2023’s Blue Beetle mirrored Marvel Studios’ Iron Man in many ways, especially in the depiction of the film’s villainous corporation and titular hero.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Blue Beetle.
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- Blue Beetle’s storyline mirrors Iron Man’s darkest untold storyline from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving audiences a glimpse of what Stark Industries could have been if Iron Man’s story had been more tragic.
- Kord Industries in Blue Beetle shares similarities with Stark Industries in the MCU, showing what could have happened if Tony Stark never returned from captivity and Obadiah Stane took control of the company.
- Blue Beetle and Iron Man have many similarities, including similar villains, tower designs, flight and weapons capabilities, and a voice within their costumes. However, Blue Beetle’s story has a rags-to-riches vibe, while Iron Man used his fortune for the greater good. Both stories provide strong introductions to their respective heroes.
Iron Man’s darkest untold storyline from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was mirrored in DC’s Blue Beetle. Although originally planned to release exclusively on HBO Max, Blue Beetle made its theatrical premiere on August 18, 2023, introducing Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, assumed to be the new DC Universe’s first hero. While Blue Beetle seemed to make connections to the previous DC Extended Universe, the standalone nature of the film also makes it easier to implement the character in James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new franchise, but Blue Beetle also seemed to mirror storylines from other franchises’ comic book films, including Marvel Studios’ Iron Man.
Blue Beetle introduced Kord Industries to the DC Universe, a multinational research and development corporation akin to DC’s Wayne Enterprises and LexCorp Industries. Susan Sarandon’s Victoria Kord debuted as Kord Industries’ CEO, taking over after the supposed death of her son, Ted Kord, who was revealed to have been the second man to take on the mantle of Blue Beetle, preceding Jaime Reyes. DC’s Kord Industries shares many similarities with the MCU’s Stark Industries, and Blue Beetle’s depiction of the corporation gave audiences some insight into what Stark Industries could have been if 2008’s Iron Man had been more tragic.
Ted Kord’s Tragic Mystery Copies Tony Stark’s Ten Rings Backstory
After Jaime Reyes, Jenny Kord, and Rudy Reyes arrive at Ted Kord’s abandoned mansion, Jenny reveals to the others that her father had been the Blue Beetle before his mysterious disappearance. Ted Kord’s disappearance allowed Victoria to assume control of Kord Industries and begin to move the company into weapons manufacturing and offensive technology rather than protection and defense. The DC Universes Ted Kord is almost the perfect copy of the MCU’s Tony Stark, as both are technological geniuses, both run huge businesses, and both had the opportunity to mysteriously vanish, though Kord has yet to return, despite confirmation that he is, in fact, alive.
In 2008’s Iron Man, Tony Stark was captured by the Ten Rings organization while on a sales trip in Afghanistan. While in captivity, he was pressured into making the destructive Jericho missiles for the Ten Rings, but instead used the equipment at his disposal to design his first Iron Man suit of armor, which allowed him to eventually escape and pursue his new career as a superhero. If Stark hadn’t returned from Afghanistan, however, the course of the MCU and the future of Stark Industries would have been wildly different, and this potential future may have just been glimpsed in Blue Beetle.
Blue Beetle Shows What Would Have Happened If Tony Stark Never Returned
If Stark hadn’t returned from Afghanistan in Iron Man, Obadiah Stane would have assumed control of Stark Industries in much the same way that Victoria Kord did after Ted Kord’s disappearance. Both Stane and Victoria Kord had similar motives for their companies, but only the latter was actually able to see these plans come to fruition. Stark’s eagerness to shut down the weapons manufacturing sector of Stark Industries following his experience with the Ten Rings thwarted Stane’s plan to harness Stark Industries’ technology for more nefarious purposes, but there was nobody standing in Victoria Kord’s way, which meant that she did do this for Kord Industries.
This allowed Victoria Kord to study Blue Beetle’s mysterious Scarab in an attempt to use its power for the OMAC (One Man Army Corps) projects. If these projects had succeeded, Victoria would have transformed Kord Industries into a full-on weapons manufacturer, providing technology to military organizations for a huge profit – which goes against what Ted Kord and Kord Industries’ original founder wanted for the company. Obadiah Stane wanted this same future for Stark Industries in the MCU but was thankfully thwarted by Tony Stark’s Iron Man, though Blue Beetle gave audiences a glimpse at what Stark Industries could have become if Stark had never returned.
Every Way Blue Beetle Mirrored Iron Man’s MCU Story
Aside from their villains sharing the same intentions, Blue Beetle and Iron Man share many more similarities, which some noted when Blue Beetle’s second trailer was released in July 2023. Kord Tower somewhat resembles the design of Stark Tower (later Avengers Tower) in the MCU, both Iron Man and Blue Beetle’s suits have similar flight and weapons capabilities, and both heroes even speak to a voice that resides within their costumes – Khaji-Da for Jaime Reyes, and JARVIS (later FRIDAY) for Tony Stark. Both heroes also battle villains with similar power sets to themselves in their origin films’ final battles, as Reyes fights Carapax and Stark takes on the Iron Monger.
The sentient nature of Blue Beetle’s costume emulates the nanotechnology used by Tony Stark for his Iron Man suit in his later MCU appearances, though Reyes’ suit lives within his body while Stark’s is held inside a containment device on his chest. Iron Man is perhaps more reminiscent of Ted Kord’s version of Blue Beetle, as both of these heroes used their massive fortunes for the greater good, and neither had superhuman abilities, while Reyes story has a more rags-to-riches vibe. While it seems like Blue Beetle may have taken a lot of inspiration from the MCU’s Iron Man, both stories still provided strong introductions to their heroes.
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