As we’ve already reported on Twitter & Facebook last week, concept art, for NES classics: Castlevania, Double Dragon, California Games, and a male-lead Metroid animation, were unearthed at a former DIC employees’ estate sale. The eBay auction, for the 8×10 photo prints, recently ended (5-13-19) and fetched $1,036.56 USD, for the lot. The found artwork appear to have been proposed concepts, to be companion cartoons to the Super Mario Super Show (1989) and be a part of a “Super Mario Bros. Power Hour.”
While, today, the thought of Samus Aran being portrayed as a man seems like an egregious mistake, back in 1989, it wasn’t a well-known fact that Samus was a female. Only gamers that had completed Metroid, with a quick enough runtime, knew Samus’ true identity. And even then, information didn’t travel as fast as it does nowadays. It wasn’t until the publication of issue 29 of Nintendo Power (October 1991) that Samus’ true identity became a mainstream fact, with the unveiling of the classic, “JUSTIN BAILEY” code. Before then, even Nintendo tried to hide the surprise in the instruction booklet of Metroid by referring to Samus as a “he” and “him” in the “Metroid Story” section of the booklet. The employees at DIC animation, most likely, used the story within the instruction manual as a template for the cartoon concept, without even bothering to play the game or consult the creators.
It’s safe to say Metroid fans were spared the horror of having the misguided concept art of a male Samus green lit. And lets not even get started on their concept art for Castlevania, which omits the legendary Belmont’s and instead looks like an animated take on the 1987 cult classic, The Monster Squad, which saw a couple of neighborhood kids fight against classic movie monsters. Considering how bad the Zelda cartoon turned out to be, it’s probably for the best that most (Double Dragon did get 2 seasons, 1993-1994) of these cartoons never came to fruition.
Watch the video below, courtesy of GameXplain: