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|“||People don't want freedom. They want boundaries and rules… Protection… From invaders, and from themselves. People need a leader who can give them both the support and constraints to keep chaos at bay. You give them that, and they'll follow. And that's where I come in.||„|
|~ Jonathan Irons' philosophy.|
Jonathan Irons is the main antagonist of the 2014 video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
He is the CEO of a private military corporation named Atlas Corporation and the father of Jack Mitchell's best friend Will. He begins a conflict with the U.S. government for failing to install democracies in other countries for over a century, and uses the bio-weapon Manticore to bring global domination to thousands and avenge the death of his son.
He was voiced by Kevin Spacey in motion capture, who also played Albert Benton in Unsub, Buddy Ackerman in Swimming with Sharks, Keyser Söze in The Usual Suspects, John Doe in Se7en, Rufus Buckley in A Time to Kill, Hopper in A Bug's Life, Lex Luthor in Superman Returns, Clyde Northcutt in Fred Claus, Micky Rosa in 21, David Harken in the Horrible Bosses duology, Dr. Nerse in The Cleveland Show and Frank Underwood in House of Cards.
Early Life and Career
Prior to the events of the game, Irons was born in January 1998 and once served in the United States Army while trained as a soldier in the West Point Graduate Program. Leaving the military at some point, Irons founded the Atlas Corporation in 2035 using his previous connections with the U.S. military and other powerful organizations. He would later establish Atlas International in 2043, which would become one of the largest PMCs in the world, ultimately becoming more effective than most other governments. Irons would also get married and have a son named Will, who, contrary to Jonathan's pessimistic views about the U.S. government, disappointed his father by joining the Marine Corps. Will joked about this by claiming that he enlisted in the Marines in order to stay away from his father and instead serve his country.
Rise to Power
After finishing a funeral service for his son, Private William Robert Irons, who was killed during an U.S. operation to counter a massive North Korean raid on Seoul, Irons offers Will's best friend Jack Mitchell to join Atlas Corporation. As compensation for his injuries in Seoul, Mitchell is given by Irons an highly advanced prosthetic arm to replace his severed arm.
Meanwhile, a terrorist group calling itself the KVA led by a Luddite terrorist named Joseph "Hades" Chkheidze is staging numerous terrorist attacks, with the world turning to Atlas to stop them. Mitchell, a notorious Atlas member named Gideon and other Atlas soldiers rescue the Nigerian Prime Minister and later capture a KVA technologist in Lagos during a summit. However, the KVA's attacks soon become more sophisticated, and Mitchell and his team failed to prevent the KVA from triggering a nuclear meltdown in Seattle.
The KVA launched similar attacks against nuclear power plants worldwide, irradiating numerous cities, killing 50,000 people, and putting national governments and military forces in turmoil. Atlas emerges as the dominant military force in the world, aiding civilians affected by the attacks, and holding back the KVA's rampage.
4 years later in 2059, Mitchell and Gideon search downtown in Detroit to find Dr. Pierre Danois, the Hades' second-in-command. After having the doctor interrogated by Ilona, an ex-Spetsnaz turned Atlas, they were able to track Hades down to Santorini, Greece, where KVA leaders are having a conference. The mission is a success as Mitchell manages to kill Hades, finally "ending" the war. Before succumbing to his death, Hades utters "Irons knows", giving Mitchell a data chip with his last breath.
After Hades' death, Irons and Atlas receive international recognition and respect, with many even questioning if Irons would become a politician.
True Colors Revealed
However, Ilona analyzes the data chip given by Hades, only to find the technologist they captured in Nigeria was killed by Irons, who learned of the KVA global attack, ultimately proving that Irons deliberately allowed the attacks to occur to improve Atlas' reputation. Irons attempts to have Mitchell and Ilona arrested, but they escaped Atlas headquarters in New Baghdad, guided by a mysterious man, while Gideon reluctantly stays by Irons' side until he was sure that Ilona was right. The mysterious man turns out is Mitchell's former S.O., Cormack, who reveals that he is part of the Sentinel Task Force, an international effort to prevent Atlas' rise to power.
A year later in 2060, Mitchell, now a Sentinel operative, infiltrates Irons' private estate in Bangkok. He and Cormack discovered that Danois is now collaborating with Irons on "Manticore", a biological weapon. They set up a tracker on the plane carrying the bio-weapon bound for Argentina. Sentinel later intercepts the plane, which crashes in Antarctica and defeat the Atlas soldiers after discovering Irons' intentions for the bio-weapon. The team successfully retrieves the WMD, and they are able to take one sample of it. After analyzing the sample, they discover that Manticore is a bio-weapon designed to attack and infect those who are not genetically encoded with Atlas' DNA implants, preventing the harm of their own operatives. The Sentinels, now with Gideon, infiltrate and destroy an Atlas' bio-weapons factory in Bulgaria, eliminating much of the Manticore samples.
War on the World
With his plot revealed, Irons releases his ultimatum to remove all politicians, whom he thinks are the problem of the world, at the United Nations assembly and Irons declares war on the world. The Sentinels discovered that Irons is planning a preemptive strike on the United States and try to stop Atlas' attack on San Francisco. Atlas destroys the Golden Gate Bridge, trapping the U.S. Third Fleet in the Bay area, and attempt to destroy the fleet in a single strike. The Sentinels used a railgun aboard an aircraft carrier to destroy the Atlas cargo ships that were attacking them. With the ultimatum and the attack on U.S. soil, the world declares war against Atlas and Irons retreats to his headquarters in New Baghdad, Iraq.
