Ty Simpkins Wants to Return To MCU As Iron Lad

By John Ross Bradford Updated:

Fans of the MCU were supremely spoiled at the beginning of summer 2019 with the epic climax to Marvel Studios' Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame. The film was jam-packed with Marvel Easter eggs and call-backs to past films in the saga. One of the many surprises the audience got to enjoy was the brief return of a supporting character that had a much larger role in Shane Black's Iron Man 3 - the young inventor named Harley Keener. Many were surprised - and even a bit confused - to see the appearance of the now-grown Keener, but this short sequence brought joy to anyone who loves the Iron Man trilogy. This moment left the audience wondering why they saw Keener in that final scene, and if he'll pop up again later on. Now, advocates for Harley Keener's return may have a bit more hope to hold onto, as Keener-actor Ty Simpkins has expressed full interest in keeping the character going in the MCU. 


On April 24, Ty Simpkins tuned into a joint livestream via Instagram with ComicBook's Chris Killian on his show "Talking Shop" and expressed that he shares the same excitement that fans had when they realized that he was still around in the MCU. When asked if he would be open to returning once again as Harley Keener, and possibly even taking on the role of Iron Lad in the MCU (as many fans already wish would happen), he had this to say: 

"I would love that. I don't know what's gonna happen, I know pretty much as much as you guys. [...] but I'm 100% down. I'd love that." 

Also worth mentioning is that, as many MCU fans know, most of the cast of Endgame was told that the scene that they were shooting for Tony Stark's funeral was actually a scene featuring a wedding for Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, in order to avoid giving the Avengers cast the chance to spoil one of the film's most pivotal moments. However, Simpkins admits that when Louis D'Esposito called him to offer the cameo spot, he shared "the general plot of the movie" with him, but told him "straight-up" that the scene he would be in was for Tony's funeral. 


Although this should be taken as nothing more than an exciting conversation, many fans have already been speculating since Endgame's release on how and why Harley could make another MCU appearance. Tony Stark’s funeral service wasn’t exactly open to the public. Considering the fact that everyone else in attendance was either a superhero (or directly related to a superhero), as well as the fact that the funeral was literally taking place in Tony's own backyard, it’s safe to assume that Harley got the invite from somebody that was also present at the time. We don’t know who all may know of Tony’s relationship with Harley, since fans only saw Tony interact with Harley in Tennessee in 2013's Iron Man 3, but taking into account that no one else was really around to help Stark in his endeavors during the last film in his trilogy, it’s likely that either Rhodey or Pepper made the call. And considering Rhodey probably didn’t take down the 11-year-old’s phone number during the events of Iron Man 3, this could mean that Tony kept in contact with the kid, or at least knew how to, 10 years after crossing paths with him. 

Harley was portrayed as an aspiring inventor, as well as a bit of a marksman, before meeting Tony Stark, and Ty Simpkins was the first child actor to play a main role in the MCU as Harley Keener, which would only add to the Iron Man legacy that they could use him to help keep carrying onward. With a successor to Iron Man undoubtedly inbound, it makes sense that Harley would be part of that journey. The Young Avengers are supposedly coming to the big screen soon, with the addition of characters such as Kate Bishop and an older Cassie Lang to the MCU, and the circulating rumor that Speed and Wiccan will appear in WandaVision, so it's possible that Harley could join them as their in-house inventor and mechanic, just as Tony was for the original Avengers team. 

- About The Author: John Ross Bradford
John Ross Bradford is an editor and writer at The Direct. He has contributed to content ideation and development across multiple branches of the company's website since it launched in 2020.