Yes, only for Iron Man could we create an entire list discussing armor we’d like to see show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tony Stark has long been the keystone of the MCU, and in the comics, he’s recently held an extremely similar role — even when he’s out of pocket. The billionaire, genius, pretty boy, inventor has cooked up more than a fair share of armor over the years, with suits ranging from microscopic to useless to space-faring and terribly uncomfortable. Heck, Stark even built suits with the bathroom built right into them.
And in the MCU we’ve gotten a pretty solid glimpse at what Robert Downey Jr.’s live-action Tony Stark has been working on. There are, of course, the standard “Mark” models of the armor from each film, but there are others. The Hulkbuster, Iron Patriot, the original suit and the slew of suits of the House Party Protocol from Iron Man 3 are just a taste of what the character can offer. Yes, even with the Clean Slate Protocol, Stark is still inventing armor, which can be seen in literally every flick since the wipe. Here are eight suits we need to see in the MCU, and seven that should never be brought to life.
15. WANT: PROMETHEUM ARMOR
Iron Man’s Prometheum Armor, also known as Model CE1, first appeared in 1996 — maybe a bit ahead of its time. Its tones give off the same kind of feel as the cosmic space armor that Tony Stark wore in recent Guardians of the Galaxy stories, as well as his latest armor from Invincible Iron Man by Brian Michael Bendis.
The armor was originally thought to be flawed, but Stark later realizes the suit was actually damaged. This armor was a big proponent of getting Stark back into the suit, especially since he had to wear the armor to essentially stay alive. We imagine a live-action take on this armor wouldn’t be so hard to reproduce, and might actually be in the line with what could come after the Bleeding Edge armor.
14. DON’T WANT: MODEL YT1
Speaking of things we absolutely do not want to see in live-action, say hello to Teen Tony! Well, OK, so maybe we’ve already sort of got that in Captain America: Civil War thanks to CGI, but the point rests. The worst part about Teen Tony might be the armor that comes with him, dubbed the “Model YT1.” At first glance, it might not seem like it’s so different from other mid-level Iron Man suits.
Unfortunately, that’s mostly correct. It really is a standard Iron Man suit, aside from the fact that it skews the human anatomy and utilizes hard-light holograms for seemingly no reason other than to be cool. In live-action, we don’t see it offering much in terms of wow factor. Plus, adult Tony might have some trouble fitting into Teen Tony’s invention.
13. WANT: IRON DESTROYER
Honestly, we’d love to see this armor paired with a Thor and Iron Man team-up flick, though we’re almost certain that’s never going to happen. But nonetheless, this sweet looking armor was forged in Nidavellir during the War of the Serpent, when Stark was tasked with building weapons out of Uru. So, naturally, Tony Stark combined his Bleeding Edge technology with the Uru, essentially creating the “Iron Destroyer” suit.
And what’s not to love about it? In live-action, it would look like a smaller version of the Destroyer from the first Thor film, and would surely give the God of Thunder some flashbacks to his time fighting off the machine creature. It looks like flames attempting to burst through a gunmetal Iron Man suit — and we’re here for it.
12. DON’T WANT: PHOENIX-KILLER ARMOR
So, let’s say a few years down the line we find ourselves deep in a Marvel Cinematic Universe take on the “Dark Phoenix Saga” or “Avengers vs. X-Men”. If that’s the case, then we’re bound to see some version of the Phoenix-Killer Armor, also known as “Model 38,” a suit built by Tony Stark after he learned of The Phoenix’s impending arrival on Earth.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the suit’s purpose. The goal was to take down The Phoenix, utilizing a disruptor to destroy it. Unfortunately, it just fractured the cosmic bird and sent it into a collection of the X-Men’s finest as a potential home. We all know how that turned out. But the suit itself looks like a silly mech, crossed somewhere between Claptrap from Borderlands and the left leg of a Mega-Zord.
11. WANT: DEEP-SPACE ARMOR
When rumors swirled of a potential Tony Stark cameo in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, this is where our minds went. And while it didn’t play out that way in the movie, we got a solid enough adventure with the Deep-Space armor in Brian Michael Bendis’ Guardians of the Galaxy comic series. And sure, we’ve already seen a deep space armor in Iron Man 3, but this one takes the iconic Iron Man colors and amps them up.
Seriously, this thing looks like a Nova Corps take on the Iron Man costume, perfectly matching the brand of Tony Stark, while also proving to be more than capable in combat scenarios. It also expands to deal with gravity, turning itself into a pseudo-cosmic Hulkbuster suit. We dig it.
10. DON’T WANT: HYDRO ARMOR
Iron Man has had his fair share of underwater armors over the years. They’ve changed colors, shapes and abilities, but none really come close to just how silly the Hydro Armor looks. In some ways, it makes total sense. It’s a heavy, pressurized Iron Man suit used for reaching the depths of the ocean, specifically Atlantis. But it’s actual design is kind of redundant.
If you look closely, you’ll see that Tony Stark is basically in an Iron Man suit inside of an Iron Man suit. We can’t imagine that’s awfully helpful for things like mobility or sight, especially because Tony Stark is not only behind a helmet, but a glass bowl headpiece as well. Doesn’t seem very practical. We can’t imagine we’ll be seeing this one anytime soon.
9. WANT: STEALTH/MODULAR ARMOR
While 2013’s ongoing Iron Man series didn’t prove too popular, it did offer readers one of the coolest modern Iron Man suits — the Stealth Armor. Built from light-bending technology, the stealth armor, sometimes referred to as the modular armor, allowed Tony Stark to sneak in undetected in his goal to destroy the reborn Extremis virus for good.