7 months later, the Sentinel and the U.S. military launch a attack on New Baghdad to stop Irons and bring him to justice. However, Atlas releases Manticore, killing most of the attacking troops except for Mitchell, Ilona and Gideon, who were inoculated, as well as Cormack, who was outside the blast radius. The four are brought to an Atlas prison camp, which also runs Manticore experiments on its inmates. The Sentinels escaped, but Cormack succumbs to a vast blood loss caused by a gunshot by Irons, who also disables Mitchell's prosthetic left arm as revenge, rendering it useless. As they escaped the facility, they discovered that Irons already has enough Manticore to attack every military base in the world, and will be launching a missile shortly.
|“||Mitchell, pull me up. I'm not letting go, so you got to pull me up! (Mitchell tries to free his other arm.) Mitchell. There's only two choices. You either pull me up, or this whole building goes down and we go down with it! (Mitchell proceeds to move his arm.) Mitchell! What are you doing!? What are you doing, Mitchell, I gave you that arm. Mitchell, I gave you a second chance. (Mitchell cuts arm off) Aaahhhh MITCHELL!||„|
|~ Irons last words before Mitchell drops him to his death.|
With the fate of the world still at stake, the Sentinels launch a final attack on Atlas HQ. Mitchell and Gideon successfully use two A.S.T. mech suits to destroyed the ICBM before it could launch. They find Irons as the other Sentinels prepare to bombard the building since the two of them were unable to notify command of their success. Irons disables their exo-skeletal armor, forcing Mitchell to release the exoskeleton to pursue Irons. An explosion throws Irons off the building, hanging on Mitchell's left prosthetic arm. Irons begs Mitchell to save him, reminding him that he gave him his prosthetic arm and a second chance. Mitchell ignores him and severs his prosthetic arm with his knife, causing Irons to fall to his death as he screams Mitchell's name. Despite his and Gideon's success, Mitchell notes in the voice-over monologue that Irons' death would not mark the ending, but the beginning with their war on Atlas.
|“||I could have killed you in the prison camp. I COULD KILL YOU NOW...but I won't. I'm not a monster...||„|
|~ Irons to Mitchell before attempting to escape.|
Irons is a strict man of principle, believing that his way of fighting wars is the only way to achieve peace in this lifetime. In pursuit of this goal, he is willing to use whatever means he has at his disposal, no matter the cost. As the President and CEO of Atlas Corporation, Irons doesn't see it as just a military force for hire; he sees it as a super power capable of changing the world, and has spent the majority of his adult life strengthening it.
After the death of his son Will, Irons gained an obsession with absolute power, soon hoping to enact his vengeance against those he blamed or stood in his way, including the very governments that hired his company. Irons' menacing nature is further seen when Mitchell and Gideon discover the POWs who died of medical experimentation with Manticore at an Atlas prison camp. The event that effectively caused him to snap was Hades plot to force nuclear reactors around the world into a meltdown, using the Technologist Mitchell rescued from Nigeria in the pursuit of global harm. Rather then warn the people of the world, Irons murdered the specialist, letting thousands of innocents die for personal gain in order to improve Atlas' public image. He justified these acts by stating that the casualties were a "necessary sacrifice". Even in his last moments, Irons felt no remorse for his actions, dying a power-hungry madman who believed he could save mankind from inevitable destruction.
Irons also enjoys a cult of personality as he held New Baghdad as his personal haven and an example of his philosophy. Propaganda posters of his image are plastered across the city, and after the defeat of the Sentinel Task Force during the invasion, he broadcasts a victory speech proclaiming the perseverance and victorious nature of Atlas and New Baghdad itself.
Before Mitchell's betrayal of Atlas, he seemed to hold Mitchell in high esteem and often referred to him affectionately, calling him "my boy" and remarking the similarities between Mitchell and his deceased son, Will Irons. Furthermore, when Mitchell's prosthetic arm malfunctioned during a simulation, he remarks that his arm "is worth more to me than this entire facility." In this way, he seemed to treat Mitchell as his own kin. It was due to this sentiment that he was left deeply insulted and angry at Mitchell's defection to the Sentinel Task Force. When he brutalized his prosthetic arm in the prison camp, he unleashed his anger and disappointment at Mitchell, saying that he was nothing like his son.
- Over 50,000 innocent people (Caused)
- Unknown number of innocent Americans (Caused)
- Numerous unnamed Sentinel soldiers (Caused)
- Knox (Caused)
- Numerous unnamed people (Caused and Direct)
- Jonathan Irons had a collection of antique guns that can be seen during "Sentinel".
- The collectible intel unveil recordings that were personally made by Irons and they detailed his commentary, beliefs, and his overall descent into madness.
- Actor Kevin Spacey explained in an interview that after the reveal trailer was released, everyone on Twitter was posting "Who is Kevin Spacey and why is he in Call of Duty?".
- During an interview in February 2021, Troy Baker (who played Mitchell in the game) revealed that Advanced Warfare's original ending and Irons' death were different, explaining that Irons hacked into Mitchell's exo-suit and used it to shoot him in the head so he could become a martyr for Atlas's cause in the future.