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I built this for you, and some day you'll realize that it represents a whole lot more than just people's inventions. It represents my life's work. This is the key to the future. I'm limited by the technology of my time, but one day you'll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world. What is, and always will be my greatest creation... is you.
~ Howard's video message to Tony.
Everything is achievable through technology – better living, robust health and for the first time in human history, the possibility of world peace. I'm Howard Stark, and everything you'll need in the future can be found right here.
~ Howard's video message about the Stark Expo.

Howard Anthony Walter Stark is a supporting character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing as a major character in Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter, a posthumous character in Iron Man, Iron Man 2, a flashback character in Captain America: Civil War, and a minor character in Avengers: Endgame.

He was a brilliant inventor and businessman and the father of Tony Stark/Iron Man. He founded Stark Industries, and co-founded S.H.I.E.L.D. with Peggy Carter and Chester Phillips.

He was portrayed by Gerard Sanders in Iron Man, John Slattery in Iron Man 2 onward, and Dominic Cooper in The First Avenger and Agent Carter, who reprised his voice for a different version of the character in What If...?

In Captain America: Super Soldier, he was voiced by Liam O'Brien, who also voiced Gaara in Naruto, Kenzo Tenma in the Monster series, Archer in Fate/stay night, Akihiko Sanada in Persona 3, War in Darksiders, and Asura in Asura's Wrath.

History

Overview

During WWII he worked on various government projects, including the Manhattan Project and "Project: Rebirth". Howard also helped the Strategic Scientific Reserve fight against HYDRA during World War II. He constructed Captain America's shield from Vibranium, which would become the heroes greatest weapon. And after the war he discovered the Tesseract when him and researchers continued to look for Captain America. Later in life, Howard married a woman named Maria and had a son, Tony in 1970.

He also co-developed the Arc Reactor with defected Soviet scientist Anton Vanko, who later attempted to get reach from it. Howard founded S.H.I.E.L.D. along with Peggy Carter and Colonel Chester Phillips. Eventually, Howard would push Tony away, but did care for his son, having high hopes that Tony would change the world. Howard and Maria were killed by HYDRA in 1991, who made it look like a car accident by having the Winter Solider assassinate them.

He would be posthumous grandfather of Tony's daughter, Morgan Stark, and is the father-in-law to Tony's wife and Morgan's mother, Virginia "Pepper" Potts.

Biography

Early Life

Howard Anthony Walter Stark was born on August 15, 1917 in Richford, New York to unnamed parents who lived on lower the east side. Howard had a tough childhood, as his father sold fruit and his mother sewed shirtwaist for living, and Howard learned that society put limits to success based on one's economic status and gender. As a result of learning this, Howard stated that became good at lying to get what he needed.

During his youth, Howard became an wealthy genius and businessman, attending international conferences, where he met Dr. Abraham Erskine in 1934. In 1939, Howard founded Stark Industries, and would have his researchers go around the world looking for material to experiment with. Notably, Stark found Vibranium in Africa, which he would later demonstrate with at showcases. Later, Stark met with Chester Phillips, and agreed to join the Strategic Scientific Reserve.

Stark would help the SSR by helping Peggy rescue Dr. Erskine from HYDRA's castle, and helped the United States by producing planes after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Stark continued helping the Allies by performing experiments for them, working as a weapon specialist, and being a contributor in Project Rebirth. Also, Howard became close friends with his butler, Edwin Jarvis, and Peggy Carter herself, whom he relied on greatly after the war.

Captain America: The First Avenger

Just keep looking.
~ Howard on looking for Captain America.

Post World War II

You know who was the expert? Your dad. Howard Stark. Really a father to us all, and to the military-industrial age. Let's just be clear, he was no flower child. He was a lion.
~ Justin Hammer to Tony about his father.

Howard eventually met a woman named Maria, and married her before the 1970s, and continued to develop weapons for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United States military during the Cold War. He met with several presidents such as Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and others during that era.

After collecting the Tesseract when looking for Captain America, Howard became a contributor to the S.H.I.E.L.D. project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. alongside NASA, who wanted to harness the energy from the Tesseract. The project would also be contributed by Dr. Wendy Lawson and Air Force pilot Carol Danvers.

In the 1960s, Howard and Anton Vanko developed the Arc Reactor, which was based off of the Tesseract's energy. Stark saw the reactor as the stepping stone to creating a stable element that would render nuclear power obsolete, but Vanko saw it as a way to get rich. When Stark learned of Vanko's treachery, he had him deported, which would cause Anton to become embittered. Anton's anger at Stark would be passed onto his son, Ivan Vanko years later. Around this time, Stark took Obadiah Stane as a partner, and the two had a close partnership.

