Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.
Johann Schmidt / The Red Skull / Stonekeeper
Species: Enhanced human
Portrayed By: Hugo Weaving (The First Avenger), Ross Marquand (Infinity War, Endgame)
Voiced By: Humberto Solórzano (Latin-American Spanish dub), Abel Folk (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The First Avenger | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame
A brilliant yet completely insane German scientist during World War II. He's the head of the Nazi party's deep science division HYDRA. His pursuit of power from Norse Mythology turned him into a greater threat than Adolf Hitler himself. Being a Super Soldier prototype doesn't hurt either.
After being defeated by Captain America, the Space Stone punished him for abusing its powers by making him the guardian of the Soul Stone, which gave him the gifts of immortality and levitation at the cost of leaving him completely alone and leaving a power that he could never possess just out of reach.
- Adaptational Badass: Most versions of the Red Skull are Badass Normals with their hands on really powerful Magitek. This Red Skull took the same Super Serum that Steve Rogers did so he is also a superhuman.
- Adaptational Personality Change: In the comics, Red Skull is the ultimate Nazi and fully believes in their ideologies, taking part in their many war crimes against humanity. Here, while technically aligned with the Nazis at first, he was only using them as a means to an end to fulfill his own goals. Once that's done, he splits HYDRA from the Nazis and targets Germany as well as the rest of the world. Doesn't make him any less evil, but on the bright side, at least he's not a full-on Nazi!
- Adaptational Ugliness: In the comics the Red Skull face was a mask worn and he had a normal human face underneath. Here he wears a normal human face as his mask to disguise his true face which was warped by the Super Serum into that of the Red Skull.
- Affably Evil: In Infinity War, hes a lot more mannerly and honest than he was in The First Avenger, where his tact is a mere front.
- The Ageless: He doesn't appear to have aged a day when he shows up on the planet Vormir some seventy-odd years later, presumably a consequence of his new role as the Stonekeeper, and he's also got the super soldier serum in him too. Other than his red skin looking a little more pale (possibly a result of the odd lighting from Vormir's permanently eclipsed sun) and a bit of facial weathering and wrinkling, the man looks fantastic.
- Ambition Is Evil: When your ambition is to rule the world because you believe yourself to be a higher form of life, it can be fairly called 'evil'.
- Arch-Enemy: To Captain America, representing everything that Cap opposes. He leads the war that Cap has dedicated himself to, and is foiled over and over by the patriotic Super Soldier.
- Artifact of Doom: In his hands, the Tesseract is most certainly dangerous.
- Ax-Crazy: Everyone recognizes him as insane and his methods of employee discipline are horrific. However, according to Zola, he is to be feared regardless because his insanity means he never stops to ponder the downsides of his plots, meaning he will carry them out against all odds and circumstances.
- Badass Baritone: He's a Psycho Prototype of a Super Soldier that speaks in a deep voice, as expected from Hugo Weaving.
- Badass Boast: When giving his speech to his soldiers in preparation for the launch of the Valkyrie.Red Skull: Tomorrow HYDRA shall stand master of the world, borne to victory on the wings of the Valkyrie. Our enemies' weapons will be powerless against us. If they shoot down one plane, hundreds more shall rain fire upon them! If they cut off one head... Two more shall take its place! Hail HYDRA!
- Badass Bookworm: A German scientist, he can dent metal with his fists after taking the prototype of the super serum.
- Badass Longcoat: As fits any Nazi officer, Schmidt is often seen in a black leather trenchcoat.
- Bad Boss: Fully expects his soldiers to fight and die for the cause of HYDRA (read: ingest a cyanide pill) and should one fail him and live... See You Have Failed Me.
- Bald of Evil: Post-procedure he's just a red skull though his false face still has hair.
- Beneath the Mask: During his first confrontation with Captain America, he takes off his false skin and consigns it to the flames, at last revealing and fully embracing his identity and further dispensing any pretenses to Nazi loyalty.
- Big Bad: In Captain America: The First Avenger. He leads HYDRA, seeks out the Tesseract, and plots to Take Over the World, including Nazi Germany.
- Body Horror: The serum used to enhance his abilities was imperfect, leading to his face becoming horrifically disfigured.
- Black Cloak: In Infinity War and Endgame, he is seen wearing a grim reaper-esque cloak for his new role as the keeper of the Soul Stone.
- Brutal Honesty: When the Nazis visiting his base to see he's up to figure out that he's a traitor, he admits it straight away.
- The Bus Came Back: After a long seven year absence, we finally see him again in Avengers: Infinity War as the keeper of the Soul Stone.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Unlike the subtler modern-times villains (including some other members of HYDRA), Red Skull isn't trying to fool anybody. He's a murderous megalomaniac with a skull for a face, and proud of it. Zola even points out how much of a failure Red Skull's blatantly evil approach to world domination was, and how the new HYDRA has found vastly greater success with Alexander Pierce's subtler velvet glove approach. In Infinity War, he very much admits because he's a heartless monster, he can't take the Soul Stone.
- Clarke's Third Law: He came up with it before Clarke himself. That's why he knew he could use the Tesseract to make scientific weapons.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played with. Schmidt is only called "Red Skull" once in The First Avenger, and he doesn't care for the name. It's averted in The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where he is exclusively referred to as the Red Skull. Even Steve Rogers, who called him "Schmidt" throughout The First Avenger, only refers to him as "the Red Skull" in The Winter Soldier.
- Composite Character: This version is a distillation of two other major Captain America villains combined with his own character. Also a case of Decomposite Character since the other two would show up later.
- The baseline, obviously, is the Red Skull. He's the Arch-Enemy of Captain America and his evil reflection. He has the Large Ham tendencies, the Nazi Nobleman look, the general insanity, the leadership role, and obviously, the red skull.
- Of Baron Strucker as the founder of HYDRA. In the comics, he was suspended on ice before HYDRA formed, and was only rescued later.
- Of Baron Zemo, specifically Heinrich, who brings in the Stupid Jetpack Hitler elements, and was the one responsible for Captain America being frozen and Bucky Barnes "dying", both of which were due to Zemo in the comics.
- Also, he later takes the role of the In-Betweener as the keeper of the Soul Stone when Thanos comes for it.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: In retribution for misusing its power, the Tesseract sent Schmidt to Vormir, hiding place of the Soul Stone, while imparting the knowledge of how to attain it, knowing that his cruel, loveless nature would make it impossible for him to make the needed sacrifice. On top of that he is made it's immortal guardian, with knowledge about the lives and secrets of all those who come to seek it.
- Cool Car: His transport is a coupé that looks like a mix between a Mercedes-Benz and a Bentley. Quite proud of it, too!
- Cruel Mercy: What the Tesseract did to him, ultimately. It didn't kill him, but it did leave him stuck on the far side of the universe, unable to die as the permanent guardian of the power he wants so desperately but can never possess. Once the Soul Stone is taken, however, he is free to leave.
- Deadpan Snarker: When a soldier says his unit "fought to the last man", he replies "Evidently not," and kills him.
- Despair Event Horizon: Schmidt's decades-long exile on Vormir seems to have broken his spirit; far from the forceful personality he once had, he speaks in a detached voice that shows little hint of the ambitious and power-hungry man he was in the 1940s. The only consolation he gets is watching others try to get the stone and fail miserably.
- Diabolical Mastermind: A mad scientist and leader of a terrorist organization who seeks world domination.
- Dragon with an Agenda: He used to be an executive for Hitler until he and HYDRA broke off on their own and renounced the Nazis entirely, fulfilling said agenda.
- Empowered Badass Normal:
- Schmidt was already a brilliant scientist and member of Hitler's inner circle when he took the super-soldier serum. Afterwards, he's a superhuman combatant capable of holding his own against Captain America.
- In Infinity War he was made an unwilling cosmic herald for the Soul Stone, an artifact that he heedlessly pursued, but could never attain.
- Enlightened Antagonist: By Infinity War, seventy years of solitude with cosmic power just beyond his grasp seems to have led him to calm down and think about his own failings in life, as well as his place in the cosmic nature of the universe. However, rather than attempt to better himself, he simply seems to accept his own Lack of Empathy as a matter of course.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When talking to a group in Endgame, he refers to Clint as the son of his mother, rather than his father. Since her name, Edith, is shared with the comics, this would imply Clint's family history is as troubled as ever, with his father being either absent, or the outright abusive drunk he was in the comics. Either way, even Red Skull seems to think he wasn't worth mentioning.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- When he captures Cap at his mountain base, he pauses to ask him just what made him so special that Erskine would actually make him a Super Soldier. Steve merely replies that he's just a kid from Brooklyn, enraging Schmidt enough to give him a quick No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Averted in Infinity War. He explains to Thanos and Gamora that in order to get Soul Stone someone has to sacrifice the person they loved the most. When Thanos starts crying, while Gamora believed that he was crying because he had failed, since she assumed that he never truly loved anyone, Red Skull could see that the reason he was crying was because he realized that he was forced to sacrifice her. Took him years to finally grasp that concept.
- Evil Counterpart: He is a complete antithesis of Captain America. Both were injected with a Super Serum and became superhumans, but the similarities end there. Captain America is the embodiment of patriotism, an Ideal Hero who fights for freedom. Red Skull was originally a Nazi who embodied fascism, and if that wasn't enough he ends up betraying his own country and seeks world domination.
- Eviler Than Thou: He manages to pull this on the Nazis: He thinks that they will never get him as far as he wants, so he separates himself and HYDRA from them and goes on his world-domination quest without them.
- Evil Genius: He has shown to be a formidable researcher and scientist, able to distinguish truth and myth about ancient powerful relics.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: It does when an imperfect Super Soldier Serum encounters pre-existing evil.
- Evil Plan: Use the Tesseract to create super weapons and take over the world.
- Evil Sounds Deep: A Eviler Than Thou Nazi psychopath with a deep voice.
- Exact Words: He states that HYDRA was formed to eliminate his enemies. This does not go unnoticed by his Nazi auditors.
- Expy: Schmidt's fate, revealed in Infinity War, makes him something of one for Tantalus; in trying to set himself up as an equal to the gods, Schmidt, like Tantalus, found himself condemned to an eternity of having his greatest desire just out of his reach, forever in sight, but beyond his ability to claim.
- Facial Horror: His entire head is a deformed, red skull shape, albeit with eyes, due to taking the unfinished Super Soldier serum.
- Fate Worse than Death: The Tesseract dumped him out on Vormir, where he was consigned to be the Stone-Keeper of the Soul Stone, unable to die, and made to guide others to a power even stronger than the one he longed to wield.
- Faux Affably Evil: The first thing he says to Captain America is "I am a great fan of your films!".
- Foil: A pitch-perfect foil for the Captain. Steve's a kid from the streets, the Red Skull is a high-ranking Nazi elite. Steve is a Humble Hero, Johann overflows with Pride. The Captain takes on the identity of a whole nation, the Red Skull is disloyal to the party.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Initially just a Nazi scientist, the serum turned him into a real supervillain.
- Genius Bruiser: A brilliant scientist and military tactician and also strong enough to put a dent in Steve's metal shield.
- A God Am I: Has one hell of a god complex and gets deflated whenever Cap calls him out on it or acts humble despite his own commensurate super power. The fact that he made himself a godlike figure to his followers also suggests that, assuming he was ever aware of it, he sought (somewhat successfully) to hijack the role of "HYDRA god" from Hive.
- The Grim Reaper: Combined with his scarlet, bony visage, Schmidt starts to truly ape the imagery after watching over the Soul Stone somehow gives him a dark, raggedy cloak and the ability to menacingly levitate. Just like the Grim Reaper, he collects the souls of those who have tried and failed to get stone.
- Hazy Feel Turn: Though not a good guy by any means, he appears to have abandoned his quest for power after becoming the Soul Stone's guardian, and he seems to bear some regret for the dreadful fate his quest for power has condemned him to. At most, he's neutral, but you can sense a bare hint of his former sadism when he tells Gamora that she's wrong about Thanos shedding tears of failure.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: A great deal of his wardrobe is leather, especially his longcoats.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: He builds, finances, and powers an entire army with the Tesseract as his power source. Then his fight with Captain America knocks the cube out of its containment vessel, and Schmidt makes the mistake of trying to pick it up with his bare hand. And it doesn't kill him, either! Although he may have wished it did.
- Hypocritical Humor: This line to Steve when the latter is captured at his mountain base, especially priceless coming from someone whose superiority complex is in the stratosphere.Skull: Arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but I must say, you do it better than anyone.
- I Am X, Son of Y: He doesn't do it for himself, but after being banished to Vormir, Schmidt greets any who come seeking the Soul Stone by addressing them in this manner, doing so for Thanos (son of A'Lars), Gamora (daughter of Thanos), Clint (son of Edith), and Natasha (daughter of Ivan). His preternatural knowledge of these seekers might suggest that he now possesses a degree of omniscience in his role as the Stonekeeper; only Thanos would be aware of the name of his father, and not even Natasha knew her father's name.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Inverted. The Red Skull is already convinced that he is special, that he was worthy of the serum. He sees in Captain America his opposite number, another god like him... so during his second encounter with the Captain, he demands to know what makes the Captain special, and the answer is his Berserk Button.Steve: I'm just a kid from Brooklyn.
- Ironic Hell: His status as the guardian of the Soul Stone. One of the most powerful artifacts in the universe is right within his grasp, he knows how to get it and would readily pay the price for it... But the price it asks is something he will never have: a loved one.
- It's All About Me: As is to be expected of such a narcissist, Schmidt's universe revolves around him. His aims for HYDRA expand to nothing less than world domination in Schmidt's name, a mission that he shamelessly sacrifices any of his followers to see accomplished. This ends up screwing him over in the long run; exiled to the planet Vormir by the Tesseract, Schmidt is unable to claim the Soul Stone's power because he cannot complete the Stone's test: to sacrifice someone you love. As Schmidt loves nothing but himself, he is condemned to act as the Stone's keeper, with it being forever out of his reach.
- I Was Quite a Looker: He apparently looked better before taking the serum.
- Karma Houdini: In a way. While he did suffer decades upon decades of being trapped on Vormir as the unwilling keeper of the Soul Stone, Word of God confirmed that he is free to leave and continue to pursue his own evil plans after Thanos took the Soul Stone. The same would have applied to the Red Skull of the alternative 2014 timeline in Endgame when the Soul Stone is taken by Clint Barton; however, it's implied that Steve Rogers put a stop to that by returning the Stone back to Vormir in his time travel mission, thus leaving the Red Skull to his fate as Stonekeeper.
- Lack of Empathy: It's because he views other humans as ants. Why should a superior being care about something so insignificant? Ultimately, this ends up being his Fatal Flaw when it keeps him from ever being able to claim the Soul Stone for himself. It also means that he's totally apathetic to who is sacrificed to claim the Soul Stone; Schmidt doesn't make a move or even react to Thanos sacrificing Gamora, or to Clint and Natasha's struggle over which of them will give their lives to obtain the Stone.
- Large Ham: When he losing control of his temper or the situation or both, he loses his cool and gets outright loose in his shouting and fury. "YOU ARE FAILING!"
- Latex Perfection: His normal human face was evidently an example of this but it's actually averted at a few points: the neck sometimes has problems fastening so that the red flesh can be seen underneath.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After spending the entirety of The First Avenger building an army and his own weapons tech based on the Tessaract, he seemingly gets killed when he grabs it in his bare hand. Taken Up to Eleven when it turns out that he survived grabbing the Tesseract, and it instead teleported him to the planet Vormir, put him within arm's reach of what could be considered the most powerful Infinity Stone with the knowledge that it requires a price he will never be able to pay, and left him there. For seventy years.
- Mouth of Sauron: As the guardian of the Soul Stone. While more openly evil and villainous than what he's serving in question, he's the one who explains on its behalf how it demands a particular sacrifice before anyone can use it.
- Narcissist: Has one of his minions paint a portrait of him with entrails. This quality ends up being Schmidt's one-way trip to his personal hell: the Tesseract sends him to act as keeper to the Soul Stone, which requires one to sacrifice someone they love to claim it. Since Schmidt loves no one and nothing but himself, the Stone is beyond his reach.Artist: This want not meant for eyes of ordinary men.
