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HYDRA (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

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Cut off one head, two more shall take its place...Hail HYDRA.
~ Heinz Kruger's last words about the HYDRA organization

HYDRA, or secretly going under the name of S.H.I.E.L.D (formerly), is an authoritarian-military-terrorist organization and the main antagonistic faction of most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the central antagonists of Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

HYDRA is a evil Nazi terrorist organization founded by Johann Schmidt. He then sought to break free from Hitler's control and take over the world, but this is halted by the interference of Captain America. They are scattered after that, brought back when Arnim Zola started seeding agents throughout the Strategic Scientific Reserve's present-day reincarnation, S.H.I.E.L.D., and so they took over the agency. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this infiltration is revealed to the world by the old nemesis of HYDRA, Captain Steve Rogers, and the agency was disbanded. However, Phil Coulson is slowly rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. so he can battle HYDRA, who are still striving for world domination. As revealed in the third season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the group was founded centuries ago to bring the Inhuman known as Hive back to Earth after being banished, succeeding eventually when Hive possesses Grant Ward's body.

HYDRA would eventually continue to exist and went into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. with a global war on the organization. Hive would lead HYDRA upon is return and various cells would continue to exist. After Hive's death, HYDRA is apparently defunct for good, unless a new leader takes its place in the future but support for HYDRA and its ideology continue to exist judged by various graffitie in American cities of HYDRA symbols leading to a possible revival.


Foundation and First Actions

"Howard, the footage you're about to see was just smuggled out of Nazi Germany by "Agent 13", an undercover operative the British have planted deep within HYDRA, Hitler's advanced weapons program."
―Chester Phillips to Howard Stark

HYDRA has its roots in the special weapons division of the Nazi Sturmabteilung. Led by Ernst Kaufmann, the division was charged with developing advanced weapons for the German Army.

In June 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives, Kaufmann was killed by the SS officer Johann Schmidt. Schmidt and his men eliminated Kaufmann's entire unit, except one man, Doctor Arnim Zola. Schmidt took over Kaufmann's weapons program and formed his own SS research division, naming it HYDRA. The new unit was formed with the official approval of the Nazi Führer, Adolf Hitler.

HYDRA was named after the mythological creature and used its original phrase: "cut off one head, two more will take its place". It was soon charged with science experiments and deep investigation of the occult. Due to contributions from Arnim Zola, HYDRA developed several extremely advanced weapons.

When the Spanish Civil War started in 1936, the leaders of the Third Reich decided to support the Nationalists led by Francisco Franco. HYDRA was among the German units sent by Adolf Hitler to assist the Nationalists on the battlefield.

In April 1937, HYDRA's tanks and soldiers equipped with powerful exo-skeleton battle suits destroyed the city of Guernica. At the time, it was believed the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was responsible for the destruction of the city. However, the footage of the slaughter was smuggled out of Germany by the British agent Margaret Carter and handed over to the US military in January 1940.

Film series

Captain America: The First Avenger

HYDRA appeared as the main group of villains in the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, and were led by Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull. They were stated as being part of the Nazi's deep science division, and they had tech that was superior to anything created at that time. Most of their tech was powered by the Cosmic Cube. Eventually Red Skull revealed plans to bomb various cities in the world, including Berlin. As such in the movie HYDRA has broken of from the Nazi Party and seek to replace them.

S.H.I.E.L.D Civil War

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

HYDRA returns in Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Alexander Pierce as their new leader. They planned to launch Project Insight which was thought to be done by SHIELD as a security enhanced project. But it was revealed by the consciousness of Arnim Zola (who is the Red Skull's right-hand man) through a supercomputer that HYDRA infiltrated SHIELD and that Project Insight is all a HYDRA plan to launch the three SHIELD Helicarriers and target over a million lives according to a special algorithm that Zola developed for HYDRA to follow. HYDRA is also revealed to have found Bucky in between films and brainwashed him to becoming the Winter Soldier. At the end of the film HYDRA is now lead by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and have captured Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

HYDRA returns again in The Avengers: Age of Ultron with their new leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. They plot to destroy the Avengers and form a Big Bad Ensemble with Ultron, who plots to take over Earth. While Strucker may not be an ongoing threat in the film, he will be responsible for bringing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to the Avengers. Strucker and his right-hand man, Dr. List, are both killed by Ultron.


