Apologies for the generalities, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers, even within my spoiler tags.

When the full extent of Iron Man 3's plot is revealed, we see the

Iron Patriot suit, with one of the "Mandarin's" lieutenants inside it. His goal is to kidnap the President and set the stage for a takeover. He does kidnap the President, sending him away in the Iron Patriot armor.

This is an effective tactic - it gets the target away from support, takes him to a controlled location, and has the benefit of surprise - no one expected an attack from the trojan horse they used.

My question, though, is how they accomplished it. The biggest weakness in their plan is that they needed someone who could control

The Iron Patriot armor

who was not on the approved user list.

In Iron Man 2 it's pointed out that the only reason James Rhodes can control the suit is because Tony trusted him, and made him an approved user of Iron Man armors.

How did Aldritch Killian get around this restriction so that his thug could pilot it, and so it could be made to take the President away like that?

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    This wasn't explicitly explained this way, but I understood it that Aldritch re-keyed it when they did the rebrand. Remember that Tony asked Rhodey if AIM had done it. – phantom42 May 6 '13 at 14:36
  • For those who don't remember, the name of the lieutenant is Chad Davis, played by James Rackley. – PiousVenom May 6 '13 at 17:04
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    No, Davis is the ARMY lieutenant who exploded in Tennessee. We were referring to Killian's lieutenant. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan May 7 '13 at 4:34

The Iron Patriot armor is based on Tony Stark's original designs, but improved and extended by AIM, Killian's research think-tank, under contract to the US government. Stark mentions it to Rhodes at some point in the movie, over the phone.

Presumably, AIM added some backdoor features to the armor, allowing Nameless Nasty Lieutenant to use it, and even put the president in on auto-pilot.


During the Iron Patriot "conversion" (which mostly appears as a paint job) it appeared Advanced Idea Mechanics consulted with the Pentagon as a contractor for the Iron Patriot suit.

We are not told what they did for the suit, but it does allow Stark at some point during the movie to backhack the AIM servers through the suit. Killian asks if Savin could control the suit if they can get Rhodes out. He indicates this shouldn't be a problem indicating a familiarity with the technology. Production notes say Savin was a cybertechnology specialist who was injured during wartime.

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    Was Savin the lieutenant? They may have mentioned his name during the movie, but I missed it if they did. – Jeff May 6 '13 at 15:00
  • So did I, but now that Thaddeus mentions it, I do remember someone shouting "SAAVIIIN!" at some point. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan May 7 '13 at 4:32

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