This take on the classic Marvel Comics character entered the fray looking and acting a little bit different than what fans were used to, being described by Poulter as having "[came] out of the oven early and isn't fully baked."
And with the Guardians threequel out in theaters, the cast and crew that brought this intergalactic epic to life have gotten the chance to look back on the journey, revealing that characters like Chukwudi Iwuji's High Evolutionary could have looked a whole lot different.
What Could Have Been for Adam Warlock
Thanks to a number of recently released concept pieces for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, fans have gotten the chance to see a series of rejected designs for Will Poulter's Adam Warlock.
Concept artist Jerad S. Marantz shared a look at Poulter's hero, which - while looking different - does feature notes of the version of the character that made it to the screen.
The Guardians concept artist wrote that he "got to do some early designs for Adam Warlock," calling the experience of working with Marvel Studios a " huge honor:"
"I got to do some early designs for Adam Warlock for 'Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3.' It’s always such a huge honor working with the team over at Marvel visual development. Big thank you to Andy Park for bringing me on for this incredible project. The final design for Adam warlock was done by my good friend Constantine Sekiris!"
Marantez posted two versions of the MCU character, one with a cape and armored shoulders, and another slightly more stream-lined take.
Marvel Studios shared other alternate looks for the golden antihero, one being from MCU artist Aleksi Briclot with a messy head of hair:
Another unused design gives Warlock his own spacesuit helmet and a wide glider-like cape:
Marantz also revealed (via his personal ArtStation) early concepts for some alternate powers for the Guardians 3 character.
These rejected powers included the character's ability to seemingly steal the soul of foes in a manner that looks pulled straight out of a Doctor Strange film.
The character can be seen teleporting pieces of an enemy's body as well, in some sort of disintegration process.
And the last of Marantez's concept pieces sees Sovereign's Avatar of Life blasting a repulsor beam that warps space and time around a specific target.
Artist Aleksi Briclot also shared his take on the iconic Marvel character in a look that very closely resembles the final design, albeit with ever-so-slight differences in the character's upper arms, legs, and hair.
On the keyframe (which he uploaded to Instagram), Briclot remarked that he "really [loved] the movie:"
"A keyframe done for 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3' directed by James Gunn for Marvel Studios. Really glad and proud to discover the result on the big screen! Really love the movie! Under Andy Park lead."
In a lengthy caption, Sekeris lamented the "idea behind his design" was to " reflect Queen Ayesha of the Sovereign Race" so audiences could easily discern she was "his mom:"
"Hello all……been a while since I posted …..here is Adam Warlock concept design I did for 'Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3' working at Marvel studios in Vis Dev lead by Andy Park…….the idea behind his design was that he had to reflect Queen Ayesha of the Sovereign Race so u can connect that she is his mom….we did do a lot of early exploration of his comic design u will see in time….."
He added that Adam Warlock was "such a cool character to realize" and "[he's] happy [he] was able to be a part of this stunning film:"
"Such a cool character to realize and James Gunn directed a beautiful film….I’m happy I was able to be a part of this stunning film…..everyone involved did such an amazing job…..want to also give a shout out to Costume Designer Judianna Makovsky and her team for doing a superb job on his suit and also to Production designer Beth Mickle and her team for such beautiful work……..Actor Will Poulter is so great as Adam warlock…please go see it if u haven’t already …I say this alot im greatful and honored to work with top notch talent I get to learn from and b a better artist…….more to come humbly thanks………."
The Many Faces of Adam Warlock
An exciting part of the Marvel Studio process is getting to see what could have been after the fact with, what has turned into a regular parade of concept pieces being posted by the talented artists that make these movies.
These sorts of rejected designs are valuable resources, showing just how much work goes into getting the look of a character or locale up on-screen.
What is notable about these Adam Warlock designs specifically is the fact that none of the deviate too far from what ultimately made it into the movie.
How the creative process of coming up with the look of Will Poulter's Marvel hero may have differed from others, was the fact that the art team was not just pulling from the comics for inspiration.
Because the visual language of the Sovereign had already been defined in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, there was already sort of a cinematic foundation to build upon for Adam Warlock.
This would have likely spawned less varied concepts just because that groundwork had already sort of been laid.
Adam Warlock can be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which is playing in theaters now.