Red Skull: Precisely.
- Mr. Smith: Alluded to the fact that his name is German for "John Smith" suggests that he doesn't have a real human identity.
- Nazi Nobleman: While he doesn't identify with the Nazi party anymore, he undeniably likes to invoke the Nobleman half.
- Never Found the Body: It's unclear as to exactly what happened to Schmidt after he grabbed the Tesseract. In-universe, however, he's presumed to be dead. Given what we see in the Thor movies, what happened to him heavily resembles the rainbow bridge teleportation between the Nine Realms. Infinity War reveals, however, that he's alive and well, acting as the Soul Stone's guardian as punishment.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Minor example. Red Skull is technically Cap's physical equal and is superhuman, but unlike the experienced Cap, Red Skull clearly treats direct combat as a last resort; beneath him. This shows when they do fight, as Red Skull relies either on factors like his advanced technology, or the other agents to give him an advantage and if forced into direct one-on-one, he doesn't have the same fighting prowess Cap does.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: Red Skull doesn't mess around when it comes to facing Cap. When he sees Steve rampaging through the base, he immediately activates the self destruct sequence to kill him and the escaping prisoners all at once. When he captures Cap at his mountain base, there's no elaborate death trap or Cold-Blooded Torture, just a quick No-Holds-Barred Beatdown and a Tesseract-powered pistol to the head. And when Cap arrives on the Valkyrie and reaches the control room, Red Skull sneaks behind him to get off another Tesseract-powered shot.
- The Noseless: Justified; he's a skull and the nose is made of cartilage rather than bone.
- Obviously Evil: He's a genocidal Nazi control freak with no empathy, a giant trenchcoat and a freaking skull for a head. Everyone, even Zola, can tell from the start that he's bad news.
- Older and Wiser: Gives off this vibe as the Soul Stone's guardian in Infinity War, being much more subdued and even respectful. This does not mean that he is benevolent, however.
- Omnicidal Maniac: His plan for bombing his enemies includes Berlin. No place is safe from him.
- The Omniscient: To a degree; in his role as Stonekeeper, Red Skull demonstrates knowledge of those who come seeking the Soul Stone that he has no obvious way of knowing, most prominently their identities and those of their parents. How he knows these things is unclear, but this, along with his intimate knowledge of the Soul Stone itself, implies that the knowledge may come from the Stone.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Red Skull's lust for power is the most prominent trait of his character, willingly to betray his country and eventually the human race to satisfy his appetite. But according to Joe Russo, when a time-traveling Captain America returns the Soul Stone back to Vormir, the Red Skull would most likely be there to put the Soul Stone back for the next unfortunate stone seeker, not bothering to escape or even fight his long-time archenemy. This highlights the dangerous power of the Soul Stone, turning a power-hungry sociopath into a servile specter with no hint of his past conscious.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: According to the Russo brothers, the Red Skull in Infinity War and Endgame is more of a ghost whose only purpose is to guard the Soul Stone forever than the maniacal HYDRA dictator seeking to be a god. They're not even sure if his past conscious even exists anymore.
- Personality Powers: The Super Soldier Serum "... amplifies everything inside. Good becomes great. Bad becomes worse." Thus, a psychopathic Nazi who gave Adolf Hitler the creeps essentially becomes an Omnicidal Maniac and even crazier than ever, with power to match his madness.
- Piggybacking on Hitler: He sets up HYDRA like this. It's not until his Nazi allies notice that Berlin is on his list of targets that they realize he isn't exactly on their side.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Schmidt could have easily left Zola to die, but instead gives him the keys to his Cool Car... Because someone has to drive it out of the exploding base. And Zola himself is at least a competent scientist.
- Pure Is Not Good: Only a being without any attachments could be made the Soul Stone's guardian, but Schmidt is pure evil, and that's more than enough to place him there.
- Psycho Prototype: His serum was flawed (and he's evil), so it made him more psychotic then he already was.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After Schmidt's transformation, Hitler "gives" him a secret base in the Alps. The Red Skull knows that he's really being exiled. However, it gives Schmidt enough privacy to turn HYDRA into his personal army. Played straight with the Tessaract. By trying to misuse its power, it more or less "hires" him to become the Soul Stone's guardian while simultaneously punishing him for his evil ways.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Black trenchcoat with a red HYDRA symbol on it. And that's not even mentioning his head.
- Red Right Hand: He has a fleshy mask to cover it.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: Twice. To the in-universe public and official history, they are a Renegade Splitner Faction of the Nazi Party; however, they are also somewhat this to HYDRA itself, as under Schmidt's leadership in the 1940's, HYDRA drifted away from the ancient, Hive-worshipping cult it had previously been, focusing more on science-based methods of world domination, with the latter becoming much more well-known for most of its existence. The two groups never actually split apart, and although there seemed to have been some minor tensions (Whitehall, a noted disciple of Schmidt's, expressed contempt for the ancient cult, and the HYDRA Council referred to Schmidt as "our founder"), they worked together, with the ancient cult returning to prominence after Schmidt's HYDRA was decimated by the combined efforts of Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
- Retcon: Originally presented as the founder of HYDRA until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. said otherwise.
- Retired Monster: How he comes across in Infinity War; his time on Vormir hasn't reformed him, as his given reason for being unable to take the Soul Stone is that he's so purely evil he has nothing and no-one he cares enough about to sacrifice for it, but he's also abandoned his megalomaniacal persona and seemingly his imperial ambitions as well. It's unclear, though, if this is because he's genuinely given up on his plans or if he's simply unable to act on them due to being cursed to stay on Vormir.
- Sanity Slippage: He was never a paragon of sanity to begin with, but towards the end his craziness goes Up to Eleven.
- Sanity Strengthening: The time on Vormir for more than a human lifetime has given Johann Schmidt time to calm down from his Ax-Crazy persona previously shown. This isn't to say he's no longer evil by any stretch, but he is calm and rational when speaking about the Soul Stone, apparently having come to terms with the fact that he will never have it himself. In all he comes across as a Retired Monster.
- Skull for a Head: It's in the name and he doesn't like it.
- Small Role, Big Impact:
- For the MCU as a whole. Despite appearing in only one film, the repercussions of his actions extend far beyond his lifetime. Schmidt's discovery of the Tesseract ultimately leads to Thanos turning his attention to Earth (leading to the events of both Avengers films), and his incarnation of HYDRA later destroyed S.H.I.E.L.D. and plunged the world into a state of uncertainty. It's likely that, without Schmidt's influence on history, the spread of superhuman and world-changing conflicts would not have come to dominate Earth at the turn of the 21st century.
- Also for Infinity War. He appears for all of one scene, but it is his guidance that makes Thanos realize that he has to kill Gamora to realize his ambitions. This murder later on ends up being the primary reason Star-Lord botches an otherwise successful attempt to defeat Thanos.
- Similarly for Endgame, Black Widow ends up dying for real due to his role in the story.
- The Social Darwinist: Expresses the view that the strong should rule and the weak are expendable in the tie-in comic. However, his social Darwinism isn't tied to Nazi racial ideology, and he in fact indicates he's not a racist... mostly because he doesn't care about humanity at all anymore, so the distinction of race is meaningless to him.
- The Sociopath: Feels free to ignore morality and empathy because he was serumed — he's above humanity now. Why should he care for human morality? Apparently, it made him ideal for being the Soul Stone's guardian—there is no one more detached and uncaring than a sociopath to guard the stone without taking it.
- Special Person, Normal Name: Ironically, despite Schmidt's god delusion and narcissism, his true name is as mundane as it gets; "Johann Schmidt" is the German equivalent to "John Smith".
- The Starscream:
- Fully intends to usurp Hitler, and has his minions chanting "Hail HYDRA". Eventually he's revealed to have Berlin as one of his targets for annihilation, and kills the Nazi officers who come to look through his projects.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reveals HYDRA's ultimate purpose is to worship and serve Hive. Though this is very much retroactive continuity, it's pretty clear from Schmidt's overall philosophy that he'd have absolutely no interest at all in this even if he were aware of it.
- Super Soldier: Same as Steve. The serum helps magnifies everything about the subject, including their personalities and inner qualities (good becomes great, bad becomes worse). Schmidt, being decidedly insane and hungry for power, had all of his physical qualities enhanced but gained his grotesque appearance as a result of his psychotic personality. Steve, by contrast, became the paragon of humanity both physically and personality-wise, in part due to his genuine kindness and humility. That was why Erskine chose him for the project in the first place.
- Super Strength: He managed to dent Steve's first shield with a punch, which forced him to get one made of Vibranium.
- Tear Off Your Face: Inverted. To show what he really looks like, he tears off his own face (or at least the false one) to show to Cap.
- Übermensch: Schmidt proclaims himself (and Captain America) to have left humanity behind, rejects outside ideologies in favour of one of his own design, and believes himself to be superior to lesser men.
- The Unfettered: A given for a sociopathic Übermensch; Schmidt was willing to wipe out millions of innocent people to prove his delusions of godhood.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: He's so cruel and heartless that the Tesseract rejected him and punished him by making him the guardian of the Soul Stone. The Tesseract doesn't even try to do that on Thanos when he crushes it with its un-gloved hand to give an idea of how loose the Infinity Stones are in term of morality.
- Unskilled, but Strong: He's a scientist first, and when he tangles with Cap it's clear his hand-to-hand combat training isn't at the level of guys like Winter Soldier or even Batroc the Leaper. He can still trade punches with Cap on an even basis since they're both products of the same super serum.
- Villainous Breakdown: "YOU ARE FAILING! We are close to an offensive that will shake the planet, and yet we are continually delayed because you cannot outwit a simpleton with a shield!"
- Villainous Friendship: His interactions with Zola imply this. Despite his contempt for those he views inferior, Schmidt is almost always polite to the doctor and always treats him with respect. He even seems to regard him as a friend or at the least as a close confidant, asking his opinion on a portrait of him. Schmidt even gives the doctor his personal car to drive out of the exploding base. Though he gets annoyed by the doctor's failure to stop Cap, he instead vents his anger on a soldier. Of course, this could fall under Pragmatic Villainy as he requires the doctor's scientific expertise. Also, Zola knows that Schmidt is a certified psychopath and knows full well the Skull will not hesitate to kill him if he finds him to be a liability. But even then, the sequel shows that Zola is still carrying on Schmidt's legacy in a roundabout way.
- Villainous Legacy: As Steve was the world's first superhero, the Red Skull was effectively the first supervillain, and his actions indirectly influenced future conflicts. He causes the events of The Avengers via his discovery of the Tesseract and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s recovery of it, and as the arc reactor is implied to be based on Howard Stark's research on the Tesseract, he also played a hand in influencing the events of the Iron Man films and all that Tony Stark did with the technology. Furthermore, the fact that his assassin caused the super soldier serum formula to be lost by killing its creator means others try to replicate it, resulting in the events of The Incredible Hulk. And then in The Winter Soldier we find out HYDRA outlived him and has continued on under new leadership, and it's confirmed through Civil War that they continued with their own super-soldier program — though more accurately a super-assassin program. Then as if that wasn't enough, his presence in Infinity War as the Soul Stone's guardian has the greater consequence of leading Thanos on the path to realizing his plan, ultimately culminating in the erasure of half of the universe.
- Villains Out Shopping: He recognizes Captain America on security monitors and calls to him by name, saying he's a fan of his films. These observations beg the question of what he does in his spare time. Considering that the people said films likely pit the Captain against are the Nazis that Schmidt has broken away from, that statement may not even be sarcasm, and he might enjoy them for more than their corniness.note
- Villains Never Lie: In Endgame, Clint briefly considers the possibility that Schmidt is lying about the need to sacrifice a loved one in order to claim the Soul Stone. The audience is well aware that he's telling the truth, and Natasha comes to the same conclusion when she recognises that Schmidt knew things about her that Natasha herself never knew (specifically, her father's name).
- Visionary Villain: He has a vision of a world united under a single banner: his own.Schmidt: I have seen the future, Captain! There are no flags!
- Walking Spoiler: His appearance in Infinity War, given he was absent for 7 years and 14 movies, and is related to the one Infinity Stone that wasn't introduced in previous movies.
- Wham Shot: How his intro in Infinity War plays out. Thanos and Gamora visit Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone, where it is guarded by an ominous being in a hooded cloak. When the ghostly figure emerges from the darkness, we see a familiar red face within his hood...
- Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Averted; he has no problem killing his enemies when he has the chance and never engages Steve in melee combat, preferring to use firearms. When he recognizes Captain America has infiltrated his base and the prisoners are escaping and arming themselves, he activates the base's self-destruct mechanisms, calmly telling Zola "our forces are outmatched". In his second confrontation with Steve, the Skull takes a moment to ask him a quick, understandable question (what about Steve made Erskine choose him to get the serum), and then he pulls out a sidearm and decides to get it over and done with. Later when Steve infiltrates his aerial bomber, Skull hides and ambushes him with a rifle, and when disarmed of it resorts to his sidearm again.
- Wicked Cultured: Shows an appreciation for folklore (for business purposes) and has his picture painted the old-fashioned way.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Though he manages it well and in fact it's all but stated by Zola, who notes that the sanity (or lack thereof) of his plans are irrelevant, because he can carry them out anyway.
- Worthy Opponent: He tries to regard Captain America as this, but not only does Steve not care for it, but when Steve states that there's nothing special about him (in contrast to Skull's "ubermensch" speeches), the Red Skull has finally had enough.
- You Have Failed Me: He lectures one HYDRA grunt of failing to live up to his report (which also counts as lying to the Red Skull himself) before "correcting" such mistake.HYDRA grunt: We fought to the last man!
Schmidt: Evidently not. [shoots the lone survivor]
Dr. Arnim Zola
Portrayed By: Toby Jones
Voiced By: Eduardo Tejedo (Latin-American Spanish dub), Pep Sais (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The First Avenger | Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Agent Carter | What If...?
Weapons designer for HYDRA, and right hand man to Schmidt.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the comics, Zola frequently uploads himself into a new body whenever his old one is destroyed, and he often makes use of combat-capable robot bodies. The film version exists as a 1970's era supercomputer with no combat ability, and once this form is destroyed, he's dead for good.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He isn't the Punch-Clock Villain he says he is.
- Book-Ends: His face first appears in the franchise as a sickly, distorted monocolor image on some sort of giant lens in his laboratory and last appears as a crude, distorted monocolor-screen image in Winter Soldier.
- Boxed Crook: He was recruited to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. after the war, along with other Nazi scientists, as part of the real-life Operation Paperclip. This proved to be a very bad idea, as he used the opportunity to rebuild HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself.
- Brain Uploading: He uploads his consciousness in a vast bank of computer in the 1970.
- Bystander Syndrome: As mentioned, he only makes HYDRA's weapons. Beyond that is another matter entirely. The Winter Soldier throws this out the window when it turns out that he's instrumental in HYDRA's survival into the 21st century.
- The Cameo: He appears in The Stinger to the first season finale to Agent Carter. He proposes an opportunity to team up with Dr. Fennhoff.
- Cyanide Pill: The only HYDRA agent they ever catch who doesn't use one, due to being a Dirty Coward more concerned with preserving his own life than the cause.
- Deadpan Snarker: Becoming a living computer seems to have brought out Zola's snarky side. After provoking Steve into smashing one of his computer monitors, Zola just appears on another one, quipping "as I was saying..."Steve: Arnim Zola was a German scientist who worked for the Red Skull. He's been dead for years.
Zola: First correction: I am Swiss.
- Disc-One Final Boss: In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, at first it seems like the mastermind of the conspiracy is Zola, having survived in a computer since the 1970's, but he's killed halfway through and Alexander Pierce takes over.
- The Dragon: A non-combatant version, to the Red Skull.
- Dragon Ascendant: Reforms HYDRA from within S.H.I.E.L.D. after being captured.
- Evil Counterpart: To Dr. Erskine, and also Howard Stark as scientist.
- Evil Genius: His designs are above what Howard Stark or Schmidt could design alone.
