Iron Man 3: The 9/11 Meme Comes Full Circle

Marvel Promo Poster.

Marvel Promo Poster.

By: Peter Parker Sometime ago this writer made a discovery that was featured here on Jay's Analysis concerning an episode of the 1990’s Iron Man animated series.  As is the case with numerous films and television shows, this episode contained scenes that seemed to eerily prefigure certain aspects of the 9-11 tragedy.  Interestingly, this particular episode featured not one, but two major parallels to the events of that fateful day, yet surprisingly, at the time, I had never seen this episode featured in any of the internet’s exhaustive lists of ‘9-11 predictive programming.’  I am not suggesting that its absence was due to any conspiracy within a conspiracy, presumably this was merely indicative of the extreme unpopularity of the 90s Iron Man cartoon.  However, its absence from most lists is still in some ways surprising, given how closely it resembled the September 11th terror attacks. Arguably, of all the examples of ‘9-11 semiotic programming,’ perhaps only the infamous Lone Gunmen pilot came as close to mirroring the real life event. The episode, which originally aired in 1994, was entitled “The Grim Reaper Wears a Teflon Coat.”  It opens with a control room of NORAD operatives panicking as the new experimental plane, the Grim Reaper, slips by their defenses and begins raining a volley of missiles on New York City.  Amongst the buildings hit in the attack are the Twin Towers.  Moments later it is revealed that this attack was nothing more than a video simulation being shown to high-ranking military officials, illustrating what might happen should the Grim Reaper, the military’s newest super weapon, fall into the wrong hands.  Unfortunately, fall into the wrong hands it does when the Mandarin, a shadowy super-villain who operates out of a secret base in the mountains of Tibet, has his agents steal the plane.  Viewers are treated to yet another simulated attack when the Mandarin shows his followers exactly how he plans to use the Grim Reaper; he will fly it into the Pentagon, destroying the heart of American military power!  Needless to say, the bad guy’s plans are foiled by Iron Man by the episode’s end.
Promo picture with Robert Downey, Jr. posing with the terrists

Promo picture with Robert Downey, Jr. posing with the terrists

The 9-11 parallels are obviously quite strong; a plane is used to attack both the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and, linking up with ‘conspiracy theorist’ views of the event, both attacks are nothing more than simulations. However, since the episode’s release and indeed since the events of 9-11 itself, the Iron Man films have actually reinforced these resemblances.  This began with the first Iron Man movie in 2008, in which the hero battles a terrorist organization called The Ten Rings, which operates throughout Central Asia. 

While the organization was clearly meant to be a fictional version of Al Qaeda, many Iron Man fans recognized its name as a thinly veiled reference to the aforementioned Mandarin, Iron Man’s primary antagonist in the comics, who wears 10 magic rings, each with its own special power.  Even though the Mandarin didn’t appear in the first Iron Man movie, many fans assumed that this meant he would be revealed as the head of the Ten Rings later in the series.  Clearly the Mandarin, who in the comics was essentially a Fu Manchu rip-off, was being reinvented for the modern age as a sort of bin Ladenesque terrorist.

The Mandarin, I mean bin Laden, I mean the Mandarin...

The Mandarin, I mean bin Laden, I mean the Mandarin…

By the time of the second Iron-Man movie in 2010, the Mandarin had yet to appear.  For my own part, I thought the studio might be holding back since the character might be considered an offensive ‘Orientalist’ stereotype by today’s standards.  He had, after all, originally been created during the time of Vietnam War.  Admittedly, I felt a little cheated, that is until several months ago when I started seeing trailers for Iron Man 3, featuring Ben Kingsley as the Mandarin, making grandiose bad guy speeches and dramatic super villain poses.  However, upon seeing the movie mere days ago I was both marginally disappointed and yet, at the same time, pleasantly surprised.

