The Iron Patriot: what he means for Iron Man 3

Feature James Hunt 8 Jun 2012 - 07:16

With Iron Patriot set for Iron Man 3, who is he, and what does he mean for the movie? James tells us everything we need to know...

The latest stolen glimpse of Iron Man 3 has revealed something that even the craziest Internet speculation could have predicted: an appearance by the Iron Patriot. But who is that, and why is it such a surprise? In this article, James fills you in on everything you need to know about the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Who is the Iron Patriot?

It's a simple question with an easy answer - but one that can only lead to confusion. That's because the Iron Patriot is Norman Osborn, a villain best known as Spider-Man's arch-nemesis and more frequently seen in his villainous identity of the Green Goblin.

In the comics, Norman Osborn assumed the identity of the Iron Patriot during the events of "Dark Reign", a storyline that saw Tony Stark ousted as head of SHIELD while a publicly repentant Osborn, who claimed to be "cured" of his villainous insanity, was installed as his replacement. With Stark on the run, Osborn was given access to a selection of old Iron Man armours which he re-purposed into the Iron Patriot identity so that he could lead his team – the Dark Avengers – in the field.

Intended to combine the patriotic symbolism of Captain America and the technological prowess of Iron Man, the Iron Patriot was the head of a group of Osborn's imitation Avengers team, alongside a selection of other villains, such as Venom (posing as Spider-Man), Wolverine's son Daken (posing as his father) and Daredevil's nemesis Bullseye (posing as Hawkeye). With Osborn running SHIELD, the real Avengers were outlawed, and a none-the-wiser public accepted Osborn's team as their protectors.

Unfortunately, if you think this means that Norman Osborn is going to appear in Iron Man 3 as part of a process that will integrate the Amazing Spider-Man movies into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you're going to be sadly mistaken. Licensing restrictions make that an all but impossible idea – especially since it looks like Osborn is already spoken for in the rebooted Spidey film. The only answer that works is that it's someone else inside the suit.

And from the photos, we know that it's James Badge Dale, who has already been announced as playing as Lt Colonel Eric Salvin – a character whose comic book identity is the heroic cyborg, Coldblood.

So what does this mean for Iron Man 3?

Well, it's clear that Savin isn't going to be Coldblood, but will instead be playing some version of the Iron Patriot. It's fair to assume he's not going to be best mates with Tony Stark, but will he be an outright villain? That remains to be seen.

Given that the US military has found Tony Stark difficult to work with in the previous Iron Man movies, it seems likely that the Iron Patriot will represent the US military's attempt to create an Iron Man who is under their control. It could mean this is a modified version of Rhodes' War Machine armour. It could mean that it's a new suit reverse-engineered from the Stark's. Considering Tony's propriety over his technology, we can be pretty sure that he won't have been the person giving the away the plans, and as a dedicated inventor he certainly won't be pleased to see someone infringing his patents either. That suggests they'll butt heads – but will they, in classic hero versus hero manner, then unite to face a common foe?

So, we have a pretty good idea of who the Iron Patriot is, and we can guess where he came from – but that leaves us wondering why they chose the Iron Patriot, instead of any other number of armoured heroes or villains they could have chosen?

Well, dare we speculate that the US military has done what Norman Osborn did and deliberately combined both Captain America and Iron Man? After all, they want their own Iron Man - is it too much to suggest that after catching a glimpse of Captain America during the events of The Avengers, they said, "let's get one of those too!"

I'm not suggesting Salvin will be a super-soldier. Instead, I'm suggesting that the US military saw a patriotic-themed hero and decided that if there was going to be one running around, he should at least be working for them. It's just an idea, but it'd be a fantastic nod to the ways that the various films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe can influence one another now that Avengers has kicked the door wide open.

