The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems to be open for new and bizarre characters to get the spotlight, even projects that may have seemed way too “out there” for the time or possibly even too expensive to make. There is some excellent stuff on the way with The Eternals and an X-Men reboot, the two superhero teams that might be closely connected as they share an origin of sorts via the Celestials (introduced to audiences in Guardians of The Galaxy), who tinkered with early man’s DNA to develop a whole wave of sub-species that would become eternal, deviant, and down-the-line mutants.
Well, the Celestials also have a connection to a place that we’ve never visited from the comics, The Savage Land. A place on Earth where time forgot and those alien experiments on prehistoric man reside nestled and hidden in Antarctica that also happens to have dinosaurs and other fearsome creatures. The fictional location is best known to be connected with the X-Men franchise (now at Marvel Studios via the Disney-Fox merger) along with Marvel Comics’ longtime fantasy jungle superheroes Ka-Zar and Shanna The She-Devil.
In Antarctica, there were many volcanoes, where they installed devices to maintain a tropical climate. To be observed, however, they would need living forms. These living life forms were taken all over the centuries, including the Man-Apes. Soon after, Nuwali and the Beyonders decided to stop the experiment because of boredom. However, the devices were still running and the species living in the Savage Land continued to live.
Later on, a group of humans from Atlantis discovered the Savage Land and claimed it their home. They also discovered the climate-controlling technology and used it to keep the volcanoes working. They mastered genetic engineering. They experimented on the various species living in the Savage Land and were then forced to work for the Atlantians until they revolted. The Atlantians used the technology to expand the Savage Land. However, the Atlantians were overthrown and the expanded areas in the Savage Land remained.
After some years, the Savage Land was discovered by a man named Lord Robert Plunder who took back a metal which could liquefy all other metals. The discovery of this metal meant that others would want to steal his discovery, so he took his eldest son Kevin, and went back to the Savage Land. However, Robert Plunder was killed by a local tribe of Man-Apes, and Kevin grew up in the Savage Land, known better as Ka-Zar.
In Iron Man 2, the location may or may not have been an Easter Egg as one of the items among Howard Stark’s belongings is a map of Antarctica.
I’m not entirely sure if this was related to his search for Steve Rogers or possibly S.H.I.E.L.D. trying to locate the Savage Land. Nick Fury seemingly also knew about Atlantis and Wakanda as another map in the film teased those two locations, so Howard/S.H.I.E.L.D. possibly knowing about The Savage Land isn’t terribly impossible or at least the legend/myths about it.
There had been rumblings of Marvel trying to develop a Ka-Zar movie for years and I do remember Kevin Feige suggesting during a red carpet interview (which I couldn’t find) that Marvel was internally examining why John Carter didn’t connect with audiences before tackling a Ka-Zar movie. We’ve seen the studio circle-back to previous projects they had been developing with Phase 4’s Black Widow and Shang-Chi being prime examples of Marvel film projects that are getting a second chance, a Ka-Zar film could be no different.
The great thing about The Savage Land is that there are boundless amounts of tribes of humans, humanoids, and other creatures (dinosaurs in the MCU people!!!) to explore/mine for a film franchise. The various sects/groups include The Ape-Men, Aerians, Awakilius, Bhadwuans, The Cat People, The Cliff Forest People, Dissians, Durammi, Ethereals, The Fall People, The Golden People, Gondorans, Gorankians, Gwundas, Hauk’kas, The Hill-Forest People, Jeriens, Kantos, Karems, Klantorrs, Lemurans, Lizard Men, Locot, Man-Apes, N’Galans, Neo-Men, Nhu’Gari, Nowek, Palandorians, Pterons, Reptile Men, Rock Tribe, Snowmen, The Sun People, Swamp Men, Sylandans, Tokchis, Tordon-Naans, The Tree People, Tribe of Fire, Tubanti, Uruburians, Waidians, The Water People, and The Zebra People aka The Swamp Tribe.
Oddly enough, The Savage Land also has a connection to Namor’s people The Atlanteans through some of the groups that live there along with the technology. It could even be a huge gateway for Jack Kirby’s weirdly awesome Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy (or Moon Girl) to join the MCU as well.
The Multiverse could be another route to go as well and might be a future thing that gets expanded as it was first introduced in Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange and there are signs will get explored very soon.
Also, the Russo Brothers have been talking up making an adaption of the Secret Wars comics that featured the cosmic entity The Beyonder and him pitting Earth’s heroes/villains against each other on Battleworld, The Savage Land could be a slightly more interesting surrogate to Battleworld and make Beyonder a Celestial similar to what James Gunn did with Star-Lord’s father Ego The Living Planet.
The future of Marvel Cinematic Universe is a little uncertain without Kevin Feige announcing their five-year plan and I’ll be very curious to see if The Savage Land will be a future setting for a Phase 4 or Phase 5 movie, only time will tell.