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Arnim Zola's Film Reels

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"You know, it's kind of hard to trust someone when you don't know who that someone really is."
The subject of this article has been deemed non-canon because it contradicts the established movie continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and thus should not be taken as a part of the "real" MCU world.
"I knew Zola was a madman, but this is obscene."
Captain America[src]

Arnim Zola's Film Reels were the recordings made by the HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola during World War II.


Arnim Zola obsessively documented his research during HYDRA's occupation of Castle Zemo.

The Strategic Scientific Reserve became aware of the film reels when one of them was smuggled out of the castle and into their possession. Howard Stark urged Captain America to find the remaining reels during his attack on the castle, as they would give him a better idea of what he was up against. Rogers collected all of the reels and brought them to the SSR, allowing them to see the full extent of Zola's experiments.[1]


Project Master Man Reel

"After years of planning and research, my time has come at last. Project Master Man is a reality. History shall recall that Dr. Arnim Zola was the first to unlock the secrets of the human genome. And thus my immortality is assured. Using the blood of my benefactor, Johann Schmidt, I will replicate and surpass the work of the traitor Abraham Erskine. The Americans believe they have created a perfect human specimen in their precious Super Soldier. They are fools. The perfection of the human body is a false goal. What does it profit us to perfect something inherently limited? truly evolve we must improve upon it. Herr Skull has secured a remote research facility and outfitted it with HYDRA forces for my protection and assistance. The Skull has also honored me with the loan of the Tesseract Cube to aid in my research...under his supervision, of course. He will not be disappointed. I shall work tirelessly until I have unlocked Erskine's secrets and taken them to places he never imagined...or perhaps feared to tread. It is my goal. My purpose. My destiny."

Ballistic Soldiers Reel

"The obvious place to begin is with the common foot soldier. Small genetic alterations make them more resilient, but the true breakthrough is a faster synaptic response between the eye and the brain. These men are capable of acquiring a target and firing with 100% accuracy three times more quickly than the average human. This increase in combat speed allows for them to be outfitted with both close and long-range ballistic weaponry. Security personnel are equiped with light armor and a shotgun for close range skirmishing. Snipers forgo armor for a long-range eye-mounted scope and a high-powered semi-automatic rifle. These enhancements to conventional troop warfare represent a mere stepping stone toward more ambitious plans. Still, one must begin somewhere."

Grunt/Spartan Reel

"Further study of the American Super Soldier has led to a grand departure from my prior approach. This "Captain America", as their propaganda machine calls him, approaches combat without the use of a firearm. I now understand why. The average enemy soldier is well trained in ballistics, but woefully unprepared for hand-to-hand combat. It is this weakness I shall exploit. A heavy dose of the enhancement Serum leaves our subjects, resilient, strong and nearly suicidal with rage. I have outfitted them with high-powered stun batons that output 900 kilovolts with lethal amperage on contact. Protected by a compact ballistic shield, my troops can swarm entrenched enemy positions and engage in close quarter combat. Once the distance is closed, the enemy has little chance against these deadly, unfamiliar weapons."

Scorcher Reel

"To increase survival rates among initial swarming charges, my foot-soldiers will require long-range support. With the power of the Cube, I have modified the classic flamethrower to integrate a high-powered plasma output. It launches a stream of superheated plasma so powerful that it vaporizes the air around it, creating a nearly perfect beam of scorching gas. To assist in situations where targets are not with the line of sight, a rocket propelled grenade launcher has been fitted to the weapon. For long-term use of this heavy equipment in the field, dramatic strength enhancement proved necessary. The alterations have had some...unexpected side effects. The subjects are prone to violent psychosis and sadistic urges. Of course, these personality flaws are of little concern in non-leadership personnel...and in combat can often be quite desirable."

Warden Reel

"Our excavations of the tunnels beneath the castle create the need for demolition and removal of heavy debris. To this end, I have perfected the first successful grafting of mechanical apparatus onto the human body. Using the Cube, I have developed a pneumatic jackhammer arm and attached it to heavily augmented soldiers. A targeted lobotomy removes the traditional psychotic side effects, keeping these workers calm and pliable. It also results in a total removal of any compassion, making the subjects ideal for handling prisoners. We have outfitted them with riot shields for crowd control. This mingling of flesh and machine intrigues me. Perhaps the future of evolution lies not within, but outside our fragile forms. I may revisit some of my early experiments in mechanical design...explore the possibilities further."

Screamer Reel

"The brain is a fascinating puzzle of evolution and biology. A puzzle I have now solved. By stimulating the brain with targeted electrical impulses, I have unlocked the fabled power of telekinesis. Direct connection of electrodes to the brain produces severe side effects, including seizures and violent vocal outbursts. I am planning a control mechanism for the helmet, but until it is perfected, I have made do with more conventional means of silencing the subjects. Further developed, the possibilities of this technology are endless. Mind control, remote projection of consciousness...once the stuff of myth and legend, these things can be explained through science. It simply requires the proper genius to unlock the secrets."

