Nearly a decade ago, Marvel Studios changed the movie game with the long-awaited release of The Avengers. Peaking as the third-highest grossing movie of all time, the sixth movie in the MCU brought five previous franchises together in one blockbuster crossover event. Also featuring SHIELD, the villainous Loki, and a tease for Thanos, fans couldn't get enough.
The Avengers came as the conclusion of the MCU's Phase 1, which has since massively expanded with 16 more movies and five Disney+ shows within the interconnected universe. Even more impressive is how much this movie still affects storylines and plot points that are pushing forward today, especially in terms of technological ties and characters still in play.
Giving SHIELD such a major presence in The Avengers gave the team access to the secret organization's impressive arsenal of vehicles and weaponry, including the classic helicarrier seen through most of the movie. Now, one of the film's VFX artists has shared a look at a different version of this massive airship.
Avengers Artist Shows Alternate Helicarrier
Concept designer Phil Saunders took to Instagram to share a never-before-seen alternate design for the SHIELD helicarrier that appeared in 2012's The Avengers.
Shown in the middle of the night, this design gives a sleeker and more futuristic look to the massive vehicle that soared the skies in The Avengers. The overall look of the vehicle is still largely similar, although it looks much more streamlined in this newly-released concept art.
The image shows a smaller jet taking off from the end of the helicarrier, as fans saw happen in The Avengers as the World Security Council decided to drop a missile on New York City. Also included is an older version of the SHIELD logo on the side, which was updated in the movie's final cut to include a more present-day image.
Saunders also included the following caption, sharing how he was inspired by different "heavy lifter aircraft" seen in the real world:
"Another view of my early helicarrier concept from The Avengers. I don’t think I’ve ever posted this one anywhere, so it’s a bit of a premiere. As with the other views I’ve posted, this was an alternate direction to the one that my friends Nathan Schroeder and Steve Jung were pursuing for Production Designer James Chinlund that ultimately was what you saw in the films. Mine was more of an aviation-based design, taking cues from heavy lifter aircraft such as the Globemaster and Antonov. So enjoy this alternate universe take!"
Below is a shot of the SHIELD helicarrier featured in Agents of SHIELD.
New Look at Massive MCU Helicarrier
The SHIELD helicarrier played a key role during the plot of 2012's The Avengers, serving as a temporary home base for Earth's Mightiest Heroes as they worked through their Loki problem. It also played host to a major battle between a mind-controlled Hawkeye and the rest of the team as the ship almost went down in flames; thankfully, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers kept that from happening.
Looking at the design that Saunders released, the ship underwent a fair amount of change before fans saw the end result on the big screen.
While the final version took on more of an aircraft carrier look, holding dozens of fighter jets on its runway-style roof, these previous designs took a different route. The flying vessel was originally set to look more like the planes used by the US Army, even adding a bit of a futuristic look to the one-of-a-kind ship in the process.
The helicarriers from Captain America: The Winter Soldier took on more of these early designs thanks to some Stark-inspired upgrades, but the one in The Avengers still did its job to the fullest. These images help reinforce just how far the MCU has come since its early days while also celebrating the incredible work that got the franchise to that point.
The Avengers is now streaming on Disney+.