Tony Stark May Be a Legendary Hero, But He Accidentally Created Plenty of Villains

It is hardly uncommon for heroes to create new villains along the way. Superman did it with Lex Luthor, who blamed the hero for making him bald when he tried to save him from a lab fire. Depending on which version of Batman is at play, it could be argued that he created the Joker. 

However, Tony Stark has a particular gift for creating villains in his wake. By one count, six of the Marvel Cinematic Universe villains were a direct result of Tony’s misguided decisions. That’s why some are also wondering what heroes could come in his wake. 

Which villains did Tony Stark create?

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

A Reddit post featured a photo grid of six villains that Tony Stark had a hand in creating. They are Obadiah Stane from Iron Man, Whiplash from Iron Man 2, Alrdrich Killian from Iron Man 3, Ultron from the second Avengers movie, and the two villains from the Spider-Man movies, Vulture and Mysterio. 

Some of these villains arose out of Tony’s past and his selfish, egocentric ways, particularly Stane, who was his father’s old partner. Stane does not appreciate it when Tony announces his company will no longer manufacture weapons, because that had been the company’s bread and butter. Also coming about from Tony’s attempt to do good was Ultron, whom Tony created as a world defense mechanism before Ultron went awry.

By the time Captain America: Civil War came around, Tony wrestled with this legacy when he  said, “A few years ago I almost lost (Pepper) so I trashed all my suits. Then we had to mop up Hydra. Then Ultron, my fault. And then, and then, and then. I never stopped. ‘Cause the truth is I don’t wanna stop.”

The villains cause trouble for Spider-Man

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When Spider-Man came on board the MCU, Marvel decided Spider-Man didn’t need an origin story again, since two other movies had already done that. In a way, they gave him a new backstory. Although Stark didn’t give Peter his powers, he greatly assisted in his rise to prominence, giving him Stark tech in his Spider-suit and recruiting him among (and against) the Avengers.  

So it followed that the two villains Spider-Man faced were people who were ticked off at Tony Stark. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Adrian Toomes had been responsible for helping to clean up after the battle of New York City in The Avengers, but that project was taken over by Stark Industries, leading Toomes to become the Vulture. Spider-Man: Far From Home’s Mysterio presented himself as an ally but turned out to be a disgruntled ex-Stark employee.

Some fans think this pattern should continue with a villain caused by “the blip,” alternately known as “The Snap.” This wouldn’t directly be Stark’s fault but one fan on Reddit wrote, “Now I’m waiting for the villains created by the Blip. People who returned to find their loved ones moved on or killed themselves. Blaming the Avengers for not stopping it in the first place.”

What heroes could come from Stark’s legacy? 

Science says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So it stands to reason if Tony created villains, he could create heroes too. He has already done this, in a sense, with Spider-Man, but Screen Rant pointed out that other future heroes could arise as well. 

These include the obvious, such as War Machine, who was Tony’s ally and an Iron Man type. Several fans have suggested War Machine could get his own movie or TV series. Another choice was Iron Lad, a kind of Iron Man Jr. in the form of Harley Keener. He’s the kid from Iron Man 3 who made a subtle appearance at Tony’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame

Then there was Rescue, the “female Iron Man” operated by Pepper in Endgame, although this one seems less likely. Having witnessed Tony’s death while wearing that suit, Pepper might not be eager to get back in it, preferring to carry on Tony’s legacy in more philanthropic ways. It may not happen in Phase 4, but with so many possibilities at play, a Stark successor will probably come along at some point.