I just watched Iron Man 1&2 the other day. I'm new to the entire story.

In IM2 we learn that his blood is being poisoned and that he has tried every combination of every existing element as a cure - unsuccessfully. Then he deducts "the key" from the Expo park's plans which saves him.

What is that key? What element had he not tried?

I realize that the movie story has to be simplified, compared to the original story, so there are probably story elements that I have completely missed because they're only in the original works. We also saw that in LOTR.

  • 3
    Clearly it's Unobtanium.
    – Ajedi32
    Oct 5, 2013 at 21:29
  • My guess is that it's whatever the element the Tesseract (Space stone) is made of. Tony sees a sketch of it in his father's notebook and skims past it, but then at the beginning of Avengers, he immediately takes notice of it in the briefing packet that Agent Coulson brings, and probably puts 2+2 together at that point.
    – Derek
    Jul 17 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia says that:

Although unnamed in the film itself, the movie's novelization identifies the element as vibranium, so named by Stark because it shares characteristics with uranium and has similar transgenic properties to another fictional element named "vibernum".

From Iron Man 2: A Novel

The moment of truth was nearly at hand in the transition of the grand vibranium experiment from creation of a single molecule to production of usable quantities of said molecule. Tony stood with a pair of tongs, the pincer end of which extended into a mean high-energy electromagnetic blast furnace where, with any luck, a whole lot of vibranium was precipitating into a kettle that the pincer would shortly grasp and remove.

  • 1
    I didn't think that Iron Man would be in the Wikipedia but now that you mention it, why shouldn't he be? Thank you! Also, it figures that the magic element is a fictional one. Hadn't thought of that either! Sep 4, 2012 at 18:28
  • 4
    This doesn't make any sense to me. Vibranium was a well-known element at that point - Captain America's shield is made out of it, and that shield was made by Tony Stark's father. He should have known to try it sooner!
    – hairboat
    Nov 19, 2012 at 15:56
  • 7
    @AbbyT.Miller The problem is that there was no way to synthesize vibranium. Howard Stark himself says in the Captain America movie that the shield was made of the only vibranium in the world, implying that they couldn't synthesize more.
    – Steam
    Jan 3, 2013 at 17:19
  • 3
    @Steam He said it was the only vibranium they had. In context, "they" most likely meant "our side," since there's plenty of Vibranium in the country of Wakanda.
    – user867
    Jul 29, 2015 at 7:55
  • 2
    @hairboat You're correct, Wikipedia was wrong here and has since removed that section. See my answer for the correct name of the element.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 14, 2020 at 8:23


This can be seen in Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week Volume 8:

Marvel's The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week_ Volume 8 panel, Fury, Clint and someone else talk; relevant section quoted below

Fury: He's working on a patent for "Badassium," but has encountered several bureaucratic obstacles.

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