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Is the Utah town in 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' real? Sort of

Published December 15, 2013 9:50 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If you saw "Repairs," the second-to-latest episode of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," you might remember that part of the episode took place in Batesville, Utah. If you wondered (like I did) whether that is a real place, I looked into its existence.

It appears that Batesville was a Tooele County town that pioneers settled about 1850, according to a book about historical locations and a survey of historic buildings. Batesville (named after the first pioneer who lived there) eventually become Erda, which as you probably know is the name that the place still goes by today and is now home to a few thousand people. So I guess in the Marvel universe, the name never changed — a drastic contrast that completely shatters your suspension of disbelief, I'm sure.

It is a little interesting that the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." writers did not stick with Batesville's modern moniker. Erda is another name for Thor's mother (the one used in Wagner's Ring Cycle) and could have been a round-about, somewhat esoteric Easter egg — especially considering the episode deals with Hel, one of the nine realms in "Thor" and Norse mythology.

I do not know whether the Utah scenes were shot here or in southern California, but if the latter, they picked a spot that convincingly passed for our rural desert, though perhaps not specifically eastern Tooele County. But, as you might have guessed, there is no particle accelerator complex in Erda, especially not one that blew to kingdom come and tore a hole in the fabric of interstellar space. That we know of, at least.

On a journalism-related nit pick, one of the characters pulls up an article about said explosion that mistakenly places Batesville in Illinois, according to the story's dateline. Looks like the unnamed news organization could use a more vigilant copy editor.

You can watch the full episode here. The show airs Tuesdays at 7 p.m. MST on ABC and is currently on a mid-season hiatus.

- Michael McFall