Spoiler Alert

As predicted, Iron Man 3 follows through with the groundwork that was laid in the first film, transforming the Mandarin from a Chinese master criminal into a bin Laden-style terrorist leader of indeterminate (presumably Middle Easter or Central Asian) descent.  Like bin Laden, The Mandarin claims responsibility for numerous bombings throughout the world through the release of anti-American diatribes presented in low quality video recordings.  In this sense Iron Man 3 has made the 911 meme in the 90s animated series come full circle.  Now the over-all ‘bin Ladeniness’ of the Mandarin has been fully accentuated, retroactively reinforcing the semiotic resemblance of “The Grim Reaper Wears a Teflon Coat,” to the actual events of September 11th.

The war on the terrists is run by the insiders.

The war on the terrists is run by the insiders.

However, the conspiracy content of Iron Man 3 does not end there.  When, Iron Man’s friend is injured in one of the Mandarin’s attacks, the hero enters into an all-out war with the terror leader, back-tracing his televised threats to a mansion, which is surprising located, not in the Middle East but in Miami, Florida.  Busting into the recording room, Iron Man discovers that the Mandarin is not a master terror leader but merely a bumbling, washed up, British stage actor with a drug problem who has been hired to serve as the fake head of a boogeyman terror organization.  He is simply, dressed up in robes and given scripts to read to the camera.  In exchange he is paid with booze, money and loose women and since he is kept confined to the mansion he isn’t even aware that real people are being hurt in his name.  The real mastermind behind all of this is a weapons manufacturing industrialist working with the corrupt Vice President of the U.S.  This is all part of a plan the Industrialist set in motion back in 2000, suggesting perhaps that the entire war on terror itself, at least in the fictional world of Iron Man, is all part of his grand design.

What is interesting about this is how it bares strong resemblance to many of the so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ about Osama bin Laden.  That, bin Laden was either dead or retired, and that look-alike actors working for Western intelligence were performing his various video releases, was and still is a popular opinion among many.  Similar, of course, is the notion that Osama bin Laden had, in fact, been a Western asset from the beginning of his career.

Downey Jr. and Gibson in the CIA-themed Air America.

Downey Jr. and Gibson in the CIA-themed Air America.

While the new Iron Man film does not go as far as to implicate the entire American government in a vast cover up, the fact that a major mainstream, Hollywood film would drift even this close towards ‘conspiracy theory’ is refreshing to say the least.  This might have something to do with the fact that the Writer/Director of Iron Man 3, Shane Black, might himself be somewhat of a conspiracy theorist.  Black emerged to prominence in Hollywood as the writer of the first, wildly successful Lethal Weapon film which featured as a plot point a continuation of the C.I.A’s covert Vietnam War-era drug running through the Air America Project. Oddly enough, in an example of the strange connections, which often emerge in Hollywood casting, Lethal Weapon actor, Mel Gibson, would later star in a movie adaptation of the Air America story alongside future Iron Man lead, Robert Downy Jr.

Even as much as I enjoyed the conspiracy theory angle of Iron Man 3, I must admit the comic book geek part of me was a little disappointed not to see a Chinese stereotype blasting at our hero with a fist full of magic’s rings. Despite this, the film still manages to be an enjoyable romp that might actually make some halfwits give a second thought about the veracity of the whole bogus bin Laden narrative.



