That’s the face of the Conan you’ll never see in a movie.

By now you’ve probably seen the images from the set of the new Conan movie. Jason Momoa looks like a cross between Tarzan and Kid Conan, and the general cheesiness has done little to instill hope in the minds of fans. What we’ve ended up with is basically the weakest version of Conan possible, but what would have been the strongest?

I could do a whole series on the trials and tribulations of a new Conan movie over the past few decades; people from John Milius to the Wachowski Bros had their attempts. At a couple of points it got close to happening at Warner Bros; close enough that make-up tests were commissioned. The image you see above is one of those.

The make up was from Prosthetic Renaissance, and it was a pretty big set of appliances – forehead, nostrils, chin, bridge of the nose, wig, even cheeks. The design was, obviously, based on the late Frank Frazetta’s vision for the character, and it’s looks like a painting from the Frazetta archive come alive.

The movie ended up not going this way, and instead we’re going to have a slight, young Conan instead of this grizzled, bad ass one. For now enjoy imagining what could have been.

The concept and design are by Mike Marino, while the graphic design is by Anil Gupta.

UPDATE: Some people don’t believe this is a makeup, which really speaks highly of Mike’s work. He’s supplied us with a shot of the sculpt:

Click on the images for supersized versions of them.