- Evil Gloating: Confronted by Steve and Natasha, Zola shamelessly brags about HYDRA's survival into the modern day, even personally taunting Steve about his Senseless Sacrifice in 1945. He's partly doing this to stall for time while Pierce orders a missile strike on their location, but Zola clearly revels in revealing the extent of his work.Zola: We won, Captain. Your death amounts to the same as your life: a zero sum.
- Evil Is Petty: Out of all the possible places Zola could have chosen to have his mind uploaded, he chose Camp Lehigh, where Captain America was trained, even though the man was presumed long dead anyway.
- Evil Vegetarian: When Col. Phillips offers him a steak, Zola refuses it, saying meat doesn't agree with him. However, he may have been lying since he suspected the meat was poisoned. (It wasn't.) This becomes amusing in hindsight when he uploads his mind into a databank of computer tapes, after which his insidious infiltration and corruption of S.H.I.E.L.D. only grew. Not only did meat disagree with him, it was holding him back.
- Faux Affably Evil: While quite polite and dorky, he still willingly backs Red Skull. Crops up again when he's talking to Captain America and Black Widow- he "politely" gloats and then laughs in their face as he expects them all to die.
- For Science!: He just builds the awesome glowing blue machines. HYDRA and Schmidt are the ones who actually use them.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: His glasses add to the Mad Scientist look.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The first one to Alexander Pierce. He appears for a grand total of two scenes in the sequel, but without him, the plot would've been drastically different. See also Predecessor Villain below.
- Herr Doktor: A Swiss scientist who makes mad science weapons.
- Mad Scientist: Though he's much saner than Red Skull, he loses all concerns for safety when he realizes the Tesseract's potential. Even more prominent in The Winter Soldier, where he is shown to be behind the creation of the Winter Soldier, and when he became fatally ill in the '70's, transferred his mind into a computer so he could survive and continue serving HYDRA.
- Manipulative Bastard: An implicit requirement for being able to convert SSR/S.H.I.E.L.D. agents over to the very organization they were fighting, one that arose from the Nazis. Agent Carter implies he may have had some help in this regard, through hypnosis...
- Minion with an F in Evil: He's uncomfortable in Red Skull's work enviroment and doesn't commit any evil beyond building the weapons. He just happens to work for a lunatic. The Winter Soldier shows that while he's not as evil as Red Skull, he's still a very bad man. He's the one who makes Bucky into the Winter Soldier, and he's complicit in numerous murders as well as a decades-long conspiracy helping HYDRA to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.. Worst of all, Zola writes a computer algorithm that helps to identify any and all potential threats to HYDRA's New World Order, numbering in at least the tens of millions, in order that they can be murdered.
- Mistaken Nationality: Because of his accent and who he was working for, both Steve and the audience assumed he was German. Turns out that he's Swiss.
- The Mole: Deliberately joined S.H.I.E.L.D. with the intention of raising HYDRA inside it.
- Mythology Gag: His first appearance on screen is that of a distorted head in a screen, mirroring his most iconic incarnation. Later he's seen taking paper with the designs of said robot body. In The Winter Soldier, the camera attached to the computer his uploaded self is occupying looks like the camera on his comics counterpart's robot body.
- Non-Action Guy: Lampshaded by Zola himself.Zola: I merely develop the weapons, I cannot fire them!
- Not Afraid to Die:
- Averted. Philips points out that Zola didn't have a personal cyanide pill to swallow when he got captured, unlike so many other HYDRA agents, which means he prefers to live. This makes him easy to blackmail.
- However, after cheating death for more than forty years with a Brain Uploading, when a missile heads his way to kill Captain America, Black Widow, and himself by proxy, he tricks them into listening to his Evil Gloating until he believes it's too late to stop, then just laughs and gleefully accepts his fate as the price of success.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: In The First Avenger, he comes off more as a Punch-Clock Villain who was afraid of Red Skull, but smart enough to make weapons from the Tesseract. In the sequel, he's sowed the seeds and created a far more dangerous plan and army to take over the world.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Engineered HYDRA's weapons, turned Bucky Barnes into an ageless cybernetic killing machine, uploaded his own consciousness to a computer as early as the 1970s, and created a predictive analytics algorithm that puts its real world counterparts to shame.
- Only Sane Man: Compared to Schmidt, who's unrelentingly called insane throughout the film - even by Zola himself. Turns out, while he never bought into Red Skull's little personality cult, he was a true believer in HYDRA's cause.
- Predecessor Villain: Becomes this in The Winter Soldier, as we learn that he originally orchestrated S.H.I.E.L.D.'s corruption and concocted the film's Evil Plan before current Big Bad Alexander Pierce took the reins.
- Punch-Clock Villain: He has no stake in Schmidt's operation, but who else is gonna to give him a Tesseract? Think of the opportunities! Subverted in The Winter Soldier as keeping him alive as an Allied scientist allowed him to manipulate S.H.I.E.L.D. from the back end and rebuild HYDRA as a shadow group, poised to bring about Schmidt's new world order using the United States' own technology.
- Reluctant Mad Scientist: He'd rather build his designs in a environment that did not require chanting "Hail HYDRA". The sequel reveals that he was only "reluctant" to work for Red Skull; he's quite happy to be a Mad Scientist and is ideologically proud to work for HYDRA, especially since it's implied that the Skull's successors treat him with more respect than the Skull did himself.
- The Starscream: Double Subverted Trope. While he does seem alarmed by Red Skull's Sanity Slippage, he maintains a firm belief in his ideals. Despite that, he isn't willing to throw his life away for the cause, and sells Red Skull out for his own safety — and, as revealed in Winter Soldier, to revive HYDRA right under its enemies' noses.
- Took a Level in Badass: Dr. Zola takes multiple levels of this after the war ends and he's recruited to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., being responsible for the decades-long HYDRA plan to covertly take over the world by making them smarter and more competent. He comes closer to the fruition of HYDRA's plans than the Red Skull himself.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: His torture of the American soldiers is shown in The Winder Soldier which casts him in an even nastier light that proves him to be a bigger threat than he let on.
- The Unfettered: In The Winter Soldier, Zola refused to allow death to stop him from furthering HYDRA's goals; he simply transferred his mind into a computer and went right on working.
- Villain Team-Up: In 1946, Zola's cell was eventually shared with another supervillain, Dr. Fennhoff, a talented hypnotist and leader of Leviathan. Zola offered him a chance for escape by combining their skills, and by proxy uniting Leviathan and HYDRA.
- Virtual Ghost: In The '70s, he was able to upload his brain into a lot of mainframe computers before dying. Despite some additions such as an USB port, it's mostly an old-fashioned Zeerust ghost that appears through tube monitors.
- Walking Spoiler: His very introduction in Winter Soldier is to show HYDRA is not dead, and quite infiltrated into S.H.I.E.L.D. to the point of using their resources to keep Zola alive as a Virtual Ghost.
Secretary Alexander Pierce
Portrayed By: Robert Redford
Voiced By: Arturo Mercado (Latin-American Spanish dub), Manolo García (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Avengers: Endgame
A member of the World Security Council and old comrade of Nick Fury. He is one of the primary heads of Project INSIGHT, and leads an investigation on all suspects of the assassination attempt on Nick Fury... including Captain America.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Pierce is a standard, good guy agent. In the movie, he's not only the Big Bad of the second film, but also a part of HYDRA.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Comic Pierce has black hair, the movie version has Redford's natural red.
- Age Lift: Pierce is a young man in the comics, somewhere in his thirties, and not even half of Redford's age.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Moles under his command take control over the S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters, Triskelion as well as all three Helicarriers.
- Badass Boast: His retort to Nick Fury's line in Broken Pedestal below.Alexander Pierce: You already did. You will again, when it's useful.
- Big Bad: Of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He calls for the hit on Fury, gives orders to the Winter Soldier, and plans to use Helicarriers and Zola's algorithm to place the entire world under his control.
- Big Bad Friend: To Nick Fury, whom he has a long history with and whom he tries to have killed rather quickly.
- Broken Pedestal: He was the man who appointed Nick Fury as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and was The Mentor to him. The revelation that he was Evil All Along greatly upsets Nick.Nick Fury: You know, there was a time when I would have taken a bullet for you.
- Celebrity Paradox: Redford's long career combined with the size of the MCU would make it pretty hard to avoid, and sure enough Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid has been mentioned on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Composite Character: The film's Pierce is an amalgamation of several different characters from the Marvel Universe; Alexander Goodwin Pierce, as far as the name goes, Robert 'Rebel' Ralston, in being an old friend of Fury's who was in an oversight position over S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention being drawn to look like Redford for a time, and Aleksander Lukin, the Winter Soldier's master. His motives and high position evoke shades of Number One of the Secret Empire arc, while he physically resembles Arnold Brown, the leader of HYDRA during the Strange Tales story arc where the organization first appeared.
- Cool Old Guy: The fact that he's Robert Redford is reason enough, but he also argues defiantly with the World Security Council and has a good sense of humor.
- Corrupt Bureaucrat: When it comes down to it, this is all he is, but the corruption is in a different way than most. Think of a kill list. People who, it's been decided, threaten the world's order enough that they must be killed to uphold it. From that, he's extrapolated the concept of figuring out what makes a person threaten world order, then removing the people who fit that profile in their dozens, or hundreds, or millions before they become threats. Never mind "innocent until proven guilty". Never mind those on kill lists have usually actively resisted less lethal alternatives. It's just another step...
- Deadpan Snarker: His remark about pointing out Algiers on a map qualifies. This is apparently a habit of his; at one point, one of the World Security Council asks Pierce to get any "snappy remarks" out of the way early.
- Death Glare: Despite his usual friendly-seeming demeanor, he can demonstrate a pretty chilling one, such as during Captain America's Rousing Speech and when Pierce kills the World Security Councilors.
- Detective Mole: He puts himself in charge of investigating Fury's "murder."
- Dissonant Serenity: This is his reaction to shooting his maid, who has walked in on him chatting with The Winter Soldier:Pierce: [in a completely calm tone] Oh, Renata; I wish you would've knocked.
- Dying Alone: After being shot by Fury, he's left to die in in the ruins of his office as the Helicarriers and his plans crumble to pieces around him, proclaiming loyalty to HYDRA with his final breath.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first appearance, meeting with the Council. He's standing while they're sitting passively, and while they're argumentative, stuffy, and obstructive, Pierce sees through all of it and delivers catty zingers at their expense. Lastly, there's this exchange, which greatly foreshadows The Reveal later on.Councilman: This Council takes piracy seriously.
Pierce: Really? I don't. I don't care about one boat. I care about the fleet.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
- His daughter, whose near death at the hands of terrorists was what motivated his Start of Darkness. When he saw how his inaction would've cost her her life and how Fury's unauthorized heroics saved her, Pierce decided he'd rather have the power to stop threats before they occur, whatever the cost, and this may have contributed to his turning to HYDRA.
- He also expresses regret about the death of his maid, even though he personally was forced to shoot her after she stumbled on his meeting with Winter Soldier.
- Evil Costume Switch: Pierce initially appears wearing a gray business suit. After he's been confirmed as the Big Bad of The Winter Soldier, he switches to a dark suit. He was Evil All Along, but the change in costume comes after the revelation that he's a villain.
- Evil Old Folks: One of the oldest people in The Winter Soldier (Robert Redford was 76 at the time of filming) and the head bad guy.
- Evil Redhead: Pierce has Redford's red hair, and is the current leader of HYDRA. Better than having a red face like the previous leader.
- Famous Last Words: As he's left dying, he mutters, "Hail... HYDRA."
- Faux Affably Evil: At first, Pierce seems like another Nick Fury. He rails against the World Security Council much like Fury, has a friendship with Fury and is a fan of the Avengers. The reality is, he's a manipulative Jerkass who is a member of a dictatorial regime that was spawned in Nazi Germany and he himself is responsible for God-knows how many deaths over the years.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: A bespectacled remorseless mass murderer and HYDRA leader.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The first season's Big Bad is a mysterious Diabolical Mastermind who calls himself the Clairvoyant, who is actually a HYDRA mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. That means this guy is his boss, but is uninvolved with his Evil Plan. Endgame reveals he was yet another overshadowing threat besides Thanos for the first Avengers film, and it was he who demanded to confiscate Loki's scepter and have him and the Tesseract handed to S.H.I.E.L.D. for HYDRA's (then-undercover) purposes. They succeeded in taking the Scepter, but not Loki and the Tesserect, both of which ended up back on Asgard.
- Hannibal Lecture: After Natasha takes over his meeting, puts him at gunpoint and Nick Fury walks in, he gives one of these at the end of the movie. He tells Fury that seeing his aggressive stance on terrorism earlier in their lives is what inspired Pierce to actively stamp out any and all threats to peace. Giving that meant joining HYDRA, Fury is noticeably upset at the notion.
- Humble Hero: Turned down the Nobel Peace Prize. Why? Because he sees it as just the right thing to do. Problem is, he's more about "peace through overwhelming power".
- Karmic Death: Shot twice by Nick Fury, the man he tried to kill and whose "death" set the motion of the events in the film. Fittingly, the last exchange Pierce had with Fury had him say that he would have no qualms about having Fury shot again should it be necessary.
- Kick the Dog:
- When his housekeeper unexpectedly returns and stumbles onto his meeting with the Winter Soldier, he shoots her twice with only the most minor of regrets.
- While trying to get a mission report from the Winter Soldier, Pierce slaps him in the face when he proves unresponsive, then has him subjected to a painful memory wipe, indifferent to the Soldier's screams of agony as he walks away. This disturbs the HYDRA agents watching, which includes Brock Rumlow, and they're all normally very apathetic.
- Knight Templar: Seems to genuinely believe that HYDRA's work is for the good of mankind.
- The Man Behind the Man: The one who's pulling the strings of the Winter Soldier. He is also HYDRA's modern day leader.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's successfully manipulated S.H.I.E.L.D. for years, and does a good job for manipulating the World Security Council, Captain America and even seasoned chessmaster Nick Fury.
- Mole in Charge: He is HYDRA's mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. and he's Fury's boss. After Fury's death, his control of S.H.I.E.L.D. is essentially rock-solid.
- Moral Sociopathy: While Pierce is honestly doing what he believes is right and what will bring peace to the world, He care little if at all for the people hurt or killed for his plan, rationalising that it's just the price one has to pay to create a better world.
- The Needs of the Many: He justifies his plot to have HYDRA shoot 20,000,000 people by saying their deaths will save billions. It's a bit of a hard claim to swallow, given that the targets include the President of the United States and heroes like Tony Stark and Bruce Banner.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Unusually for a superhero movie, Pierce does not appear to have any physical combat capabilities. However, he knows how to use guns and hidden kill-gadgets, and given that he is in command of virtually all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s resources (including legions of SWAT teams, multiple Helicarriers, and The Winter Soldier), he is still extremely dangerous.
- Oh, Crap!: Multiple ones, during the Finale.
- First when Natasha reveals that she infiltrated the Council and takes out his guards. Pierce can only watch in surprise.
- Then, when Nick Fury reveals he survived the assassination attempt. Pierce respond with a grimace but tries to save face with a quip.Pierce: Did you get my flowers?
- Last when, Black Widow shocks herself to disable Pierce's kill-device on her. This time his shock of trying to figure out what just happened buys time for Fury to grab a gun and shoot him.
- Pet the Dog: In Avengers: Endgame, just after trying to take the Tesseract off of Tony's hands by force like an Obstructive Bureaucrat and the fact he would later target him for Project Insight amongst others, when Tony in the amidst suffers a non-fatal heart attack induced by Ant-Man, Pierce had the decency to show concern, tend to him and call for a medic, though it was likely to keep his cover as an ally of the Avengers than the HYDRA mole he really was at the time back in 2012 before the events of The Winter Soldier where his deception would be out in the open.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: Pierce is notable for that time he turned down the Nobel Peace Prize by saying that peace is a goal that must be continuously striven for and such a worthy goal does not need prizes. By this point in the film he's already been revealed as the head of HYDRA, and we know that HYDRA's ideas of peace are not the kind that would warrant the Peace Prize. Nick is suitably disgusted when he says the line.
