Here’s the thing: If you set out to create a cohesive universe of characters and stories across film and television, audiences are going to question inconsistencies. It’s a very exciting thing to watch a vast and detailed creative endeavour unfold and expand before our very eyes, but such projects invite scrutiny, and scrutiny – more often than not – highlights bizarre omissions. This is why, when the co-executive producers of Marvel TV, Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory, recently accepted an award from the National Broadcaster’s Association, they were questioned about the notable absence of the Avengers Tower in their many TV series.
The award they were accepting was a ‘Created In New York’ award, intended to celebrate work that’s closely interwoven with the iconic city. Loeb and Chory spent time discussing with Inverse the importance of the setting in terms of the history of Stan Lee and Marvel, before Loeb addressed the issue that’s been bugging fans for a number of years – why don’t you include Avengers Tower more freely?
“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.”
To paraphrase, then, just because you don’t see the Avengers Tower in Marvel TV shows, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Loeb and Chory are very clear about the fact that the TV shows and the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are all connected, and exist in the same reality – but they’re also clear about the fact that New York City doesn’t really look like the city depicted in their small screen endeavours, as Chory explained.
“Hell’s Kitchen doesn’t look like Hell’s Kitchen in the comic books. So, Hells 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.”
So, since it’s not always possible to correlate locations with actual places in New York City, who’s to say where you can see the Avengers Tower from? Loeb’s response is not really a satisfactory answer to the question because, equally, we could argue that since Marvel’s New York City is partly fabricated, why not add the Avengers Tower into the odd shot, here or there? Despite this conversation with Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory, then, the absence of the Avengers Tower from Marvel television shows remains a mystery worthy of an Alias Investigations case.