Norway From Of Both Thor & Captain America
Another hotspot on Iron Man 2's S.H.I.E.L.D. is in Norway, probably the town of Tønsberg. Generally regarded as the oldest town in Norway, Tønsberg was founded by Harald Fairhair in the 9th century. There's some evidence that, in the MCU, the ancient Viking monarchy was strongly associated with the Asgardians; certainly Tønsberg was the site of Odin's battle against the Frost Giants in approx. 1,000AD, as seen in Thor's prologue. Then, during the Second World War, the Red Skull found the Tesseract and the Book of Yggdrasil at the church at Tønsberg, guarded by a Norse cult. According to official tie-ins, the Water of Sight - the pool Thor waded into in Avengers: Age of Ultron in order to receive visions of the future - is also situated on the outskirts of Tønsberg.
While S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't know all of this, they were most likely aware the Tesseract was found there, and may well have discovered other Asgardian artifacts in the area over the decades.
Wakanda (Eight Years Before Black Panther)
One of the other hotspots is located in East Africa, and is clearly the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Marvel had always known they planned to do a Black Panther film; the idea was first suggested back in 2005, when Avi Arad discussed Marvel's proposed first slate. As a result, the studio was already signposting that Wakanda existed, and was an area of interest to S.H.I.E.L.D.
It's impossible to say how much S.H.I.E.L.D. knew about Wakanda. Certainly, they would have wanted to obtain more Vibranium, and they knew that Howard Stark found his first samples of the rare metal in "deepest Africa." Over the years, S.H.I.E.L.D. had managed to acquire a handful of samples; according to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Fury's Black Box was made of Vibranium, and some of their larger vehicles were equipped with Vibranium-layered cells. But it's unclear whether or not S.H.I.E.L.D. were aware of Wakanda's Vibranium deposits; they could have potentially purchased their Vibranium on the black market, not knowing its true source.
It's also possible that Fury's attention was drawn by events in the Black Panther Prelude comic. Set around the time of Iron Man, this official tie-in comic showed T'Challa's first adventures as the Black Panther. He was involved in a skirmish on the Wakandan border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and was seen by a single U.N. peacekeeper. Shortly after, T'Challa headed to Paraguay to rescue Wakandan citizens from a hostage situation, where he was again glimpsed by local police. It could have been enough to cause S.H.I.E.L.D. to begin monitoring Wakanda, with Fury perhaps even assessing this mysterious being as a potential member of his Avengers Initiative.
Atlantis And Namor?
Finally, there's a location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, clearly intended to signpost the MCU existence of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis. In Marvel lore, the ancient kingdom of Atlantis sank beneath the waves 10,000 years ago, and in the present day is ruled by Namor the Sub-Mariner. Unfortunately, at this stage Marvel doesn't appear to have any real plans for Namor in the MCU thanks to rights complications dating from the early 2000s, when Marvel sold his film rights to Universal. The production rights appear to have reverted to Marvel due to inactivity, but distribution options are believed to still sit with Universal (this is similar to the rights situation with Hulk, who appears in team-up movies but not solo movies). Kevin Feige has said he believes there's "a way to probably figure it out," but even he's admitted that the film rights to Namor are "not as a clean or clear as the majority of the other characters."
So why did Marvel put in an Atlantean Easter egg? Perhaps a better question would be, why not? This Easter egg subtly introduces the concept of Atlantis into the MCU, but it does so without defining it, and without committing Marvel to do anything with it. After all, Atlantis is an underwater kingdom that keeps its very existence a closely-guarded secret from the surface-dwellers. S.H.I.E.L.D. may have known it existed, or perhaps suspected it, but there's no reason the rest of the world should have a clue about it. This Iron Man 2 Easter egg still works perfectly even if Marvel never get around to doing anything with the Sub-Mariner in the MCU.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019