of Thor: Ragnarok's standout characters.