Unused ‘Doctor Strange 2’ concept art reveals a literal glow-up for Wanda

scarlet witch
via Marvel Studios

Scarlet Witch finally rose up in the WandaVision series finale, with the MCU’s update of Wanda Maximoff’s comic book costume receiving universal adoration from the fandom. And yet her look was totally redesigned for her return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with her outfit now made much darker and grungier to better fit Wanda’s new role as arch-villain. But a newly unveiled piece of concept art reveals the aborted costume design we could’ve had. And it’s a literal glow-up.

The concept artwork, as shared by user xEXTREMISTx on the Marvel Studios subreddit, showcases a Scarlet Witch design that’s pretty close to what we ultimately got in the Sam Raimi sequel, including the notable addition of sleeves to Wanda’s costume. However, it sports a whole different vibe thanks to the inclusion of an alternate cape, which resembles bird wings. The way her powers light up her whole form was also played down somewhat in the film, whereas the concept piece carries this detail over from WV.

With the glowing aura and the bird-like wings, this character design would instantly remind any Marvel fan of Jean Grey’s Dark Phoenix. While audiences might’ve appreciated this callback, this may well have been the reason this costume wasn’t chosen. Perhaps Marvel didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that Wanda’s corruption arc is essentially the same as Jean Grey’s, a story we’ve already seen play out twice on the big screen. Besides, encouraging people to notice a link between the film and 2019’s clunker Dark Phoenix wouldn’t have done it any favors.

That said, Multiverse of Madness still featured an epic confrontation between Wanda and Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, which was somewhat reminiscent of his showdown with Jean in X-Men: The Last Stand. Hey, maybe someday Scarlet Witch and the Phoenix could face off against each other in that X-Men vs. Avengers film that seems like an inevitability at some point in the next decade.

For the moment, catch Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda in Doctor Strange 2 in theaters now.