Once upon a time, Iron Man 3 introduced Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it seemed as if the character had a bright future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, Keener was best buds with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) in his final solo film. But one thing led to another and Keener fell off the face of the Earth until a much older Simpkins mysteriously popped up in Stark's heartbreaking funeral scene in Avengers: Endgame.
One popular fan theory now being shared in online circles suggests that Keener was being molded to be introduced as Iron Lad, and serve as Stark's mentee. Not just that, but it goes on to suggest that Peter Parker's introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is directly responsible for Iron Lad never leaving the ground.
The Sony and Marvel Studios' deal was so big at the time, it's totally a plausible scenario — even at the most basic dollar and cents level. Spider-Man is arguably the most known superhero to ever come out of comic books and they had a way to organically introduce the character as Stark's mentee instead of trying to build Iron Lad from the ground up.
Either way, it's an intriguing theory, which you can read in full here.
Simpkins appeared in just one Endgame shot, but the actor was still included in some press in the lead up to the major blockbuster. At one point, the actor was afraid his cameo wasn't going to end up making the final cut. Other reports suggest Simpkins inked a three-movie deal, so technically he'd still have one more movie left on the contract should the character be something they choose to pursue.
"It was so cool coming back. When they gave me the call that I was going to do it, I was freaking out and screaming in the car," Simpkins said.
"At first it wasn't confirmed that I was going to come back and I didn't want to mess it up. So my mom was asking 'What is it? What is it?' and I couldn't tell her!"
Do you think Keener was supposed to be a major character in the MCU? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters for its second release ahead of Spider-Man: Far From Home swinging into action July 2nd. Captain Marvel is now available wherever movies are sold.