In Iron Man 2, Stark created additional Iron Man suits. During his birthday party, however, Rhodes was able to take and put on one.

In a later dialogue, Nat said this shouldn't be possible. To quote from the movie scene (the one where they where in a donut shop with Nick Fury):

Nick: Is that even possible?
Nat: Well, according to Mr. Stark's database security guidelines, there are redundancies to prevent unauthorized usage.

Tony, however, didn't answer the question.

So, how then was Rhodes able to steal and use it? Did I miss something from the movie? I could not recall him ever wanting to take on a partner or sidekick, nor did he express any signs of wanting to have one.

3 Answers 3


So, how then was Rhodes able to steal and use it? Did I miss something from the movie?

No, you didn't

How Rhodey was able to take the suit isn't explained but there are a couple of options.

  • The security guidelines are not as strict as has been stated, or
  • Rhodey has used the suit before and doesn't need any additional authorization.

Of the two, the latter seems more likely, Rhodey has knowledge of the keypad code to enter Tony's lab.

Additionally, Rhodey can use the suit with no learning curve. He's able to use all the capabilities of the suit without apparently learning how to do so.

Recall Tony learning how to use the suit in Iron Man? There's none of that here...this all lends weight to Rhodey having used the suit before and, thus, being authorized to use it.

Tony just doesn't expect Rhodey to steal it for the government.

  • 3
    Chances are, Tony Stark knew that the growing government pressure to hand over his suit to the military/government would eventually win out and preempted this by losing a suit to Rhodey. The exact mechanics obviously occurred off screen but before War Machine there were regular congress type meetings (as shown at the start of Iron Man 2) in a bid to take control of the technology.
    – user5603
    May 17, 2019 at 18:20

The simple answer is that at some point in the past, Tony had given Rhodey clearance to use the Mk.II armour. The "unauthorised usage" protocol would therefore not have prevented him from using it, even if that specific usage was unauthorised.

As for why Tony would have given Rhodey that clearance: recall that for most of Iron Man 2, he is secretly dying of palladium poisoning and worrying about who will continue his legacy. He gives Pepper control of Stark Industries, and it seems his intention was for Rhodey to be his successor as Iron Man. Rhodey, one of his oldest and closest friends and a skilled military pilot, would have been the ideal candidate for the job. Recall as well that the Mk.II was originally powered by the arc reactor embedded in Tony's chest, whereas when Rhodes uses it in Iron Man 2, it now seems to have its own built-in power source; a further indication that the suit is now meant for Rhodes.

It's unclear whether Tony had actually told Rhodey any of that, but he certainly wouldn't have been averse to the idea. We see in Iron Man 1 how enthusiastic he is at the prospect of getting to pilot the suit: having been ordered to "keep the skies clear", he stares longingly at the Mk.II suit before reluctantly declaring "Next time, baby" and heading off to make sure the Air Force didn't scramble any jets.


In the case of Rhodes, he has access to Tony's lab and also he has access to Tony's personal files in his servers, So with this access, he is able to talk to Jarvis and was able to add a simple protocol to let him take the suit.

How did he add that protocol? well, he is a friend with Tony with this relationship he Rhodes gets to talk to Jarvis, also when he takes the suit he was able to order Jarvis to do stuff like fire a gun or take the suit to someplace safe.

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