In a shocking Hollywood heist, some nefarious villain seems to have made off with an original Iron Man suit worn by Robert Downey Jr. in the first Iron Man movie. That comes from a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, which says the full costume—helmet, chest piece, legs, and arms—hasn’t been seen since February, but the owners of the movie prop storage facility where it was being stored only notified the police today when they looked for the $320,000 prop and couldn’t find it. The story doesn’t specifically say which Iron Man suit it is, but it was probably the iconic red and gold Mark III suit worn in the latter half of that original movie, making it the most important prop from one of the most important movies of the last few decades.
But who could’ve pulled off such a crime? The storage facility is apparently very secretive, to the point that nobody would talk to CBS about the theft, so only a truly determined professional could be behind this. Let’s break down the most likely suspects:
Obediah Stane (pictured here with more hair than normal), Tony Stark’s mentor and the man who raised him after his parents died. Stane has always been jealous of Stark, and in Iron Man he even ripped the prototype Arc Reactor out of Stark’s chest in order to power his heavily armed Iron Monger armor. Getting the original Iron Man suit would make it very easy for Stane to further weaponize Stark’s designs and create an even deadlier version of the Iron Monger. Of course, Stane did die at the end of Iron Man, so he has a pretty good alibi.
Justin Hammer, Tony Stark’s biggest competitor in the world of high-tech weapons manufacturing. Hammer isn’t nearly has smart or clever as Stark, and in Iron Man 2, he resorted to enlisting Russian criminal Ivan Vanko to try and rip off the Iron Man design to create an army of robot drones. The last time we saw Hammer, he was locked up in Seagate Prison. That also gives him a good alibi, but as we’ve already established, he does have a history of working with known villains to do his dirty work. The authorities should keep an eye on him.
Is it possible Tony Stark (pictured here with Pepper Potts) took the Mark III himself? Maybe all of his other suits got destroyed or stolen, and the only way to fight off a new bad guy was to track down the one suit being stored with a bunch of movie props. It’s not like that’s never happened to a superhero, and Iron Man even had Stark using his old Arc Reactor to fight Stane after he stole the new Arc Reactor at the end of the movie. That being said, Tony Stark would’ve left a cheeky note like “I’ll bring it back later” or “Thanks! Love, T.S.,” so it’s unlikely that the police would’ve missed a major clue like that.
Really, though, the most likely suspect is an unscrupulous Iron Man fan who wants to keep it for themselves. As we noted up above, it’s the most important prop from a very important movie that also happens to be as big as a man, so nobody’s going to be able to flip this thing on eBay without someone noticing. Then again, if you had the actual Iron Man suit propped up in your living room, someone would also notice that, which lends more credence to our other theories. Maybe it was The Mandarin? Maybe it James Rhodes, who is jealous that the Iron Man suits are cooler than his War Machine suit? Maybe the kid from Iron Man 3 took it because he’s probably not going to appear in any more movies? Maybe Kang The Conquerer traveled here from the future and stole it for his collection of historical artifacts?
To be honest, it seems like we’ve made very little progress here, so please just let us know if you stole the Iron Man suit. We won’t tell anyone as long as you let us try it on from time to time.