When you rank your favorite Marvel villains, Iron Man’s Obadiah Stane, AKA: Iron Monger” probably isn’t high on the list. He commits whatever acts of evil the plot demands, like taking over Tony’s company, selling weapons to terrorists, and using his secret Iron Man suit to bash soccer moms in the street. None of this makes sense, unless:
Obadiah Stane was a HYDRA agent all along. Consider the following:
1. HYDRA Assassinates Howard Stark, Stane Controls Stark Industries
In the films, Obadiah Stane worked under Howard Stark for several decades.
Much like Hydra infiltrating SHIELD, he attached himself in the early years, winning Howard’s trust. In 1991, The Winter Soldier assassinates Howard and Marie Stark. Stane is now free to give HYDRA a direct pipeline to all Stark tech.
Tony Stark eventually inherits the company, but he more brilliant than his father and easier to control. One thing HYDRA/Stane never counted on was the philandering playboy gaining a conscience.
2. Why Stane Suddenly Puts on the Iron Monger Armor
At the end of Iron Man, SHIELD agents are coming to arrest Stane. Realistically, he would have spent one night in prison, been released on bail, and then sold his new Iron Monger suit to the military for a bazillion dollars. Instead, he puts on the suit and gives the movie an action-packed ending.
Why do this? Because he was given one last order: deliver the armor to HYDRA, before it falls into SHIELD hands. He lingered on the scene to kill Tony because HYDRA wanted to go Full Lannister and wipe out all the Starks. (And because he was tired of playing Salieri to Tony’s Mozart).
3. He Sells Arms to Terrorists to Create Global Chaos
I never understood why Stane was selling Stark tech to the Ten Rings in Iron Man. A huge percentage of Stark Industry’s weapons sales must have been to the US government. Why jeopardize that relationship for a few extra bucks from some terrorists?
Arnim Zola’s Winter Soldier monologue tell us why: “HYDRA was founded on the belief that humanity could not be trusted with its own freedom…(we) created a world so chaotic that humanity is finally ready to sacrifice its freedom to gain its security.”
Obadiah Stane was seeding global fear, to pave way for Hydra’s Project Insight.
Consider his monologue to Tony when he steals the arc reactor out of his chest:
“This is your legacy. A new generation of weapons with this at its heart. Weapons that will help steer the world back on course, put the balance of power in our hands. The right hands.”
Why “our hands?” Does Obadiah suddenly have a team he’s working with? Does he mean he and Tony? Nah.
Obadiah Stane was a HYDRA agent from Day 1.
What do you think? Is Stane a HYDRA agent? Does the Extremis/Centipede connection from Agents of SHIELD make Killian a HYDRA agent? Are YOU a HYDRA agent?
(Note: After I wrote this article, I did a courtesy google search and did come up with this fan theory from 5 months ago: http://www.reddit.com/r/FanTheories/comments/26gnf8/obadiah_stane_is_a_member_of_hydra_iron_man_theory/ )