DrDoom's Pitch For IRON MAN 4

By popular demand (emphasis on the word demand), DrDoom once again returns to the world of MCU editorial pitches. This time, he tackles the inevitable fourth installment in the Invincible Iron Man franchise!

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By DrDoom - 8/22/2014


"So if I were to, wrap this up, tie it with a bow, whatever . . . . I guess I'd say . . . . my armour? It was never a distraction, or a hobby. It was a cocoon. And now, I'm a changed man. You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys. One thing you can't take away? I am Iron Man." - Anthony 'Tony' Stark

Without the first Iron Man film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise as we know it would not exist. Initially backed into a corner by multiple contracts prohibiting them from using their most popular characters, Marvel Studios' first in-house film project was always going to be a risk. All of their plans for a shared media franchise would have imploded if Iron Man failed to capture an audience. Luckily for us and them, it did anything but fail.

Six years off of the monumental success of the first film, Iron Man has become one of the most iconic superheroes of the modern era. He was always important to the overall Marvel Comics universe, but his exposure to the mainstream audience has reached the level of Marvel's most prestigious characters, such as Spider-Man and Wolverine. After three solo films of consistent critical and financial success, and a major role in the Avengers films, a fourth Iron Man outing is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. Marvel producer Kevin Feige has already confirmed that the film will happen, regardless of Robert Downey Jr.'s involvement, although the latter has expressed interest in extending his contract even further.

But the casting and directing of Iron Man 4 is not what I am concerned with. It's the story. After barely surviving the plans of Aldrich Killian and Advanced Idea Mechanics in Iron Man 3, and presumably going through quite an ordeal in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where will Tony Stark as a character be taken next? I will try to provide an answer to that question with my pitch here. Given that we do not know what will happen in Age of Ultron, I will try to keep my story as open ended as possible, in case some plot threads are cut off. For the purposes of this pitch, no major characters have died, and Jarvis no longer exists due to becoming the Vision.



Iron Man: Zero Protocol

The films begins with the political aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Stark Industries is under heavy scrutiny and controversy due to the public learning that Ultron, the artificial intelligence who nearly conquered the entire planet, was a creation of Tony Stark. No longer a media darling and facing dwindling support, Stark makes a formal announcement that he will be stepping down and foresaking any attachment to the company, leaving everything in the hands of Pepper Potts.

While Pepper is used to being the CEO of Stark Industries, she is emotionally disturbed by what happened with Ultron. Unable to stomach being around Tony, she demands that he leaves, and he agrees that it is for the best. When she asks Tony where he is going to go, he simply responds that he needs to be somewhere, anywhere, but in the spotlight, and that he does not deserve the success he has attained. With that, he takes his most recent suit of armour and flies off into the skyline, saying that he is not sure when he is going to return.



"You know, I invited Tony to join AIM thirteen years ago. He turned me down. But something tells me now there's a new genius on the throne who doesn't have to answer to Tony anymore . . . . and who has slightly less of an ego." - Aldrich Killian

With Pepper as the sole owner of Stark Industries, she tries her best to salvage the company in the eyes of the public. At least a good ten minutes of the film is devoted to her own personal struggle of both needing and needing to reject Tony, as well as her own ethical and philosophical internal conflicts. She goes through a period of existential crisis, where she feels that despite breaking off contact with Tony, she still exists solely in his shadow; a woman dedicated to saving a company with whom she will only be marginally associated due to the persona of Tony Stark hanging over its head.



"We're iron mongers. We make weapons, and what we do keeps the world from falling into chaos." - Obadiah Stane

At the same time, a new company called Baintronics starts to make headlines due to the development of prototype digital weapons called the 'Protocol' line. The company's CEO is Sunset Bain, an extremely charismatic and attractive woman who has taken the media by storm due to her vehement stance against artificial intelligence. She refers to the 'Ultron Incident' as a tragic inevitability because of humanity's innate desire to create life.

