What now for Hydra in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Feature James Hunt 14 May 2014 - 06:16

Does Hydra have a big part to play in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wonders James...?

This feature contains spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the TV show Agents Of SHIELD.

Following Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a new villainous presence. Hydra, the cultist Nazi scientists whose combination of badass Lovecraftian logo and sloganeering genius might just give the MCU the one thing it's lacked: a villainous presence that can rival Loki.

Hydra is, in an almost literal sense, the evil version of SHIELD. Their tentacles are everywhere, and as with the mythical beast, so follows their slogan: cut off one head and two more shall take its place. Loki might have charisma going for him, but it's going to take more than a thrashing from the Hulk to take down Hydra, and that's an interesting challenge.

But that said… what does Hydra want? And how might that affect future MCU projects? We've had a think about where things might go for Hydra in future MCU projects.

Agents Of SHIELD

One show that's already feeling the fallout of Hydra's emergence is Agents of SHIELD, where Hydra has brought down SHIELD and, further still, had infiltrated even the main cast. They are, quite definitively, the series' main villains.

As well as being a significant benefit to the TV show, which has improved vastly since the twist was revealed, this does present something of a problem. Agents of SHIELD has suffered in the past for being unable to significantly alter the MCU. It's clear that the remaining agents aren't going to bring down Hydra, which means there's a distinct danger that their battles will feel a lot like killing time.

Still, given that the show is now confirmed for a second season, it's likely Hydra will play a big part of it. Baron Strucker, one of Hydra's main men, is turning up in Avengers 2 next summer, and that means a second season of SHIELD would have an entire season of lead-in to build up both him and his organisation. I don't necessarily expect to see him in the show, but hear about him? Meet some of his underlings? Hopefully.

Indeed, Agents of SHIELD would be the perfect place to use his super-powered children, Andrea and Andreas, aka Fenris (assuming they aren't tied up with the X-Men rights). It's pure speculation, but it would be a great way to make the TV show truly improve the experience of watching the movies, rather than simply reflect the events of them.

Guardians of the Galaxy

In many ways, the chances of Hydra appearing in Guardians Of The Galaxy are as close to zero as they get. But that doesn't mean the film won't tell us a little more about their overall plan for the Marvel Universe. Stay with us here.

In Captain America: The First Avenger, it was shown that the Red Skull and Hydra knew about Yggdrasil and The World Tree. They also knew about - and desired - the Tesseract, an object of unimaginable power which, we learned after Thor: The Dark World, is also one of the Infinity stones.

So, here's the set up. Hydra seems to have been aware as far back as World War II that Asgardian myth isn't myth, and that there are other worlds. Hydra is also aware that the Tesseract exists, even if they don't necessarily know that it's an Infinity stone. And this all begs the question: how does Hydra know so much?

One possibility is that Hydra has been in contact with agents of Thanos. The Nazis did have a space program of sorts, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to tie the Earth-bound Hydra with the space-faring acolytes of the Mad Titan together.

It's not a point we imagine being raised in the film itself, but if we were to guess about the contents of Guardians' stinger scene, a reappearance by Baron Strucker (or even the Red Skull) wouldn't be off the cards.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

The stinger-scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier already introduced us to Baron Strucker, who – in the comics at least - is one of Hydra's leaders in the present day. It seems that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will reflect this, and that Strucker will be the man responsible for creating (or at the very least, controlling) both Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch.

But it's also probable that Hydra will tie in with Ultron. We know from teaser material that Ultron is apparently going to be the result of Tony Stark's hubris in creating an artificial intelligence, but what if Hydra are the ones who actually cause the trouble? They've already got at least one computer-based AI on the books. Admittedly it looked like Arnim Zola got blown up, but then wouldn't you keep a backup of that? Even if it was on punch cards and magnetic tape?

What Hydra will actually be doing in Avengers is debatable. Is Ultron something they need, or are they just trying to get the Avengers out of the way of their real goals? If Hydra don't play some part in bringing Thanos to Earth I'll be surprised, because they seem to be yet another party who are interested in Infinity Stones. At some point they'll either organise a trade or come into conflict. Probably not in Avengers 2, but that's where the set-up's going to be.

And more!

Frankly, Hydra's use could run and run. The comics have made great use of them over the years as just one group of fanatics who fill in whenever a hero needs to duff up some faceless but unambiguously evil guys (other contenders for this position include AIM, The Hand and The Serpent Society.) But they also come with their own stable of associated villains. The likes of Baron Zemo, Silvermane, Fixer, Gorgon, the Grim Reaper, Man-Killer and even Spider-Woman have been affiliated with the group at one time or another. It seems that as long as there are Marvel movies being made, Hydra's going to have a potential place in them.

