While Mantis co-creator Steve Englehart was less than enthusiastic about the portrayal of his creation on the big screen in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 as a shy, awkward alien insectoid, rather than the half-Vietnamese, half-German martial artist he created, MCEU fans adore the character. Marrying her namesake with her appearance distinguished her from the other characters and her empathetic naivete was an excellent counter to Drax’s blunt literalness.
If the only-slightly insectoid Mantis played by Pom Klementieff bothered Englehart, he should be lucky that the Andy Park design that was originally approved didn’t make it to the big screen. The conceptual artist posted the image that was to be her final design and it shows a far more sinister and, well, insect-like Mantis.
I got called out by @osiristheory to show one of my favorite UNUSED concept art pieces… hmm, tough one. This was actually the APPROVED design of Mantis for #GuardiansoftheGalaxy Vol.2 but as it happens sometimes it changed during the practical FX stage. So thus, UNUSED 🙂 pic.twitter.com/2aHIPqKUol
— Andy Park (@andyparkart) September 15, 2018
For her sake, Klementieff stands by her portrayal and the positive impact it has had on fans, telling Paper:
I like to be the weirdo. People sometimes come up to me and tell me how much they love the character and feel a connection with Mantis because they themselves are not that confident or don’t feel good in their own skin. For me, it’s really touching and important that this character exists.
In the same article, she let slip that she was on set with both Brie Larson and Danai Gurira, who play Captain Marvel and Okoye, respectively, which seems to indicate that she will return to life in Avengers 4 after failing to survive Thanos’ apocalyptic *snap* at the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
Avengers 4 is slated for a May 3, 2019 release.