Just when fans think they've found every Easter Egg there is to find in the MCU, a forgotten nod to Howard Stark pops up from 2010's Iron Man 2.
While Robert Downey Jr. has led the MCU since its inception in 2008, the ghost of Howard Stark has always loomed over Tony throughout his adult years. Portrayed by John Slattery in Iron Man 2, Dominic Cooper famously played a young Mr. Stark in Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter, and the subsequent TV series.
While talking to Nick Fury in Iron Man 2, Downey Jr. is seen wearing an ornately floral robe. It may just look like the kind of eccentric outfit Tony would wear, it is actually the same as worn by Cooper in his role as Howard in Agent Carter. Spotted by redditor RedditZacuzzi, it shows that Tony still honors his father's legacy even all these years after carving his own career.
Howard Stark became a major part of Iron Man 2 - leaving Tony the formula for the Arc Reactor hidden in his 1974 Stark Expo diorama - but it appears that he actually did even more for his son than we first thought. Although both the Stark boys are shown to have had a fractious relationship before Howard's death at the hands of Bucky Barnes in 1991, it shows the love between the men.
Considering that Tony once told Pepper Potts, "I've been called many things, 'nostalgic' is not one of them," it proves that he has a heart beating beneath his Iron Man suit. Since Stark first premiered alongside the MCU, fans have seen him show his cold and compassionate side in equal measure. However, as well as his love for Pepper and his fatherly role towards Peter Parker, there has always been a sense of mystery surrounding Tony's dysfunctional family life that has led him to being a loner billionaire.
As the flashback to 1991 proved in Captain America: Civil War, the death of both Tony's parents still weighs heavily on his mind. The opening of the movie saw Tony's use of the B.A.R.F. technology allow him to revisit his final moments with his parents, and it looks like B.A.R.F. could come into play during Avengers: Infinity War. Either way, the complex nature of the MCU and its timelines means that either Slattery or Cooper could easily reprise their role as Stark Sr. in future of the franchise. Who knows, maybe Tony and Howard can make jibes about their atrocious taste in fashion.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019