The Protocol weapons do not have a corporeal form; they are weaponized computer viruses which are designed to infiltrate digital systems and destroy them at a basic level if they show any signs of attaining sentience. Her goal is to have the Protocol line installed in every major technological system on the planet, to ensure that no artificial intelligence is ever created again. Driven by fear of another Ultron, many defense contractors and government militaries start to pay hefty sums for them. Sunset also berates Iron Man on live television for being a 'coward', saying that instead of owning up to and facing the legal ramifications of his actions that led to Ultron's creation, he has gone into hiding.



"Yeah, I miss you too. But the way it used to be." - Harold 'Happy' Hogan

What the general audience doesn't know about Sunset Bain is that she funded Baintronics with illegal underground weapons manufacturing and selling stolen technology to terrorist groups, with associates including the Ten Rings, AIM and Hydra. She has also purchased a private military company, called the 'Raiders', filled with sadistic mercenaries who act as both her personal guard and strike force.

The film then returns to Tony, who has set up shop in an off-the-books house property that he owns and set up with a lab in case he ever needed to go into hiding. It turns out that he didn't step down from Stark Industries because of the media pressure, but because he had learned about the nature of Baintronics and wanted to investigate them without letting them in on his knowledge of their illegal activities. To assist, he keeps in contact with Happy Hogan, who has sworn to keep Tony's location and motives a secret.



"Listen, I've been on the phone with the National Guard all day, trying to talk them out of rolling tanks up to PCH, knocking down your front door, and taking these. They're going to take your suits, Tony." - Colonel James 'Rhodey' Rhodes

Meanwhile, James Rhodes, who has reverted to the 'War Machine' persona, returns from an extended combat tour overseas. He is still in the employ of the United States Air Force, and acts as a one-man strike team in high-risk combat situations. Because of his attachment to the government, he has been largely shielded from the public backlash against Stark Industries.

Visiting Pepper, he demands to know where Tony has gone, to which Pepper admits she doesn't know. Rhodes at first doesn't believe her, accusing her of defending him despite everything that has happened. Pepper bursts out in anger, admonishing Rhodes for being just as much of an enabler. As she cries and has an emotional meltdown, Rhodes caves and comforts her, saying that they will get through this situation together. Happy is present at this altercation, but does not reveal his knowledge of Tony's whereabouts.



"If you can make God bleed, the people will cease to believe in him." - Ivan Vanko

Tony asks Happy to bring him his prototype stealth technology that he had been working on for his latest suit. It is an 'Infiltration' module, that when attached to the arc reactor of the suit and activated, shields it with a kinetic barrier that renders it transparent. At the same time, Sunset has asked to have a meeting with Pepper, to which the latter begrudingly accepts. Sunset makes a pitch to Pepper to buy out Stark Industries, as a way of the company apologizing for almost destroying the world. Pepper considers the offer, but declines.

What she doesn't see is that Sunset didn't actually want to buy the company, and was anticipating Pepper's refusal. During her time at Stark Industries, a group of Raiders infiltrate the building and implant a Protocol weapon into the company's computer network. Once it has been infested, Sunset reveals the other purpose of the Protocol weapons: to be able to monitor and remotely control technological systems it infects. She uses this to discover the secret communications between Tony and Happy. Learning of the Infiltration module and Tony's co-ordinates, she summons the Raiders.



"But today, whoever holds the latest Stark weapons rules these lands, and soon . . . . it will be my turn." - Raza

After spending lots of time gathering intel and digital evidence about Baintronics' activities, Tony sets up a meeting with Happy. They go to a restaurant in the town near Tony's location, and attempt a covert drop off. This fails when the place is attacked by the Raiders. Tony scrambles to suit up and fight off the mercenaries, but is forced into a situation by the Raiders' leader where he has to save Happy. The nameless leader takes this opportunity to steal the Infiltration module, and the Raiders escape.

Taking it back to Sunset, she quickly finds a way to repurpose the device for the white bodysuit he wears, dubbing him the 'Ghost'. She then orders her newly powered operative to break into Stark Industries' backup server facility, to place another Protocol weapon there. Once that is done, she discards her facade and openly attacks and takes over the main Stark Industries building, revealing her true plan now that Protocol weapons around the globe have been put in place: to establish a worldwide technocratic fascism under her control, a plan dubbed 'Zero Protocol'. As a show of her power, she activates Protocol weapons in the United States military network, effectively shutting down all military devices across the country.