But wait! There's something else that might explain the use of the Iron Patriot. After all, we know that China is going to play a major part in Iron Man 3, and with it, there's the expectation that the Mandarin will appear. Perhaps the Iron Patriot is created to symbolise America's power and influence in the face of a strengthening foreign enemy. The Mandarin was created in the 60s as a (rather politically incorrect) representation of the "yellow peril", after all – perhaps the way the writers of Iron Man 3 are dealing with this culturally difficult character is to play up the jingoism by throwing the Iron Patriot into the mix.

Is that all?

It's fair to say that the inclusion of the Iron Patriot has added yet another element to an already overflowing movie. We're expecting the return of Iron Man, War Machine, Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts. We're expecting references to Avengers, and quite probably a Maria Hill cameo. We're expecting a trio of villains - Maya Hansen, Aldrich Killian and the Mandarin – and the Extremis Virus. And now, we've got the Iron Patriot as well.

All in all, it looks like Iron Man 3 is going to pack a lot of film into its running time. Perhaps that's a valid response to Iron Man 2's meandering and turgid story. Perhaps it's an attempt to go even bigger and better than The Avengers. Or perhaps it's a huge mistake that's going to make Iron Man 3 the most convoluted Marvel film yet. At this point, we don't know. But the knowledge of what's in store is just making us even more excited about what'll happen to Tony Stark next - and after The Avengers, it's hard not to look forward to it.

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That's a whole lotta speculation, but who knows where they'll go with the story. It looks like it could upset a few comic purists, though. But hey, it's a movie.

I sense this could be pretty underwhelming after the spectacle of the Avengers, but it's definitely on my 'to watch' list...

maybe the iron patriot is war machine painted differently for public relations in the film, it could just be iron man with a different paint job they like to throw references to old iron mans

But if it was War Machine painted differently, I think it's safe to assume that Don Cheadle would have been wearing it. Can't imagine they would create a suit to fit another actor JUST for pictures to throw people off the scent of who is really inside it.

I think it's definitely a military sanctioned IM who is at their beck and call as the military hate the idea of that kind of power not being in their control.

There may be an element of mystery in how they obtain it, perhaps Mandarin as a global arms tech dealer is involved and he has the classic motivation of wanting to encourage war so that he can make money off it.  Which would totally justify his position as the anti-stark.

I've said it elsewhere but i really want them to introduce Ghost into the mix as he would be a great moral foil for Tony and add a bit of anti-1% sentiment to the story too.

Maybe its the beginning of the Dark Avengers so they come together to fight the Avengers in the next film? Or maybe Tony just got jealous of Captain Americas really naff costume and wanted to make his own?

It's a nice article and has me very worried now. It seems like there is a lot of plate spinning going on. I'm confused with the role that the Chinese are playing. I'm guessing the Mandarin will represent them but then why have Ben Kingsley play the role? It would make sense to have someone who looks Chinese - maybe someone like Andy Lau, who has been rumoured. Maybe things will become clearer and I'm just hitting the panic button.

I'm getting Spider-Man 3 flashbacks. Shudder.

I always thought extremis would make a great movie and would be a good move for the 3rd film as the baddy isn't in a suit and it would mean in future they didn't have to think up excuses to get RDJr back to the garage (or wherever) to put on a suit.

This all seems like a bit too much though, I could understand the basic extremis story being adapted and augmented for the film but I'm beginning  to think its not going to be as great a movie as I thought, the extremis story is strong and simple, this seems confusing as much as I like the idea of future avengers vs dark avengers...

It's not bothered me, but I don't know whether whacking the picture of the Iron Patriot up there on the front page is going to bother some people who are trying to avoid spoilers...

Jokular reference towards Steve Rogers....anything you can do....

Did think about that, and when we originally broke the Iron Patriot story, we did spoiler-tag it. However, the coverage everywhere has been so saturated, that it seemed a bit pointless this time. There's no way it's not going to be slapped on the poster and put in the trailer, and we figured it's a bit like hiding that Catwoman is in the new Batman film.

