While Justice League properly stunk up multiplexes last Fall, it’s only with the release of the vastly superior Avengers: Infinity War that its flaws became that much more apparent. Prime among them are the two film’s villains. Both have CGI bad guys, and both are intergalactic warlords, but while Infinity War‘s Thanos had an imposing physical presence, understandable motivations, a clear character arc and an excellent performance by Josh Brolin, Steppenwolf is just kinda there.
It’s been widely reported that the villain’s design and personality was one of the major factors altered by studio execs after they got cold feet on Zack Snyder’s DCEU plans after the critical mauling Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice received. After all, we’ve already seen concept art of a more monstrous and alien looking Steppenwolf – appearing somewhat bio-mechanical in the style of H.R. Giger. Now, courtesy of creature designer Jerad S. Marantz, we’ve got yet another alternative model for the Apokolyptian villain.
Check it out below:
As Marantz explains, this would have been the base model for Steppenwolf, with battle armor to be added on top later. While it’s hardly the most original monster design I’ve seen (he looks a lot like something you’d disembowel in DOOM), it is at least a bit more physically menacing and alien than the ‘tall dude with a weird hat’ we got in the finished movie.
Being completely honest, it’s not as if as Steppenwolf looking slightly cooler would have saved the Justice League train from running off the tracks so dramatically, but it might at least have made things a teeny bit better. Even if the fabled Snyder cut materializes one day, I doubt they’re going to go back through the movie and completely redo Steppenwolf’s CGI, so cool ideas like this seem permanently consigned to the drawing board for now.
Still, it’s nice that we continue to get backstage looks of the film we might have seen if the studio hadn’t stuck their big noses in and decided they knew better than the creative team.