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Everyone Is Trying To Figure Out Who This Kid Is In Endgame

Contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame

Paying off virtually everything the last 11 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe set up, Avengers: Endgame truly does feel like the culmination of the 21 films that came before it. The filmmaking team achieved this by tying up tiny stories, calling back to movies that released years ago, tucking in nods to the storied Marvel Comics canon, confirming a basketful of fan theories, and giving characters fulfilling arcs. Then, Marvel execs took things one step further by including basically everyone who has ever starred in an MCU movie and giving them some sort of role in Endgame

Case in point: The mysterious kid at the end of the film that everyone is bending over backwards to remember. 

Now entering spoiler territory!

After the Avengers faced off against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and won, they assembled once more for a heartbreaking reason: to attend the funeral of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who sacrificed himself by snatching the Infinity Stones away from the purple-faced despot, then snapping his own fingers to dust Thanos and his army of vicious alien cretins into oblivion. The funeral scene begins with the heroes gathered around Tony's beloved Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and their daughter Morgan, watching a hologram message Tony recorded the day before the Avengers traveled back in time to collect the Stones. It ends with a solemn sweeping shot of Tony's closest friends watching his original arc reactor float across the lake. 

Most everyone is instantly recognizable and stands together in groups of two or more — there's Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Peter Parker (Tom Holland), and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei); Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas); Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie); and more. Fans know these characters, and know their connection to Tony. 

The one person whom people are having a hard time recognizing and figuring out how he knows Tony is the brunette-haired teenage boy standing completely alone at the funeral.

If his face doesn't set off alarm bells in your head, you aren't alone. This guy was just a precocious young boy when he last popped up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe... way back in Iron Man 3

This seemingly unidentifiable boy is actually Harley Keener, portrayed by Ty Simpkins. 

Here's how Harley and Tony met, if you can't recall: In search of food, shelter, and a place to recharge his suit, Tony breaks into the garage of Harley's home in Rose Hill, Tennessee. They wind up forming an unlikely but genuinely sweet bond in the film: Harley aids Tony in his mission to defeat the Mandarin and ultimately unravel the secrets of the Extremis genetic manipulation program, while Tony softens and lets out his fatherly side — a side that he again shows off when mentoring Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming and one that he embraces full-time when he and Pepper welcome the birth of their daughter. 

When Iron Man 3 opened in theaters in 2013, Simpkins was just 11 years old. Now, he's 17, which explains why he looks virtually unrecognizable in Avengers: Endgame.

Those who have kept a finger firmly on the pulse of all things Marvel may not have been entirely shocked to see Harley Keener appear in the film, as Simpkins' casting was confirmed way back in October of 2017. While Simpkins' actual, physical appearance was surprising given how different he looks now compared to what he looked like as a little lad in Iron Man 3, it wasn't a secret that he was going to be a part of Avengers: Endgame

At the time news of Simpkins joining Avengers: Endgame went public, fans began speculating that perhaps Harley would play a substantial role in the movie and might have even filled Spider-Man's shoes as Tony's mentee after the web-flinging hero disintegrated at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. Some actually hit the nail on the head and predicted what ended up happening: Harley was also a victim of the Decimation, and his involvement in Endgame was only in a brief — and fairly confusing — cameo.

He may have had only a few seconds of screen time and absolutely no lines to deliver, but Simpkins' Harley showing up at Tony's funeral is pretty impactful if you think about it. The MCU began with Iron Man over a decade ago in 2008, and with his passing in Avengers: Endgame, the superhero franchise as we have known it ends with the Armored Avenger as well. It only makes sense that everyone who admired Tony would attend his funeral to bid him farewell, even the young boy he met all those years ago. As much as Tony tried to reject affection in his early life, he was clearly loved by many.