We treat spoilers with real care, and always err on the side of caution, but it all seemed a bit moot in this case.


It's my guess that it will be Tony Stark redesigning his suit for some sort of celebration.July the fourth maybe? He'll probably don the normal suit again afterwards.  I think it's probably inconsequential to the main plot though.

It could be their combination of Coldblood and the Detroit Steel character from the comics, who has similar-looking stars 'n stripes armour.
Much like the way Whiplash was the combination of the comics Whiplash character and the Russian background of Crimson Dynamo

Exactly what I was about to say!

With all due respect, why are people panicking about this?

On the 'oh god, too many things in one movie' theory - haven't we just come off a film with 8 main hero characters that not only gave everyone someone to do but fitted them into a great plot and made enough money to fund the next round of Marvel flicks without them earning a single penny? It can be done, just needs to be in a controlled, planned way rather than, for example, Rami being forced to throw Venom into Spider Man 3.

As for how the Iron Patriot fits in... we can't possibly know. Yep, it's an existing character but Marvel have a clear division between the comics and movie universe so we really have no idea what the character could be. For all we know this could be a scene for the after-credits stinger setting up Iron Man 4 (or the Avengers 2 for that matter).

Me, I'm excited. Marvel haven't made a major misstep yet (some issues working out how to do shared universe stuff in IM2 but even that wasn't as bad as t'Internet makes it out to be) and I'm really excited to see where they go now, especially as we have a hint as to what this next round of movies could all be leading up to after Avengers (no spoilers just in case but those who've seen it will know what I'm talking about). Hell, after the events of Avengers it's easy enough to think Stark may change his mind about being the only Iron Man around, especially if he went the Extremis route and is now so far ahead of his old suits they're really not a threat.

Well not the next film 'cus Thaos and all that but 3rd could be good. Daken could be hinted at the then end of the Wolverine sequel (Japan), Iron Patriot in Iron Man 3 (Osbourne to use identity in Avengers 3), Bullseye has already been in Daredevil but could be in reboot or a Black Widow film. Venom in Amazing Spider Man 2? Ares and Sentry are on Hulk's power level for a future film, or at least as long as it's not World War Hulk. Moonstone and Mar-Vell? Dunno but it could happen anyway :)

Anyone else sensing a 'spiderman 3' effect, where there's too many villains and it all ends up muddled? 

I never really got the IM2 criticism, other than the overly long race car scene I liked it.

it does sound like kind of a mess.  and it's really boring if iron man only ever deals with someone else in a armour suit.  like live action meccha

It's WarMachine painted in stars and stripes..

i mean since iron man/tony stark is a outted superhero in the marvel universe maybe he dons the iron patriot suit for a stark expo or just a good old fashioned we love america moment in the film  

Too many cooks....

It might just be a reference to the comics, and actually it's just Tony Stark with a special armour to reference Captain America

have you considered Iron Patriot not being the case, and this actually just new spots on an old leopard/suit?

Oh dear, sounds like alot going on, SpiderMan 3 type issues maybe?

I'm looking forward to the next IM long as it's not "Crouching Iron Man, Hidden Iron Patriot."

Per Aint it Cool News it's War Machine with a new patriotic paint job, NOT The Iron Patriot

It's not that it was criticized its just a disappointing followup to an amazing movie like Iron Man, it was still better than the incredible hulk, and I loved that movie

thats what I heard too

and dynamo's name 

Is this possibly going to be a build up of Marvel films to an Avengers Vs Dark Avengers film?

It is just a stunt man in the suit that is supposed to be war machine. They explained it on another site "being my amazing self I forgot what site" they went on to say that after all that happen in New York "in the Avengers movie" is why they did the patriotic paint job

Armor wars armor wars armor wars....sorry, just praying out loud.

I'm fairly sure this has been confirmed to be a redesigned War Machines armour, hence the mini-gun on the back.

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