Two Heads or Faces of HYDRA in the MCU

Two Heads or Faces of HYDRA in the MCU 2016

Two Heads or Faces of HYDRA in the MCU 2016

It just seems that the cinematic and television parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe keeps growing apart as evidenced by the recent developments in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Apart from references and stock footage from films shown in the television series, the movies continue to be shielded from the events that happen on TV. In Captain America: Civil War, for example, I was expecting a fleeting mention of the ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit), created by General Ross which is responsible in containing powered individuals but it wasn’t discussed at all nor was the growing number of Inhumans. Though not mentioned by name, the ATCU could still be responsible for the building of the Raft prison in the movie and Vision did say that the number of powered individuals has risen exponentially. The Sokovia Accords were recently mentioned on TV though which tugged AOS back in line.

The constant in both film and TV is HYDRA. HYDRA was first shown in “Captain America: The First Avenger” as a Nazi offshoot organization led by Red Skull. It was then revealed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to have infiltrated SHIELD, we see them fighting the Avengers in Age of Ultron and later shown in Ant-Man working to acquire Hank Pym’s technology. Lastly, in Captain America: Civil War, Brock Rumlow AKA Crossbones makes a comeback to get revenge on Captain America with enhancements that could only have been given him by HYDRA. In Agents of SHIELD, HYDRA became their main adversary after the events in Winter Soldier just as in the comics where SHIELD’s main adversary is HYDRA. Much like in GI Joe versus the COBRA organization. Marvel Comics could very well have based GI Joe from SHIELD versus HYDRA. In AOS and Agent Carter, the show gave the evil organization a more detailed backstory. HYDRA wasn’t founded by the Red Skull as mentioned in “Captain America: The First Avenger” but was instead a centuries-old organization created with the purpose of bringing back an ancient powerful entity. Taking over the world was just a sidetrack.

In the movies though, HYDRA’s motives remain rooted in taking over the world. Arnim Zola’s explanation in Captain America: Winter Solder gave no hint to organization’s ulterior motive in the TV series. A subtle connection to the TV and movie HYDRA can be made with the absence of Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) among the members of the Security Council in Winter Soldier. He was the central councilman in the first Avengers film, and his absence in Captain America was quite obvious. He would have been exposed by Nick Fury if he remained with the council then since Donald Pierce wouldn’t kill one of HYDRA’s top leaders.

donald pierce hydra world

With regards to Gideon Malick, the TV/movie divide becomes very obvious when Hive (the reason for HYDRA’s existence finally brought back), gives Malick a sense of power by giving him an exoskeleton from the same advanced technology as Coulson’s prosthetic hand. The whole thing seemed pretty lame as Hive could instead have given Malick Deathlok’s enhancements or their Centipede technology. With Hive’s power, HYDRA could infiltrate Stark Tower and acquire one of Stark’s armors and confront Stark himself. Instead, we get some prosthetic company that manufactured Coulson’s hand. All things serve a purpose as Malick wasn’t meant to be formidable anyway, and the series probably can’t afford to showcase an Iron Man armor (would have been awesome).

I found that HYDRA’s TV mythology a bit worrisome should it leak into the films since not everyone watches Agents of SHIELD. I know a lot of people who follow the movies but not the show. If there are no plans to make an Inhumans movie, that mythology shouldn’t leak into film. It would probably be difficult to include the Inhumans TV mythos into film in the first place.

hydra two roles images

What’s amazing and comforting to know is that both HYDRAs can play themselves out as long as the TV mythos is not mentioned in film. HYDRA is still a vast world-dominating organization in film and play a meta-religious world-dominating organization on TV. AOS can destroy Hive and his Inhuman army, and the film universe won’t skip a beat. AOS mentioned killing and arresting all HYDRA leaders but as per HYDRA’s motto, “cut off one head, two shall take its place,” more will still pop up in films. The organization could still work to dominate the world with or without its pseudo-divine guidance. HYDRA, after all, has many heads and not all the heads even know the organization’s ‘main motivation’. Grant Ward operated on the basis of revenge and thought he was alone until Malick came along. We also have yet to see the comics’ Madame HYDRA if we haven’t already (Agent 33). If not, she’ll be an interesting adversary for a later season.