HYDRA serves as the unseen Bigger Bads/secondary antagonists. Darren Cross made a partnership with HYDRA when they still had a conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers as whole event in film occurred almost simultaneously with events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In hopes to turn the tide of battle, they had Mitchell Carson to aid Darren in his attempt duplicating the Pym Particle technology into the Yellowjacket. Thanks to Scott Lang's interference, HYDRA failed to gained the particle technology for the war against Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D., but they managed to acquire particles that produced by the suit.

Captain America: Civil War

Helmut Zemo eventually reaches a former HYDRA base where, next to Bucky Barnes, five more Winter Soldiers were created. After killing the five Winter Soldiers, Zemo uses the facility as the stage for the final battle between Captain America and Iron Man.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

While the twist that HYDRA was inside S.H.I.E.L.D. may have had an effect on the movies, it was a bigger terror in the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC that set in the same universe in the movies, with the show running concurrently with the film series. They are revealed in the Season 1 episode "Turn, Turn, Turn" as the true main antagonists of the series, with John Garrett as the leader of a HYDRA cell commissioned to destroy all that remains of S.H.I.E.L.D. after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Centipede Group representative Raina is working with Garrett to recover some samples of GH.325, a drug made from Kree blood, and stop Garrett's organs from failing completely.

It is also revealed that supporting protagonist Grant Ward is working with Garrett, having been taught "how to survive" by him. Daniel Whitehall appears in Season 2, seeking to find Kree artifacts and use them to conquer the world and rule over everyone, but is tricked by the Inhuman Calvin Zabo to get his daughter Skye into an ancient Kree city and receive an Inhuman mutation (becoming Daisy Johnson/Quake). Now, while S.H.I.E.L.D. is being rebuilt by Director Coulson (promoted by Nick Fury), HYDRA hunts for the various weak points in S.H.I.E.L.D. In Season 3, they are revealed to worship an Inhuman known as It and want to bring him back to Earth to conquer the world.

S.H.I.E.L.D Civil War (Season 1)

The Civil War's early stages

"Out of the Shadows, Into the Light"
―Coded message for HYDRA sleeper agents within S.H.I.E.L.D.
(as shown in Captain America: The Winter Soldier). 

Civil War becomes direct war

(from Episode 2), Garrett is also destroyed by Coulson wielding the 0-8-4 weapon in Episode 2 "0-8-4".

S.H.I.E.L.D-HYDRA Cold War (Season 2)

After the deaths of Strucker and List, Ward decided to take the helm and rebuild HYDRA.

Hive's return (Season 3)

In late 2015, after Ward took over HYDRA, they succeeded in bringing It back to Earth, though at the cost of Ward's life (his body was possessed by Hive shortly after, taking a zombie-like appearance). Hive is the true founder of HYDRA.

Notable Members


​Military Officers

​Soldiers and Assassins

Doctors and Scientists

Other Members



  • In the comics, HYDRA was organized by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in the Japanese-occupied territory in the final days of World War II.

Behind the Scenes




Marvel Cinematic Universe Villains

Iron Monger | Raza | Abomination | Thunderbolt Ross | Whiplash | Justin Hammer | Senator Stern | Loki Laufeyson | The Destroyer | Laufey | Jasper Sitwell | Red Skull | Arnim Zola | Heinz Kruger | Thanos | The Other | Aldrich Killian | Eric Savin | Maya Hansen | The Mandarin | Malekith the Accursed | Algrim the Kurse | Alexander Pierce | The Winter Soldier | Crossbones | Georges Batroc | Wolfgang von Strucker | Lorelei | John Garrett | Grant Ward | Absorbing Man | Daniel Whitehall | Ronan the Accuser | Nebula | Korath the Pursuer | Yondu Udonta | Sasha Demidov | Dottie Underwood | Johann Fennhoff | Calvin Chadwick | Whitney Frost | The Collector | Jiaying | Kingpin | James Wesley | Ultron | Ultron Sentinels | Scarlet Witch | Quicksilver | Yellowjacket | Mitchell Carson | Werner von Strucker | Lash | Hive | Gideon Malick | Kilgrave | Punisher | Nobu Yoshioka | Helmut Zemo | Cottonmouth | Black Mariah | Shades | Diamondback | Kaecilius
Chitauri | HYDRA | A.I.M | Ten Rings | Watchdogs | The Hand | Zealots

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