A lot of people that don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history were left wondering who that random dude was that showed up at Tony Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame alongside the overwhelming majority of the franchise’s most famous faces. However, for those in the know, the return of Ty Simpkins’ Harley Keener was a fitting nod to how many lives Tony affected during his time as Iron Man.
If Marvel Studios hadn’t struck the Spider-Man deal with Sony, then there’s every chance that Harley could have ended up becoming Tony’s onscreen protege, and may have even become Marvel’s version of Iron Lad. After all, it seemed strange for something as meticulously planned in advance as the MCU to give such a major supporting role to a character like Harley, with virtually all of his scenes happening alongside Robert Downey Jr., and then do nothing with him after Iron Man 3 concluded.
However, we’ve now heard from our sources – the same ones that told us that She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel shows were in the works, and that Taskmaster would be the villain in Black Widow – that Harley is being set up for a return to the MCU in the future. And it sounds like he’ll get a pretty interesting story arc as well.
From what we understand, Harley will use all of the technology gifted to him by Tony at the end of Iron Man 3 to build his own homemade suit of armor in an effort to become a superhero and will even start referring to himself as Iron Man, going around saving people where he can. Of course, we know that Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will take Tony’s position in that he’ll eventually become “the biggest, most well-known hero in the world and will continue to wear iron suits that come complete with his own personal A.I.,” but Harley will “act” more as Iron Man, given that he’ll be donning a similar suit of armor and be using the same name.
Simpkins has already admitted that he’d love to make a proper return to the fold, and the idea of seeing Harley spurred on by Tony’s death to build a suit in his garage and take it upon himself to try and inherit the mantle of Iron Man would definitely make for a great story for one of the MCU’s lesser-known names. When exactly this will happen, we can’t yet say, but we’re told that the plan right now is for him to return at some point in Phase 5. Watch this space for more.
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