For the most part, movies in the earliest days of Marvel Studios kept things grounded — at least as grounded as gamma-infused monsters can be. Then Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange and upset the status quo with a major shift in storytelling that introduced out-of-this-world concepts and ideas to the live-action cinematic universe. That included long-time Strange villain Dormammu and his vast cast of henchmen called Zealots.
Led by Mads Mikkelsen's Kaecilius, the Zealots were responsible for bringing Dormammu and his Dark Dimension to Earth until Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team were able to reverse time. Though the Zealots looked human in the final project — save for some bedazzled skin around their eyes — one visual development artist originally imagined a completely different take on the baddies.
View this post on Instagram
Here’s a really fun destroyed zealot concept for #drstrange I did a while back at #Marvel visual development. I was experimenting with the opacity option in keyshot I think all of the cut out areas was actually made up of text spherically applied to the model. I may have done a little compositing in Photoshop to design the solid areas. Really fun process. #conceptart #creaturedesign #mcu #zbrush #keyshot
The latest concept art comes from concept artist Jerad S. Marantz, who crafted one iteration of the villains as if they looked like faceless alien beings.
"Here's a really fun destroyed zealot concept for #drstrange I did a while back at #Marvel visual development," Marantz said on Instagram. "I was experimenting with the opacity option in keyshot I think all of the cut out areas was actually made up of text spherically applied to the model. I may have done a little compositing in Photoshop to design the solid areas. Really fun process."
Though it's assumed Kaecilius and his crew won't appear again, nothing's impossible when it comes to the MCU. As Dormmamu's arguably Strange's biggest nemesis, it stands to reason that, at the very least, the Zealot's leader will return sooner or later.
Doctor Strange is now streaming on Disney+ while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently set for release on March 25, 2022.
Who do you want to see as a villain in the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel? Think it over and let us know your thoughts either in the comments or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.