15. Harley Keener
Harley Keener was undoubtedly one of the MCU’s most unexpected gems.
Making his debut in Iron Man 3, the unsuspecting child walked into his garage to find Tony Stark seeking food and shelter after the Mandarin’s fleet had destroyed his home. From there, the pair formed an unlikely partnership as Harley agreed to help Tony in return for being allowed to tag along on his mission nearby in Tennessee.
He then helped him track the Mandarin to Miami and, during that time, also managed to repair the damaged Iron Man suit. He was later rewarded for all of his hard work when he returned home to find that his garage was overflowing with new computer and robotic equipment – equipment that was accompanied by a note from Tony, or as Harley knew him “The Mechanic.”
With knowledge of computers and machinery far beyond his years, Harley proved to be an effective ally for Tony during his time of need and he was an interesting choice of character for Iron Man to interact with during such a dark period of his life.
And that contrast between a usually sarcastic adult suffering from PTSD and the child-like innocence of Harley created an intriguing dynamic. However, due to the quick pacing of Iron Man 3, Harley unfortunately spent a lot of that time being effective off-screen, robbing us of a significant chance to see him in action.
Ty Simpkins had great chemistry with Robert Downey Jr. and, as we’ve seen from his strong performances in Insidious and Jurassic World, the young actor has a bright future ahead of him. With his surprise cameo return in Avengers: Endgame, now would be the perfect time for his character to make a comeback and show us all what he’s capable of for a more extended period of time.
Given his expertise when it comes to technology, he’d certainly be a great successor to Iron Man and could very well hold his own in a spin-off movie or series. Make it happen, Marvel!