9 Comments on Iron Man 3: The 9/11 Meme Comes Full Circle

  1. Mary Pishney // May 13, 2013 at 12:30 am // Reply

    I remember, many a decade ago, when my high school history teacher, back in ’62 told us that the comic strip of a military character, I think Steve Forest was his name, always was a jump ahead in revealing the next war theater we would be engulfed in. At the time, VIet Nam sounded as foreign as some dish on a Taiwanese menu. He told the guys in the class that they well might be trudging through those jungles. Seems much like the prescience that Iron Man has shown. I would hazard a guess that both artists were connected to some cryptic sources who
    gave them the insider’s knowledge. We’ve come a long, bloody way since then. “V,” “The Matrix” all seem like art imitating reality. The best part to me, is that they adjust their youthful
    followers to the reality that conspiracies are legitimate players and have been so on the world stage for eons. American history is rife with them from who really killed Merry Weather Lewis to
    the terrorists who infrequently infest our streets. The worst enemy any nation could have is one that the “leaders” deny exist. C.S. Lewis in his brilliant, humorous book, The Screw Tape Letters, delineates the various traps the Devil’s demons use to snare the gullible humans.
    Such a tact is one of his favorite ploys. Interesting, the perpetrators of such heinous crimes as the JFK, RK and many many other less public figures have died to protect these devils in our midst. Our nation is in dire need of the freedom setting application of truth to dispel the
    corporate, global bankers designs, or the result will be an even grimmer future than the past.

  2. My buddy pointed out that Shane Black also wrote Long Kiss Goodnight, where Gina Davis plays a mind-controlled alter assassin.

  3. Hey, that’s true. I didn’t do too much research into his other stuff. I remember seeing Long Kiss Goodnight, years ago but I mostly only recall the scene where she cuts vegetables to jazzy music. Lethal Weapon, of course, is one of the many films that features ‘911 predictive programming.’ There’s that scene were Riggs and Murtaugh walk up to a house, with a sign outside it that reads “no parking between 9-11.” Suddenly, as a plane flies over in the background, the house explodes.

    Also noteworthy is that fact that Marvel comics, during the Bush years, did a storyline that ran through all their comics called “Civil War.” After a 9-11 style event is caused by super heroes, Iron-Man uses his influence to get a law past that requires super heroes to publicly reveal their identities if they wish to continue operating. Certain super heroes, led by Captain America, rebel against this law, leading to a super hero civil war. I think it later turned out Iron-Man had been possessed or replaced with an impostor or something like that. The whole thing was somewhat of a ham-fisted critique of Bush’s post 9-11, patriot act. Do you think they’ve made any similar criticisms since Obama hammered through the NDAA? Doubtful. That’s the hypocrisy of the leftie publishing industry for ya.

    • Does anybody remember that Marvel Comics also published a series called “The Illuminati” where many of the top “superheroes” turn out to be memebers of the Illuminati… and I think is was in this series that they have to get rid of the Hulk and send him off to another planet. Professor Xavier, Mr Fantastic, Tony Stark, and some others were the ones who supposedly formed “Illuminati”. though I would have thought Hydra (G.I. Joe’s Cobra) would have been more like The Illuminati and Stryker in the X-Men films, where he says the only mutants (aka SubGeni, Star Children, Indigo Kids, Star Seed, or anyone who thinks outside the box) he liked were those who could control. The X3 cure for “mutants” obviously in real life include Prozac. The Mutant Registration Act in real life was called Indigo Children… InDigo means ID-ed.
      Just like in the 1979 film “Agency” they have the “paranoid” Jew who doesn’t trust “The Man” and who is made to look either Stupid or “Evil” as in Magneto’s case in X-Men.
      According to the films’ logic: the Holocaust survivor is just crazy and paranoid… and vengeful… can’t he trust the CIA or other athorities to bring the Nazis running the Hell Fire’s Club (a real Occult Organization) to justice? X-Men First Class.
      Magneto is obviously used to attack and villainize the real Jews who haven’t fallen for the Con. An example of Propoganda in films. The Villainzation of certain group of peoples out there.
      Loki, one of Iron Mans enemies as The Avengers is the Nordic name of LOKIfer/Lucifer… Loki or Loge is where we get the word LODGE. “God of Fire… brought Fire to Humanity… Prometheus. Obviously Dark Seid… I mean… Thanatos at the end of Avengers represents another higher aspect of the Unholy Hierarchy… showing who’s behind even the Mandarin… I Might say. the force of pure Evil or Anti-Life. Galactus might have been it’s purest non-anthromorphic representation in F42. shown at the end of Smallville as Darkseid.
      final idea: Tony Stark…. Stark is german for Strong… Tony is either flourishing or praiseworthy.
      Well… that’s it.