Baron von Strucker Reel

"I had assumed the Skull's head of security was a pompous old fool. But he proved to be neither. To my great surprise, he approached me as a willing research subject. He became obsessed with a mechanical glove I'd designed. It was one of my first experiments with the use of the Cube. The grafting was an expensive and irreversible process, but the outcome was successful. Regrettably, the procedure was too time consuming for mass production. But von Strucker is training with the device, and should it make him as deadly as I suspect, I may revisit the matter."

Madame Hydra Reel

"I have placed a most ambitious woman in charge of the cellblocks. Current mores dictate that women are delicate flowers, best used to breed the next generation of perfection. As a scholar, I know this to be nonsense. History is rife with accounts of female warriors, and I believe we have one here. At my suggestion, the rank of "Madame Hydra" has been awarded to this young lady. She declines genetic augmentation - certain stereotypes, such as a woman's vanity, are after all true - but she has conditioned exotic ordnance from my labs. I was able to shrink the mechanisms of two fully automatic high-powered rifles to the size of a pair of pistols. Again, too costly for mass production, but when she made her request, I could not refuse. She shows a natural affinity for chemistry, specifically the use of toxins. The prisoners provide a ready source of test subjects for her imaginative research. I have given her leave to experiment as she wishes, provided they remain alive and healthy enough for my work. True, there have been...accidents. But the sparkle in her eyes on these occasions is its own reward."

Iron Cross Reel

"Advances in armored ordnance have always been held back by the problem of mobility across difficult terrain. Inspired by the old world décor of this castle, I hit upon a new approach: the modern knight in armor. The result is the first bipedal walking tank in history. A single-pilot, highly armored battle suit. The recoil from conventional ballistics would affect the accuracy of this unit, so I took another approach. A cannon that fires concussive sound. Deafening and disorienting, it wreaks havoc with the inner ear. With the target in agony, it is a simple matter for the pilot to close ranks and crush the opponent with brute force. To reflect the historic inspiration for this unit, I have dubbed it Iron Cross. A noble name for what will one day be a new force of knights spreading the glory of HYDRA throughout the world."

Sleeper Reel

"The Red Skull has been a man obsessed, demanding further excavation into the castle foundation. It has become clear to me he seeks something specific. And he has found it. We have uncovered something monumental. At first I thought it was some type of statue, long buried and forgotten. But as more was revealed, I realized with mounting excitement that it was nothing so mundane. A gigantic mechanical humanoid. Constructed in a forgotten age, forged from materials I cannot identify. It is inactive. Sleeping in its stony prison. But with the power of the Cube...I hope to wake it. Under my command, a creature such as this would dominate any conventional warfare. Even alter the course of history. To this end, the Skull has authorized use of the Cube, but only under his direct supervision. I eagerly await his arrival...for the hour has come round at last."

Complex Reel

"Renovations of the castle complex over the past few months have proven quite fruitful. Once the site was "acquired" from its former owner, we began the long work of excavation and construction to bring its crumbling mass into the twentieth century. We have left the bulk of the upper levels intact, relying on the original architecture to disguise our work from allied observation planes. Beneath the surface lies the true power and purpose of the complex. We have excavated the castle's foundations, adding entire wings to the original dungeons and natural caverns. A new cellblock, laboratories, transport routes and a self-sufficient power plant provide all I need to conduct my research. With these resources, it is but a matter of time before I surpass Erskine's achievements...and bring about a new era in history."

Drone Weapons Reel

"I abandoned my earlier research into robotics upon discovering the difficulty of developing an adequate control system. However, marrying my research to existing technology has led to interesting additions to our defences. Using the Cube as a power source, I've succeeded in creating a rudimentary guidance system for common weapons of war. An "artificial intelligence", if you will. Our anti-aircraft cannons function with simple auto-targeting systems that require only minimal supervision. Extrapolating this technology further, I have succeeded in the creation of drone artillery tanks capable of long range shelling. With these defences in place, I have begun experimentation on an airborne drone using horizontal rotors. If I am successful, we will own the battlefield not only on land, but in the air. Pity...if only I could devise something with the versatility of the human mind, there's no telling what I could achieve."

Zola Bot Reel

"Success. I was blind to the truth when I began, but now I comprehend the true face of evolution. I sought to copy and improve upon Erskine's work. What folly, continuing research that was flawed in its very conception! Biology is limited, there is only so much it can do. But the mind...pure consciousness...that is the key. Unfettered by the bonds of weak, decaying flesh, all limitations fall away. I could live forever. A true immortal. The power that the mind, in its purest form, could wield is truly incalculable. And yet, without a means to affect the physical world, a disembodied consciousness is little more than a ghost. I will need form...a way to continue my work. Perhaps my earlier research into robotics was not a dead end after all. It may be precisely what I need..."


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