"Big man in a suit of armour? Take that off, what are you?" - Steve Rogers

Tony then arrives in his Iron Man suit, challenging Sunset and the Raiders. Sunset laughs him off, and tries to shut down his suit, but it doesn't work. Tony stuns Sunset by revealing his knowledge of Baintronics' plan, having already taken this suit and War Machine's to a private network untouched by the Protocol weapons. Rhodes, who is still in the building, attacks a couple of mercenaries before suiting up himself, standing side by side with Tony.

Sunset orders Ghost and the remaining Raiders to destroy Tony and Rhodes, ensuing in an epic battle throughout the Stark Industries building. Upon defeating Ghost and the remaining Raiders, Tony tries to attack Sunset, who holds Pepper at gunpoint. Tony reveals that he had been compiling data for a purge of the Protocol weapons, effectively wiping them from the system. The problem is that they also completely reboot the system that they have been infected with. Sunset threatens Pepper's life if he activates the purge, but Rhodes attacks her from behind. Despite this, Sunset stills gets the shot off, shooting Pepper through the throat.



"Threat is imminent, and I have to protect the one thing I can't live without. That's you."

The purge activates, completely wiping out all of Stark Industries computer systems, esssentially destroying the company. Pepper collapses to the floor, and Tony rushes to grab her. He holds her and they make peace as she dies in his arms. Filled with rage, he attacks Sunset and begins brutally beating her by punching her in the face repeatedly. He is only stopped from killing her by Rhodes, who pulls him off of her.

Sunset, Ghost, and the Raiders are carted off to prison, and the Protocol purge is used on all of the systems it has infected, forcing many digital systems to have to be rebuilt from scratch. Tony is initially rendered inactive by Pepper's death and his company's destruction, but Rhodes and Happy reason with him, and Tony resolves to start a new company in Pepper's honour: Stark Resilient.

So what do you think? Is this the sort of movie you'd like to see with Iron Man 4? Let me know in the comments section!
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MrNiklander - 8/22/2014, 7:51 PM
I dig it no I actually love it because this is a hell of a plot.Engaging and it takes risks,that was my main issue with Iron Man 3(I thought the movie was good but nothing to go crzy about IMO) we saw a different Tony but nothing to make us go '' what the hell just happened?''

I gotta say @DrDoom I love reading your pitches man keep it up
FordEl - 8/22/2014, 7:54 PM
This is pretty good
GliderMan - 8/22/2014, 8:01 PM
I'm blown away. DrDoom, this is [frick]ing brilliant. I'd say this is a better pitch than both of your Cap 3 and Thor 3 pitches. I know I'm one of the folks who "demanded" this article, and if ain't disappointed in the slightest.

I think War Machine will die in AOU, and that Vision could kind of take Rhodey's place in future films. Also, the way All Hail the King ended, it kind of seems the next Iron Man will deal with the "real" Mandarin. I'd also like to see Harley return. But it's whatever. This is the perfect storyline, and I love the ending.

Doom's word is law.
HeisenbergSaysRelax - 8/22/2014, 8:33 PM
I like the villains used, especially the inclusion of Ghost. I dig the fact that there is a fight at a diner. Diner's are awesome. Cool shit always happens at diners.

I also like Pepper's fate. She's super annoying.

Ummmm...I like the word Protocol. Lot's of vowels. More good shit.

I would go see this though, no joke. It's got a good balance going with the villains. They have that classic world domination thing going while also being believable terrorist-type characters. ALSO THEY LIVE. Oh man, they go to prison and shit and survive. That's so rare in the MCU. They could come back and stuff now, so that's cool.

Overall, this is good stuff.
SauronsBANE - 8/22/2014, 8:33 PM
Wow, this is some really great, creative stuff. Excellently written, and very interesting! Well done, DrDoom!

