'Big Hero 6' Concept Art Reveals Alternate Visions of the Disney Animated Hit

Disney puts years (and years) of development into creating just one of its animated films, and the movie you see on the big screen represents the final vision in a process that sees many versions considered — and even partially produced. With Big Hero 6, the studio was entering new territory altogether, marking both its first anime-inspired film and the first movie based on Marvel Comics in its nearly 90-year history.

And so, there’s a gold mine of abandoned concept art made for BH6, and with the film’s release, some of the movie’s animators and artists have been releasing some of those never-before-seen sketches and paintings. A few of those images are included in the Art of Big Hero 6 book, a book worth checking out if you’re enticed by the stills below.


Mingjue Helen Chen/Disney

Boy-genius Hiro Hamada spends a lot of time building silly inventions before called to duty. And in an early version of the film, his portfolio of sweet-but-semi-useless innovations included rocket boots for his cat, Mochi (of hairy baby fame). The Japanese marketing team loved it so much, in fact, that they continued to use it to pitch the movie, even after the scene was taken out of the movie.


Ryan Lang/Disney

Ryan Lang, a visual development artist at Disney Animation, shared stills from several scenes that didn’t make it into the final film, including this wrestling match between a charging sumo and a very confused Baymax (who’s a personal-healthcare companion, not a warrior!).

Writes Lang on his Tumblr:

“This was an concept piece I did for a moment that was in an earlier version of the movie, but this image ended up in the “art of” book. This was a fun piece. I actually named all the gangsters in the back based off of local/japanese food you can get in Hawaii, where I was born and raised. I think I was pushing for a late 70’s/ early 80’s vibe, which I thought would have been awesome. Think of an animated sci-fi superhero movie, in the period of American Hustle, and that’s what I was trying to get across.”


Ryan Lang/Disney

Above is a more fierce version of Baymax. Note that his armored suit makes him look a lot like another big Marvel hero: Iron Man — a very damaged and scratched-up Iron Man, reminiscent of Hulkbuster armor, which we’ll see in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But according to Lang, who made the painting, it had a very different origin:

"Earlier in production, when the story is still being worked out, you can kind of pitch ideas,” he wrote on his Tumblr. “One of the ideas was that the microbots became their own entity, which Hiro and Baymax had to lure out of the city. This was when Baymax’s design wasn’t settled on, so I gave him some Gundam influence. None of this is in the film, and didn’t fit into the art book, so…… here it is.”


Scott Watanabe/Disney

Art director Scott Watanabe went into nearly microscopic detail in this early concept sketch of San Fransokyo, the film’s hybrid metropolis. This drawing focused on the city’s Financial District, hence all the towering skyscrapers and lack of detail in the outskirts.


Scott Watanabe/Disney

The painting above, also via Wantanabe, is a zoomed-in look at the city’s commercial district. Anyone get vibes of Bill Murray’s Tokyo cab in Lost in Translation?


Michael Yamada/Disney

Over the last week, Disney Animation concept artist Michael Yamada has taken to Twitter to share BH6 art from various stages of production. One of the more polished images features the design for the “Encounter Suit” worn by Abigail, the Krei Tech test pilot who is sent on a risky teleportation mission. Look at that attention to detail, outlining the various functions of a costume worn by a character that we hardly see throughout the film.


Michael Yamada/Disney

Here’s an early concept design for the cockpit to Abigail’s teleportation pod. Looks like she’s nestled inside an open heart valve.


Michael Yamada/Disney

This is an early proposed version of the teleportation portal invented by Krei Tech, though the directors ended up choosing a much different design.

Want to see Big Hero 6? Visit our Showtimes page to get tickets.