Ho Yinsen

yinsenfilmLet’s start speaking about the characters who appeared in Iron Man 3, the ones we didn’t see in the trailers and that were revealed only in the movie. The first one is an old friend of every fan, Ho Yinsen, portrayed by Shaun Toub. In the movie, he appears in the opening flashback, while effortlessy trying to introduce Dr. Wu to Tony Stark, who has clearly something else in mind. The character already appeared in the first movie, being his fellow captive in the Ten Rings‘ cave: he’s his moral mentor and the one who finally convince him to change his life for good. In the comics, his role is mostly the same.

Like many other characters in Iron Man‘s origins story, also Ho Yinsen has been rebooted and revisited over the years, especially regarding his nationality (which has been changed from Vietnamese to Afghan). In the first version, he was born in Timbetpal, a nation (or a city, it is never explained) neighbor to Vietnam. A pacifist and a scientific genius, Yinsen lived with his wife and his son as a professor, writing and teaching; a world-wide expert of physics and egineering, he was well-known also by young Tony Stark, who studied on his books as a student and apreciated his work. When he was an old man, Yinsen was kidnapped by Vietnamese warlord Wong-Chu, who wanted him to use his knowledge to build an invincible weapon for the Comunist regime. Yinsen always refused and managed to buy some timeyinsencomics1 by just pretending to build something, but Wong-Chu grew more and more impatient. In that time, many other prisoners arrived in the warlord’s cells, and Yinsen became for them some kind of a mentor. He also began writing a personal journal, in which he wrote everything he dreamt for a future free from violence and hatred, where technology could be used for mankind’s progress. After some months, Stark arrived in Vietnam to supervise his new weapons, but he stepped on a landmine while escaping from Wong-Chu’s men, and ended up being captured, severly wounded, with metal shrapnels making their way towards his heart. Stark was put in Yinsen’s cell, and the two became friends sharing a desperate condition. Yinsen finally declared himself ready to cooperate with Wong-Chu, and had full access to the warlord’s laboratory. Instead of a weapon, the old scientist built a magnetic plate, which he implanted into Stark’s chest to prevent the shrapnels from killing him. When Stark came back to his feet, the two scientists built together the first Iron Man armor, a special construct that only worked with Stark’s breastplate and that would have helped them to escape. Unfortunately, Stark needed time to charge the armor, and in order to buy some minutes, Yinsen sacrificed himself fighting with the Vietnamese guards, allowing Tony to fully charge the armor and escape with his life.

Despite what Stark thought, however, Yinsen survived his confrontation with Wong-Chu, and was sent to a prison camp to die. In here, anyway, he met a young prisoner, Sun-Tao: he taught him everything he knew, and made him his disciple and spiritual heir. Tired with the old man’s presence, Wong-Chu finally had him shot down, and ordered Sun-Tao to bury yinsencomics2his master in the forest. Yinsen, before breathing his last breath, gave him his diary, with all his annotation on how technology should serve mankind, and finally died. In that moment, a cosmic being who introduced himself as The Great Salvager (actually, Doctor Midas) appeared, and removed Yinsen’s brain in order to preserve it. Sun-Tao, after freeing himself from Wong-Chu’s prison camp, became a monk and founded the order of the Sons of Yinsen, a group of young men who wanted to fulfill the old man’s dreams. Iron Man helped the Sons of Yinsen to finally defeat Wong-Chu, mostly driven by his sense of guilt for having abandoned his only friend leaving him for dead. In that moment, Doctor Midas appeared again, and gave Yinsen’s brain to Sun-Tao. The young man tried to revive his master by implanting the brain in a sentient Iron Man armor, and the experiment apparently was a success…except for the fact that Yinsen was much harsher and more violent than when he was alive. He founded the Church of Yinsen and ordered his followers to start a war, and only Sun-Tao refused. With another young man, Tyger Minn, as the leader of his cult, Iron-Yinsen started a war against all humanity, but soon Sun-Tao came back to face him along with Iron Man and Jocasta. When Sun-Tao managed to remove the brain, he found out that the armor was in fact controlled by the genocidal artificial intelligence Ultron, that ultimately tried to destroy the Sons of Yinsen’s citadel with everyone inside…but the armor had already absorbed much of Yinsen’s personality, and it just refused to obey Ultron’s will. Even from the afterlife, Yinsen protected his “children”, and helped his old friends Stark and Sun-Tao to defeat Ultron.

Ho Yinsen is a wise and peaceful man, a brilliant scientist who’s a master of many fields, among which there are physics, engineering and biotechnology. Deeply convinced that technology should be a gift for all humanity, Yinsen works in order to avoid its usage for war and murdering, and opposes himself to any tyrant or warlord who tries to use his work for evil deeds.



  1. […] his chest would have killed him within a week, he forced Stark to cooperate. Stark was helped by Yinsen, Wong-Chu’s man servant, another kidnapped scientist. The two of them invented a way to […]

  2. […] with the aid of the local warlord Wong Chu, the billionaire genius Tony Stark and the physicist Ho Yin Sen, forcing them to work for him, and inadvertently prompting the events that led to the birth […]

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