And while it would be great to see the armor used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its combat potential is pretty limited, as its mostly used for titular stealth missions. It operates at a fraction of what Stark’s standard armor is capable of, sporting mostly silent weapons and non-fatal programming. It also allows Tony Stark to disguise himself, a feature that got its fair share of play in the aforementioned 2013 series.
8. DON’T WANT: STEALTH ARMOR (X-CON)
Tony Stark has built plenty of different stealth armors in his time as Iron Man, ranging from the original blue stealth suit to 2013’s light-bending holographic armor. But 2002 brought us maybe the ugliest Iron Man stealth armor to ever grace the pages of comics — and you can tell, because it looks like somebody stretched Brainiac over an Iron Man suit.
In all seriousness, the suit itself is functional, opting for cloaking technology via fiber networks in its build. Unfortunately, this feature can be easily disrupted. Not to mention, the suit has limited combat capabilities and vents CO2, something that doesn’t play too well with the suits plasma discharge. We can’t imagine this suit finding too much use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially with so many other choices available.
7. WANT: ENDO-SYM
Whether you love or hate the highly controversial Superior Iron Man comics run, you can’t deny just how cool the Endo-Sym armor looks. And while Tony Stark was a total jerk while actually wearing the suit, you can’t totally blame him. With the events of “AXIS” in tow, Stark was a bonafide baddie with the slickest, sleekest Iron Man armor backing him up.
And honestly? We could see some version of this armor making an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or at least we can hope. It brings everything wonderful about the nuance of Stark’s armors and gives it an Apple-esque tune-up. The colors, the quality and the abilities make it one of the coolest, and a top candidate for what we’d like to see in the MCU.
6. DON’T WANT: MODEL 48
Tony Stark’s Model 48 armor had a lot of tactical use at the time of its creation, though who can really trust an armor sent to you by Dark Angel? Anyway, the suit itself looked like the classic War Machine armor got covered in heated rock and grew some Wolverine-esque claws. Cool, right? Well… it ends up looking like a smelted brown mess.
OK, so its main purpose is a bit of a support suit, which we’ve seen Tony Stark dabble with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when he has backup armor, auto-piloted suits and a piecemeal replacement system for the Hulkbuster. Still, even with that in mind, we can’t imagine Tony will be storming Svartalfheim anytime soon in need of a rocky armor suit.
5. WANT: MODEL 39
Iron Man’s Model 39 armor was originally made for James Rhodes, who would utilize it in Tony Stark’s absence. In its physical appearance, the suit looks packed to the brim with special features and abilities. It’s gold and silver armor pieces are linked together by a sort-of exo-suit, allowing things like micro-munitions or an EMP blast to be easily deployed.
On top of that, the suit sports the War Machine-known ghost-tech and the ability to deploy a polymer to stall enemies in their tracks. With the origin of this suit being the absence of Tony Stark, we’d be pretty excited to see this armor show up down the line, maybe with Don Cheadle’s War Machine sporting it? After all, that’ll be more comics-accurate than the Iron Patriot armor was.
4. DON’T WANT: SUBMARINE ARGONAUT
So, this armor actually didn’t get much use. It was created by Tony Stark and then sent to attack Namor following the death of Ho Yinsen’s son. Iron Man then destroyed the armor and it found its final resting place at the bottom of the sea. But, walking a step back, we can’t imagine anyone would want to see this gold-plated Coneheads armor make its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Much like Tony Stark’s other sea-faring armor sets, the Submarine Argonaut looked terrible, but operated pretty effectively underwater. It also sported stealth capabilities with a camouflage function and clawed hands and feet for combat and traversal. But really though, could you picture Robert Downey Jr. in that? Yeah, we really can’t see it either.
3. WANT: MODEL-PRIME
It’s sleek, it’s stylish and it gets more than the job done. In what might be the second biggest highlight of Brian Michael Bendis’s run on Invincible Iron Man (the first being the introduction of Riri Williams), the Model-Prime Armor is everything we could want from an Iron Man suit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It takes the best of a handful of legacy suits, most notably being the Bleeding Edge suit.
But this new armor takes it a step further, allowing for total reconfiguration of the suit on the fly. This could mean turning a repulser into a sword, sprouting jet wings or just shifting for general camouflage or cloaking purposes. In all reality, this is the next honest step from the Bleeding Edge armor in the MCU, and would be a perfect send off for Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.
2. DON’T WANT: SILVER CENTURION
We will always have a lot of love for the legacy Iron Man suits. After all, where would we be if these hadn’t come first. And while the ’80s will always be remembered for its films and music, Iron Man fans will remember the decade for the Silver Centurion armor. It’s silver and red look is only eclipsed by the ill-fitting design of the helmet, a clear stopgap to the armor we know and love today.
It was functional, capable and played an integral part in the Armor Wars. While it certainly wouldn’t be terrible to see this armor show up at some point in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, even just in a passing cameo, we wouldn’t want to see Tony sport it for good. After all, we’ve come so far since 1985.
1. WANT: MODEL 42
While we have seen some variant of this armor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to Iron Man 3, this black and gold suit has yet to reach its full potential as a primary Iron Man suit for Tony Stark. The red and gold has been played in and out since the beginning, and while we do love it for all that it’s done, we can only imagine how great it would be to see Robert Downey Jr. sporting the black and gold.
On top of that, the armor itself can more than stand on its own in a battle. It sports multiple different projectiles, launchers and non-fatal additional weaponry, plus the ability to hack adjacent technology and deploy shields. If no other armor comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe but this, we’d be happy campers.
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