With the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, we were brought into a world where superheroes were real. Soon that universe became something bigger. It became a world of gods, sorcerers, demons, aliens and talking raccoons. It showed us civilizations built in the stars, a rainbow bridge and a planet of frost giants. It took us to Asgard, the Nova Corps and the Dark Dimension.
Considering everything we’ve seen from the MCU, there is still so much that has yet to be explored. Some of it we can expect to see soon: the Kree homeworld in Captain Marvel, Attilan in The Inhumans, the planet Sakaar in Thor: Ragnarok and the mystical city of K’un-Lun in Iron Fist. Even with all of that, there’s still more.
There are places in the Marvel Universe that have been hinted at but never shown. With some, there has been no indication that they exist at all. A few of them could pop in as early as this year with the release of Thor: Ragnarok, or some could be introduced later on down the line during Phase 4. Either way, the Marvel Universe is so rich with history, the possibilities are endless. So let’s take a look at 15 Unexplored Corners of the Marvel Universe.
There are at least two places in the Marvel Universe that have been given the name “Limbo.” One is a demonic dimension associated primarily with Magik of the X-Men, meaning that it likely belongs to 20th Century Fox and won’t be used in any properties produced by Marvel Studios. The other is a place that exists outside of time. It was first described in Avengers #2 by the Space Phantom as “the silent world between space and substance.” Limbo is ruled by Immortus, an alternate reality version of Kang the Conqueror.
Limbo has served as a prison of sorts for banished creatures such as the Space Phantom and the Dire Wraiths. The Dire Wraiths were an alien race who hid here on Earth masquerading in the form of humans. Only Rom the Spaceknight could see them for what they really were with his energy analyzer. After identifying them, he would activate his neutralizer which would banish them to Limbo, though to human eyes it appeared that he was killing them. To the Dire Wraiths, death would have been better. They viewed Limbo as a form of hell, a place where they would be forced to spend an eternity living a pointless existence.
Of the six Infinity Stones, five have been featured in the MCU. The only one we haven’t seen yet is the Soul Stone. In the comics, the Soul Gem has the ability to steal and control souls.
Adam Warlock, the hero entrusted with protecting the Soul Gem once battled a future, evil version of himself called the Magus. Warlock feared the day when this future would become a reality and sought to prevent it. Later, Warlock teamed up with the Avengers to fight Thanos who had gathered the Infinity Gems to unleash destruction on the world. Thanos absorbed the souls of Warlock’s friends, Pip and Gamora, and fatally wounded Warlock. Before he could die, Warlock was visited by a past version of himself. His past self trapped the soul of his dying self in the Soul Gem to prevent him from ever somehow becoming the Magus.
Once inside the Soul Gem, Warlock discovered that the gem housed its own pocket universe called “Soulworld.” There with him in Soulworld were Pip, Gamora and enemies who he had previously absorbed into the Soul Gem. What was different was that they were no enmity between them. In Soulworld everyone knew each other’s names and lived in perfect harmony with each other. Only in Soulworld was Warlock able to find the peace he could never find in the world outside.
The era of King Arthur and Merlin has been an important part of Marvel Comics since the 1940s. The 6th-century British kingdom known as Camelot is often used as a setting for time travel, allowing some of Marvel’s most prominent heroes to interact with figures of legend.
The man credited with killing King Arthur, Mordred the Evil, along with classic King Arthur foe, Morgan Le Fay, have fought Doctor Strange and the Avengers on multiple occasions. The sorcerer Merlyn has used his magic to help the heroes. The first Black Knight was a member of the Knights of the Round Table and the first known wielder of the Ebony Blade, the magical sword currently held by the modern incarnation of the Black Knight, Dane Whitman. Being an Avenger who has traveled back in time to Camelot several times, the Black Knight serves as one of the biggest links between Camelot and the rest of the Marvel Universe.
The addition of Doctor Strange to the MCU paves the way for the “sword and sorcery” side of the Marvel Universe to finally get an introduction.
In 1897, H.G. Wells wrote a novel called The War of the Worlds that told the story of a Martian invasion of Earth. In 1938, a radio broadcast of the novel narrated by Orson Welles made the events sound so real that some people actually believed it was happening. It didn’t of course, but in at least one timeline in the Marvel Universe, the Martian invasion was a real threat.