But having said that, I kind of hope they decide against making an Iron Man 4 at all. Love it or hate it, Iron Man 3 wrapped up the trilogy perfectly, and adding on additional solo films will really take away from its ending. I can go along with having Tony appear and play a prominent role in Avengers: Age of Ultron and then Avengers 3...but again, I hope Iron Man 3 was the last Stark-oriented solo movie that we get. It brought such great closure to the trilogy, and personally I can't see myself getting on board with an Iron Man 4 or 5. Just IMO!
Maven - 8/22/2014, 9:36 PM
Awesome write up, Doom. Though I think you'll have better luck with this pitch after AoU releases. You addressed the recoil of Tony/Ultron greatly, but I have a feeling it'll be so severe that an IM4 would have to be another Avengers film for closure.

Again, this was terrific.
WYLEEJAY - 8/22/2014, 10:10 PM
Nice! Just for fun though, instead of punching her repeatedly, just have her take a repulsor blast to the face. She escapes though, and at the end we see her put on the mask of Madame Masque. To hide her scars, and identity while she seeks out the real Mandarin for help at dishing out her vengeance. Then on to Iron Man 5!
WYLEEJAY - 8/22/2014, 10:39 PM
And have Sunset get a hold of some of the tech from Vision. Then they can adapt Ghosts suit to phase through walls too. I would love to see Ghost on the big screen, the technology exists in the MCU, so no reason not to use it.
RebelVulcan - 8/22/2014, 11:19 PM
Great article. By the way, can anyone help me? I seem to be unable to post pictures into my articles. I've done everything it says in the tutorial, the guideline, the video, but it still just displays the URLs. Can you guys help a Vulcan out?
MightyZeus - 8/22/2014, 11:40 PM
I have to say @DrDoom this truly is amazing. I would be on board with this and to be honest it would actually make me admire and appreciate the past Iron Man films. I thought Iron Man 3 was average and i was actually expecting more, but your ideas for a fourth Iron Man film works.

Keep up the great work, man.
GiantNerd - 8/23/2014, 12:10 AM
One of the greatest things I've read on this site. This was way better than watching Iron Man 3 and I did actually enjoy that movie for the most part.
Doopie - 8/23/2014, 1:03 AM
Kind of with Saurons on this one in hoping there isn't a fourth. This was a great piece though so nice one Doom. If they did decide to do another I'm not sure killing Pepper off is likely but there are still some great ideas here.

@RebelVulcan

in create an article click the 'Source' button and paste the code there. When you click Source again you should see the pic
Alphadog - 8/23/2014, 1:08 AM
It's okay, nothong special. I lile the new technology but everything else is just okay.I don't see a character arc here and the story arc isn't compelling. It's a simple story, very formulaic with no real point to it. The only thing that it could be about is Star Industries coming back to the top but that doesn't happen here. This movie is pointless. Iron Man 3 definitely took more risks and was more interesting.
Alphadog - 8/23/2014, 1:11 AM
All of you should get your heads out of your asses and not only stop hating on Iron Man 3 cus it was great but also stop praising things for no reason.
Alphadog - 8/23/2014, 1:12 AM
The only character arc that I see in this story is Pepper and she dies at the end of the story.
kinghulk - 8/23/2014, 1:33 AM
nice story but personally i would use zeke stane as the villian, have the film start with stark industries managing to stop a hostile takeover. so many things you can do with zeke and sasha hammer and you could connect them to the mandarin.
ScottMontgomery - 8/23/2014, 1:45 AM
Nice, I don't want an Iron Man 4. At all. But if it turned out like this I'd be more than happy and probably see it like 6 times
Highflyer - 8/23/2014, 1:49 AM
I've kinda lost interest in iron man movies. Would definitely prefer and Incredible Hulk 2.
Orehrepus - 8/23/2014, 1:55 AM


KIDDING! LOL!

I did. And...

