Hell’s Kitchen (aka Clinton), located on the West Side of New York’s Midtown Manhattan, was a pretty rough place in the 1970s. A seedy and low-rent sector of the city populated by poor and working-class immigrants. The neighborhood has since gentrified, escaping much of its infamous notoriety. In the 1960’s Stan Lee deployed many of Marvel’s street level heroes in and around the area, turning it into a violent playground for Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and the Avengers.
Marvel’s Netflix series (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, The Punisher), are each set within modern-day New York — scattered across Harlem, the East Village, Central Park, and Rikers Island (among many other locations). But if you’re looking for key landmarks like the Empire State Building (or Stark Tower), you might be surprised that their omission is intentional, according to Marvel’s TV chief, Jeph Loeb.
Speaking with Inverse, Loeb relates that even though Marvel’s TV series and films are all connected, and frequently set in New York, they chose to use smaller references and callouts to important Marvel lore to effectively stitch everything together in a more subtle manner than seeing Thor flying across the sky:
“You’re obviously trying to get me into trouble by saying ‘#ItsAllConnected,’ and that’s fair. But it is all connected. And they do live in a world where Tony Stark is Iron Man, and by the same token they are aware that there are heroes that live in New York that aren’t part of the Avengers and are street level guys. What it really comes down to is story… We never do Easter eggs for the purpose of having an Easter egg. But [Hulu’s] Cloak and Dagger deals a lot with the people at Roxxon and people will know Roxxon for it being in other series in the same kind of way that there’s Hammer tech running around in Luke Cage, and we all know where Justin Hammer came from.”
New York residents might chafe at Netflix’s depiction of Hell’s Kitchen, which has been largely returned to its gritty roots. Loeb explains that this is by design, but also due to production logistics:
“Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t look like Hell’s Kitchen in the comic books. So, Hell’s Kitchen has become, some of it in Greenpoint, some of it in East New York, and some of it in Harlem, and some of it in the Bronx. We try to be more true to the comic books than today’s 42nd street, just because it wouldn’t exist in under the same lights.”
Given the connected nature of the MCU, many fans have wondered why Stark Tower isn’t visible in any of the Netflix shows, given the importance of the fictional landmark (and also its size):
“I think it’s much more that we look at it from the point of view of ‘where are we?’ and having to establish that along the way. In many ways, being less specific helps the audience understand that this could be on any street corner. Where we’re sitting right now, I can see the Empire State Building, but if we were sitting 30 blocks that way, I wouldn’t be able to see the Empire State Building. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means that we can’t see it from where we are.”
Does it annoy you that the Netflix series haven’t really capitalized on the broader MCU so far? Let us know in the comments down below!
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