Over the last 10 years, we’ve watched Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark transition from weapons industrialist only interested in profit to superhero fighting for the greater good. However, like his comic book counterpart, Tony isn’t the only famous Stark. His father, Howard Stark, was one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s greatest 20th century figures, particularly through founding Star Industries and co-founding S.H.I.E.L.D. Tony and Howard didn’t have the relationship with one another, and while Tony hasn’t been shy about letting people know about the issues he had with Howard, one eagle-eyed Marvel fan has noticed that Tony honors his dad in a subtle way by wearing the same robe, or at least the same kind of robe, that Howard once wore.
In case you need a refresher on Iron Man 2, following his brawl with James Rhodes, Tony Stark was visited by then-head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury, who dragged Tony Stark from Randy’s Donuts back to the Stark mansion so he could get to work replacing the palladium in his chest’s arc reactor. While Tony and Nick were chatting at the Stark home, Tony was wearing the robe seen above. From the audience’s perspective, this is the first time we’ve seen this item of clothing, but that’s all it is: part of the character’s wardrobe.
However, as a Marvel fan on Reddit noticed, this robe matches the one that Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark was wearing in the Agent Carter One-Shot short film, which was released in 2013 and saw Howard drafting Peggy Carter to be one of the co-heads of the newly-formed S.H.I.E.L.D. after World War II.
The Agent Carter One-Shot happens over 60 years before Iron Man 2, so unless both Howard and Tony went out of their way to keep that robe in pristine condition, I suspect Tony probably may have bought one that looked the same. Plus, given that Tony’s home was destroyed in Iron Man 3, I doubt he even has the robe anymore. Nevertheless, this an interesting MCU retcon. Now when re-watching Tony’s chat with Nick Fury in Iron Man 2, where he states that his father never told him he loved or even liked him, we know that he still has a soft spot for his old man. Plus, as Tony would learn later in Iron Man 2, his father cared more for him than he let on, as evidenced by that film where he called his son “his greatest creation.”
As seen in Captain America: Civil War, Howard and Maria Stark were murdered by the Winter Soldier on December 16, 1991, and while there’s always the chance we could see another flashback of Howard that takes place before this tragic event, his time in the MCU has otherwise long since concluded. Tony Stark will return alongside the MCU’s other heroes when Avengers: Infinity War is released on April 27.