Orehrepus - 8/23/2014, 1:59 AM
And I'm sure we see hints and clues about the existence of the REAL Mandarin when we find that they're (more or less) behind Baintronics.
RebelVulcan - 8/23/2014, 2:02 AM
Nice! Love your ideas, especially the thing about weaponised viruses.
Also, @DrDoom, could you do one of these for Guardians of the Galaxy 2?
TheDudeRusty - 8/23/2014, 2:24 AM
Not bad but I 'd prefer they use the real Mandarin now, I'm a bit bored of IM's corporate villains.
loki668 - 8/23/2014, 2:29 AM
You had me at shooting Gwyneth Paltrow in the throat!
Jaspion - 8/23/2014, 2:31 AM
"...my armour? It was never a distraction, or a hobby. It was a cocoon. And now, I'm a changed man. You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys. One thing you can't take away? I am Iron Man."

This always made me think now he will have some kind of Bleeding Edge suit, maybe if he could manipulate the Extremis technology and combine it with his armour.
Jaspion - 8/23/2014, 2:32 AM
Actually I was thinking of making a editorial about this, but I'm too lazy
DrKinsolving - 8/23/2014, 4:02 AM
Cool, I'm hoping we get to see Ghost and "Ghost Tech"

Titanace - 8/23/2014, 5:34 AM
Great write up. I like most of it. Don't like the Pepper takes over the company (again)
StarkAnthony - 8/23/2014, 5:40 AM
Not bad, but I have to point out the fact that since you've written this up if anything like this was the plan it won't be anymore
0megaDaGod - 8/23/2014, 5:49 AM
OMG. The words I just read



@DrDoom

Alphadog - 8/23/2014, 6:09 AM
Oh my god can somebody tell me why they think this is genius please? I mean I like some of his work (I even said so on his Thor 3 article) but I don't see anything good about this. Seriously, please explain this to me.
CombatWombat - 8/23/2014, 6:14 AM
I'm a bit bored of IM to tell the truth. Same with Batman. I'd prefer they just kept to their respective "team" films (JL, Avengers).
CombatWombat - 8/23/2014, 6:16 AM
we all know Iron Man will be getting the brightest spotlight in Avengers 2 anyway
Pasto - 8/23/2014, 6:19 AM
@DCGuy could learn a thing or two from this. Nicely done @DrDoom.
DCGuy - 8/23/2014, 6:24 AM
@Pasto Learn what? to lie about people wanting my editorials? besides you haven't read my DC TV one which is the only real one I have made. So stop fapping to the hunchback with a clit and read that one ayyyy LMAO xD
Afro - 8/23/2014, 6:35 AM
@DrDoom Great write up. Would love to see some version of this in #4. Except the Killing of Pepper. She is Kryptonite to Tony's thought process and Heart.

I never felt that Iron Man 4 was ever a wrap up from point my of view; but more of a new beginning for Tony Stark and his tech. They should bring back the Ten Rings story and The Manderin in full bloom. Now with the Cosmic Universe involved they can really explain the Ten Rings creation and the power they wield. With Manderine out to destroy all Tech and rule in his vision. With Manderine as seen as a anti hero protecting the world with the intent of doing good, but in a wrong direction that any true Marvel hero would do (Captain America Hero) in that situation. The Manderine should be used heavily in the movie. Almost to a point to were it is a villain as the main star of the movie from creation to downfall with Tony in the middle.
word1one - 8/23/2014, 6:37 AM
This movie would go 3/4 of the way through before having any action. Although the plot is good, the movie would be more boring than IM3. Just bring the REAL Mandarin...
Guerillas - 8/23/2014, 6:37 AM
Very well written, something like this would make a great Iron Man film! Good to kill off Pepper to. I do wonder about Starks arc in Avengers 2. Destroying all his suits, giving up the superhero in a way in IM3. What´s the motivation in Avengers 2 to become Iron Man again?
RedSkull667 - 8/23/2014, 6:58 AM
So no Mandarin? Looooooll
3XmenAndaBabyHope - 8/23/2014, 6:58 AM
Skimming through this I appreciate that you didn't just say "the mandarin" like everyone else does. One thing that goes against my theory for age of Ultron though is that Rhodey dies. I'm thinking at the beginning of the movie in that party scene shown in the trailer where Ultron and his drones come in. I think age of Ultron is going to make tony face all the consequences of all he's accomplished.
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