- "I'm sure they're looking for you, Stark. But they'd never find you here in these mountains. Look, out there, what you saw? That is your legacy. Your weapons in the hands of those murderers! Is that how you want to go out? Is this the last act of defiance of the great Tony Stark? Or are you going to do something about it?
"Why should I do anything? Either way, they're gonna kill you and me, and if not, then I'll likely be dead by the end of the week"
"Well then, this will be a very important week for you, won't it?"
- ―Ho Yinsen and Tony Stark[src]
Iron Man 3 Flashback
Ho Yinsen met Tony Stark in 1999 at a party in Switzerland while Stark was on a date with Maya Hansen. Yinsen introduced Stark to Dr. Wu. Though Tony and Maya quickly moved on after the acquaintance, leaving Yinsen's questions unanswered.
Ho Yinsen was a doctor and engineer from a small village in Afghanistan called Gulmira. At some point in the past, Yinsen unofficially met Tony Stark at a technical conference in Bern. However Yinsen claimed that Stark was drunk and would not remember the meeting, yet was still able to deliver a lecture on integrated circuits.
Yinsen was captured by the local branch of an international terrorist group called "The Ten Rings" sometime before the film and the rest of his family were killed. Yinsen meets Tony Stark when he too is kidnapped by the group. Yinsen constructs a makeshift electromagnet, powered by a car battery, which he implants into Stark's chest as a way to prevent shrapnel, lodged into Tony's chest during his kidnapping, from entering his heart and killing him. Under captivity, Stark and Yinsen are ordered by the terrorists to build a missile similar to the kind Stark was demonstrating to the US military or they will be killed. However, both men know that they will be murdered either way and plan an escape instead.
Yinsen assists Stark in secretly creating his prototype Iron Man armor as a means of escape and also helps Stark to build a prototype power source for the electromagnet that was more powerful and compact. While working together the two men bond. When Tony asks about Yinsen's family, Yinsen merely notes, "I will see them when I leave this place". Yinsen also points out the damage wreaked upon the region by the terrorists, using Stark's own weapons, and ask if this is what he wishes "the legacy of the great Tony Stark" to be.
When the armor was finally completed, Yinsen helps Tony into the suit and preps it for activation. However, when the terrorists get wind of their plan, Yinsen realizes that they need more time for the suit's software to fully load. In order to buy Stark extra time, Yinsen grabs an sub-machine rifle and chases the terrorists away from their workshop but quickly finds himself surrounded and out-gunned. When the suit is fully powered up, Stark easily fights his way through the cave, but finds a gravely wounded Yinsen lying near the entrance. With his dying breath Yinsen explains to Stark that his family had already died and that he was now going to meet them. When Tony thanks him for saving his life, Yinsen reminds Stark: "Don't waste your life," then dies, and an enraged Stark destroys the terrorist camp and their stockpile of Stark Industry weapons before escaping. However, his words and actions were a turning point in Tony's life, as he stopped producing weapons and became Iron Man.
- Tony Stark - Friend and fellow captive.
- Maya Hansen - Associate.
- Dr. Wu - Associate.
- Raza - Enemy and killer; deceased.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (2 films)
Behind the scenes
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- In the comics, Yinsen is Chinese, while in the movie continuity, he's Afghan.
- Yinsen's relationship with Stark mirrors Steve Rogers' with Abraham Erskine.
- Not only did Yinsen install the electromagnet keeping shrapnel out of Tony's heart, but he also had introduced him to Dr. Wu, who would end up removing the shrapnel, as well as the arc reactor itself, in Iron Man 3.
- In the comics recently, it's revealed that Yinsen had a daughter, Dr. Toni Ho, who like him became a engineer with three separate doctorates, and became the third Iron Patriot.