- Remember the New Guy?: Introduced as friend and superior of Nick Fury's, a member of the World Security Council, despite not appearing among them in The Avengers. Almost all the WSC members seen here are new, though, so it's possible The Avengers either didn't show all the members or there was a change in staff in the time since. Endgame retcons him into being present during the immediate aftermath of the Battle of New York.
- Running Both Sides: For most of The Winter Soldier, he's in charge of both the legitimate S.H.I.E.L.D. and the American division of HYDRA.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Pierce wears a very sharp gray three-piece suit early in the film, and an equally snappy black suit in the finale.
- Smug Smiler: When Fury turns up alive, he can only smirk. Councillor Rockwell even calls him a "smug son of a bitch" which is a very accurate description.
- Two First Names: Alexander and Pierce.
- The Unfettered: The ends justify the means for Pierce, so he doesn't bother limiting his means; early in The Winter Soldier, he tries to have his old friend Nick Fury assassinated by police officers. Then there's Project INSIGHT.
- Villain with Good Publicity:
- He turned down a Nobel Peace Prize because he supposedly felt that peace wasn't something you achieve and then get a prize for; it's something you must forever strive to attain and defend.
- He remained a very high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent until Rogers exposed him as the leader of HYDRA.
- Walking Spoiler: The reveal he's actually controlling HYDRA makes him hard to discuss without revealing the whole movie.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Honestly believes he's doing the right thing, without a trace of selfishness. he may be insane but still...
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Portrayed By: Thomas Kretschmann, Joey Defore (young)
Voiced By: Rubén Trujillo (Latin-American Spanish dub), Pedro Molina (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Avengers: Age of Ultron Prelude - This Scepter'd Isle comic | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 103: "Rise and Shine")
The apparent leader of HYDRA after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the death of Alexander Pierce. He was also one of the HYDRA members infiltrated within S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Abusive Parents: Strucker constantly beat his son, Werner von Strucker, when the latter was a child.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Is completely bald, scarred and often gaunt in the comics. He's played by the attractive Kretschmann in film, and he's buzzcut rather than bald.
- Adaptational Wimp: In the comics, Strucker is a big name villain and a serious physical threat. Being mentioned in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. appeared to set him up as one of the next big villains in the MCU. Come Age of Ultron, Strucker is shown to be a Dirty Coward who quickly surrenders and is taken out by Captain America moments after running into him. Then he's Killed Offscreen by Ultron.
- Age Lift: As with Nick Fury (basically his archenemy in the comics), we get no indication that he's been around since WWII.
- Asshole Victim: Murdered by Ultron, with his head painfully smashed against a wall. Hardly anyone, even out of Strucker's HYDRA contemporaries or even his own son, is particularly sorry about it. Only Ulysses Klaue shows even a hint of regret about Strucker's death, and even then, he shrugs it off pretty quickly.
- Bad Boss:
- He leaks information about remaining HYDRA bases to buy himself time for his own plans while effectively selling out his underlings.
- He urges his men to fight a losing battle against the Avengers while Strucker intends to surrender in order to save his own neck, but this is likely a ploy to distract the Avengers so List can escape with all their work.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Despite all of the build up, he's easily captured at the beginning Avengers: Age of Ultron, and doesn't even get an onscreen death, instead being Killed Offscreen.
- Characterization Marches On: In The Winter Soldier he is portrayed as a menacing and cold Diabolical Mastermind and clearly a major threat. Age of Ultron abandons those traits altogether, portraying him as a Big Bad Wannabe Dirty Coward who's nothing more than a glorified Disc-One Final Boss.
- The Chessmaster: A prominent HYDRA leader and previously a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D., he likely had a hand in formulating Project Insight and not only that, he escaped the havoc caused by the plot's unravelling in The Winter Soldier entirely unscathed.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Having his head smashed against a wall by Ultron couldn't have felt good. Of course, he definitely deserved it.
- Decomposite Character: The Red Skull takes over his comic counterpart's position as founder of HYDRA, and he probably wasn't anywhere near World War II.
- Demoted to Extra: Is the founder and preeminent head of HYDRA in the comics. The movies make Red Skull the founder of the modern incarnation, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. implies he's actually one of a council. In a specific film example, he was originally the Big Bad of The Winter Soldier, as is evident in abandoned storyboards before Robert Redford was cast and the role was re-written to be Pierce instead.
- Dirty Coward: Pretty shamelessly, unless he was aiming for I Surrender, Suckers below. However, it's hinted that it's a trick to distract the Avengers so Dr. List can escape and continue their research.Strucker: We will not yield. The Americans send their circus freaks to test us. We will send them back, in bags. NO SURRENDER!
HYDRA Soldiers: NO SURRENDER!
Strucker: [quietly, to Dr. List] I'm going to surrender...
- Disc-One Final Boss: He's the primary threat of the first act of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and is succeeded by the titular character shortly afterward.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Strucker is quickly dealt with in Age of Ultron's opening act, and the next time we see him, he's already been killed by Ultron, with the robot smashing Strucker's head against the wall of his prison cell, to cover his tracks.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Appears in the stinger of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, before being featured more prominently in the opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Evil Genius: Strucker is an accomplished scientist working for HYDRA.
- Evil Wears Black: Like most of the rest of HYDRA in the films, Strucker wears a black uniform similar to the green one HYDRA had in the comics.
- Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: When the Avengers are quickly making their way to his HQ, he encourages his men to fight to the end and that they will not surrender. He then immediately turns to Dr. List and whispers that they're going to surrender. Though it's heavily implied that his surrender is part of a plan to distract the Avengers so Dr. List can escape with their research.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He's this to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2, as dialogue suggests he's superior in the organization to Whitehall and the HYDRA council. He's on Team Coulson's hit list but they have other, more immediate, targets.
- Hate Sink: While not exactly admirable in Age of Ultron (being a Dirty Coward who engages in lethal human experimentation), references and flashbacks in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. make him out to be even more loathsome, showing Strucker to be an abusive, sexist, arrogant asshole who has been a HYDRA loyalist from a young age.
- He Knows Too Much: After telling Ultron that he can obtain more vibranium from Ulysses Klaue, Ultron murders Strucker to cover his tracks. The Avengers find his body with "PEACE" written on the wall in his cell.
- High-Class Glass: Wears one just like in the comics. This one seems to be actually a high tech lens and not a straight monocle.
- Killed Offscreen: After he's knocked out by Captain America in Age of Ultron's opening, he is next seen dead in his prison cell, having been murdered by Ultron after giving up information on how to get vibranium, and given the position of the blood stain, it's likely that Ultron killed him by smashing his head against the wall, then used his blood to write "PEACE" on the wall of the cell.
- Informed Attribute: In The Winter Soldier and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Strucker is presented as a serious threat and one of HYRDA's greatest leaders. Come Age of Ultron he's revealed to be a Dirty Coward whose forces are Curb Stomped by the Avengers and he's easily taken out by Captain America.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Despite claiming to surrender, he has Scarlet Witch on standby ready to attack Cap. It doesn't work.
- The Mole: He was a high-ranking HYDRA mole within S.H.I.E.L.D.
- New Era Speech: His "age of miracles" monologue is a downplayed version of this since he's only thinking about his two new bioweapons (Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch).
- Obviously Evil: Von Strucker's Nazi-esque appearance wouldn't be out of place in a 1940s film serial.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Besides human experimentation using Loki's staff, Strucker was also working on a variety of scientific endeavours. In particular, it was his robotics projects that inspired Tony Stark to create Ultron. Tony thinks that the mind inside the scepter (revealed to be the Mind Stone) is what was truly doing all the thinking.
- Overlord Jr.: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reveals that he has a son named Werner von Strucker. Ironically, Werner says that his father kept him as far away from HYDRA as possible, and Werner ended up instead being a Rich Idiot with No Day Job who spent his father's money. It was someone else who groomed him for HYDRA leadership.
- Put on a Bus: Strucker is the only villain who first debuted in Captain America: The Winter Soldier to not return in Avengers: Endgame when Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man, and Banner time traveled to the Battle of New York.
- The Rival: To Brigadier General Hale, way back at the academy days. Hale was actually the better student but Strucker had already been marked for leadership.
- Starter Villain: For Age of Ultron he is the first threat that the Avengers take down, and from him they steal Loki's Scepter. This leads to Ultron.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: In his second MCU appearance, he's the villain of the prologue, but is then suddenly Killed Offscreen by Ultron.
- Undignified Death: Unceremoniously murdered in his prison cell by a psychotic murder bot, who then uses some of Strucker's blood to write a message on the wall.
- The Von Trope Family: Wolfgang von Strucker.
- We Have Reserves: He plans to leak intel to Captain America about other surviving HYDRA bases so Rogers will be distracted taking them out while he completes his plan.
Dr. Daniel Whitehall/General Werner Reinhardt
Portrayed By: Reed Diamond
Voiced By: Óscar Gómez [Disney Dub], Gabriel Cobayassi [Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Antonio García Moral (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 23: "Shadows")
One of the most prominent leaders of HYDRA. Originally a high ranking officer of the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS), during World War II he led many expeditions to recover mysterious artifacts for HYDRA.
- Adaptational Nationality: British in the comics, German here. Later, he adopts American citizenship after he changed his identity into "Daniel Whitehall".
- Adaptation Name Change: In this show, his real name is Werner Reinhardt.
- Arc Villain: Though he starts off as Season Two's Big Bad, he doesn't last beyond "What They Become".
- Ascended Extra: Daniel Whitehall is a relatively new villain in the Marvel comic universe, having only debuted in 2009 (though he's the replacement/successor to long-time HYDRA agent Commander Kraken, who debuted in 1970). Here, he's the Big Bad of Season Two and one of the heads of HYDRA.
- Asshole Victim: He is one of the most evil characters of the series and when Coulson shoots him, everyone is happy, even some of his allies claim they didnt like him.
- Big Bad: At the onset of Season Two, he appears as one of the heads of HYDRA and is the lead villain searching for the Obelisk. His actions in torturing Jiaying were also a major influence in her Start of Darkness which led to her becoming the Big Bad for the latter half of Season Two.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: At the end of "A Hen in the Wolf House", Whitehall teams up with Calvin Zabo to kill Coulson and his team, and he later brings Ward into the fold in "The Things We Bury".
- Break Them by Talking: He delivers one to Agent 33 about HYDRA's philosophy of The Evils of Free Will to wear down her resolve while brainwashing her.
- Catchphrase: "Discovery requires experimentation."
- Cold-Blooded Torture: He boasts about Deathshead-levels of torture, like how he once operated on a conscious woman on-and-off for a full week, and how the hardest part was keeping her awake enough to feel the pain.
- Determinator: He's been after the Obelisk since 1945.
- Disc-One Final Boss: He spearheads the search for the Obelisk, and later the hidden city, in the first half of Season Two. After he's killed by Coulson, he leaves a hole that could be filled by Calvin Zabo, Ward and Agent 33, or Jiaying, with the position of Big Bad ultimately going to Jiaying.
- The Dreaded: His subordinates are terrified of failing him, and rightly so, given his penchant for Cold-Blooded Torture and utter lack of anything resembling a conscience. Even the usually unflappable Raina is scared of him.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: The first half of "What They Become" is spent building up to a final confrontation between Calvin Zabo and Whitehall. Just before the big showdown, Coulson arrives and shoots Whitehall on sight, killing him instantly and pissing Zabo off.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- On the receiving end of this after his death, as one of the HYDRA leaders speaks ill of him at the subsequent meeting, and even Agent 33 realizes that he was a terrible master.
- While his objections aren't remotely moral in nature, Whitehall wants nothing to do with the "ancient cult" facet of HYDRA, preferring the scientific aspects established by the Red Skull. He even tried to convince a young Gideon Malick to abandon the cult in favour of Whitehall's vision for HYDRA.
- Fake American: In-universe, he dropped the German accent and adopted an American name after being released from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
- Faux Affably Evil: His introduction has him cheerfully chatting with a subordinate even as Agent Carter and the SSR are closing on their location, even reassuring the subordinate and telling him not to be scared because the Red Skull is now dead. He doesn't even get particularly upset when the SSR arrests him, but his veneer of good manners thinly disguises a psychopath who expects everyone around to obey him completely out of Mind Control or sheer terror, and it's rare for him to open his mouth without speaking about torture, mass-murder or power.
- For Science!: "Discovery requires experimentation" is his personal mantra for a reason.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He's seen calmly cleaning his glasses during the evacuation of his HYDRA camp. He repeats the action after receiving word that Creel has obtained the Obelisk in the present day. He calmly orders the vivisection, organ extraction and then dumping of Skye's mother.
- The Fundamentalist: Whitehall is an ardent believer in Schmidt's cause of eliminating The Evils of Free Will, and is even described as "a disciple of [the] Red Skull" by Bakshi. That said, Whitehall didn't seem too upset to learn of Schmidt's death, implying that he was more loyal to the message than the man.
- Hate Sink: He is introduced in the first episode of season two as an Affably Evil Caring Boss who happens to be a Nazi, as the series goes on his affability becomes an obvious facade as he is shown committing atrocious acts
- Healing Factor: While never shown demonstrating it, this is why he's Older Than They Look, having extracted it from Jiaying and applied it to himself.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Regarding the Obelisk. Despite searching for it for decades he knows nearly nothing about what it really is, despite Malick's HYDRA being well aware of Inhumans and their origins.
- Mad Doctor: It's not clear what kind of doctor he is, though he references performing surgery (as torture) and is interested in scientific research (into weapons of mass destruction).
- The Man Behind the Man: He appears to be running a portion of HYDRA in the present day after the demise of Alexander Pierce, though Ward implies that Whitehall is subordinate to Baron Strucker.
- Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Zig-Zagged. While imprisoned, he still has considerable influence over not only the Red Skull's HYDRA, but also Malick's Hive-worshipping HYDRA. However, he was still stuck in prison with no way out, and as the decades passed his influence appeared to wane and he was honestly amazed when, as a crippled old man, he learnt that HYDRA was still alive and in need of his services again. note
- Moral Event Horizon: Why Agent Carter decided against using him for anything and instead locked him up for life; his human experimentation with the Obelisk didn't just disgust the audience.
- Older Than They Look: He appears alive at the end of "Shadows"... set nearly seventy years after his appearance in a flashback at the beginning of the episode. It's revealed that he did in fact age naturally into an old man while in custody until Alexander Pierce freed him under the pretense of "medical release". He and HYDRA tracked down a woman who didn't get killed by the Obelisk and who hadn't aged a day- Skye's mom. Whitehall vivisected her to rejuvenate himself and then tossed her corpse into the woods.
- Orcus on His Throne: He lets his many agents do his dirty work for him. The only two things he has done personally are: go after Raina and brainwash Agent 33.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: In addition to being a Nazi, he ignored General Hale's skills in favor of using her for a super breeding program, and expressed surprise at a female operative making it as far as she did.
- Reality Ensues: Whitehall is a monstrous HYDRA leader with incredible resources at his command. How does he die? From Coulson putting a couple of bullets in him while Whitehall's back was turned.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: For a villain, anyway. He has no problem with his agents changing their plans or failing their mission, such as when Agent 33 failed to catch Raina or when Ward took Skye from the Quinjet. However, he won't tolerate direct disobedience.
- Remember the New Guy?: He was apparently a very high-ranking member of HYDRA in the 40's and part of the inner circle of the Red Skull, despite the fact that he's neither seen nor mentioned in Captain America: The First Avenger and only appears in the MCU starting with the second season of AoS.
- Sadist: Whitehall is a remorseless sadist to the very core: anyone in his custody can expect a long, protracted death. He boasts to Raina that he's perfected the art of performing surgery without anesthesia—For the Evulz—without them falling unconscious from the pain. He also seemed to greatly enjoy mentally breaking Agent 33. His underlings range from those who are utterly terrified of him to those who he controls completely with brainwashing as well.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: A few camera angles with the right lighting give him this.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Rare evil to evil version. When he corners Raina and she tries to negotiate, he just shuts her up with a little remote torture device.Whitehall: You should know, I'm not like the people you're used to dealing with. I'm not so easily confused.