The Earth was invaded and taken over by the Martians. The survivors were forced to fight in gladiator pits. One of these gladiators, Jonathan Raven, was experimented on, causing him to gain the ability to mentally control Martians. After his escape, he took the name “Killraven” and became the leader of a group of freedom fighters. Though Killraven exists in an alternate future, interdimensional travel has caused him to draw other heroes like Spider-Man into his fight against the Martians.
Apart from Killraven’s timeline, Mars has intersected a few times with the mainstream Marvel Universe. Characters claiming to be Martians have been visiting Earth since the Golden Age. The most recent activity on Mars involved the alien Ex Nihilo, who terraformed the Red Planet into a garden planet.
11. Nexus of All Realities
In the Florida Everglades resides the Nexus of All Realities, a portal that acts as the doorway to all possible realities. The guardian of the nexus is the Man-Thing, a human that was transformed into a monster due to a combination of a failed attempt to recreate Captain America’s super soldier serum and the magical energies of the swamp.
The nexus caused the swamp to attract all kinds of bizarre activity, leading Man-Thing into conflicts with time-travelers, demons and other supernatural creatures. Man-Thing has had to foil countless attempts by villains to manipulate the nexus. Dormannu of the Dark Dimension once used the nexus to invade Earth but even he was stopped by the Man-Thing.
At one point, the nexus was destroyed due to excessive interdimensional travel. Man-Thing had to work with Doctor Strange to restore it.
The nexus is also what stranded Howard the Duck on Earth, which is just one example of how writers have used it as a way to take a character from one world to another. As a method of simple interdimensional travel, the Nexus of All Realities could easily be featured in a sequel to Doctor Strange.
In Ant-Man, we saw Scott Lang shrink down to a subatomic level to land in a place called the “Quantum Realm.” In this Quantum Realm, there seemed to be no sign of life or activity of any kind. The comic books tell us otherwise. The Microverse is a microscopic world filled with various planets and lifeforms.
The Silver Surfer, the Hulk, Captain America, Cable, the Fantastic Four and Hank Pym have all had adventures in the different worlds that make up the Microverse. The Hulk actually found love with a resident of the Microverse, Queen Jarella of the planet K’ai. K’ai was a mostly primitive planet inhabited by green-skinned people. Some of the other planets in the Microverse include Tok, a world of lizard men, Kaliklak, a planet populated with insect-like humanoids such as Bug (a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy), and Homeworld, a molecular chain planet that served as the headquarters of a team of superheroes called the Micronauts.
Ant-Man and the Wasp represents an opportunity to explore the many features of the Microverse. Since we know that Hank Pym wants to save his wife from the Quantum Realm, it stands to reason that Ant-Man and the Wasp will spend a decent chunk of the movie at the sub-atomic level.
Battleworld was the setting for Marvel’s first 12-issue limited series, Secret Wars. Created by the cosmic being known as the Beyonder, Battleworld was a planet made up of pieces of other planets, including the city of Denver that he took from Earth. He constructed Battleworld to serve as an arena for the universe’s greatest fighters.
The Beyonder kidnapped heroes and villains and pitted them against each other to see who would win. The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk and Doctor Doom were among the guests brought to Battleworld.
Battleworld’s importance to the Marvel Universe is measured by the amount of pivotal moments that occurred while these characters were together. Spider-Man found the black costume that would lead to the introduction of Venom. Magneto was first recognized as one of the good guys. Doctor Doom stole some of the Beyonder’s power. And when it was all over, the Thing quit the Fantastic Four to stay on Battleworld while the rest of the heroes were sent home.
Located near the Carpathian Mountains in Romania is Transylvania, the home of Count Dracula. Born in the 15th century, Vlad Dracula is the Lord of the Vampires and the most powerful vampire in existence. After being integrated into the Marvel Universe in Tomb of Dracula #1 in 1971, writers have used Dracula’s immortality to enrich the supernatural side of Marvel’s history. Dracula’s age has allowed him to appear in stories ranging from the 15th century all the way to modern times.
Over the centuries, no vampire deserves more credit than Dracula for the spread of the vampire curse and the need for vampire hunters like Blade and Frank Drake. The fight against Dracula and his vampire slaves has often reached deep into the Marvel Universe, affecting everyone from Doctor Strange to Spider-Man.
