What now for Hydra in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
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.
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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