In Captain America, HYDRA is shown to have a great deal of advanced technology that was only feasible due to the extremely advanced Cosmic Cube-derived power source. HYDRA's Dr. Zola is credited as designing these weapons and technology. This allowed them to have technology in the '40s that in some cases surpassed modern day technology.

One of the themes of Iron Man 2 was how great a scientist and engineer Anthony Stark's father, Howard was. He manages to invent technology far ahead of his time. We see him in action in Captain America, and he gets access to some of the HYDRA technology through his work with the SSR and later SHIELD.

One of the HYDRA designs that caught my eye were soldiers in suits that cover their whole body. Under each arm is a flame thrower, like the Iron Man Mark I (the suit Stark and Yinsen made while in captivity). The soldier can see via rectangular slits in the facemask that have tinted glass, which reminds me of the Iron Man Mark I's face plate. The Mark I was only possible due to Stark's breakthrough on the ARC Reactor technology when he shrunk it down to a small enough size that he could implant one in his chest. So suddenly he has an extremely advanced mobile power source, much like HYDRA's Tesseract batteries, and the first thing he builds is similar to a HYDRA suit.

Did the Iron Man suit come from HYDRA's technology? Did Stark invent something so similar to HYDRA's technology on his own?

  • 1
    My thoughts exactly. well, not exactly, but i was going down that line
    – DForck42
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 3:43
  • @DForck42 Yeah, this wasn't something I noticed during my first watching of Captain America, but it stuck out to me during the second.
    – user1027
    Commented Aug 4, 2011 at 4:19
  • 2
    On a similar note, I noticed that the blue weapon sounds were very similar to Stark's propulsor technology (namely when he uses them as weapons). Granted their effects are different (knockback vs vaporization) but there may be a correlation.
    – Chad Levy
    Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 9:19
  • 1
    I think it's time to revisit this question!
    – Izkata
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 23:18

6 Answers 6


I don't think Tony's work was based on Hydra's any more than the Pentium 4 was based on the vacuum tube computers of the 40s.

It's always seemed to me that, in the Marvel universe (especially the Cinematic Universe) powered suit technology isn't treated as anything truly innovative, just something that's not effective. The miniature arc reactor, which Tony made (IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!) was what was truly innovative.

In the first movie, the scientists who build the Monger suit treat it (rightly!) as an engineering problem. They have absolutely no difficulty in reconstructing Tony's initial suit, only in powering it. The terrorists, who have no theoretical knowledge, reassemble the suit from literal scrap. Obviously BUILDING a suit is no great challenge.

In the second, Hammer (who is portrayed as nearly incompetent) doesn't just 'weaponize' the War Machine armor, he does it seamlessly. The War Machine armor doesn't look like an Iron Man suit with a shotgun bolted on - it looks like it's been re-engineered from the ground up.

The general techniques of suit design seem to be a given in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This may be because of the HYDRA suit in Captain America, but it's not a given.

Regarding the similarities in weapons, you must understand that Tony is an arms dealer and a weapon designer. Surrounded by foes, in a desert area, a flamethrower is a sensible weapon - in the cave it does not risk a cave-in, it sows confusion among your foes, and it is effective at simultaneously removing threats (by setting them on fire), causing distractions (look at the guy on fire!), aiming easily (note his difficulty hitting with the small rockets), and removing arms caches (BOOM!). Show me another man-portable weapon that fits all of those criteria.

Stark's designs all follow from his use of the flamethrower and knowledge that he'd be shot at. He needs to be protected from bullets (all over) and resistant to flame - hence a full-body suit. He needs to see (having no cameras nor display screens), hence eye slits.

Form follows function.

  • Suit design is fairly constant because the form is simple and sexy. It i sleek and simple and elegant. Compare that to starwars suits which are "Cool" and "Neat" but really arent simple or sexy. When you look at a comic book you see the colors but what really stands out are the lines. So if you are going to drawn something constistantly that looks good it needs to stay simple and sexy. The movies can change this and in some they have. (contrast the xmen equipmnt movies vs cb) But they do fairly well at keeping the feel of the Marvel universe even when they lose the continuity.
    – Chad
    Commented Aug 5, 2011 at 19:43
  • 7
    +1 - very nice answer, especially the breakdown on the flamethrower.
    – Chuck Dee
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 0:23
  • I would think flamethrower ammo would also be easier than other kinds of ammo while working with constrained resources.
    – xdhmoore
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 0:58

While there are similarities between the two, a clear connection between Hydra's WWII armor and the Mark 1 armor Tony Stark created in the first act of Iron Man are most likely unrelated.

In Iron Man, Tony creates the armor while being held captive by terrorists in a cave. He didn't have access to any weapons but his own Stark Industries ones and had no access to Hydra files/plans/etc. However, if Howard Stark based Stark tech on Hydra tech and then passed the company along to Tony, then one could argue that Iron Man's suit indirectly came from Hydra tech without Tony realizing it. You can read about Iron Man's film armor here.

I think the similarities between Hydra's armor and Iron Man's armor are just coincidental. How many suits of armor have we seen in fiction that have faceplates and blowtorches? Okay, I'm not coming up with any now, but it doesn't seem too big of a stretch to assume they came up with those ideas independently.

Of course, all of this could be proven true or false in the Avengers movie.

  • Avenger's didn't actually say much about it, as it turns out.
    – Jeff
    Commented Dec 29, 2012 at 16:52
  • Agent Carter followed Howard Stark's post-war activities extensively. But as far as I remember, it was never implied that Stark cribbed any of his ideas from captured HYDRA technology. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 22:41

In the original comic book continuity, no. In the movie continuity, perhaps. We know Tony Stark inherited much from his father (e.g. the prototype Captain America Shield used as scrap in his lab). So the ideas for the Mk 1 could have incorporated things Stark senior learned from exploring HYDRA technology.


Not really, since he created it himself and there has not been any hint that he had any inspiration for the armour before he was captured.


People seem to be forgetting that in the second film, Stark uses information cleverly hidden by his father to improve his miniature ARC reactor. The information given is molecular - something that we had an incredibly poor understanding of in the 1940s (or 1960s, I don't recall but either way). You can certainly credit much of the technology to Stark's father, but the fact that he seems to have knowledge of atomic/nuclear structure that, at least in reality, would have been leaps and bounds above seems to indicate to me that he might've had a little inspiration. It's not out of the question. In fact, OP seems to have some pretty solid evidence based on things I've not noticed in either film. I don't think those theories are so easily dismissed.

  • The element that Howard Stark was working on was Vibranium, the rare element used by him in Captain America: The First Avenger to make Cap's shield. He was attempting to synthesize it, however he couldn't complete the process with his current level of technology. It had nothing to do with Hydra or the Tessaract.
    – Monty129
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 22:40

If I remember correctly, Hydra's modern technology comes from A.I.M, which in the movie didn't come into play until Iron man 3, and we can be pretty sure Tony had no contact with A.I.M up until Ironman 3, so it's not likely Ironman suits contain Hydra technology.

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