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Wakanda Forever's Newly Released Concept Art Shows A Major Evolution In Key Character Designs

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" proved to be worth the hype. After the critical, commercial, and immeasurable cultural success of the first "Black Panther" movie, Marvel Studios had the daunting task of following up with an equally worthy successor. Things took a turn for the worse after the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman, which put the status of the sequel into question. Marvel Studios and director Ryan Coogler mulled over numerous ideas, including honoring Boseman with a sequel, recasting the role of T'Challa, and even scrapping the sequel altogether. They eventually decided to move forward with the sequel, using "Wakanda Forever" to celebrate Boseman and focus on grief, mimicking the cast and crew's real-life experiences with losing their friend.

Not only did Coogler honor Boseman's legacy with "Wakanda Forever," but he also breathed new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing two fan-favorite comic book characters. Riri Williams (Dominique Throne), aka Ironheart, and Namor (Tenoch Huerta) steal the show in "Wakanda Forever" and add two incredible characters to the MCU's arsenal. While Thorne will reprise her role of Riri in the upcoming aptly-titled Disney+ series, "Ironheart," Huerta and Namor's next MCU appearance is still up in the air. We know the two characters will play significant roles in the MCU going forward, and recent concept art shows just how much Marvel wanted to get their first designs right.

Concept art gives us an early look at Ironheart and Namor's designs

It's no surprise that an incredible amount of work goes into perfecting every hero and villain's design before their on-screen reveal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Namor and Ironheart were no different. Both characters have been living it up on Earth-616 in the comics, with Namor being one of Marvel's first characters ever and Riri's introduction coming in 2016. Needless to say, both characters had plenty of different designs Marvel Studios could have based their looks on.

Thanks to some recently released concept art, fans get a good look at some of their early designs for their debuts in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." The first look at Ironheart's suit comes from artist @adigranov on Instagram. Their artwork, which the studio didn't use in the final product, gave Riri a sleeker, more Iron-Man-like design for her Wakandan-built suit. Their concept art more closely resembles Ironheart's comic book Mark III armor. Instead, Marvel Studios decided to run with the design from @philjdsaunders that fans saw in the movie. The slightly bulkier design gives Riri a large jetpack on her back.

Namor's concept art shows Marvel Studios went through numerous options for the character's new Mesoamerican origin. Created by artist @anthony_francisco_art, the designs include three warrior outfits similar to the one worn on-screen by Tenoch Huerta. While the studio chose a color scheme akin to Namor's classic comic book costume, the concept art includes blue, tan, and painted designs. Francisco also drew a costume similar to the character's modern comic outfit but with emerald accents. It will be interesting to see if Marvel Studios decides to draw from any of these concept drawings for either character's future appearances.