Like every major Organisation in the world, there is just one badass thing that sets them apart. The CIA has the Pentagon. The KGB was rumoured to be operating through the Underground chambers of Kremlin. MI6 had its headquarters set in the famous SIS Building in Lambeth, London. But when it comes to the comic books, there is just one spy organisation that could match these giants in terms of name and fame. It is the Shield of Marvel Comics. The organisation is tasked with fighting all kinds of threats whether it is supernatural, extra-terrestrial or paranormal. And their headquarters is something really, really special. Ever since Shield first debuted in Marvel Comics, they have had one signature means of transportation which also doubles down to be their base of operations. It is the famous Helicarrier. Presenting – 10 Amazing facts about S.H.I.E.L.D’s Helicarrier we bet you never knew!!
1. Came to the scene in 1965
The organization and the Helicarrier debuted for the first time in the year of 1965 in Strange Tales #135. Shield was something that Stan Lee got the idea out of watching The Man from U.N.C.L.E. But Shield’s Helicarrier was a combined effort by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Helicarrier was then known as to be a part of Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law Enforcement Division aka Shield. But now its acronym turns out to be something else. The Helicarrier was headed by Nick Fury, a popular character of his time and the weapons on board was credited to Tony Stark, Shield’s lead weapons designer.
2. The Helicarrier was designed by Three Superheroes
It is not just Tony Stark that helped built the Shield headquarters. He sure did hog up all the spotlight but there were two more people who were of major help. First was the leader of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards. The second was an X-Men member who went by the name Forge. This fact was not made public up until a few years later. Forge made its official debut only about five years later. But do not let this fact steer your attention away from the fact that Helicarrier was Tony’s brainchild. He correctly predicted that no nation should host the Shield HQ as it would invite terrorist attacks, unnecessarily endangering civilian lives. Tony came up with the concept of a moving headquarters for Shield while the three of them collectively worked on the design.
3. There was an Iron Man Helicarrier
You heard it right!! There is no way Tony Stark would let go of an opportunity to remind the world just how much money he has. When Tony was made the acting director of Shield, he redesigned the Helicarrier in his superhero alter ego image. The Helicarrier was draped in red and gold, was powered by a massive arc reactor and had advanced weapons that the Shield would have never been able to afford had it not been Tony financing the operation.
But the Carrier was soon brought down by the Red Hulk in Hulk Vol. 2 and its remaining wreckage after it was downed was hijacked by a paramilitary group called the Intelligencia. They wanted to dominate the whole world by targeting and taking out the smartest minds in the world including but not limited to Tony Stark, Hank McCoy, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner, T’Challa and Reed Richards.
4. There are more than 20 Helicarriers
Over the course of time, Shield has had his hands in more than 20 different types of Helicarriers. We will name only a few that might catch your eye. The Pericles V was a Helicarrier that was infiltrated by Vampires and Blade was forced to destroy it so that it is not used by the bloodsuckers for their global airborne operations.
The Behemoth was a massive Helicarrier that was dispatched to deal with Godzilla when the Kaiju was spotted off the coast of Aalaska in the mainstream Marvel Continuity. The Behemeoth was piloted by Dum Dum Dugan and Gabe Jones. Then there is the Helicarrier Gold – the Helicarrier that cost an extravagant 8 billion dollars and was built by Tony Stark.
5. Hank Pym designed a whole fleet of Helicarriers!!
The Ultimates Universe is not your regular Marvel universe. The way things are run there are vastly different than the ones we are aware of. It is still the universe which forms the basis for the Marvel Cinematic Universe though. The headquarters of Shield in the Ultimates Universe, like in the movies, is the Triskelion. But what about the Helicarrier!! Turns out, there is a whole fleet of them now. Hank Pym helped design a smaller, faster Helicarrier that was used to design a whole fleet of these giants. The engines were still of Tony’s design nut the entire structure was all Hank Pym. One of them was even used as a base for the Ultimates for a short time.
6. It has already debuted in a TV Show way before MCU’s The Avengers
That’s right!! The Helicarrier has had its small screen debut much before it made its A shield debut in The Avengers of 2012. The short-lived 1998 TV Series titled Nick Fury: Agent of Shield, featuring the legendary spymaster played by David Hasselhoff is to be credited for this. But it was no cinematic masterpiece. If you are a comic book fan, we would ask you to watch it though.
The Helicarrier was not great to look at in terms of technology. It looked like a ship was strapped with rocket engines on its rear. But it was still called the Helicarrier and it sure did look like something that sprang right out of the 1960s and 1970s.
7. Meet the Iliad – base of operations of the Secret Avengers
The Iliad is the story of Troy and Athens. The rivalry between the two nations not only tore up the human world but also that of the Gods. Each God was forced to take sides in this conflict and betrayal, backstabbing and massacres soon followed. The Iliad is also the name of the Helicarrier that I operated by the Secret Avengers, a team if superheroes that “unofficially” carry out covert operations both inside and outside the country. Over the years Hawkeye, Black Widow, Phil Coulson, Captain America and a lot of Superheroes have been part of the Secret Avengers. It is so famous that it even got mentioned in the Agents of Shield TV Series.
8. In one universe, the Helicarrier houses the last of Humanity as Zombies take over the planet
In Marvel Zombies: Dead Days, a deadly mutagenic virus has managed to wipe out almost the entire human population by turning those that are infected by it into violent, flesh-eating zombies. Nick Fury has managed to shelter the remaining, still human superheroes in the flying Helicarrier. They think they are safe but then Reed Richards decides to infect his own team with the Zombie Virus, claiming that it is the next stage of human evolution. The Helicarrier soon falls as the infected take over the flying vessel.
9. At least five have been wrecked, with two in New York City itself
Considering the fact that it is Shield we are talking about and the number of threats they handle on a daily basis, sometimes they lose a Helicarrier or two in the fight. Shield has had at least five Helicarriers destroyed in the ensuing years if the Live Wires comic book series of 2005 is to be believed. The Live Wires were androids commissioned by the government to take on black ops missions. They claim that there are at least two wreckages of Helicarriers in NYC.
10. The Big Climax Fight scene in Deadpool 1 was actually the Wreckage of a Helicarrier
Since Studio rights are supposed to be a thing, one Studio cannot use comic book elements that another studio holds distribution or copyrights over. So Fox decided to subtly let the fans know how sly they could be. In Deadpool, the big fight scene between Ajax and Wade Wilson actually takes place in Helicarrier Wreckage. Everyone thought that it’s an aircraft carrier but look closely and you will know that this is not a typical aircraft carrier but something else entirely. The Studio has even corroborated this theory themselves. Deadpool is one sly devil folks.