Marvel Studios Loses Lead Artist Who Designed MCU's Loki, Doctor Strange & More Characters

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Baby Groot, Marvel Studios logo

Marvel Studios is similar to a well-oiled machine due to the consistent string of projects that it releases every year. A good chunk of the studio's success is because of the hardworking crew behind the scenes. 

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is the head of the table, with fellow executives Victoria Alonso and Louis D'Esposito leading the charge as well. MCU directors like James Gunn, Taika Waititi, and the Russo Brothers are the captains of the ship on-set, with the film's stellar cast serving as its anchor. 

Meanwhile, the creatives who work tirelessly off camera are heroes in their own right, and a good example is the visual designers of Marvel projects. These creators help the filmmakers with crafting character designs and scene concepts to fully realize their respective visions. 

Now, as the MCU moves forward with another chapter of its vast storytelling, it appears that one of the studio's mainstay designers will not be joining the ride this time around. 

Marvel Studios Veteran Visual Artist Exits the MCU

Deadline shared that visual designer Anthony Francisco is moving from Marvel Studios to Dolphin Entertainment to become its creative director.

Dolphin Entertainment CEO and founder Bill O'Dowd confirmed the news to the outlet. Francisco will be responsible for developing various NFT (non-fungible token) series at Dolphin. 

In a tweet, Francisco expressed his excitement about joining Dolphin Entertainment: 

"I can't wait to show you guys what I am up to! :) After 9 amazing years at Marvel Studios, it's time to create my own worlds. I am now Creative Director [at Dolphin Entertainment]!! I always wanted to get into #nfts"

The former Marvel Studios artist also shared the following statement with Deadline: 

"NFTs are such an exciting new world for any visual artist. I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to establish a creative role that doesn’t already exist inside Dolphin Entertainment. The ideas are endlessly flowing and it’s thrilling for a designer like myself to feel that anything is possible. I can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on with the world.”

Francisco last served as Senior Visual Development Artist of Marvel Studios, working at the MCU company for nine years. His previous works include characters such as Baby Groot, Loki, and Black Panther's Dora Milaje. 

Francisco was also the visual development concept illustrator for Doctor StrangeThor: RagnarokBlack Panther, and Captain Marvel.

The veteran designer's work will still be featured in Eternals, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Thor: Love and Thunder, and The Marvels

In addition to his work for Marvel, Francisco also served as Rhythm & Hues' Senior Concept Artist, with his creations being featured in projects such as R.I.P.D., Seventh Son, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Hunstman


There is Room for New Talent in Marvel 

Francisco made significant contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it's appropriate that his work should be celebrated even if he is moving on from the studio. 

Francisco crafted the design for one of the most adorable MCU characters in the form of Baby Groot all the way to creating the look of a collection of fierce warriors, the Dora Milaje. Many would agree that the veteran artist has a clear eye for design, and his work will definitely have a lasting impact on the MCU.

Aside from his contribution to character designs, Francisco's work in films like Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel essentially boosts his resume, and it is only going to get better due to the impending release of his craft in upcoming Phase 4 projects. 

It is unknown why Francisco decided to move on from Marvel, but it seems that his passion for NFTs could be the reason behind his exit. Despite his departure, it will be interesting to discover more of his designs in Phase 4 projects like Eternals and The Marvels

- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.