Like vampirism, lycanthropy also has its roots in Transylvania. The lineage of Marvel’s most famous werewolf, Jack Russell, is closely connected to Count Dracula. Russell starred in his own comic series, titled Werewolf by Night, during the mid 1970s.
Otherworld is a vast, magical dimension filled with gods, dragons, elves and other creatures from Celtic mythology. Many of the Celtic gods and creatures based in Otherworld have served as both allies and enemies of Doctor Strange, Thor and others.
After the death of King Arthur, Merlyn brought his body to the island of Avalon in Otherworld. Arthur was resurrected to reign once again, this time as the king of a rebuilt Camelot. The Knights of the Round Table relocated to Avalon to reunite with their king.
Merlyn later founded the Captain Britain Corps., a team of superheroes whose responsibility was to protect the various realities of the omniverse. Each reality had its own Captain Britain designated as its protector. The protector of the Earth-616 reality is Brian Braddock, chosen by Merlyn’s daughter, Roma. Eventually becoming the King of Otherworld, Braddock has defended Otherworld from reality-warping mutants, demons and a Skrull invasion. Though each Captain Britain regularly patrols their own reality, on occasion they do convene on Otherworld, resulting in a large number of Captain Britains gathering together at once.
Thousands of years ago, a race of powerful beings called the Celestials came to Earth and genetically engineered two sub-species of Man, the Eternals and the Deviants. They also created the X-Gene, the gene responsible for mutantkind. Once their work on Earth was completed, the Celestials left to create life on other planets but would continue to return every thousand years to judge their creations. If they were dissatisfied, they would destroy them and try again.
The Celestials’ creations had difficulties coexisting. The Eternals were immortals with incredible abilities who had the same physical features as humans, while the Deviants with their monstrous appearances were described by one of the Eternals as “an ever-changing and destructive failure.” Their differences drove them to live separately. As Eternals built the technologically advanced city of Olympia on the mountains of Greece, the Deviants created an underground base in the depths of the Earth and called it Lumeria.
Since the Olympians are based in Greece near Olympus, the city of the Greek gods, understandable confusion has occurred. Worshippers of the Greek gods have mistakenly worshipped the Olympian Eternals as their own, angering Zeus and his fellow gods.
While the Eternals wait for the Celestials’ judgment every thousand years, some leave Olympia to adventure on Earth. Two Olympian Eternals, the Forgotten One and Sersi, have served as members of the Avengers.
Though most of the Eternals seen in the Marvel Universe are Olympians, the Celestials have been known to create Eternals and Deviants on other planets. The most well-known of these is Thanos, an Eternal who also possesses the Deviant gene.
We can’t say for sure if Thanos being an Eternal will be acknowledged in Avengers: Infinity War, or if the Olympian Eternals will eventually appear in the MCU, but what we do know is that the Celestials already have a place in the MCU. In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Collector operated his museum in the severed head of a Celestial. We also caught a glimpse of a Celestial in action when the Collector showed the Guardians a recording of the history of the Infinity Stones.
5. The Negative Zone
Discovered by Reed Richards in Fantastic Four #51, the Negative Zone is a world composed entirely of anti-matter. The Negative Zone has a breathable atmosphere, making it possible to survive in space. Once thought to be largely uninhabited, the Negative Zone is filled with aliens fighting to conquer the dimension. Two alien warlords and denizens of the Negative Zone, Annihilus and Blastaar, have been in a war for control of the Zone for years.
For a while, Richards used the Negative Zone as a prison. Whenever the Fantastic Four captured an enemy they didn’t know what to do with, they would send him to the Negative Zone. However, as villains continued to escape, Richards eventually abandoned the idea but has since revisited it.
The Negative Zone is a constant source of danger and a place that most heroes try to avoid, but in some situations there are circumstances that make this impossible. In what was possibly the most effective way for writers to utilize the Negative Zone, there was a storyline in the 1970s comic Captain Marvel where Mar-Vell and his teenage sidekick Rick Jones became linked through a powerful bond. Forced to share the same atoms, the two could not exist in the world at the same time. If Mar-Vell was on Earth, Rick Jones would be fleeing for his life in the Negative Zone until it was time to switch places again.