In 1970, Maria gave birth to their child, Anthony "Tony" Stark, whom took Howard's first middle name. Despite caring for his son and being secretly proud of him, Howard was cold and distant towards Tony. In addition, Howard also told his son stories about his idol and friend Captain America, causing Tony to develop a sense of jealousy for the hero.

On December 16th, 1991, Howard and Maria died in a car crash that caused by Bucky, Steve's missing friends.

Ant-Man

The Pym Particle is a miracle. Please, don't let your past determine the future.
~ Howard to Hank Pym.

In the late 1980s, Stark's partnership with Hank Pym became strained when Pym refused to give S.H.I.E.L.D. his Ant-Man suit and the formula for his Pym Particles. Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. attempted to recreate the formula, but Pym discovered this and announced his resignation in front of Stark, Peggy and Mitchell Carson. Despite his attempts to convince him to stay, Pym vowed to never allow anyone get his formula, and went into retirement.

As a result of feeling betrayed and losing his wife during a mission, Pym had a negative view of Howard Stark and his former colleagues. Pym would pass his dislike of the Starks to his successor, Scott Lang, to never trust a Stark.

Death and Legacy

Help my wife... Please... Help... Sergeant Barnes?
~ Howard's last words before his death.

In 1991, Howard had succeeded in recreating the Super Soldier serum, but HYDRA learned about the success, and wanted the formula and him killed. Vasily Karpov orchestrated the event by ordering Bucky Barnes, who was found alive and programed into the Winter Soldier, to take the formula and assassinate Howard and Maria Stark. Howard and his wife were both killed on Long Island, but the former attempted to call for help and recognized Bucky before he killed him.

After his death, Tony inherited Stark Industries at twenty one years old, and became the youngest CEO of a company. Howard was memorialized across America, having a mural in Midtown School of Science and Technology, a highway and parkway named after him, and was remembered in bibliographies and by WHiH World News in 2015. During the years as Tony was CEO, Obadiah Stane mentored him, but wanted to head the company himself, and attempted to have Tony killed by having the Ten Rings kidnap him. However, Tony was able to escape by crafting a suit of armor with the help of Ho Yinsen, and later defeated Stane.

Iron Man 2

When Tony was dying from the Arc Reactor poisoning his blood, he discovered in Howard's video message a model that took him to a new element. The element was strong enough to clean his blood, and allow him to create new armors, and Tony noted that his father was still teaching him. With the new element, Tony crafted his new armor to aid his best friend, James Rhodes in stopping Justin Hammer and Ivan Vanko.

Captain America: Civil War

That shield doesn't belong to you. You don't deserve it! My father made that shield!
~ Iron Man to Captain America after the fight.

Howard is first seen in Tony's memory of the last time he saw his parents, and how he wished the memory would have ended that way when showing it at M.I.T. Later in the film, Tony watches the assassinations of his parents by the Winter Soldier, which was used by Helmut Zemo to make Iron Man fight Captain American and Bucky Barnes. Despite being defeated, Tony reminded Steve that his father made that shield, and left it behind out of sympathy for Tony and Howard.

Avengers: Endgame

Let me ask you a question. When [your] kid was born, were you nervous?"
"Wildly"
"Well... Did you feel qualified? Like you had any idea how successfully operate that thing?"
"I... literally pieced it together as I went along. I thought about what my dad did."
"My old man. He never met a problem he couldn't solve with a belt."
"I thought my dad was tough on me. And now, looking back on it; I just remember the good stuff. You know, he did drop the odd pearl."
"Yeah? Like what?"
"No amount of money ever bought a second of time."
"Smart guy.
~ Howard to gets parenting advice from the Alternate future version of his son

In an alternate 1970, Howard met his son Tony (who was under the name "Howard Potts"), who had time traveled there to steal the Tesseract to undo the decimation caused by Thanos. Tony reconciled with his father, and gave him parenting advice from raising his daughter, Morgan. Howard was confused when "Howard Potts" gave him a hug, and Tony left with Rogers to their timeline as Howard left with Jarvis.

Gallery

Images

Trivia

  • Howard Stark was based on Walt Disney and Howard Hughes. His inspiration on Disney is quite ironic, coincidentally, as The Walt Disney Company bought Marvel Comics in 2009.
  • Howard Stark is one of the few characters to have been portrayed by different actors in different films, the others are War Machine, The Hulk, Thanos, Fandral and the Red Skull.
  • Howard Stark was originally going to be the main antagonist of Iron Man in a 2004 script written by David Hayter, where he would have become War Machine, as he was planned to still be alive during the events of the film. Hayter's script went ultimately unused, and Howard was rewritten into the heroic man he is in the comics and War Machine was later featured as James Rhodes just like he is in the comics.

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