16 Heartbreakingly Awesome Bits of Production Art that Never Made it to the Screen

By Greggory Basore in Daily Lists, Movies, Video Games
Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:00 am

8. Ralph McQuarrie's He-Man

Hey, remember that shitty He-Man movie from the 80's? Ever wonder what it would have been like if there'd been a budget to do it properly and the characters actually looked like the characters from the show? Wonder no longer. Instead you can check out this beautiful collection of art from Ralph McQuarrie and wring your hands as you cry out to the heavens for what might have been.

His design for Castle Grayskull would have been dope as hell, and the way he would have designed the heroic and villainous characters shows a deft eye for what would and would not look good on screen. While looking less like the original Skeletor than what ended up on screen, his version would have looked better and more engaging, considering the effects available in those days. Most importantly in a better world his version of Evil-Lyn would have stood toe to to with Michelle's Pfeiffer's Catwoman (and Evil April from TMNT IV) in the arena of "cinema characters who jumpstarted the puberty of a generation."

7. Faith and a .45

A crime noir game set in the depression era? Hell yeah. A crime noir game that doesn't take place primarily in a gritty urban environment like New York City?! FUCK YES!

... It was cancelled? FUCK YOU WORLD! This is the kind of fresh air that crime/action games could a breath of. Its art style is at once distinctive and familiar and its color palette would have stood apart from the dreary "Brown, Gray, Metal, Concrete, Rust, repeat" look of way the hell too many shoot 'em up games; it's clear that anyone who loves good game design or Bonnie and Clyde-style stories (which would have been a centerpiece of the gameplay as well as the story) should hunt down whoever's responsible this and kick 'em in the ding ding.

6. Lee Kramer's Silver Surfer


While it bears mentioning that Lee Kramer was the producer who brought us Xanadu, it also bears mentioning that A) a movie with the Surfer looking like the above image would have become a high school stoner classic worthy of sharing movie shelves with Heavy Metal and B) That it at least could have ended up being a 'fondly remembered disaster' alongside Howard the Duck and C) likely would not have been any worse than Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.


So apparently there was a point in the recent past when Steven Spielberg was going to be involved in the creation of a videogame that would have looked like this.

I guess there's not enough time for blueberry waffles to go? Seriously though, the game looked like it'd not only be gorgeous and engaging, but that it might have the potential to feature one of the most well-rounded and unique female protagonists to come along in gaming for ages. After far too many "characters" that can be summed up by "look at the physics engine on dem titties!" this parkour alien woman in a hoodie looked like she could stand alongside Chell from Portal and Faith from Mirror's Edge as worthy women warriors.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

4. Pixar's Newt


Does Pixar even know how to make a bad movie? If you're about to answer with some snarky comment about Cars, bear in mind that not being appealing to you and being a bad movie aren't the same thing. Knowing that they almost made a movie about two endangered lizards that scientists are trying to breed in captivity even though they hate each other leaves one with an ambiguous feeling. It sound a few degrees away from being a formulaic romantic comedy, but a formulaic romantic comedy from the guys that made a buddy comedy about two action figures still sounds awesome as fuck.

3. 100 Bullets videogame

If you've never read Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso's graphic novel masterpiece, you need to correct that, pronto. What starts off as a simple anthology of revenge stories -where downtrodden people are given a chance to kill the people who ruined their lives and have no legal consequences - slowly turns into one of the best political conspiracy thrillers ever written.

Once you've read a graphic novel or two in the series, this trailer of a game that would have explored that world (with an all-new story written by Azzarello himself) will hurt like nothing else. For some extra salt in the wound, it's worth knowing that a unique combat system would have allowed for the random generation of gorgeous FMV sequences anytime you filled up your rage meter and activated a special move to take out all of the enemies in the area.

2. Bryan Singer's X-Men 3


Opinions on X3 generally range from "Not as good as the first two" to "one of the shittiest movies I've ever seen". It's a well known fact that a big part of the problem is that Bryan Singer jumped ship to go make Superman Returns at Warner Bros. and matters were further complicated by Matthew Vaughn's last minute decision to leave the project, which resulted in Brett Ratner coming on board weeks before shooting was scheduled to start.

While Singer and Vaughn eventually made amends with First Class, it's hard not to wonder what might have been if Singer had resisted the siren call of the Big Blue Boy Scout. That's made even easier by these images from Michael Dougherty that were made when Singer's version was still in the works. While the idea of Jean Grey/Phoenix being a force of nature destroying the fuck out of San Francisco is thrilling, this image of a showdown between Colossus and the Juggernaut is orgasmically bad ass.

Maybe if we're lucky, Days of Future Past will erase The Last Stand from History and allow Singer to do his version of X3.

1. Alex Ross' Green Goblin


One thing that superhero movie buffs might not know if they don't spend a lot of time on the net is how much division there is over Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies. Yeah, it's generally accepted that the third one sucked, but there's actually a surprising number of people who hate the first two as well. Even among people who like them, it's almost unanimously agreed that the Green Goblin's suit from the first movie looks like a Power Rangers villain who wandered onto the wrong set.

The bafflingly ugly costume looks even worse when put next to a design done for Sony by none other than comic superstar artist Alex Ross.

While the sword seems a bit out of place, the rest of the costume has the right mix for translating comics to live action. That a studio exec or, god help us, Raimi himself, looked at this illustration and thought "naw, that suit of armor would be waaay better" makes the world seem like a sadder place.

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