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- "Accidents will happen."
- ―Arnim Zola
Following the end of World War II, the United States started a program that would bring former German scientists from Nazi Germany to America. Among the recruits was Arnim Zola, who joined S.H.I.E.L.D. and began rebuilding HYDRA.
In 1991, HYDRA learned that Howard Stark had recreated the Super Soldier Serum originally developed by Abraham Erskine. Soon afterwards, Winter Soldier was revived and ordered to retrieve the serum.
- "Sergeant Barnes?"
- ―Howard Stark
As Howard Stark and his wife Maria made their way to the Pentagon with the completed Super Soldier Serum, Winter Soldier was on the road and shot at their car, watching as the vehicle crashed into a tree.
Stark was able to crawl from the car, and asked Winter Soldier to help his wife, before recognizing him as Sergeant Bucky Barnes. Barnes repeatedly punched Stark's skull with his cybernetic arm and placed him back in the car to make it appear he died in the accident, before strangling Maria to death. Winter Soldier shot at a nearby security camera and then departed with the serum.
- "I never got to say goodbye to my father."
- ―Tony Stark
The newspapers reported on the passing of the Starks, but their death was attributed to a simple car accident.
- Captain America: Civil War (flashback)
- Iron Man (mentioned as a car accident)
- Iron Man 2 (mentioned as a car accident)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (mentioned as an assassination by Winter Soldier; shown via HYDRA footage)
- Captain America: Civil War (shown via HYDRA footage)