Elysium Concept Art Reveals The Torus Originally Had A Roof

Here’s some concept art from the development of the movie Elysium. The artwork is by Ben Mauro – one of several artists who worked on the movie – and was released on his website earlier this year.

In addition to its third act plot holes, one of the problems many sci-fi fans were keen to point out at the time of the movie’s release was that the Stanford torus lacked a visible ceiling (something needed to keep all that lovely, fresh elitist air from escaping into space). Interestingly, this concept art shows that the orbital habitat was originally designed to include this vital feature.

The concept art also shows some new gadgets (including a huge mech) and scenes that did not make it into the final cut. The removal of Elysium’s roof was probably part of a wider streamlining of the plot, which is likely also responsible for some of those nasty plot holes.

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Oh look, it’s Jodie Foster enjoying her own private smug-booth.E_factory_01c_BM_22_905

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Have you ever noticed that sci-fi prison cells never have toilets, even when depicting a dark, gritty future. Maybe these cyborgs don’t need to pee but instead produce small pellets that can be easily swept up with a dustpan.E_ESCAPE_julio2_BM_905



Nice to see East Asia for a change. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that continents other than North America can also be seen from space.E_FLOATING_01f_BM  copy_23_905


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Hell yeah! Mega-mech crushes the poor! Because this is clearly more cost effective than charging people to use your magical health machine.I_battlefield_01bb_WIPc_BM_905


Is that a force field bubble torch, or has Matt Damon been taking lessons in airbending from Avatar Aang?

Artwork by Ben Mauro.

  • Peter Hanely

    Stanford “Taurus”? Do you mean Stanford Torus?

    • Oops. My bad. Fixed.
      Nice Catch.

    • John H Reiher Jr

      Damn Autocorrect!

      • Nah, I can’t blame this on autocorrect, just my brain.
        While writing this I was actually wondering what possible reason there could be for the shape to be named after a bull and didn’t bother to look it up. Clearly, I am an idiot.

        • John H Reiher Jr

          Damn Brain! Failed me again!

  • John H Reiher Jr

    I never saw the movie, the trailers convinced me not to watch the movie. But the exoskeleton Matt Damon wore must of had a small nuclear power plant on board. Otherwise the batteries would have run out on the exoskeleton based on how much he was pushing the exoskeleton.

    • Handwavium, John. Always handwavium.

      • John H Reiher Jr

        I think it’s more applied phlebotinum than anything else.

    • The first half of the movie is actually pretty good.

  • Jeff Darling

    HAte to break the bad news, since you already have one boo boo, but if the torus is moving at 32fps, you don’t need a roof, it will hold it in by artificial gravity, just like Earth does.

    • I thought the walls aren’t tall enough for that. I haven’t done the math because I’m allergic to it, but I’ve read in several places that it just wouldn’t work for a habitat of that size.
      Wouldn’t the walls need to be huge like those of Niven’s Ringworld?

      • John H Reiher Jr

        The walls aren’t tall enough for 1 atmosphere of pressure. You need a roof to hold in the air and provide some protection from the sun. The roof would do the job of the Ozone Layer and cutting down on UV.

        • Thanks John. I knew somebody smarter than me had worked that out 🙂

          • John H Reiher Jr

            That’s good, who was that? :-p

      • Christmas Snow

        Right, ringworld is much larger allowing the use of high walls and no roof.

    • Christmas Snow

      A roof is needed if the air column above “ground” (outer rim) is not tall enough to exert pressure by its sheer weight to create a one-atmosphere pressure. If the torus is big enough, say like “ringworld” featured in Larry Niven’s known-universe series, there is room for side walls tall enough to hold-on to an atmosphere just like an aquarium holding water without the need of a roof.

  • Paulo R. Mendes

    The absence of a roof was one of the worst holes in the plot of this movie. :p