- Note, mild potential SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War (and Avengers: Age of Ultron) lie below... -
As it turns out, one of the greatest debates opened up by Avengers: Age of Ultron ended up having very little to do with the film's cast additions, Iron Man's role in creating the lead villain, or even Joss Whedon's propensity to have every single character have their mind controlled at some point or another.
Instead, it centered on a seemingly mundane geographical question: Was this Wakanda?
After all, the movie made a distinct point of describing that epic fight sequence as taking place in 'Africa,' but not in any specific country. Add in the technologically advanced nature of parts of the city - including a notable piece of Samsung product placement - and the area's apparent re-appearance in Captain America: Civil War...
...and we might just have ourselves our first look at Wakanda.
On the other hand, though, the city seems to be just down the road from where Ulysses Klaue's lair is hidden - and he was driven out of Wakanda, with an ugly brand to match, right? So would he really be hiding on the coast of a nation that's presumably liable to kill him if he was discovered?
Sadly, we may well not know the truth of it until next year's release of Captain America: Civil War - but in the meantime, we do have our first look at what would have been Wakanda's big screen debut, had Joss Whedon not opted to go in another direction.
Cue some stunning set designs by Gregory Fangeaux:
Y'see, Ultron wasn't originally going to get his Vibranium from Andy Serkis' Ulysses Klaw - but direct from its source in Wakanda's mines.
Which, it seems, would have involved a large set-piece, presumably featuring a fight with the Avengers, much as in the finished movie...
Especially since, from the looks of it, there would have been a fairly substantial physical set constructed for the scene:
What, though, does that tell us about what to expect in Captain America: Civil War?
Well, for one thing:
It Makes it More Likely That Age of Ultron's African City Was in Wakanda
After all, the odds are that we were always going to see that Hulk/Hulkbuster face-off just after the scene of Ultron and the Avengers' meeting (whether it was on a boat, or down a mine) - which suggests an intended physical proximity between the mine and the city.
Which, in turn, suggests that the city we saw in Age of Ultron most likely was intended to be in Wakanda - while also explaining why the final film stayed pretty vague about where it actually was.
It Also Gives Us a Glimpse of Wakanda's Tech Level
Which, from the looks of things, is set to be pretty darned high - if not, perhaps, quite as futuristic as it is in the comics...
Which would, in turn, fit with the city we saw in Age of Ultron - developed, but not so much so that it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie...
The Change From the Mine Suggests Ulysses Klaue Matters
It's notable, y'see, that many of the design elements from the mine remained in the look of the final scene's cargo ship - with the main addition being the presence of Serkis' Klaw.
Which, presumably, suggests that he really will have a major part to play in a future Marvel movie - and perhaps even in Captain America: Civil War, and in connecting the Black Panther to the Avengers...
What do you reckon, though?
Did we see Wakanda in Age of Ultron?