Black Panther's debut costume could've looked more like Batman, according to early concept art

Contributed by
Mar 7, 2018

Black Panther’s standalone film may be the one breaking all the records right now, but the character made his debut back in the 2016 supergroup epic Captain America: Civil War. That film pretty closely nailed what he was to be in his feature premiere, mostly thanks to its costume design for the sleek hero. However, he almost went in a different visual direction in that film, one that would’ve no doubt impacted his future appearance.

Posting on Instagram, concept artist Jerad S. Marantz showed off a few pieces of artwork he did for T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) in his big-screen debut. Working under character designer and artist Ryan Meinerding, Marantz initially had a darker, more early-aughts action-figure look in store for Black Panther:

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Those intense little details were eventually wiped clean to be sleeker and more modern, though Marantz’s helmet ideas were admittedly pretty cool. One concept gave the hero a Batman-style half mask that would allow Boseman to do a bit more acting in costume without completely removing the Panther cowl:

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The other mask idea gave the headpiece some athleticwear-style breathability, with geometric areas of high-tech ribbing breaking up what would eventually look like one piece of slick leather:

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Concept art always gets tweaked before the final product, mostly because costume designers are working in a more practical reality. However, despite a few key differences, Marantz’s Black Panther outfit is pretty close to how the hero looked ... until his tech-savvy sister wiped away any lasting references to the Dark Knight.