Even though Avengers: Endgame wrapped up a lot of stories, like Iron Man’s and Captain America’s, it also posed a few questions for the future. With some of the original heroes gone, some new ones have to step up into their place.
So who was that kid attending Tony Stark’s funeral at the end of Endgame – the one many people couldn’t identify while they were playing “spot the MCU hero?” It was the kid from Iron Man 3, who just might hold a key to the future of the MCU.
Who was the kid at Tony Stark’s funeral?
During Tony Stark’s funeral, the camera panned back to review all the people in attendance, which made up almost the entirety of the major characters. In addition to the remaining Avengers, we had the Guardians of the Galaxy, Hawkeye and his family, Captain Marvel, Nick Fury – and – wait, who’s that kid at the back near the house?
It’s Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins. He was the one who helped Tony when Iron Man crash-landed in Tennessee and was struggling with acute PTSD after the battle of New York. Harley helped Iron Man get back on his feet in more ways than one.
So how does he fit into the MCU? There’s no obvious place for him in the announced slate of movies, except for maybe Spider-Man 3, with the web-slinger’s strong ties to Tony Stark.
However, as it always does, debate flies back and forth about what role he’ll play in a future we can’t quite see.
What do fans say about the kid?
A post on Reddit states that 5 out of the six Avengers will pass their mantle in some way in their next movies/TV shows. Hulk will go to She-Hulk. Black Widow will go to Florence Pugh’s character Yelena, Thor will go to Natalie Portman’s take on the character, Hawkeye will go the as-yet unannounced Kate Bishop, and Captain America changes from Steve Rogers to Sam Wilson.
Many fans noted that there should be a successor to “Shellhead.” If Black Widow is dead and can have a successor, then Iron Man can too, fans say. Fans were at odds as to whether Iron Man’s successor would be Harley Keener. Some thought he might be Iron Lad, a Young Avengers-type successor. That’s not how it went in the comics, but as fans pointed out, the movies don’t always follow the comics.
“Yes, he will be the iron “whatever” part of whatever group the MCU is setting up with all the young characters. Cassie Lang, Kate Bishop, him, etc. They won’t follow exact comic storylines for this. It’s going to be more about having a young group, not about specific comic precedents.” one fan said. Another fan remarked, “Yeah they are at the very least considering using him for it otherwise it makes zero sense for him to show up in endgame.”
The MCU’s future is more than a little cloudy
While fans puzzle about the role of the kid, the future of the MCU is far from certain. What had been one of the most assured franchises in Hollywood has been rocked by outside forces it can’t control.
The pandemic pushed back the entire announced slate, and now there are unconfirmed reports that Black Widow will move off its November release date, probably necessitating another shift in the schedule.
Then there was the death of Chadwick Boseman, whom very few people knew was battling colon cancer. Although his storyline is not directly related to Iron Man’s, his character finds himself in a similar predicament in that now they have to find a successor to T’Challa.
The MCU always poses more questions, and now it has to answer a few it didn’t see coming.
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