(Below you’ll find some pretty massive spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame”)
“Avengers: Endgame” is the biggest earner ever at the box office, and it had a budget to match — it’s easily the most expensive movie to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Which is actually kind of curious, because despite also being the longest MCU film it really has significantly less action than the three other “Avengers” films.
It’s likely that we can chalk up that higher budget/fewer set pieces discrepancy to the price of assembling such an enormous cast full of big stars. Sometimes it felt like every major character who has ever appeared in the MCU showed up at some point or other, and it’s not cheap to get so many big names together at the same time.
But “Avengers: Endgame” didn’t just bring back the big stars. A bunch of minor characters also got to return in some surprising ways. But maybe none were more surprising than this one character who appeared for only a brief moment at the very end of the movie.
The character in question is a teenage boy who appears with all the other mourners at the funeral of Tony Stark. In this shot the camera pans across a bunch of people after Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) sent the original mini arc reactor that Tony crafted back in “Iron Man” into the lake. For the most part all the people we see are major characters who have shown up in the MCU recently, except for this one kid who’s standing there alone looking at the ground.
You’ll be forgiven if you don’t recognize this guy, because he looked a lot different the last time he appeared in the MCU. That character is Harley Keener, played by Ty Simpkins, who you’ll remember from “Iron Man 3” as the kid from Tennessee who helps Tony (Robert Downey Jr) recharge his suit while he investigates a mysterious death. “Iron Man 3” came out way back in 2013, and Simpkins was just a kid at the time, and he’s grown up a bunch since then.
Here’s what the character Harley Keener looked like in “Iron Man 3”:
So, yeah, no shame in not being sure about that one — Simpkins looks completely different now than he did back then.
It’s very interesting also that they would bring him back at all — a character that has not been mentioned at all since that movie six years ago. Is Harley Keener coming back to the MCU? I guess we’ll find out.