The road to the designs for the iconic MCU films like Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers was full of trial and error before the final cut came to light. The beauty of the process was the hundreds of designs that the directors, costume designers, and production designers got to look through and get inspired from in order to arrive at their visions and bringing those visions to fruition.
This was especially true for the world of Thor, whose characters from Norse Mythology had many iterations. In order to find which aspects of the many iterations to use, not use, or develop, the team of creators, especially director Kenneth Branaugh, had artists create a whole spectrum of costumes, setting, and object designs before a single one was picked.
One of the biggest art contributors to these designs is artist Charlie Wen, who has worked on many MCU films from the past 10 years, including The Avengers, the Thor series, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, to name a few. Now, as we wait to see what awaits the fates of our heroes when Avengers 4 comes to theaters next year, Wen has been taking the opportunity to post some of his early designs for some of the films he worked on.
The latest posts featured the early designs of Loki when his character was first introduced in Thor in 2011. Loki, whether or not the original team knew it at the time, ended up being a very important character to the course of the MCU, from the main villain in The Avengers to helping save his adopted people, the Asgardians, in Thor: Ragnarok. First, here is the final draft of Loki’s costume, designed by Wen:
This is the final Loki in armor which I designed seen in Thor 1. I treated these designs in a more theatrical, if not Shakespearean feel (also in acknowledgement of Kenneth Branagh’s amazing Shakespearean history— it was a real honor to work with him!) Most of it remained the same from the throne room image of Loki I shared yesterday. Can you pick up the main differences? Shout out goes to @mrcraigkyle for being such a supportive producer and @alexandriabyrne and her costume department for making such rich costumes. We had an incredible collaboration and worked very closely together, including choosing fabrics and materials together, to make sure the final look of Loki on screen was true to his character and story. Very proud of the costume Academy award nomination that year! Finally, why are his eyes closed here? * * * * * #thor #marvel #avengers #throwback #conceptdesign #picoftheday #costume #loki #makingof #comicbook #comicbookmovies #art #design #movie #superhero #conceptart #costume #conceptdesign #chrishemsworth #marvelstudios #art #marvelstudios #funfact #marvelcinematicuniverse #story #visualstorytelling #academyawards #visualdevelopment @marvelstudios @marvel @imcharliewen @twhiddleston
As fans who watched Infinity War also know, Loki died early on in an attempt to stop Thanos from going to Earth and getting two Infinity Stones after giving him the Tesseract in order to save Thor. His costume didn’t exactly change from Thor: Ragnarok’s costume, but that’s not to say it hasn’t been through some significant changes in the before then.
The costume for Loki has evolved from movie to movie, but the start of that journey was in the first Thor film. The green and black colors are synonymous, but the flamboyance of the costume was far greater on the first try. Check out the pictures below, before and after Tom Hiddleston was cast as the God of Mischief:
Wacky Loki! My first sketch of him as someone a bit off for the first #thor There were other options but this is the looniest one so I wanted to share. As I think of his backstory and focused on the manipulative bent than his relationship with his bro Thor which develops later, I put more character depth in his final version. At this time I also wanted to play with the idea that Asgard had magic based on science beyond human tech understanding. I’ll post the final Thor I Lokis next! * * * * #loki #thor #avengers #marvel-studios #avengersinfinitywar #infinitywar #behindthescenes #instadaily #cool #movie #drawing #sketch #marvel #bigboy #mcu #conceptart #character-design #picoftheday #art #original #comics #comicbooks #digitalart #imcharliewen #illustration #visualdevelopment #visualstory #storytelling #superhero #story @marvelstudios @marvel @imcharliewen
Designing Tom Hiddleston as Loki (armor version) was my next focus. I'd just completed Thor's design for the film (Thor), so a design language had been set. The rest of the characters needed to play off of the main character's design. Every character’s colors, shapes, materials needed to not only be congruent with the story being told, but more importantly, needed to elicit specific emotions from the audience at particular points of the character’s arc in the film. For Loki (as well as the other characters), I kept with the interweaving shapes motif in Thor’s costume. These interweaving shapes come from Norse symbols, which I referenced to some extent for all aspects of Asgard. The interweaving elements not only connected Thor’s world with its Norse origins, but it also alluded to the interconnectedness of Thor. Loki, and Odin. I designed Loki’s armor to be more overtly ceremonial than practical, showing that Loki’s gifts and attentions did not lie in the battlefield like his brother Thor, but instead, his focus was imagining and planning his ascension to Odin’s throne. The fabric elements have more pleating as well to further play up the ceremonial feel. * * * * * * #thor #marvel #avengers #throwback #conceptdesign #picoftheday #behindthescenes #costume #loki #throne #makingof #comicbook #comicbookmovies #art #design #movie #superhero #conceptart #costume #conceptdesign #superhero #chrishemsworth #marvelstudios #art #marvelstudios #funfact #marvelcinematicuniverse #story #visualstorytelling #visualdevelopment @marvelstudios @marvel @imcharliewen @twhiddleston
And the rest is MCU history! Hopefully there will be some kind of reprisal of Loki’s famous role in Avengers 4, since there are photos of him on the set!