Asgard is not the only dimension populated by mythological gods. Dwelling on a landmass suspended in space is Olympus, home to the gods of the Greek pantheon. Olympus represents Greek mythology in the same way that Asgard represents Norse mythology. Olympus is linked to at least four other worlds: Earth, Pluto, Hades and Asgard. The ruler of Olympus is Zeus, who is similar to Odin in terms of sheer power.
Whereas Thor is the principle character of the Norse pantheon in Marvel Comics, Hercules is the most recognizable character in the Greek pantheon. Capable of fighting Thor and Hulk to a standstill, Hercules is easily one of the strongest heroes on Earth. Hercules is also an Avenger whose membership goes all the way back to 1967. When Hercules was nearly beaten to death during an attack by the Masters of Evil, Zeus ordered an assault on the Avengers, leading to an epic battle between gods and superheroes.
3. Mount Wundagore
During the Dark Ages, the evil sorceress Morgan Le Fay used a magical book of evil known as the Darkhold to summon a demonic spirit called Chthon with the purpose of using its power for her own gains. Unable to control it, Morgan Le Fay had no other choice but to seal it away inside Mount Wundagore, a mountain in Eastern Europe.
Centuries later, a pregnant woman came to Mount Wundagore and gave birth to two children, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, currently known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Chthon, still locked away in the mountain, “touched” Wanda with his power, granting her a portion of it. The depth of her power was not realized until she was already an Avenger. Chthon’s intention was to use Wanda as a conduit. If he could control her, he could be free to do as he pleased. Chthon’s gift—or curse—is the reason why Scarlet Witch and her reality-warping abilities have become one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest and most consistent threats.
Sometime during the 20th century, a scientist calling himself the High Evolutionary set up a base on Mount Wundagore to conduct experiments in genetic engineering. He succeeded in mutating animals into humanoid creatures, giving them human-like intelligence. He called his creations the New Men and had them become the Knights of Wundagore, whose mission was to ensure that Chthon remained in his prison.
2. Savage Land
In Iron Man 2, as Tony Stark looks through his father’s possessions we get a glimpse of a map of Antarctica. It has been speculated that this was a reference to the Savage Land, a secret tropical region found deep in Antarctica. It is the only place on the planet where dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals continue to thrive. Also living in the Savage Land are a multitude of tribes. Some are human while others are descendants of other races.
In the 20th century, a British nobleman named Robert Plunder discovered the Savage Land while on an expedition to find vibranium. After he was killed by a tribe of Man-Apes, his son Kevin was rescued by Zabu, a saber-toothed tiger. Kevin and Zabu quickly developed a close bond. When Kevin grew up, he became “Ka-Zar,” or “Brother of the Tiger.” Developing a reputation as the Lord of the Jungle, Ka-Zar became the Savage Land’s self-appointed protector.
When the rest of the world learned of the Savage Land’s existence, the area became swamped with researchers, reporters and treasure hunters. The Savage Land became a hotspot for exploration and discovery. Due to its size and unique wildlife, the Savage Land is a place that the MCU could spend several movies exploring. We already have aliens and gods. Dinosaurs have to be coming soon, right?
About 20,000 years ago, a small continent near Europe was ravaged by earthquakes, causing it to sink deep into the Atlantic Ocean. Some time later, it was discovered and settled by a genetic offshoot of Man who could breathe underwater. Now called Atlantis, the region has grown into a powerful underwater kingdom with advanced technology.
The two most important identifying features of Atlanteans are their blue skin and winged feet, though the most famous citizen of Atlantis has only one of those characteristics. Namor the Sub-Mariner, one of Marvel’s first two heroes introduced in 1939, is a half-human, half-Atlantean mutant and the Prince of Atlantis. Namor has led Atlantis into war on numerous occasions, beginning with Nazi Germany during World War II.
Namor had sided with the Allies against Hitler but turned his back on the world when nuclear testing in the ocean threatened his home. Namor has since changed his position, but one thing that hasn’t changed is his unwavering loyalty to his people. Under Namor’s leadership, Atlantis is regarded as a well-respected power and a force to be reckoned with, no matter what side they’re on.
The movie rights to Namor have been left ambiguous for years, but a recent rumor suggests that we may be seeing the Sub-Mariner in a new movie or TV series.