Preparing For Attilan, Looking Back At Mystical Cities In The MCU

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The Inhumans will bring us Attilan, the mysterious city of the Inhumans ruled over by Black Bolt and Medusa.  A safe haven for an entirely Inhuman population, it’ll introduce us to unique customs and views that we haven’t seen in the MCU.  After all, the Inhumans are descendants of human beings who were captured by the Kree and experimented on, forcing them away from traditional human spaces.  We’ve seen some Inhumanity with creatures like Hive, but according to Inhumans showrunner Scott Buck we’ll see more grounded characters in the first eight -episode season. Interestingly, Attilan is not the first mystical city that we’ve seen in the MCU. These cities either contain great magic and phenomena unexplained by science or give birth to timeless legends – and often times both. Let’s take a look at a few other “mystical” locations we’ve seen prior to to stepping into the Inhumans’ homeland.


Our first introduction to mystical cities in the Marvel universe, Asgard was not only a realm fit for the gods but our first hint of a cosmic universe.  Asgard, ruled over by Odin and Frigga, was our first real introduction to an alien species. We first saw Asgard in Thor, which was released in 2012. From gold spires to beautiful gardens, it’s a true alien city.  It’s rather fitting that with Thor: Ragnarok coming next in the MCU, Asgard will be demolished, signifying the beginning of a new cinematic universe.  While we’ll miss Asgard, the last we saw of it with Loki assuming Odin’s form makes us curious about whether any changes have taken place for good or ill with Loki the trickster in charge.

In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor will retreat to Asgard after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which could signify Earth being aware of the cosmic world and aliens who are now focused on earth themselves.  It can be argued that all of this is the fault of Thor and his compatriots.  Hela’s cryptic words “Asgard is Dead” are terrifying. Will we be saying farewell to our first mythical city? Only time will tell.


Some fans of the MCU might not know that our first look at an Inhuman city was actually awhile back in Agents of SHIELD Season 2.  Phil Coulson was carving strange symbols into everything he could get his hands on and it turned out to be a blue print for a location that wasn’t on earth — but under it. Specifically under the ocean in an abandoned Inhuman city and outpost. Mack ended up confronting the city head on (or at least its defenses), turning against his companions and fighting the team.  Daisy Johnson was exposed to a terragenesis crystal and gained her Quake super powers.

After Skye’s transformation into Daisy, she went to Afterlife, a secure outpost where her mother had gathered as many Inhumans as she could to try and teach them about her people’s life and culture.  While the lack of support from Attilan remains to be explained — shouldn’t the Royal Family have known about the portal to Maveth and Jaiying’s training ground — we look forward to seeing just what split the main block of Inhumanity away from its smaller outposts. Hopefully Dichen Lachmen’s Jiaying (Daisy’s mother) will return in some capacity on The Inhumans to at least offer some insight into these rogue factions.  Sounds like great fodder for a second season.


The mystical city guarded by the Iron Fist and a magical dragon hasn’t been seen yet in Iron Fist — save from a distance. Buried on a mysterious mountaintop, the memories of K’un Lun sustain Danny Rand and his friend Davos after Davos comes from K’un Lun to return Danny to his post outside the city.  Important locations include a mystical tree at the center of the city and a massive lake that Danny and Davos rode carts around.  While the concept of the mystical city isn’t unusual, K’un Lun has an almost Brigadoon like curse over it.  Danny only returns to K’un Lun after a certain amount of time and his abandonment very clearly had horrifying effects on the city.

Will we see K’un Lun return to its glory at some point during the Iron Fist series? Will we see it thrive once more or has the hand destroyed it forever?  Only time will tell if the mythical city will come into sharper focus or fade into obscurity.


A major location in the first Guardians of the Galaxy became a focal point for the cosmic universe and has so far defined the look of the out of this world locations that we see throughout the film.  Director James Gunn’s use of light and color broke the mold and made Knowhere a planet of outlaws and thieves as beautiful as any mystical city, be they cosmic or otherwise.  It’s even translated to the real world with its cosmic sensibilities as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout ride at the Disney California Adventure resort.

Okay so they didn’t particularly re-create Knowherebut from the use of color it’s very clear they were inspired by it.  Buried in the skull of a celestial, the Tivan Corporation mines the ancient beings skull for precious minerals and supplies that power a wealth of black markets across the galaxy.  It also houses the Collector and his collection, which includes everything from Howard the Duck and Cosmo to the slugs from Slither.


Wakanda is a truly great city that deserves more than inclusion, it needs a spotlight in and of itself.  With Black Panther coming soon, the look of the city is something on everyone’s mind.  We were able to see some of T’Challa’s city thanks to a featurette on the Doctor Strange DVD, and we have some vague hints as to how the hidden city of the Black Panther and the source of the world’s Vibranium might look, enough to get us really excited.

After the release of the Black Panther trailer we’ve seen more of Wakanda.  Brought to life by production designer Hannah Beachler (famous for working on Moonlight) with costumes by Ruth E Carter (Roots, Selma) the city is clearly like nothing that we’ve ever seen – which makes it all the more precious.  A large part of Wakanda’s history ties into that it’s a city that’s never been conquered and has technology the likes of which the world has never seen.  Ulysseus Claw even compares it to El Dorado, the famed city of gold.  That’s surely worth including it on a list worthy of mythical status.

Black Panther is highly anticipated and Wakanda will be a core part of the story.  What secrets does it hold? As a city that has been shrouded in myth and rumor for centuries, it deserves it’s place in the mythical MCU.


There’s no city more mythical in the MCU than New York City, where the majority of Marvel’s adventures take place.  From the grit and dirt of Hell’s Kitchen to the sweeping heights of Avengers Tower, New York City has hosted alien invasions, mythical creatures, zombies, and more.  New York, much like its West Coast counterpart, defines pop culture and advancement and nowhere is that more true than in the MCU and Marvel’s subsequent issues.  Everything about New York City in both comics and film is a love letter to the city where the house of ideas was born.

One way or another, Attilan has a lot to live up to.  Will it measure up? Only time will tell.

Did we miss any of marvel’s Magical cities?  Do you agree with our consensus? Sound off in the comments below and share your thoughts about these mystical and magical locations.

Marvel’s The Inhumans hits ABC Fridays at 9pm on ABC this fall.


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