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That was old Arnim Zola, Hydra were a bit quick to bomb it if it contained the only copy, I can see a 2nd more hight tech Arnim Zola in Captain America 3. Hydra control Shield, it seems crazy to think they abandoned Zola, even if Shield did.

I honestly think the Agent Carter series will fill that gap and give Arnim and Hydra a back story.

Yes, I'm looking at Agent Carter to fill in lots of that stuff.

I'm expecting Hydra to just be in the opening of Avengers 2, kind of like a Bond opening sequence. Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch can be introduced as enemies and then become Avengers when they are free of Hydra's influence.

You missed out Bob, Agent of Hydra.

What if Hydra's Project Insight is the start of the creation of Ultron? It can develop in a Skynet sort of way using it's access to all the SHIELD tech - including Stark's AI - leading to the creation of Ultron to take out the Avengers.

In the meantime Hydra can concentrate on developing super soldiers as it has since WW2 and more recently via Project Centipede, and seemed to have done with Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch at the end of Cap2...

I read that Agent Carter will act as a bridge between series 1 and 2 of Agents of SHIELD, even though it is taking place in 1946. Backstory for Hydra etc is an abvious way to do this.

Hydra was introduced in Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD no.1, when I was a little lad. It was very much reminiscent of the IRA who were busy murdering women and children at that time.......

Well, Alexander Pierce does tell Buck/Winter Soldier he had lost Zola, so I think we can assume the only copy he knew of was there. Then again, that doesn't stop Zola himself having managed to upload a copy somewhere. He already had modern hardware added to his computer, so it isn't that much of a stretch to have him use it to his advantage.

I hope we do get some more back-story with Zola and his time in SHIELD in 'Agent Carter'. He seemed like a somewhat reluctant participant in HYDRA's plans in the first 'Captain America' film, and yet in 'The Winter Soldier' seems to have ascribed to its ideology. Perhaps something happens while working for SHIELD that leads to this and him acting as their initial infiltrator.

Personally, I would tie Zola into DARPA and the creation of the internet and Zola is essentially now a cloud based intelligence powered and kept in existence by the billions of connected devices on which a small portion of him lives.

Think about how things like seti use the collected power of a tiny amount of individual computing resources to run complicated algorithms and process large amounts of data. I would imagine Zola being so integrated into modern society that he would be almost impossible to truly defeat whilst also having access to unlimited intel for nefarious purposes.

He could easily build and download specialised versions into specific tech for a purpose so a version of him could be thwarted but then he starts looking a lot like a certain bad guy in certain sequel mentioned in the article.

Bob needs to appear. he can be the cousin of the henchman in IM3 who was in it for the money and felt that his employers were just too bloody weird.

Take your political shite elsewhere. Also Hydra was not introduced in Nick Fury Agent of Shield no1.

It's actually acting as a bridge between the first and second halves of AoS season 2. Which still has a great deal of potential to supplement the backstory.

Yeah, I read that after I'd posted! I guess Part One of AoS2 will introduce stuff, Agent Carter will give us the history, then Part Two of AoS2 will resolve it?

Zodiac was involved in the Agent Carter short and the CaptainAmerica2 prelude comic...

Seriously? Talk about a tenuous link, what the f**k has the IRA got to do with Hydra or the MCU? Strange, strange man...

What's with this AoS2 sh!t? It's an American show. It's 'season 2 of Agents of Shield".

It's quicker to write.
And personally I still call them series not seasons.

That's dumb and you should feel dumb. Henceforth you shall be known as DumbtonJones.

You're an idiot.

I can't believe I missed this article 4 days, but anyway, I just can't wait to see Age of Ultron, to answer questions and raise more questions! It's great!

Can't beat the classics.

Then, when was it introduced?

["As well as being a significant benefit to the TV show, which has improved vastly since the twist was revealed, this does present something of a problem. Agents of SHIELD has suffered in the past for being unable to significantly alter the MCU. It's clear that the remaining agents aren't going to bring down Hydra, which means there's a distinct danger that their battles will feel a lot like killing time."]

Of course they're going to be killing time. You don't really expect Coulson and his team to take down HYDRA before the end of Season 2, do you? Why are people always in a rush to end a story these days?

"AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." is supposed to be a serial drama, not an episodic one. I think the public has become too impatient when it comes to storytelling in serial drama today. And I find that sad.

["He seemed like a somewhat reluctant participant in HYDRA's plans in the first 'Captain America' film"]

Schmidt's Red Skull looks scared him.

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