- The Sociopath: Very sadistic, Faux Affably Evil, experimenting with the Obelisk using human test subjects and then continuing with the same methods when it becomes apparent that they don't work simply For the Evulz. That, coupled with the fact that he's The Unfettered, makes him this.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: He always talks in a calm, almost monotone, manner.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: A HYDRA leader who ran a base in Austria filled with a good number of future 084s — including the first official 084 according to S.H.I.E.L.D. records.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: After spending a good deal of Season 2's first half on the Doctor's quest for brutal revenge against him, he gets a deliberately anti-climactic and unsatisfying death from Coulson with a couple bullets he doesn't even see coming.
- Those Wacky Nazis: A first-generation member of HYDRA, which spun out of the Nazi party, but essentially kept the major themes along with a touch of Stupid Jetpack Hitler.
- Totalitarian Utilitarian: Believes that there should be a single world order run by HYDRA dedicated to eradicating The Evils of Free Will and anything resembling liberty or freedom.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
- He didn't get to live to see it (or really care), but his vivisection of Jiaying would mean doom for plenty of innocent people down the line.
- Hes the reason why Brigadier General Hale is running the Destroyer of Worlds program, which is destined to bring about the apocalypse.
- Villainous Friendship: Despite being a sadistic sociopath and former Nazi, Whitehall was held in surprisingly high regard by his HYDRA peers. List even admits to missing him after Whitehall was killed, and the HYDRA council honors him with a toast, saying that he had joined the Red Skull in the afterlife.
- Villainous Legacy: Despite being long dead, he still casts a long shadow in subsequent seasons, and it's not uncommon for him to appear to in flashbacks. General Hale wants to use an old superhuman program — the Destroyer of Worlds to stop the Confederacy from taking over Earth.
- White Hair, Black Heart: He's a sadistic HYDRA scientist with white hair. It doesn't appear to be age-related either, as he still has it even as a middle-aged man during 1945.
- You're Insane!: Gets this from Cal, who declares his methods in trying to figure out the Obelisk (specifically, repeating methods he knew didn't work) "the very definition of insanity".
Portrayed By: Henry Goodman
Voiced By: Armando Réndiz (Latin-American Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: The Winter Soldier | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 33: "Aftershocks") | Avengers: Age of Ultron
A scientist and one of the leading figures of HYDRA, often representing the voice and interests of Wolfgang Von Strucker.
- Ascended Extra: His role in the movies is fairly brief. His only real function there is to be a loyal aide von Strucker can confide his evil plans to. By guest starring in three episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the Greater-Scope Villain, he ends up with more screentime than his boss.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: With Jiaying in the second half of Season 2.
- Boom, Headshot!: He's killed when Iron Man shoots him in the head with a repulsor beam in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- The Dragon: He represents Strucker's interests and works on his behalf.
- Dragon Ascendant: With the deaths of Whitehall as well as the HYDRA councillors his standing within the organization increases.
- Early-Bird Cameo: His first appearance was in The Stinger of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Evil Old Folks: An evil man whose age is starting to show.
- For Science!: Though not as much as Whitehall, he has no compunctions against experimenting on living people. He even respects Whitehall's dedication.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Set up as one for the latter half of Season 2, despite not appearing much. He's a leading scientist in HYDRA and is Coulson's primary target to destroy HYDRA.
- The Mole: He was one of the many S.H.I.E.L.D. members secretly aligned with HYDRA.
- Mouth of Sauron: Served as Strucker's in the HYDRA council.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: After the deaths of the HYDRA council, his wardrobe improves.
Portrayed By: Simon Kassianides
Voiced By: David Martínez [Disney Dub], Armando Guerrero [Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Juan Antonio Arroyo (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 23: "Shadows")
A HYDRA operative of British origin who gives the orders in the field as well as recruiting gifted individuals.
- Affably Evil: He comes off as rather polite in his lectures.
- Ambiguously Brown: Played by a slightly darker white British actor of Cypriot descent, though his surname implies South Asian or Jewish ancestry and in combination with the first name, sounds Indian.
- Asshole Victim: It's quite hard to feel sorry for his plight and ultimate demise after he's shown himself to be not just a loyal but also willing follower of Whitehall.
- Bumbling Sidekick: Even though he should by all accounts be a formidable villain, being Whitehall's Dragon, a senior member of HYDRA, and the one who supervises HYDRA's brainwashed subjects, he has a surprising tendency to fail at every instance. It's a wonder that Whitehall kept him around, even if his failures weren't apparent from the start:
- He thought Simmons, of all people, could be trusted. He backpedals on this quickly, only for Deep Cover Agent Bobbi to reveal herself and get the jump on him instead.
- With Agent 33, he catches May in a trap and by all means should've held the upper hand, but after Coulson sees through their disguises, he fails to make any backup plans and tries to make a hasty extraction, but is quickly hit with an ICER and foiled as a result.
- Both Ward and a disguised Hunter are able to make quick work of him.
- Canon Foreigner: Unlike his master, he has no comic book counterpart and was created specifically for the show.
- Compelling Voice: He uses a Trigger Phrase in order to keep brainwashed subjects in line.
- Dirty Coward: As soon as he winds up in a situation he has no control over, such as Hunter holding him at gunpoint, he is reduced to a simpering coward.
- The Dragon: Bakshi serves as Whitehall's second-in-command.
- Dragon Ascendant: Once Whitehall has been dealt with, he is effectively the head of HYDRA in Whitehall's region of the globe. However, he never actually gets to do anything, since he is a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D., then Talbot, then Ward, and then he's killed.
- Driven to Suicide: Has a cyanide pill in his cheekbone, which he utilizes while being grilled by Bobbi. It didn't quite kill him.
- Evil Brit: Speaks in a noticeable British accent. He also joined the British military but was expelled.
- Evil Genius: He's quite intelligent, to say the least.
- Fighting from the Inside: Is apparently resisting his brainwashing by Ward and Kara, leading to the capture of Deathlok and Lincoln by HYDRA. Then it turns out that he's really not. His acting was so convincing, even viewers thought he had legitimately returned to HYDRA.
- The Heavy: Has had considerably more screen time in season 2 than other HYDRA members, including his master.
- Humiliation Conga: He was already a Butt-Monkey from the start, but after being betrayed by Ward and sold out to S.H.I.E.L.D., he can't seem to catch a break.
- Bobbi breaks him by talking and gets him to indirectly spill Whitehall's secret behind his Older Than He Looks appearance. Following this, he fails to kill himself with cyanide.
- After Whitehall is killed, he is fooled into thinking there is a power struggle in HYDRA, and following a faked breakout scheme, he is manipulated into ordering the assassinations on the other HYDRA leaders before being recaptured and taken into military custody.
- His last brainwashed subject breaks him out of prison... except she is working with Ward, and he quickly finds himself subjected to the same brainwashing. Worse, he is outright told he is expendable and it seems the procedure is little more than revenge and For the Evulz.
- To summarize: He failed to notice S.H.I.E.L.D. had infiltrated HYDRA's ranks until it was too late, couldn't stop S.H.I.E.L.D. from finding the underground city first, lost control of his brainwashed subjects, inadvertently let slip his master's secrets, undermined his entire leadership on his first day as Dragon Ascendant, and finally was Hoist by His Own Petard when he was subjected to his own brainwashing procedure.
- Irony: The HYDRA agent that oversees brainwashed individuals was not only brainwashed himself, but manipulated into destroying HYDRA itself. Not that he needed brainwashing to already do that.
- Karmic Death: He is killed by Jemma, albeit accidentally or in self-defense with a Splinter Bomb, an item created by HYDRA to kill people horribly.
- Non-Action Guy: He hasn't shown any incredible fighting prowess. When dealing with May, he catches her off-guard so Agent 33 can taze her, then tortures her while she's tied up. Once she's free, he wisely makes a break for it before being stunned by Coulson. In the next episode, he chases down Simmons while flanked by backup and given his lack of bruises later, seems he didn't opt to fight Bobbi himself (probably for a good reason).
- Oh, Crap!:
- His reaction after being found by the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents being tied up on a chair. This happened after Ward beat him up off screen along with other HYDRA agents.
- When Agent 33 breaks him out of prison, he is relieved to see that she is still loyal... then Ward appears right behind her.
- Private Military Contractors: In-between being expelled from the UK military and joining HYDRA he used to be a mercenary.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Has thus far only been seen wearing a nice suit, even on a field mission (while his underlings have more proper attire).
- Taking the Bullet: Meets his end when Simmons tries to kill Ward with a Splinter Bomb.
- Undying Loyalty:
- Bobbi thinks she's cracked his personal code and found out how to make him turn on Whitehall. As a final push, she asks "what kind of a man are you?" He replies, "A loyal one!" Then he bashes his head on a table to break open a Cyanide Pill hidden in his cheekbone.
- This is still a primary trait even after he is brainwashed by Ward. He meets his end by putting himself in the way when Simmons tries to kill Ward.
- Unwitting Pawn: He's made into the patsy that takes down most of the leadership of HYDRA.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bobbi's theory behind his loyalty to Whitehall is based on this sort of approval-seeking behavior. Her Sherlock Scan told her that he's estranged from his parents and a ray of acceptance and respect from Whitehall secured his devotion.
The Council (Octavian Bloom, the Baroness, the Banker, the Sheikh)
Portrayed By: Fred Dryer, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Joel Polis, Maz Siam
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appear in Episode 33: "Aftershocks")
The various branch leaders of HYDRA alongside Daniel Whitehall under Baron von Strucker.
- As Long as There is Evil: Captain America: The Winter Soldier shows us that if you "Cut off one head, another shall take its place". What Team Coulson doesn't know is that the HYDRA leadership is still alive and well, even if they destroyed a very big branch of HYDRA. Coulson knows, though, since he sent Deathlok to scout out the remnants of HYDRA.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: They are implied to be at equal footing with Whitehall. They only have this position for one episode before they die.
- Boom, Headshot!: Bloom gets one from Lance Hunter.
- Canon Foreigner: None of them seems to have comics counterparts, which is odd, because even in the comics, HYDRA has several branch leaders like them. Although since they are short-lived in this series, this won't be a waste of characters.
- Cosmopolitan Council: They're a surprisingly diverse group for HYDRA, including several ethnicities and both genders.
- Deadly Gas: The Sheikh is killed with poisonous gas.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: In a demonstration of HYDRA having moved beyond its Nazi roots, its leadership council includes a woman and a Middle-Eastern man. Makes sense, because the earliest incarnations of HYDRA weren't Nazi at all.
- Mouth of Sauron: Dr. List serves as Strucker's voice in the HYDRA council.
- No Body Left Behind: The Banker is killed and disintegrated by a Splinter Bomb, the same bomb Marcus Scarlotti had used to kill Agent Noelle Walters.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Save for Octavian Bloom, we never find out their real names.
- The Red Baron: They all have titles such as The Banker, The Sheikh, and The Baroness.
- Taken for Granite: How the Baroness dies, after drinking champagne laced with the weaponized Diviner effect.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: All of them save List die thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s manipulations in the episode they are introduced.
Brigadier General Hale
Portrayed By: Catherine Dent, Alyssa Jirrels (young)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 93: "Rewind")
A high-ranking officer who takes charge in investigating S.H.I.E.L.D. when Talbot ends up in a coma. In reality she's a surviving HYDRA operative, using her power and influence to continue HYDRA's mission in her own image. And destroy whatever remains of Coulson's team.
- Abusive Parent: She keeps her "disappointing" teenage daughter locked up in some military base, when she's not having her do missions as a covert assassin.
- Affably Evil: In her later appearances, her politeness towards SHIELD appears to be genuine, however she started off as Faux Affably Evil.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Despite everything that she did, her ultimate fate is presented in a somewhat tragic light, having lost the only person she ever truly cared about and realizing that all of her life, she did HYDRA's bidding. And just when she tries to atone for it all, she receives an absolutely brutal death at the hands of Talbot.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: She refuses to believe that Coulson went into the future, and thus refuses to believe that her attempt to revive the Destroyer of Worlds program could end in catastrophe. This is despite all the supernatural things happening in the MCU, which includes things that she personally would be familiar with, sich as the Tesseract and gravitonium.
- Bad Boss: Breaks multiple laws regarding human rights, and kills two subordinates for failing her. Oh, and she has her teenage daughter working as a black ops assassin.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: In Season 5, Kasius and the Kree are the threat in the future, she's the threat in the present. She's left as the sole Big Bad of Season 5, following Kasius' death and Team Coulson's return to the present. Ultimately Subverted; it turns out she was Demoted to Dragon to the Confederacy, though she's a Dragon with an Agenda to overthrow them.
- Bond One-Liner: After executing Steger for threatening her daughter: "And now were the last two."
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Hale has a serious loyalty issue. She's a member of the US Military, but secretly a sleeper agent for HYDRA. She's actually working for the Confederacy, a group of aliens offering protection to mankind, but plans on double-crossing them, too. Then she briefly makes allies with S.H.I.E.L.D., only to backstab them to the Confederacy for real after Yo-Yo kills her daughter. Finally, when Talbot catches the S.H.I.E.L.D. boarding party on the Confederacy ship, she tries to pin the blame on Coulson after briefly allying with him again, before finally being killed by Talbot when she attempts to use the HYDRA code phrase to save Coulson. Got all that?
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Crushed into a ball by Talbot with the power of gravity. Let's just say that wasn't entirely undeserved.
- The Dragon: She's taking orders from the Confederacy... a group of aliens offering protection to mankind in exchange for Gravitonium and Inhumans. She is revealed to be a Dragon with an Agenda when it turns out she actually plans on double-crossing them.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: She's dismissive of Coulson's "benevolent" leadership methods, failing to see the benefits of having people who are genuinely loyal to you, instead of someone being blackmailed, abused, or coerced into service. Even when she wants to protect the Earth from the Confederacy, she still insists on killing anybody who disagrees with her.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite her abusive treatment of her daughter, she's still utterly heartbroken when Yo-yo kills her daughter...to the point of selling S.H.I.E.L.D., and by extension the entire Earth, out to the Kree confederacy just so she can make them pay.
- Evil Counterpart: To Coulson. While Coulson is a Magnetic Hero who inspires Undying Loyalty, Hale is a Tyrant who bullies and coerces people into working for her, which mean she has 0% Approval Rating, so much that even her own daughter wants to kill her.
- Foil: To fellow HYDRA leader and season villain Gideon Malick. Both of them are leaders of their own HYDRA cells and have been in the organization since childhood, but Malick seems to have lived a fairly cushy life while Hale attended the HYDRA equivalent of public school, an experience which was no doubt quite demanding and painful. Malick is a politician and former World Security Council member wealthy enough to fund his cell out of his own pocket, while Hale is a soldier in the US Military who seems to rely on government resources. While Malick is a proud member of a HYDRA dynasty and makes little pretense of his true allegiance, Hale denies it and insists that she and Baron Von Strucker merely "had overlapping interests" (interestingly, both of them also knew Daniel Whitehall when they were children.) Both of them have daughters who they care about deeply, and both of them lose it when said daughters are killed. Both of them are working for an alien but while Malick brings Hive to Earth only to realize how badly he underestimated it, Hale is only working for the Confederacy with the intent of betraying them. Finally, both of them suffer a severe and painful HeelFace Door-Slam.
- Faux Affably Evil: She puts on a facade to be nice and hospitable to Coulson, however the second he shows opposition, her charm goes out the door. However character development slides her into genuine Affably Evil.
- Freudian Excuse: She developed her Straw Feminist attitude from her Hydra superiors, especially Whitehall, ignoring her skill in favour of using her to breed a superhuman. Inside, however, there is still a schoolgirl desperate for her teachers' approval, and will stop at nothing to save the Earth on her terms by creating the Destroyer of Worlds.
