A Complete Timeline Of Tony Stark, The Most Important Person In The MCU

Have you ever thought about the complete Iron Man MCU timeline? As the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first superhero, as well as its indisputably most important character, Tony Stark has a pretty packed chronology. There is no MCU without the success of 2008's Iron Man - and where would Hollywood be today if everyone weren't chasing the runaway prosperity of Marvel Studios?

Though another actor may eventually outpace Robert Downey Jr. as the most prolific actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is no question of who the most important actor will always be. From his own trilogy to the Avengers films and beyond, Iron Man went from an also-ran superhero in Marvel Comics to one of the best-known characters on the face of the planet in a matter of a few years. So, without any further pontification, let's go through Iron Man's MCU timeline, beat by beat.

  • May 29, 1970: Tony Stark Is Born

    May 29, 1970: Tony Stark Is Born
    Photo: Iron Man / Paramount Pictures

    Ah, yes. May 29, 1970. A monumental date in (fictional) history. It was on that fateful day that the savior of half the known universe was born. Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark was born in Manhattan to Maria and Howard Stark. Funnily enough, Maria wanted to name her son "Elmonzo," something Howard revealed to Tony in Avengers: Endgame. Tony didn't seem too wild about the idea.

    Although Howard was seemingly very excited about the birth of his son during his appearance in Avengers: Endgame, he ended up being a distant father to Tony. The pair would have a strained relationship until Howard's untimely demise. And we are just going to gloss over that weirdly photoshopped photograph of a young Tony with his father from the first Iron Man film...

  • 1983: Tony Hacks Into The Pentagon On A Dare From Friends

    1983: Tony Hacks Into The Pentagon On A Dare From Friends
    Photo: Iron Man / Paramount Pictures

    You might be surprised to hear that Tony Stark happened to be a little bit of an egotist from a young age. We know. It's shocking. And when you're a precocious young man who has been moved up a couple of grades into high school, you're willing to do dumb things to show off.

    For someone on Tony's intellectual level, this means hacking into the Pentagon at age 13 on a dare. Just your average super-genius teenage hijinks. No worries for the young Stark, as he would soon graduate high school early and go off to MIT.

  • 1987: Tony Graduates Summa Cum Laude From MIT

    1987: Tony Graduates Summa Cum Laude From MIT
    Photo: Iron Man / Paramount Pictures

    How do you follow up hacking into the Pentagon at 13? Well, you graduate from MIT at the ripe old age of 17, of course. Oh, and you do it while earning the summa cum laude distinction.

    Tony Stark may just be a bit of a sarcastic prick, but it is only because his brain is moving so much faster than everyone else's. He's just bored waiting for everyone to catch up! He also met James Rhodes at MIT, and the pair became lifelong best friends years before Rhodes took up the mantle of War Machine.

  • December 1991: Tony Loses His Parents To An Alleged Car Crash

    December 1991: Tony Loses His Parents To An Alleged Car Crash
    Photo: Captain America: Civil War / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    December 1991 marks the moment that would leave an indelible mark on the young Tony Stark and change the trajectory of his life forever. The unexpected demise of both his parents in a car accident would emotionally scar Stark for years and thrust him from his cocoon as a cocky young genius into adulthood as the head of Stark Industries.

    Of course, Tony's parents didn't actually perish in a car accident. He would find out years later that Bucky Barnes, AKA the Winter Soldier, terminated his parents while under the control of Hydra. Tony does not take this news well in the future.

  • 1992: Tony Takes Over Stark Industries

    1992: Tony Takes Over Stark Industries
    Photo: Iron Man / Paramount Pictures

    Though Obadiah Stane took the reins as interim CEO of Stark Industries immediately following the demise of Howard and Maria, Tony would eventually become the new CEO of the major Fortune 500 company his father built. While you'd think this move would force Tony into growing up rather quickly, it seemingly helped convince the young genius he didn't really need to grow up at all.

    After all, when you're a super-rich CEO who also happens to be one of the smartest people on the planet at the age of 21, who can really tell you to act your age? If a bearded Jeff Bridges isn't getting that particular job done, no one is.

  • New Year's Eve 1999: Tony Blows Off Several Genius Scientists To Hook Up With Maya Hansen

    At the turn of the millennium, Stark attended a non-descript science conference in Bern, Switzerland, where he met a young Maya Hansen. He first learned of Hansen's Extremis research during this encounter, but only after he blew off the gifted yet socially awkward Aldrich Killian. Stark would go on to have a one-night stand with Hansen (something very much in character for him) and create a lifelong enemy in Killian. Because Tony Stark really used to be a serious jerk.

    The funniest thing about all of this is that Tony Stark is supposed to be 29 here. Does Robert Downey Jr. look 29 to you? Well, he was 48 by the time Iron Man 3 came out, so... yeah. Marvel Studios clearly hadn't gotten into the art of de-aging actors via CGI yet.