There’s a lot that MCU fans will miss about Tony Stark now that he’s gone. We’ll miss his adventures as Iron Man, his friendship with Rhodey, his father-son relationship with Peter Parker, his contentious love-hate rivalry with Steve Rogers – the list is endless. But we’ll also miss the nicknames he used to make fun of every other character in the MCU.
Rather than refer to his enemies and fellow Avengers by their actual names, he would cut right to their core with a poignant pop culture reference. So, since there won’t be any more, here are Tony Stark’s 10 Funniest Nicknames For Other MCU Characters.
10 “P***ant” for Ant-Man
Tony Stark must start thinking of mean nicknames to call people as soon as he meets them. For example, when he met a guy named Ant-Man and realized he wasn’t the brightest guy he’d ever met, he must’ve scanned his brain for swear words and insults including the word “ant” and thought of the perfect insult for Ant-Man: “p***ant.”
He waited for the perfect time to use it and finally got that opportunity in Avengers: Endgame. After 2012’s Hulk incidentally screws up the 2012 part of the “time heist” plan, Ant-Man gets mad at Tony while Tony thinks of a backup plan and says, “Thanks for the pep talk, p***ant.”
9 “Manchurian Candidate” for Bucky
Tony uses the nickname “Manchurian Candidate” for Bucky, Cap’s childhood best friend who was brainwashed by the government to become a feared assassin named “the Winter Soldier.” He killed Tony’s parents and was sent after Cap before Cap snapped him out of it.
The nickname was taken from the title of Richard Condon’s 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate, which was about the U.S. government brainwashing Americans to be killers. There was a 1962 film adaptation of the book that was praised as one of the finest political thrillers in cinema history, and Denzel Washington starred in a remake in 2004.
8 “Legolas” for Hawkeye
In The Avengers, as Iron Man flies Hawkeye up to get a better vantage point for his archery in the Battle of New York, he calls him “Legolas.” Legolas, of course, is the elven archer played by Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
He made archery cool on the big screen long before Hawkeye or Katniss or Princess Merida came along. Hawkeye is often made fun of for being the most useless Avenger, but he’s always there, fighting in battle alongside the other, more qualified heroes, blowing up alien invaders with his bow and special explosive arrows.
7 “Build-A-Bear” for Rocket
When Tony first meets Rocket in Avengers: Endgame, he’s just come back to Earth from what he thought was his deathbed out in the depth of space. In the middle of an emotional speech about the “suit of armor around the world” that Steve Rogers wouldn’t let him create after Ultron’s rampage a few years earlier, he tells Rocket, “Honestly, until this exact second, I thought you were a Build-A-Bear.”
Like Tony, Rocket has been known to pass out insults to other MCU heroes, like “Star-Munch,” but he receives back just as many, like “Trash panda,” or the worst one, “Raccoon.”
6 “Underoos” for Spider-Man
Iron Man always had a very special relationship with Spider-Man. He was the one who recruited him to join the battle in Berlin in Captain America: Civil War, he was the one who mentored him to be his own hero throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming, and in the last couple of Avengers movies, they had to watch each other die.
In their first battle together – the one in Berlin that tied Civil War together – Iron Man calls Spider-Man “Underoos.” Underoos, of course, were a brand of onesie in the ‘70s that allowed kids to dress as their favorite superheroes (well, in t-shirt and brief form).
5 “Capsicle” for Captain America
The first Avengers movie set the stage for a number of different partnerships within the Avengers line-up, but the one that came to a head and paid off this year in Endgame was the pessimism of tech-savvy billionaire Tony Stark versus the optimism of old-timey soldier Steve Rogers.
At one point, Tony calls Cap “Capsicle” in reference to the 70 years he spent cryogenically frozen. The “Capsicle” joke works on a few different levels: it works as a play on “popsicle,” it works as a portmanteau of “Captain” and “icicle,” and it works as a play as Captain America’s own adopted nickname “Cap.”
4 “Rock of Ages” for Loki
Rock of Ages is a hit Broadway musical that takes jabs at the hair metal culture of the ‘80s, so the cast members all have long, flowing, ridiculous hairstyles. That’s why Tony Stark calls Loki “Rock of Ages” in 2012’s The Avengers.
The God of Mischief was the worst threat that Earth’s mightiest heroes had faced up to this point – in fact, he was the first ever threat they faced as a team – and so Tony felt the need to take the air out of his tires. Not only is this an apt nickname, it’s also characteristic of Tony to make a Broadway reference, since he lives in New York City. Surprisingly, a lot of thought has gone into this joke.
3 “Squidward” for Ebony Maw
The Tony Stark storyline in Infinity War was one of the most exciting, as it paired him up with an intellectual match and an ideological opposite in Stephen Strange and deepened his father-son relationship with Peter Parker (and they were later joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy).
Near the beginning of the movie, the three find themselves aboard a Q-Ship with Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’ most trusted minions. Due to his miserable face and giant, dangling nose, Tony gave Maw the nickname “Squidward,” taken from the title character’s curmudgeonly neighbor in the iconic kids’ cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants.
2 “Flash Gordon” for Peter Quill
It’s been interesting to see how Peter Quill clashes with the Avengers in the past couple of movies. When he meets Thor, he tries to impersonate his deep voice and regal English accent. When he meets Tony Stark, he tries to best him intellectually and fails every time.
The difference is that Thor has the patience to deal with Quill’s immaturity, whereas Tony does not. When they first meet in Infinity War, Tony calls Quill “Flash Gordon,” and Quill tries to counterstrike by saying that he considers “Flash Gordon” to be a compliment, while the 50% of him that is human and stupid is 100% of Tony (although the math doesn’t quite add up).
1 “Lebowski” for Thor
Tony Stark had a few nicknames for Thor, with the best-known one being “Point Break,” but the funniest one (and the last one before his death) was “Lebowski.” Thor’s weight gain in the five-year time jump in Avengers: Endgame proved to be controversial among some fans, but most viewers found it to be a funny and surprising development in the character’s story arc.
Tony calls him “Lebowski” and then the God of Thunder continues to play up to this reference, with the same sunglasses, cardigans, and day-drinking of Jeff Bridges’ lead character in the Coens’ cult hit The Big Lebowski.