- General Ripper: She was originally content with imprisoning Team Coulson. But after Fitz escaped, she's modified her orders to "shoot to kill"; that's because she's HYDRA.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: After a previous Heel Realization, she tries to aid Coulson and Talbot in dealing with the Confederacy. Unfortunately, the latter only grows more and more unstable as time goes on, and after a failed attempt of cooling him down via the previous brainwashing, Hale gets brutally crushed by him.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Hale gets hit with a double-dose of this. Brutally killed by Talbot, a man she was responsible for kidnapping and brainwashing, with the powers he got from her Graviton program.
- Insistent Terminology: She insists she wasn't a HYDRA operative, rather she and Baron Von Strucker just had "overlapping interests" ... but is disgusted that HYDRA fell under his watch. She is definitely a HYDRA operative; raised to be so in fact, and works with the Confederacy, an alliance of aliens.
- Inspector Javert: She leads the investigation to track down Team Coulson, and has zero redeeming qualities. In fact, she's more villainous than the Trope Namer as her goal is not actually to capture S.H.I.E.L.D. but eliminate them; this is because she's a surviving HYDRA operative, and she's not remotely interested in following the law.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: She's originally a surviving HYDRA operative who managed to evade capture... despite her blatant violation of military law putting a very obvious target on her back. However, she is later killed by Talbot.
- Mutant Draft Board: Wants Robin Hinton "controlled" because her powers might uncover secrets.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The only time she tries to activate Talbot's compliance protocol for altruistic reasons (to save Coulson's life), he uses his powers to crush her up into a cube.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: She claims what she's doing is necessary, but seeing that she is closely associated with HYDRA, this is highly questionable at best. Considering that not only is she still a HYDRA operative, but that her faction is being run by the Kree, her claims go from questionable to outright bullshit. Even with the reveal that her plan is to betray the Kree overseers, her being The Unfettered in her methods and her ego as the underlying motivation make her a cut and dry villain. This is compounded when YoYo kills Ruby; Hale then gives up any pretense of altruism and gladly betrays the Earth to avenge Ruby.
- Only One Name: We never learn what her first name is.
- Punny Name: To quote Daisy:
- Redemption Equals Death: When she actually seems to have finally come around to Coulson's side, and when attempting to calm down Talbot through his HYDRA brainwashing, he hits her with an especially brutal HeelFace Door-Slam.
- Revenge Before Reason: She's so anguished about Yo-Yo killing her daughter that she abandons her plan of fighting the Confederacy in favor of handing them the Gravitonium on a silver platter, a fact that she knows full well may doom the entire Earth.
- The Rival: She was this to Wolfgang von Strucker back in their HYDRA Academy days, but while Hale was the better student, Strucker had already been selected for leadership because of his heritage.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In her first two appearances alone she does things that would get any officer court-martialed. That's because she's actually HYDRA.
- The Sociopath: She has no regard for indiviual human lives at all, except her own daughter's, and even said daughter is treated like an asset.
- Stupid Evil: She's cruel and abusive, and her "recruitment" methods mean that none of her operatives are working for her of their own free will. Her own daughter is plotting to kill her at some point.
- Straw Feminist: She dismissed HYDRA as a "boys' club" and takes great pleasure in forcing powerful men like Creel and Anton Ivanov into working for her against their will. Ironically her immediate superior in the Confederacy is a man. She even refuses to listen to Coulson about the Stable Time Loop because she thinks he's patronizing her. It turns out this is because HYDRA saw her as little more than a baby machine, despite her obvious skill and cunning.
- The Quisling: Her HYDRA faction is controlled by the Confederacy, a group of Kree, the same species that in the future subjugates humanity. However, she actually wants to stop them.... Until her daughter is killed, and then she becomes this for real.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Takes Talbot's role while he's in a coma. While Talbot is a Jerkass, he was not entirely unreasonable, had his Pet the Dog moments, and did everything by the book; Hale actively disregards human rights and kills her own people, among other violations of military law. She has Talbot locked up in her secret base.
- The Unfettered: Hale sees herself as simply doing what has to be done to stop the Confederacy. Coulson disagrees, in part because he's seen the damage her plan will do.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Her plan is to use Whitehall's "Destroyer of Worlds" program to stop the invasion, which will lead to the Bad Future seen in the first half of the season.
- Visionary Villain: She has vague plans for a new world order that will establish Earth as a force to be reckoned with in the galaxy, something more ambitious than HYDRA ever planned.
- You Have Failed Me: Shoots Evans and Lucas dead after failing to get answers, completely unconcerned with facing any repercussions for such a blatant breach of military law.
Other Prominent Members
- See the Centipede Group page
Portrayed By: Martin Donovan
Voiced By: Sergio Gutiérrez Coto (Latin-American Spanish dub), Fernando de Luis (European Spanish dub)
A member of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s 1989 board who tried to steal the secret of Pym Particles. He becomes Cross's investor in the modern day to get his hands on them again.
- Age Lift: In the comics, he's in his prime, to the point that he was the candidate to take over the role of Ant-Man. Here he's an old man in the present, and a contemporary colleague of Howard Stark and Peggy Carter.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: His comic book counterpart has half of his face hideously scarred, too the point he looks Two-Faced. In the MCU he's placed by the clasically handsome Martin Donovan.
- Casting Gag: Donovan had previously played a scientist who is being forced to work for an evil organization who want to use his work for their evil agenda, and his field was in creating nanites, a tech also about miniature/microscopic size.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Neither Stark or Carter stood up for him when Hank slammed his face onto the desk.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Provides Cross with the contract for Yellowjacket suits and Pym Particles for HYDRA's use.
- In Name Only: The only characteristics he shares with the comic character is working for S.H.I.E.L.D. and wanting to possess Ant-Man's powers.
- It's Personal: It is very much clear that he resents Hank for punching him in the face, even 26 years later.
- Jerkass: Uses Janet's Heroic Sacrifice to mock Hank for failing to save her. And that's before he's revealed to be working for HYDRA.
- Karma Houdini: He escapes with a vial of Cross's Pym Particles with only a few ant bites for his troubles. Peyton Reed has revealed that he did get his comeuppance in the original script, but then the Marvel higher-ups asked for him to be left alive to be used in the future.
- Kick the Dog: Mocks Janet's death right in front of Hank's face in the 80's. Hank gives him a bloody nose for it and Howard thinks he deserved it.
- Obviously Evil: Not to Cross's extent, but no one is surprised that the member of the board that took time to mock Hank's deceased wife turned out to be part of HYDRA.
- Private Military Contractors: After leaving S.H.I.E.L.D., he's become the head of one, and also works as an arms dealer. Then again he's still a part of HYDRA.
- Sole Survivor: By the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5, Carson is the only member of HYDRA's upper echelon (of the ones we've been introduced to thus far) who isn't dead at this point.
- Token Evil Teammate: Even Peggy and Howard clearly don't like him that much - the latter makes it perfectly clear that he's got No Sympathy for his broken nose after Hank punched him for mocking his wife. Turns very literal with The Reveal he's with HYDRA.
Portrayed By: Gene Farber
Voiced By: Eduardo Bosch (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Captain America: Civil War
A Russian HYDRA Commander infiltrated in the Russian Armed Forces who was the Winter Soldier's handler during the early 90s.
- Adaptational Villainy: In the comics he was active during World War II and joined Captain America and the Invaders to foil a plot of the Red Skull and Master Man. In the MCU he's The Mole for the very organization led by Red Skull and serving its fascist goals.
- Adaptation Deviation: More or less the only thing he has in common with his comic counterpart is a role in the Winter Soldier program (and even then, it's a different role than the one in the comics).
- Age Lift: He becomes middle-aged in present day, but Vasily Karpov is much younger than his WW2-fighting, dead-by-1991 comic book counterpart.
- Asshole Victim: Casually left to drown by Zemo after refusing to give out HYDRA secrets. Though considering the way he ruthlessly tortured Bucky and the other winter soldiers, it's completely deserved.
- Decomposite Character: His role as the "creator" of the Winter Soldier was assumed by Arnim Zola, but Karpov still appears as the Soldier's handler (the other part of his role in the comics).
- Defiant to the End: He refuses to give information to Zemo even when he is going to kill him by drowning him in a sink.
- Dissonant Serenity: Casually fills out paperwork while listening to the screams of the other five Winter Soldiers.
- Famous Last Words: "Hail HYDRA."
- The Mole: He was a HYDRA infiltrator within the Soviet Armed Forces.
- Mythology Gag: In the comics he was responsible for turning Bucky into the Winter Soldier. While Zola took that role from him, he does appear to be the Winter Soldier's handler and was responsible for the creation of the other five Winter Soldiers.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears in three short scenes before being killed by Zemo in the second of them, but it was on his orders that the Winter Soldier killed Howard and Maria Stark, leaving a massive impact on Tony and setting up the climax of Civil War. Moreover, his refusal to give Zemo information tanks Zemo's plan A, leading to the Vienna bombing and all that followed.
- Undying Loyalty: Even after not being an active agent, and after HYDRA had been all but completely destroyed, he refuses to give Zemo the information he was looking for on a mission from HYDRA, even giving the "Hail HYDRA" as Zemo left him to drown.
- Villainous Valour: Absolutely refused to give in to Zemo's torture, uttering a defiant "Hail HYDRA" before he drowns.
Portrayed By: Rocky McMurray
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
An Air Force General, one of HYDRA's infiltrators, and Hale's apparent HYDRA superior.
- Bald of Evil: He's bald and serves a fascist organization bent on world domination and curtailing the freedom and rights of humanity over a misguided notion of 'order', and willing to commit genocide to achieve its goals.
- Driven to Suicide: As he's about to be arrested by Talbot for treason, he bites into a cyanide pill to die and avoid capture.
- The Mole: He's a mole for HYDRA in the United States Air Force along with Hale.
- Posthumous Character: He appears only in flashbacks to the time Gideon Malick spilled the beans on HYDRA's remaining assets and members and commits suicide during it.
- Undying Loyalty: He chooses suicide over being arrested in order to keep HYDRA's secrets with himself.
Portrayed By: Graham Sibley
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
A professor at the HYDRA Preparatory Academy.
- Asshole Victim: General Hale executes him for threatening her daughter because she wouldn't kill her dog as her graduation. That bullet was well deserved.
- Beard of Evil: Has a beard and indoctrinates children and teenagers into the ideology of a fascist organization devoted to taking control over humanity and willing to commit genocide to achieve its goals.
- The Fundamentalist: Even as news of HYDRA's fall reach the Academy, he's adamant on Ruby complying with the tradition of sacrificing her dog as the rest of the pupils have done. He comes close to threatening Ruby when she defies the tradition.
- Posthumous Character: He appears only in flashbacks to the time HYDRA was taken out by Talbot and the ATCU and is killed by Hale during it.
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 46: "Purpose in the Machine")
This secret society was founded in ancient times centered around the fanatical worship of a powerful Inhuman that was exiled to the planet Maveth by ancient Inhumans. Ever since his banishment, the cult has been determined to bring him back to Earth to commence a planetary takeover. Over the centuries, the cult evolved, taking many forms, with its most recent incarnation coming into existence shortly after the rise of Nazism in 1940s where the cult took on the name HYDRA, which has become the organization's most colloquial label.
- All for Nothing: Ultimately their plan to rescue Hive ended with nobody getting what they wanted since, as Malick notes, Hive was only ever interested in preserving Inhuman kind rather than humans. Once it's free from its prison Hive begins its own plans separate from HYDRA and the few remaining cult leaders that weren't killed/captured by the ATCU near the end of season 3 were used as guinea pigs for the Inhuman conversion experiments and died as a result.
- Ancient Conspiracy: "Many Heads, One Tale" revealed that HYDRA is actually descended from a cult worshiping an ancient Inhuman, who was banished through the Monolith thousands of years ago, and have been working towards retrieving him ever since.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Most, if not all, members of the group in the mid-19th century are European noblemen.
- As Long as There is One Man: "Cut off one head, two more shall take its place." Considering the group has been around through millennia, it's safe to say that the phrase is more than just a Badass Creed.
- Cult: They worship a specific ancient Inhuman who has been banished into a planet on the other side of Monolith.
- Drawing Straws: They draw lots (in this case, colored stones from a sack rather than literal straws) to see who will go into the Monolith to feed Hive. At some point (possibly but not necessarily starting with Malick's father), the white stone was scored so that the leader of the group could always know which stone not to draw.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Seemingly averted with the ancient incarnation, whose members are white men. Played straight with the modern incarnation, whose members include people from multiple races and both genders.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: It seems like none of the members over the thousands of years that the cult has existed ever figured out that maybe Hive was banished to Maveth for a reason, or that Hive would have any gratitude (or use) for them once brought back.
- Human Sacrifice: When the society came in possession of the Monolith, they started sending men through the portal, hoping to save or at least serve their leader on the other side. But none of them ever came back.
- Mythology Gag: The retcon turning HYDRA from a Nazi splinter group into an Ancient Conspiracy was used in the comics years ago.
- Sigil Spam: The Hebrew word for "Death", seen in "Purpose in the Machine", is used in the group's castle to mark secret passages and other dangerous places. They also can't stop themselves from putting disguised variations of their symbols everywhere for millennia.
- The Sigil Spam actually makes a lot more sense with the reveal that the HYDRA sigil is actually an ancient depiction of what Hive actually looks like.
- Villainous Legacy: The group was founded millennia ago, and still exists in the modern days.
- We Are Everywhere: In the mid-19th, their castle was in England and most of the members appear to be European (the nobleman named Manzini is most likely an Italian, for example). During World War II, they are centered in Germany. In the modern days, they are pretty much everywhere around the world.
Alveus / Hive
Portrayed By: Jason Glover (original human form), Brett Dalton (prominent human host)
Voiced By: Alejandro Gómez [Disney dub], Manuel Campuzano [Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 49: "4,722 Hours")
An ancient and powerful Inhuman who was banished through the Monolith centuries ago. HYDRA was originally founded to engineer its return to Earth.
- Achilles' Heel: Hive can't use a living person for a host, only a dead body, and it can't use Inhumans. It also either can't or refuses to feed on other Inhumans. It can keep its hosts functioning long after decay, but requires to feed on other humans to heal the host (and the host can be killed properly with fire).
- Adaptational Badass: In the comics, Hive was just one of several HYDRA leaders introduced in Secret Warriors who was a genetically engineered parasite monster whose only power, beyond turning a random host into a tentacle monster, was controlling and assimilating people with Puppeteer Parasite creatures it spawned (which needed special labs to grow) and bringing back a recently dead Viper as a Humanoid Abomination (which he only demonstrated once). Here, the people who genetically engineered Hive into what he is are the Kree, and he's the founder of HYDRA's original form, an immortal Inhuman, who can effortlessly devour humans, control Inhumans, and is very hard to kill. Not to mention, while in the comics Hive took years to completely control a host and couldn't speak in an understandable fashion, here, Hive gains control of his hosts pretty quickly and can speak perfectly fine using them.
- Adaptation Deviation: In the comics, Hive was a bio-engineered monstrosity created to demonstrate HYDRA's ideals. Here, not only is it an Inhuman, but HYDRA was originally a cult worshiping it. Even their famous skull and tentacles symbol appears to be a reference to it.
- Adaptation Name Change: Downplayed. "Hive" is used in both the show and comics, but the "Alveus" name was invented for the show.
- Adaptation Origin Connection: In the comics, Hive is the result of a HYDRA lab experiment, not an Inhuman.
- Adaptation Species Change: In the comics, Hive was a human HYDRA agent subjected to an experiment involving bio-engineered parasites created by HYDRA that bonded with him. Here, he is an Inhuman worshiped by HYDRA.
- Admiring the Abomination:
- Hive was the subject of HYDRA's admiration, to the point of worship, for centuries.
- In an inversion, Hive (the abomination) expressed some admiration for its final host, Grant Ward, even wishing that they could have known each other while Ward lived.
- Affably Evil: Hive's tone of voice is always polite, if unsettling, especially when addressing its fellow Inhumans. Whether this affability is genuine or not is ambiguous, due in no small part to Hive's complex mental state, emotionless demeanor, and fondness for psychological torture.
