Alleged concept art for the upcoming Iron Heart Marvel series has fans fearing that Marvel is knocking off DC's Lobo.
Slowly but surely, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is adapting all of its famous characters, and that includes Mephisto, who is basically the devil in the comics. Now, Mephisto is set to make an appearance in the upcoming Ironheart Disney+ show that focuses on the character of Riri Williams. But what has fans raising their eyebrows is that, in concept art for the character, Mephisto (typically portrayed as a red character) looks a lot like the DC comic antihero Lobo.
There are many possible reasons that Marvel may have decided to change the traditional appearance of Mephisto. For example, it’s risky enough that Disney is willing to recreate the devil as a major character that helps drive the action in the show. Executives may hope by making him look a little less like a stereotypical Satan, they might get fewer letters from concerned parents and religious groups (this may also be why the fearsome character is rumored to be played by Sacha Baron Cohen rather than someone scarier).
However, many fans think that Marvel (and particularly Kevin Feige) has a more nefarious purpose in mind with this change. If you look at pictures of Lobo and then look at this concept art, it really does look like Marvel just threw some armor onto a Lobo design and called it Mephisto. Some feel this is a pre-emptive and somewhat spiteful response to rumors that James Gunn wants to create a Lobo movie with the title role being filled by Aquaman star Jason Momoa (who, to be fair, has basically the perfect build for the character).
Some of the more conspiracy-minded fans think that Marvel changed Mephisto’s design because they are hoping to get James Gunn to back off. Since the average non-comic reader doesn’t know what either Mephisto or Lobo looks like, Marvel may hope to bring their Lobo lookalike to Disney+ before Warner Bros. can create a Lobo movie. That way, if Gunn proceeds with such a movie, the public will think DC ripped Marvel off instead of the other way around.
This accusation may not be as crazy as it sounds. Some feel that Kevin Feige greenlit previous movies in response to Warner Bros. announcements, including Captain America: Civil War (a “heroes fight heroes” movie that was his response to the announced Batman v. Superman) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (a reality-warping story that brings different versions of a hero together, just like Flash is supposed to do if it ever comes out). Therefore, Marvel changing up the iconic look of Mephisto just to get a one-up on its cinematic rival may be very plausible.
While this is perhaps less likely, Marvel may also have decided to change the look of Mephisto because his comic appearance is a bit too goofy. He’s basically just a red-faced guy in an all-red cosplay outfit. While the concept art of Mephisto looks like he got rejected from a KISS cover band, it would still make for a better live-action design than the comics version.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that concept art may or may not reflect the final look of a character onscreen. Just look at how different some of the Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Star Wars is versus the finished project. And at the end of the day, we’re more concerned with whether Marvel can make a decent Ironheart show than whether or not Mephisto ends up looking like a Lobo cosplayer visiting his local renaissance fair.