Directors Joe and Anthony Russo explain how this young man fits in

By Anthony Breznican
April 26, 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT

One of the major headscratchers from the end of Avengers: Endgame is when the camera lingers on a young man who turns up in one of the final scenes.

We haven’t seen him before in Endgame, but … should Marvel fans recognize him?

The answer is yes. Scroll down for more…

***Spoilers Below***

Marvel Studios

Okay, if you’re here, you’ve seen the movie and know this moment from the emotional finale of the movie.

It’s a scene set at the memorial for Tony Stark, and the camera pans along a dock where we see a lot of familiar faces: Hulk, Spider-Man, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Ant-Man, Wasp — you name it. All the heavy-hitters.

They’re clustered in groups, usually by their own stories, but one young guy stands all by himself.

This is actor Ty Simpkins, who appeared in Iron Man 3 as Harley, the kid who helped a stranded and hunted Tony Stark reactivate his armor while on the run.

Stark not only traded snarky-remarks with his young sidekick, but he later gave Harley his own lab to continue his engineering experiments. As we know from Spider-Man: Homecoming, Stark has a soft spot for young mechanics like himself.

Why did Harley merit a cameo in Endgame, as a mourner at Tony Stark’s funeral?

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo explain:

“Clearly Tony had an effect on him,” says Joe.

Anthony asked, “Did you know who it was when you saw him?” And EW had to confess — no.

“By the way, nobody does!” Anthony replied. “It’s hard because he grew up since that movie!”

“We’ll put things in that we hope that the internet will then explain to everyone,” Joe added. “That’s one of those things where somebody just has to go look at his IMDB and then start posting it on Twitter and then it catches on. It’s a fun Easter egg.”

It’s also serves a deeper narrative purpose. Harley is the everyman to Iron Man.

Robert Downey Jr.’s “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” had many friends with powerful abilities, but this kid is a reminder of a moment when he changed the life of an ordinary person.

Harley stands for the broader world the heroes have been fighting to save all this time.

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