- A God Am I: Mostly from the perspective of others (HYDRA was founded as a cult based around it, and Malick directly refers to Hive as a god), but Hive is suggested to have a similar view of itself, referring to making "a believer" out of Giyera. The demeanor of its swayed Inhumans is also disturbingly reminiscent of a cult. He tells the Kree Reapers that they created "something divine" when referring to himself, and describes himself to Coulson as "the great Alveus".
- Alas, Poor Villain: Shares one last moment with Lincoln prior to their deaths, where Hive laments that it failed to make the world "better" as it had always wanted to. Hive and Lincoln even manage to sympathise with one another, showing an impressive amount of humanity from the otherwise monstrous Hive.
- Alien Blood: It bleeds some brownish ooze.
- All There in the Manual: It being the MCU version of Hive was revealed shortly before the midseason premiere of Season 3, but in the first few episodes of Season 3 after the midseason finale its name was not spoken In-Universe.
- Ambiguous Gender: Hive was originally male, but centuries and countless bodies later, such things as gender don't apply to it any more.
- Ancient Conspiracy: "Many Heads, One Tale" reveals that the being on the other side of the portal is actually an ancient Inhuman that was banished from Earth millennia ago. A cult soon rose up bent on finding the creature and bringing it back, a cult that over time evolved into something we're already familiar with: HYDRA.
- Ancient Evil: He has lived for thousands of years while committing acts of evil. One of them being killing humans and taking over their bodies.
- Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: He refuses to let other Inhumans be killed, sparing Lincoln after Giyera managed to knock him out. Of course, since it can Mind Control Inhumans and was intentionally designed to be their leader, this may be less of a moral qualm than simple pride and power. "Emancipation" shows that Hive is fully willing to kill Inhumans he cannot control and sacrifice those he does if it means furthering his goals.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: By far the most powerful and threatening Inhuman seen, and the most dangerous HYDRA leader in the entirety of the MCU, which is befitting given he was made to control and lead the Inhumans and was HYDRA's founder and first leader.
- Badass Longcoat: After regenerating, Hive shows a liking for long, black trenchcoats.
- Bad Boss: Will do anything to ensure his mission to turn half the world into potential slaves. Even bleeding dry Daisy who cannot object as she has been Brainwashed into submission.
- Big Bad: Takes the position from Malick once he regains his full power.
- Black Cloak: In one form, it wears a long and tattered black cloak with a correspondingly dark and concealing hood.
- Blofeld Ploy: Pulls one off on Gideon Malick, directly threatening him while speaking as his brother Nathaniel, who Gideon deliberately sacrificed to the Monolith - then kills Malick's daughter instead of him.
- Body Horror:
- While possessing Will, it walked around with a gaping leg wound, and while possessing Ward, it was emaciated and corpse-like, still showing signs of the injuries that killed Ward. Once it consumes five humans, Hive manages to restore Ward's body to health.
- Hive's method of killing people is to use its own cells to break down their bodies and assimilate their organic material. This is all done very graphically.
- Body Surf: When one host body is damaged beyond usefulness, Hive transfers to a new one, though it apparently can only do this with hosts who are already dead and aren't Inhumans. The "blood sacrifices" of early HYDRA were meant to provide it with a steady flow of new bodies to inhabit.
- Blue and Orange Morality: To Hive, all he's trying to do is end war and bring peace and unity, and this can be achieved by uniting everyone as one singular organism. To the rest of the world (i.e., sane, rational people), he's trying to brainwash and control everyone by assimilating them into his hive mind. When he is ultimately defeated, he makes it clear that he truly believed that turning the world into Alpha Primitives under his thrall was a good thing, and has an epiphany where he comes to understand Humans Are Flawed.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Hive's spores can infect the brains of other Inhumans, causing them to devote themselves to him. It's described as being similar to a drug addiction, releasing dopamine to make the victim feel as if his presence fulfills a need. The process is theoretically reversible, as the spores don't cause any damage. Lash manages to remove and destroy the spores that were infecting Daisy, although he's killed before he can do so for anyone else.
- Canon Character All Along: It is eventually revealed to be Hive.
- Captured Super-Entity: Was imprisoned on a distant planet for a very good reason.
- Character Death: Hive is obliterated by its own warhead while he drifts in outerspace in the Season 3 finale. He is not coming back from that.
- Composite Character:
- Given that the X-Men and associated characters can't be used in the MCU due to rights issues, this Hive is more or less a stand-in for Apocalypse; his backstory, immortality, goals, and overall personality have far more in common with that character than the comics Hive.
- Additionally, his backstory of being the ruler of the Inhumans who was forced into exile by his people while his existence was hidden from the present-day Inhumans, and his large number of other powers, seem to have been taken from The Unspoken, a very unrelated character.
- Create Your Own Villain: The Kree turned him into what he is, and he kills two of their reapers for it.
- Creepy Monotone: After it inhabits Grant Ward's body, it speaks in his host's voice but without inflection.
- Cthulhumanoid: His true form has gray skin and Gorgon-like tentacles for hair. In fact, this may have inspired the tentacle motif used in HYDRA's emblem.
- Death Seeker: Normally it's the ultimate survivor and a living inspiration for HYDRA's ideal "cut off one head and two more shall take its place." But when everything else fails, it admits that death is the one thing it was never able to achieve. It shares a final quiet moment with Lincoln right before they both die, saying that their impending deaths give them a greater connection than its mind control could ever achieve.
- Despotism Justifies the Means: Hive was create to lead and control the Inhumans via Mind Control; by the modern era it wishes to control anyone and everyone it can get its hands on, whether that is an alien race, or by turning humanity into a race of mutant zombies. It is unclear if this stems from bitterness over the original Inhumans turning on it or if, more likely, Hive is simply power mad.
- Dishing Out Dirt: On Maveth, it can summon sandstorms at will, and that's usually a sign that it's close by.
- The Dog Bites Back: After thousands of years, it finally gets a chance to get its revenge on the very Kree who subjected it to horrific experiments after summoning them with the artifacts James had been hoarding.Hive: I'm not that frightened hunter any more.
- The Dreaded: Everyone who isn't a HYDRA secret society true believer is scared shitless of this thing. Simmons honestly preferred death rather than letting Hive on Earth. It is stated that Jiaying was fully aware of his existence and did everything she could to keep him sealed up, and both she and Gordon freaked out upon hearing that S.H.I.E.L.D. had the Monolith. Bobbi even speculates that the reason Nick Fury ordered the Illiad destroyed was because he didn't want to take the risk of HYDRA getting the Monolith and bringing Hive back.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Most likely a coincidence, but a creature that resembles Hive appears◊ in Captain America: The First Avenger when Erskine explains the origins of the Red Skull.
- Eldritch Abomination: As an Inhuman, Hive must have been human at some point. Now, it's an immortal worm-like parasite with a strange sense of morality.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Regarding HYDRA bringing it back to Earth. As Jeff Goldblum once said, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should."
- Of two Angel characters; a Big Bad with that feeds on humans, and brainwashes others into becoming his loyal and happy worshipers and seeks to do so in a global scale is similar to Jasmine, while his status as a God-like being long exiled from the Earth who has now returned by possessing the body of one of the main characters brings to mind Illyria.
- Of Albert Wesker. Begins life (at least its host Grant Ward does) as The Mole. Is eventually defeated and killed, but comes back from the dead with a Death-Activated Superpower, A God Am I beliefs and Hell-Bent for Leather fashion sense (complete with a Badass Longcoat). Enslaves the primary female lead (from whom he had served as an Evil Mentor) with More Than Mind Control. Seduces the Rich Bitch before pulling You Have Outlived Your Usefulness on her. Develops a plan to use The Virus to "save the world" as a Dark Messiah by turning a large percentage of its population into hideous monsters. This plan involves deploying it from an aircraft, which the heroes board and fight him on.
- Hive being a worm-like parasite that uses bodies as hosts is similar to the evil alien from The Hidden and the Yeerks of Animorphs fame.
- It is also a Marvel supervillain who is a millennia-old former human given godlike powers by aliens, including the ability to enslave others of his own kind. In short, it is similar to Apocalypse.
- It is a former human transformed into a parasitic superorganismnote that kills others and takes over their bodies, making it similar to the minor Spider-Man villain "The Thousand".
- Some of Hive's traits, including its Blue and Orange Morality and belief that peace and unity come from uniting everyone into a single organism, call to mind the perspective of the Thing in the short story The Things.
- Face Death with Dignity: In its final moments aboard the Quinjet with Lincoln, it doesn't try to fight its way out, kill Lincoln out of spite, or even use its sway on him. It just quietly accepts its fate, and they share a rather touching dialogue in their final moments.
- Fan Disservice: Often appears shirtless in its third host Grant Ward. He retains some of his muscles, but is also visibly decaying. After he's healed, he appears naked, but also covered in blood and ooze from five stripped skeletons.
- Fantastic Racism: Hive considers Inhumans to be the superior species and has no qualms about painfully murdering anyone else.
- Feel No Pain: Due to its possession of a dead host, Hive doesn't seem to feel pain. It takes bullets, grenades, and several stab wounds without so much as blinking.
- Final Boss: Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. initially had The Big Bad Shuffle, with Ward, Malick, and Lash all vying for the position of Big Bad. Once Hive returns to Earth, however, it wastes little time establishing itself as the sole Big Bad of Season 3.
- Foil: To Lash. Lash is a visually terrifying modern Inhuman who inspires dread in his fellow Inhumans, but is ultimately a moral (or at least Necessarily Evil) individual, while Hive is a human-looking ancient Inhuman who creates a feeling of contentment in other Inhumans with its sway, who proves to be a well-intentioned but amoral Satanic Archetype.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: It was once a random prehistoric hunter who happened to be near the Kree Reapers when they landed on Earth, and couldn't run away fast enough. They turned him into an Inhuman designed to lead their armies, and it then rebelled and drove them off the planet.
- Game Face: That Sigil Spam HYDRA constantly use? that is it's true face, although unlike most examples of this trope, it doesn't seem to need to change into it's monsterous visage to use its full power.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of Season 3 until it escapes to Earth in the mid-season finale, at which point it drops this trope for Big Bad, as well as for HYDRA as a whole. It was an ancient Inhuman banished long ago, and HYDRA has been worshiping this thing since it was founded.
- Healing Factor: Once he's fully recovered, Hive can heal any damage caused to his host without needing to feed, though there's presumably an upper limit to it given his state before he got back to Earth.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Even Malick admits he doesn't know what Hive has actually planned. Given what Hive did to the planet he was trapped on, it can hardly be good for humanity. Eventually it reveals its goal: turn the rest of humanity into Inhumans.
- Hive Mind: When it infects Inhumans, it "brings them into the hive." They don't appear to be able to share detailed knowledge in either direction, but the Inhumans understand Hive's will and are devoted to it to in a explicitly religious extent. Daisy Johnson describes it as like having a piece that's always been missing finally filled, and slips into using the Royal "We" when excited. According to Fitz and Simmons, it's like a drug addiction, and its victims are controlled by being kept on a perpetual "high" and are open to suggestion. This turned out to be very accurate as after Daisy is cured, she wants to be punished for what she's done and wants Hive to stay very far away; that is, until Hive is within reach, upon which she promptly makes her way to him begging to be taken back into the hive.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: Hive is ultimately killed by the warhead it intended to use to spread its will across the Earth.
- Human Resources: Hive can heal its hosts by taking living tissue from other humans. Ward's body is healed by stripping five humans to skeletons. However, it adamantly refuses to feed on its fellow Inhumans, though whether this is lack of ability or simply personal preference isn't made clear.
- Humanoid Abomination: Once Hive latches on to a human host and regains its strength, it demonstrates considerable, and quite horrifying power, with even its individual cells acting as an extension of its will.
- Hypocrite: It preaches a peaceful world but is happy to murder millions just to fit its own vision of a perfect world. It claims to want Inhumans to have a peaceful paradise but uses warheads to make others worship It. On a lesser level, It acts holier-than-thou but has deep anger issues and sadistic impulses; It may not show much emotion, but It most definitely gets angry and seems to enjoy bullying Malick.
- Insistent Terminology: Downplayed. While Hive is normally fine with being referred to as an Inhuman, when pressed it notes that it's technically a different type of creature, since it was a human directly modified by the Kree rather than a descendant like the others.
- Interrogating the Dead: Hive assimilates the memories of its hosts. It knew Fitz from possessing Will, and tracked down Malick in no time after taking over Ward.
- Invincible Villain: Nothing slows him down, from normal hand guns to a freaking rocket launcher. Even Lash's usual one-hit-kill only temporarily incapacitated him, and he shrugged off the brain-frying from Team Coulson with time. It ultimately took a nuclear warhead detonating above the atmosphere to finally kill Hive.
- It's All About Me: At the end of the day, Hive's greatest concern is for itself. While it does show some concern for its fellow Inhumans, Hive has little problem with abusing them to suit its own goals. Its willingness to turn everyone on Earth into barely sapient, zombie-like Inhumans that exist only as extensions of Hive further illustrates this trait. Hive's use of the Royal "We" also implies that its concern for the Inhumans under its sway only goes as far as it seeing them as extensions of itself.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: For Malick's cowardice, he gives his daughter Stephanie the kiss of death, which horribly disfigures her face. Considering everyone else Hive killed in a similar manner was turned into bloody skeletons, she got off easy.
- Kick the Dog:
- Hive's idea of punishing Malick for his cowardice is to murder his daughter, Stephanie, right in front of Malick.
- Hive was perfectly fine with letting Daisy be drained of her blood until she died as long as it got what it wanted.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Kidnaps Watchdogs, known for their racism and cruelty towards Inhumans, to use as guinea pigs in its Terrigenesis experiments.
- Kill and Replace: It takes over the bodies of those it kills to impersonate them. How well this works seems to depend on how fresh the host is and its access to food, as it can't repair the bodies without a steady source of protein. An astronaut it used against Simmons and Will was ragged, likely from a decade of neglect, and when it took over Will it couldn't do anything about a broken leg. When it takes over Grant Ward's body, Hive manages to completely heal by taking the living tissue from five normal humans.
- Knight of Cerebus: Being the only Eldritch Abomination in the series, this is a natch. Even when it's mentioned, the mood gets noticeably darker, and most scenes that it appears in are accompanied by at least one form of Body Horror.
- Knight Templar: It describes its mission as "creat[ing] the world Inhumans have always deserved". Confirmed to be a lie when it discovers a way to turn ordinary humans into primitive, zombie-like Inhumans under its thrall and plans to turn the rest of humanity into them rather than actual Inhumans — its ultimate goal is merely to control as many people as possible.
- Lack of Empathy: While it shows some concern for Inhumans (and even then, its compassion doesn't go very far), Hive is completely dead to human suffering, devouring or killing them at will and murdering Malick's daughter before his eyes as a form of punishment.
- Long Lost Sibling: A weird example. Since it's a Mind Hive of all its hosts, it is in some way all the sacrifices HYDRA sent through over the centuries — including Gideon Malick's brother, Nathaniel, who was sent through when Gideon rigged the lottery to save himself. Hive spends a good portion of "Paradise Lost" speaking as Nathaniel, even killing Gideon's daughter to teach Gideon the meaning of sacrifice.
- Master of Your Domain: Once it has regained some strength, Hive demonstrates the ability to control its host's tissue for various purposes, releasing it as a cloud of individual cells. On other Inhumans, these cells infect the brain and make the Inhuman loyal to Hive above all else. With normal humans, it's to aid in feeding. Hive describes its own body as "every cell working together for a common purpose".
- Mind Hive: It contains all the memories and personalities of all its hosts, including the countless "Travelers" sent by HYDRA to feed it over the centuries. Normally, it maintains a distinct and calm personality, but it's unclear if that is Hive's original, "true" personality, or an aggregate of everyone it has absorbed.
- Monster Lord: It is one of the original Inhumans, if not the original, hand-crafted by the Kree to lead their armies.
- Monster Progenitor: It's implied to be the first Inhuman that the Kree created.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Hive is seemingly unaffected by bullets, since its hosts are already dead, and fire only forced it to find a new host. In the end, it takes being completely destroyed by a nuclear warhead to finally, permanently kill Hive.
