After trying to impress Tony Stark enough to become an Avenger in Spider-Man: Homecoming and figuring out how to move on without him in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man: No Way Home sees Peter Parker dealing with a whole new set of challenges in superherodom beyond the pressure to live up to the enormous legacy of Iron Man.
Warning - This article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
However, the scaling back of Iron Man's fingerprints in No Way Home doesn't mean that Tony's influence over Peter has disappeared completely. Connections to him appear throughout the movie, some with significant relevance to the plot.
Stark Tech and MIT in Spider-Man: No Way Home
The Stark Industries logo can be seen multiple times over the course of Spider-Man: No Way Home and Tony himself is referenced by Happy towards the end of the film. Even Morgan Stark's presence can be felt, as some of her drawings are visible in Happy's apartment during the movie.
However, the most understated yet potentially biggest connection to Tony Stark in No Way Home is the emphasis on and references to MIT, the school he attended on his way to becoming an engineer.
First off, DUM-E - previously seen in the Iron Man franchise - is back! The robotic assistant can be seen in Happy's apartment during the film, and he was created by Tony while he was at MIT.
In terms of plot relevance, however, MIT plays a big role in the story by being the college of choice for many students in Midtown High School's senior class, including Peter, MJ, Ned, and even Flash Thompson. However, all except the latter are rejected because of the Spider-Man controversy, so Peter's main motivation during much of the film is to make sure his friends have a shot at getting in after all.
MIT being the dream school of Peter's in particular is potentially an example of him still wanting to follow in Tony's footsteps, since not only does he want to attend his alma mater, he also seems to be on the way to becoming an engineer as well.
No More Iron Man Jr. for Peter Parker
Ultimately, while his friends get into MIT in the end, Doctor Strange's memory-altering spell means the world no longer remembers Peter Parker. Not only is he not admitted to MIT, he no longer attends Midtown High and is seen preparing to take the GED test at the end of the film.
Peter not attending MIT, after all, can be seen as yet another symbol of how he is not "Iron Man Jr." as some Marvel fans have referred to the MCU iteration of the character, and is firmly on his own path. In fact, it is not clear whether the next batch of films focusing on Spider-Man will see Peter attending college at all.
As for Morgan's drawings on Happy's fridge, that's an indicator that the Marvel Studios creatives still have her in the back of their minds. It's nice to know that Happy is still a big part of her life, and this could indicate her return in a future MCU project (Armor Wars or Ironheart, perhaps?).
Spider-Man: No Way Home sought to set up the next chapter of Peter Parker's MCU journey, and while it's clear he won't be following the same trail Tony Stark did, little things like his desire to go to MIT show that he hasn't forgotten his late hero.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in cinemas.