Oh Marvel Studios, how you love to tempt us with your opaque yet leading teases. The latest in this MCU trend came in the first episode of Moon Knight, the highly-anticipated new series starring Oscar Isaac as the titular anti-hero. Early on viewers meet Steven Grant, a museum gift shop worker who falls into a confusing adventure when he begins to lose time and have strange hallucinations. And it’s on one of those escapades that he awakes in a strange—yet familiar to comic book readers—Alpine village. Surrounded by mountains, one of which has a looming stone castle carved into it, we can’t help but think that Moon Knight might have just introduced Doomstadt, Latveria, the home of Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom.
Where Is Latveria and Why Does it Matter?
First introduced in 1964’s Fantastic Four Annual #2, Latveria is a fictional Eastern European nation that holds a vital place in the Marvel Universe. While Victor von Doom and Reed Richards met in college in America, Doom was actually born in Latveria. And throughout his life he would return, eventually ruling as a monarch / dictator over his birthplace. There Doom rules from the renamed capital city of Doomstadt, and his medieval castle known as, of course, Castle Doom. The Alpine locale sits above a beautiful Bavarian style village, and under the eye of his personal Doom Guard. That includes many of his famed Doom Bots as well as human soldiers. So, as you can see, Latveria is a key part of the lore and mythos of the Fantastic Four’s most famed villain.
Why Do We Think That Was Latveria?
Coincidences rarely happen in the MCU. So if you see a Bavarian village, set high in the Alps with a giant medieval castle, you’re likely meant to think it’s Latveria. Visually, the place where Steven Grant awakens has everything we’d expect from Latveria, including a potential Castle Doom. It also has a series of soldiers protecting that castle, and a cute Bavarian village below. So the creators of Moon Knight definitely want us to conjure up Victor von Doom. Though he doesn’t make an appearance, there’s a funny visual Easter egg to him when a shot of a box inside a cupcake truck looks like it says “von D” behind Grant though it’s later revealed to be von Darrelman. So Marvel’s having fun teasing this iconic villain even if we doubt that he’ll actually show up, though we wouldn’t be too surprised to hear the name Latveria.
What Does Latveria Have to Do with Moon Knight?
Well, actually a fair bit. As we mentioned in our episode one Easter eggs piece, the premiere of Moon Knight introduces a character named Donna. Marc Spector: Moon Knight #39 introduces Donna Kraft in none other than the Latverian Consulate. During an outrageous battle in which Moon Knight and Doom appear to team up, the pair connect and Doom reveals that Moon Knight is in possession of a relic that once belonged to his mother. The two issue arc set up a conflict between Marc Spector’s habit of stealing old relics and Doom’s need to reclaim them. It also introduced the idea of Marc having a Latverian head of security, establishing another connection between the hero and the troubled nation state. All of which is to say there’s precedent for Latveria to appear in a Moon Knight focused tale, especially if Marc was there to steal a relic…
If It Was Latveria, What Does That Mean for the MCU?
Well, it would mean that we’ve just seen the home of one of the most important villains in Marvel history. It also means that we could return to Latveria before the season is over. Firstly Arthur Harrow is definitely not secretly Doctor Doom. But he could have decided to build his judge, jury, and executioner commune in Doomstadt. Why? Likely because the man who rules it, Victor von Doom, doesn’t mind Harrow killing the inhabitants if he deems them to be sinners. If the creative team does confirm this is Latveria—which is definitely what they want us to think—then we’ll know that Doom and the Fantastic Four are one step closer. With Kang already in the MCU, this really isn’t the leap that some fans may think it is. Now we’ll just have to wait and see whether we get that name drop in the remaining five episodes!
Featured Image: Marvel Studios