- No Name Given: As far as the Season 3 midseason finale, "It" had not been named but was otherwise known as the dark Inhuman or just It. Promotional material released shortly before the beginning of season 3B identified it as being the character "Hive", from the comics. In "Paradise Lost," an Inhuman researcher says it used to be called Alveus, Latin for Hive.
- No-Sell: Lucio's power has no effect on him, though precisely why isn't made clear. It's probably related to making use of a dead host or Hive's own Master of Your Domain abilities.
- Not So Stoic:
- Hive's composure wavers ever so slightly when confronted with Lash, and even more so when Lash proves that he can resist Hive's spores and do some rather painful damage to it.
- Hive's Villainous Breakdown in the Season 3 finale has him show some genuine rage. Exposure to the memory device totally destroys Hive's composure until it manages to shake off the effects, and just before its death, Hive expresses sincere sorrow and regret for its failure to better the world as it wanted to, and it even shows some sympathy for Lincoln and resignation to their impending deaths.
- Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: It insists that it is working for the Greater Good, that it wants to create a perfect world free of war, poverty and want, and that all humans and Inhumans would be better off once it had taken over the world. Few people bought it, since it wasn't giving anyone a choice. It has been willing to kill even other Inhumans if it served its purpose to do so, and an entire alien civilization had destroyed itself trying to kill it. Eventually it found a way to turn humans into primitive mutant-zombie Inhumans that it could control just as easily, and seemed perfectly content with this outcome, confirming that the only thing Hive wants is to enslave the human race.
- Oh, Crap!: When it sees Lash coming down the ramp, it stops smiling and quickly starts backing up, not taking its eyes off its opponent for a second.
- One-Man Army: The planet it was banished to was once populated with nine major cities. "It" reduced them to dust and desolated the planet by itself, though Hive implies that they destroyed themselves in a futile effort to kill it. The fact that they felt the need to resort to such measures still says a great deal about Hive's power.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: Created to be the leader of the Kree's Inhuman army, and instead lead the rebellion against them.
- Pet the Dog:
- Insists that HYDRA doesn't kill any of his fellow Inhumans working with S.H.I.E.L.D.. Then again, don't want to kill off any new recruits to the hive mind, do we?
- It is friendly, even fatherly, to its enthralled Inhumans, and is usually willing to go the extra mile to give them what they want as long as it doesn't conflict with its own agenda.
- Hive promised the ancient leaders of HYDRA that if they returned it from Maveth, it would grant them power. The first recipients of the new Inhuman treatment were the last heads of the religious HYDRA. Hive is quite upset when the procedure kills them.
- The only reason S.H.I.E.L.D. escapes at the end of "Failed Experiments" is because Hive checked to make sure Daisy was all right instead of pursuing them.
- Hive kidnaps a number of the Watchdogs for a dangerous experiment as a "gift to Daisy," assuming that she would appreciate the cruel irony. She doesn't, but Hive was genuine in its intent.
- Once the Watchdogs are transformed into sub-human "Alpha Primitives," Hive is proud to call them part of itself, and is quite curt when Radcliffe calls them abominations. Of course, this leads to Hive declaring the experiment a success and seeing no need to improve it, which even Hive's enslaved Inhumans find disturbing.
- Declines to sway Lincoln in their final moments, seeing the fact that they're about to die together as connection enough.
- Physical God: HYDRA worships it as a god, an opinion Hive itself does nothing to dissuade. Malick eventually decides that while it is a god, it was never one for humans, and it only cares about Inhumans.
- Pragmatic Villainy: While its orders to avoid killing Inhumans can be seen as a Pet the Dog moment, an equally likely and less altruistic motive is that Hive cannot sway dead Inhumans.
- Pronoun Trouble: In addition to gender difficulties, it will sometimes alter the pronouns it uses for itself. Sometimes it says "I," sometimes "we," and sometimes it refers to its hosts as separate people while other times it speaks as them directly. There's also some ambiguity, even on This Very Wiki, about the proper pronoun to use when referring to Hive; some people use "it" (a reference to Hive's inhuman nature and complex biology) while others use "him" (every body we've seen Hive use has been male, which was also Hive's original gender).
- Puppeteer Parasite: Hive is actually a worm-like parasite that uses dead bodies as hosts.
- Really 700 Years Old: Has existed and possessed its powers for millennia. It is the result of one of the first, if not the first, Kree experiment to create Inhuman weapons.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: In his true form, Hive's eyes are a deep blood-red.
- Royal "We": Hive refers to itself as "we". Makes sense, considering it has its own memories plus the memories of its host (and possibly all of its previous hosts as well).
- Sadist: Hive is rather fond of psychological torture, and since it possesses the memories of every single person it has ever used as a host, it's capable of getting under the skin of a great many people. Its treatment of Malick is particularly cruel. Hive manipulates him into committing his first hands-on murder, pretends to be his long-dead brother to mess with his head, and then finally brutally murders his daughter right in front of him. Hive's particular method killing via its spores is also extremely painful, as they eat normal humans from the inside out.
- Sanity Slippage: Induced this in Will Daniels' colleagues, causing their suicides one-by-one.
- Satanic Archetype: After losing his daughter, Malick starts comparing him to Satan, and Coulson is all too ready to agree with him on that point. In fact, Coulson goes so far as to speculate the inverse—specifically, that Satan is an archetype of Hive. Fittingly, its true form resembles Cthulhu. Daisy later states that the ability to steal someone's memories is pretty close to stealing their soul.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Trapped on an alien world, which HYDRA is seeking to reopen the portal to. It escapes in the mid-season finale.
- Serkis Folk: Its true form, shown in the picture above, is achieved through motion capture.
- Smug Super: Its general demeanor is best summarized as "I'm a god, I don't have to worry about things." Its every scene emphasizes that it is constantly aware of how much stronger it is than everyone else.
- The Stoic: Hive is always calm and collected.
- Super-Persistent Predator: The second your blood hits the air, Hive will start coming for you.
- Superpower Lottery: Most Inhumans have one power; Hive has several, very different and unusual abilities. Justified as the Inhumans, unlike mutants, are explicitly designed, and Hive was specifically designed to be the leader of the Inhumans and so his multiple powers are likely to ensure Asskicking Equals Authority.
- Super Prototype: Hive was one of the first Inhumans created by the Kree, and is, with little doubt, the most powerful.
- Super Strength: When healed, he's strong enough to fight a Kree Hunter (which are tougher than normal Kree) on equal terms.
- Start of Darkness: Hive was once a Mayan warrior out on a hunt before he was found by the Kree Reapers. The Kree captured him and put him through a horrifying experiment which turned him into one of the first Inhumans.
- Take Over the World: Gideon Malick says Hive was destined to rule the world and that HYDRA was formed to be its army.
- Was Once a Man: More than most Inhumans. They remain generally human shaped after Terrigenesis with just the occasional physical side effect, but Hive became a worm-like creature that inhabits the dead.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: During his final moments, he laments that he really did want to make the world a better place, and Lincoln believes him.
- Worf Had the Flu: Centuries of being imprisoned have all but eliminated the supposedly vast power it once possessed. Fitz is able to disable its host with a flare gun, and it doesn't demonstrate itself to be any stronger than its host would be. Hive insists that, once it has regained its strength, it will prove that the stories about it are true. He restores his strength by gorging on five humans.
- Villainous Breakdown: After its plan is initially thwarted by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Season 3 finale, Hive shows genuine rage for the first time. The breakdown only gets worse when it's exposed to the memory device, which causes Hive to randomly relive the memories of its past hosts, leaving Hive very unbalanced until it manages to shake off the effects.
- See the Grant Ward page
The Malick Family
Portrayed By: Powers Boothe, Cameron Palatas (young)
Voiced By: Jorge Lapuente [The Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Disney Dub], Gabriel Pingarrón [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Jaume Comas [The Avengers], Juan Fernández [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: The Avengers | Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (first appears in Episode 50: "Among Us Hide...")
One of the leaders of HYDRA. Originally one of HYDRA's infiltrators in the World Security Council where he advised Nick Fury during the Battle of New York, he broke ties with that organization after it became defunct, becoming an advisor of President Matthew Ellis. From there he orchestrated the formation of the Advanced Threat Containment Unit and manipulated the agency into collecting the newly transformed Inhumans to build an army for HYDRA's ancient leader to command. In the aftermath of Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's defeat, Malick joined forces with Grant Ward so they could destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and finish Project Distant Star Return to accomplish HYDRA's oldest goal.
- Ascended Extra: He previously appeared in The Avengers as an unnamed member of the World Security Council.
- Bad Boss: He subjects his own HYDRA men to the Terrigen fish oil pills without them knowing so either those who were Inhuman would have powers or those who didn't would die.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: With Ward since they are the only heads of HYDRA left in Season 3. They join forces as the leaders of HYDRA's remnants. After the mid-season finale, he tries to form an alliance with Hive. However, Hive doesn't do alliances: it does submission. Malick finds himself Demoted to Dragon as soon as Hive's power is restored and is subsequently killed when he betrays Hive to S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Big Bad Wannabe: By himself, Malick would be a pretty big threat on his own; however, he overestimates his ability to control Hive and believes that said Eldritch Abomination would work with him. Over the course of the second half of Season 3 Hive strips him of his control on HYDRA, gathers his own Inhuman minions, kills Gideon's daughter in front of him and then finally kills Malick himself once he's outlived his usefulness.
- Break the Haughty: He is a horrible person, make no mistake, but seeing him first getting visions of his death, having to witness his own daughter getting killed right in front of him by the very entity he thought would reward him for everything he and his organisation did for it and then being horribly murdered by a Hive-controlled Daisy makes you at least feel a bit sorry for the guy.
- Broken Pedestal: He feels this way about Hive after he murders his daughter in front of him, even deciding that instead of resurrecting a god, he had freed the Devil incarnate.
- Commander Contrarian: To Nick Fury in The Avengers. He was the Councilman that pushed Fury hardest to develop and use the "Phase Two" Tesseract-powered weaponry instead of the Avenger Initiative, and called Fury out on sending the Tesseract back to Asgard. Given his true allegiances, Malick's motives may have gone a little further than simple extremism.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Under Hive's control, Daisy hits him with her earthquake power until his skull is crushed by the vibrations. It is so nasty that when he saw a vision of it, he thought it was Hive's flesh-dissolving power.
- Demoted to Dragon: Once Hive recovers and starts taking the initiative, Malick is reduced to being another lackey, albeit one with a lot of resources.
- Dirty Coward: His father used a scored stone in the ritual to ensure he was never sent into the Monolith. When Gideon learned of this, he continued the tradition, and his brother — who also knew and thought that Gideon had tossed that stone into a lake — was the next person to be chosen. This sheds a whole new light on him convincing Ward to go too.
- The Dog Bites Back: After being disrespected, bullied and outright betrayed by Hive, Malick seizes the opportunity to share information that could bring it down.
- The Dreaded: Loeb said about him: "Gideon is incredibly menacing and in him we have a character that even the stone-cold Grant Ward would fear." Even the President is too afraid to act directly against him.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He loved his father, and was distraught to learn of his true cowardly nature. Malick did love his brother, just not enough to sacrifice himself. It's played straightest with his daughter, Stephanie. Her death destroys him.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He isn't pleased that Ward recruited Werner von Strucker before he was ready, and only sells Werner out because it's the pragmatic thing to do.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: Malick finds out the hard way that he really should not have broken Hive out of its prison.
- Evil Sounds Deep: He speaks in a low, gravelly voice, courtesy of Powers Boothe.
- Face Death with Dignity: Atoning for his lifelong cowardice and hypocrisy, Malick shows no fear in the face of his own death, having lost everything that gave his life meaning in the first place. He stoically accepts his fate.
- False Friend: Werner turns to him to try and gain protection from Ward's wrath. While Gideon assures Werner of his safety, he later arranges with Ward to hand over Werner as part of some greater deal.
- Faux Affably Evil: He speaks in a calm and friendly manner to everyone, but behind their back, he is plotting against them.
- Fiction 500: He's insanely wealthy thanks to business connections all over the world. In "Spacetime" Hive states that Malick is personally worth 9.2 billion dollars. After his death, Hive was able to use just a fraction of Malick's wealth to buy out an entire town.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: He betrays Hive and does everything he can to help S.H.I.E.L.D., but is killed before he can fully transition into The Atoner.
- Honorary Uncle: Werner von Strucker says Gideon was nicer to him than his father ever was.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: After Hive murders Stephanie, he lets himself be captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. and divulges everything Coulson needs to know to decimate, if not thoroughly eliminate, the HYDRA he had believed in up to that point before accepting his fate at the hands of Daisy.
- Manipulative Bastard: Malick is a master manipulator, having pulled the strings of HYDRA for some time. He even convinces Grant Ward, a Manipulative Bastard himself, to willingly go on a suicide mission for him.
- Mole in Charge: A HYDRA leader within the World Security Council, making him more powerful than Alexander Pierce himself. Also, he helped found the ATCU and commands its Science Division by obfuscating Rosalind's oversight, using it to create Inhumans to further HYDRA's goals.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Malick" sounds an awful lot like "malice". Also, Gideon means "he that bruises or breaks; a destroyer."
- Not So Stoic: Thanks to an Inhuman which can show visions of death through physical contact, Malick loses his cool for the first time in a while.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Hive punishes Malick for his cowardice by murdering his daughter right in front of him.
- Pyrrhic Villainy: Malick's goals (bringing back Hive and his own survival) ultimately cost him everything: his brother, daughter, his leadership of HYDRA, and his own life.
- The Remnant: He's the last of the old guard at HYDRA thanks to the actions of Team Coulson, the Avengers, and Grant Ward's New HYDRA.
- Together in Death: After Hive kills Stephanie, he views death as reuniting with her.Daisy: We can't let you keep talking.
Malick: ...And I won't be kept from my daughter.
- Ultimate Job Security: Given Malick's political and economic contacts with dozens of governments, bringing him to justice through the legal system would be virtually impossible. President Ellis tells Coulson that he can't touch Malick legally, but does note that someone outside the law wouldn't have that problem...
- Villain Has a Point: Coulson admits to Malick during the interrogation that he's right to believe that Hive is the devil, considering Coulson himself committed the sin that allowed him to return to Earth.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He was a member of the World Security Council as he was able to keep his alliance with HYDRA hidden a long time, to the point that not even Coulson or the Avengers knew his true colors until he made the mistake of telling Rosalind about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Tahiti program.
- Villainous BSoD: He becomes a total defeatist after Hive turns on him.
Portrayed By: Bethany Joy Lenz
Voiced By: Liliana Barba [Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Ana Esther Alborg (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 57: "Parting Shot", Episode 60: "Paradise Lost")
Gideon Malick's daughter and heir and a member of HYDRA.
- Bait the Dog: Stephanie apparently believed that Hive would kill her father for his cowardice. It killed her instead.
- Daddy's Little Villain: She has been raised to be a HYDRA leader and shares her father's vision.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being a member of the aforementioned fascist cult, she genuinely cares about her father. That is until the Broken Pedestal moment in which she chooses Hive over her father after the latter is exposed as a coward who cheated his way out of being sacrificed to Hive all his adult life.
- The Fundamentalist: Unlike her father, who cares more about power than the HYDRA faith, she is a true believer in HYDRA's role as servants of Hive and chooses the latter over her father.
- Morality Pet: For Gideon. When Hive kills her, it drives him to help S.H.I.E.L.D. defeat the "devil".
- Sacrificial Lamb: She is killed by Hive to punish Gideon for having betrayed his brother instead of being willing to be sacrificed to Hive.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: She's killed in her second appearance.
Nathaniel "Nate" Malick
Portrayed By: Joel Dabney Courtney
Voiced By: Alan Fernando Velázquez [Sony Dub] (Latin-American Spanish dub); Javier Balas (European Spanish dub)
Appearances: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (appears in Episode 60: "Paradise Lost")
Gideon Malick: He would never do that.
Nathaniel Malick: But he did. It's all right here, Gideon. Dad was afraid to be the Traveler. He was a coward... and a cheater. Everything he said to us was a lie.
A member of the HYDRA faction that worshiped the Inhuman Hive and the brother of Gideon Malick.