  4. There is a second subliminal airplane in the explosion scene in LETHAL WEAPON (1987). You can see it here:

    1) The entrance of the house resembles the All-Seeing-Eye.
    2) MurTAUgh flashes the Sign of Silence (a reference to Harpocrates / Horus child).
    3) RiGGs is smoking a long cigarrette and wearing huge glasses (representing Horus probably).
    4) The kids said after the explosion: “did you see that?”, “did you see that?”
    5) The boss of the cops is MurPHY. TAU = 300 (Murtaugh), GG=66 (Riggs), PHI= 1.618033988749894848204586834… the golden ratio, which begins with 1.61 and later follows 8 and so on (Murphy). Phi is supposed to be the path between energy and matter and matter and energy.
    6) Martin Riggs, according to the script, shot someone under extremely difficult circunstances when he was 19. Also, his wife of 11 years was killed recently in a car accident. It is possible to read that part of the script here:

    7) When Murtaugh and Riggs talk in the underground parking lot Murtaugh states that “God” hates him and Riggs answers that it would be a good idea to hate God back because this works for him.

    Here there is a research project that wanted to explain that scene among others:

    I) Richard Donner AND Joe Silver were the producers of LETHAL WEAPON (1987)
    II) Richard Donner was part of the Navy photographic unit. He was traveling around the world with the U.S. Navy for one year.
    III) Richard Donner acknowledges that he adds visual messages to his movies. Point II and III are mentioned in this long interview:

    IV) Does “Shane” and “chain” sound similar? I do not know. It would be terrible if the script was written by “chain black” or “black chain”… Black Chain sounds nefarious…

    V) SHANE BLACK wrote and directed “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” (2005) starring Robert Downey Jr., Michelle Monagham, Val Kilmer and Corbin Bernsen. The movie was produced by JOEL SILVER. At some point of the plot, the character played by Robert Downey Jr. begins to talk about a fictional character from a novel (Johnny Gossamer) who would usually kill 16 people…

    “So this evening,
    was it Jonny Gossamer enough for you?

    To tell you the truth, Jonny Gossamer
    always has a way bigger ending.

    There’s always the part
    where the guy gets tortured.

    Yeah, tortured, sure. Then he usually
    breaks free and shoots, like, 16 guys.

    Yeah, 16 guys. It’s always 16.
    That’s funny.”

    VI) Richard Donner directed and produced “Conspiracy Theory” ( ) starring Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. JOEL SILVER was a producer, too….
    In the movie we can see that… bla, bla, bla.

    The people in the know have a good time organizing PSYOP and making movies… I assume… 🙂

    [By the way, it is possible to notice that most of them are Germans, nazis, probably… :-D. If I am wrong I deeply apologize right now. Some people state that it is possible to recognize a German nazi due to the shape of his/her nose. It is a myth, for certain.] Shalom!

  5. Oh! I forgot to write the following information about the scene of the explosion in LETHAL WEAPON (1987):

    8) The street sign states:


    9 – 11 AM

    Well, NO is inside a red square. It is possible to read NO as
    And, as we all know, in Hebrew OZ means

    Auf Wiedersehen!

  6. Winston Smith // January 23, 2015 at 9:14 pm // Reply

    There was another aspect to Iron-man 3 that felt like predictive programming to me. War machine is re branded as Iron patriot by the military and then is used to attack the President’s plane in yet another False flag. To me it seemed they were saying that the government/military might use a false flag event to turn the public against those who identify as patriots.

  7. white liberal // November 21, 2015 at 5:09 pm // Reply

    You white liberal bitch. Where’s the “Chinese stereotype?” How ’bout a black stereotype, douchbag. Why don’t you do an article about how fucking racist white liberals are and the specific soft bigotry allowed by hollywood by mostly jews. White guilt only works for blacks and mexicans. Fuck you you cowardly racist.

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