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Marvel Confirms Cold War History in the MCU

In Marvel’s What If…?

episode 8, the MCU secret Cold War history was revealed.

The presence of superheroes may have just recently become widely known in the MCU when Tony Stark revealed himself as Iron Man, but it’s gradually becoming evident that there’s a covert history of superhuman activity spanning the twentieth century.

Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne were shown to have worked with SHIELD during the Cold War in Ant-Man.

While Isaiah Bradley was introduced as the first Black Captain America in The Falcon & the Winter Soldier, a super-soldier who served during the Korean War in the 1950s.

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However, Black Widow went far further, implying a Cold War superhuman arms competition.

It introduced the Red Guardian, Russia’s Captain America, a physically powerful super-soldier who truly believed he was fighting Steve Rogers.

It confirmed that the USSR had worked on its own super-soldier program during the Cold War, pointing to a shadowy battle between superhumans that must have raged for decades.

Surprisingly, Marvel has disclosed more about the Cold War armaments race in Marvel’s What If…? episode 8; although being set in a branched timeline, it separated from the main timeline around Avengers: Age of Ultron, so its history is the same.

What If...?': Explore New Images From Episode 8 | Marvel


When Hydra scientist Arnim Zola died in 1972, his mental engrams were uploaded to a massive computer system, as revealed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Multiple versions of the Arnim Zola software were constructed, according to Marvel’s What If…? episode 8, one of which was put in charge of Russia’s super-soldier programme.

This was modelled on a Siberian structure, most likely the one seen in Captain America: Civil War.

Zola must have been in charge of many workstreams from the Siberian facility, including the Winter Soldier programme and the production of Red Guardian.

It’s probable that the Black Widows were also hired by him.

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Because Zola was in charge of the Soviet super-soldier programme, it was officially a Hydra project.

However, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, Zola appears to have lost control of the projects, and by the 1990s, the Red Room was headed by General Dreykov.

Who appears to have been motivated solely by his own thirst for power and hence would never have been a Hydra loyalist.

Dreykov stole mind-control technology being developed at the North Institute, as seen in Black Widow, and the Red Room defeated Hydra.


Marvel is gradually disclosing the MCU’s secret background, which is entwined with Cold War politics in real life.

There were super-soldiers in the United States, such as Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the Soviet Union had Red Guardian and the Winter Soldier, among many others.

Hopefully, Marvel’s What If…? episode 8 has only set the stage for future disclosures.

Soviet Union | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom

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