In the hunt for Majorana particles, originally proposed in the context of particle physics, recent investigations have led to exciting prospects in superconducting wires, including possible experimental detection. This colloquium will first discuss how Majorana fermions can be present in ‘topological’ superconductors. Then, the rich interplay between potential landscapes and superconductivity will be explored in this context. As one instance, it is known that lattices subject to quasiperiodic potentials can give rise to beautiful Hofstadter butterfly patterns in phase space; these patterns can form the backdrop from which regimes containing Majorana fermions emerge. As another instance, in the presence of disorder, it will be shown that celebrated studies of localization physics can be combined with our recent understanding of topological superconductors.