- "Tony, you are too young to understand this right now so I thought I would put it on film for you. I built this for you, and some day you'll realize that it represents a whole lot more than just people's inventions. It represents my life's work. This is the key to the future. I'm limited by the technology of my time, but one day you'll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world. What is, and always will be, my greatest creation... is you."
- ―Howard Stark's message to his son[src]
Howard Anthony Walter Stark was a brilliant inventor, businessman and the father of Tony Stark. He founded Stark Industries. During WWII he worked on various government projects, including the Manhattan Project and "Project: Rebirth". Howard also helped the Strategic Scientific Reserve fight against HYDRA. He constructed Captain America's shield.
After the war he discovered the Tesseract. Later in life, Howard married a woman named Maria and had a son, Tony. He also co-developed the Arc Reactor with defected Soviet scientist Anton Vanko. Howard founded S.H.I.E.L.D. along with Peggy Carter and colonel Chester Phillips. Eventually, Howard would push Tony away, but did care for his son, having high hopes that Tony would change the world. Howard and Maria were killed by HYDRA, through Howard's former ally in World War II, Bucky Barnes (who by then became the Winter Soldier) who made it look like a car accident.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 Captain America: First Vengeance
- 1.3 Captain America: The First Avenger
- 1.4 Agent Carter
- 1.5 Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter
- 1.6 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- 1.7 Ant-Man Prelude
- 1.8 Ant-Man
- 1.9 Iron Man 2: Public Identity
- 1.10 Iron Man
- 1.11 Iron Man 2
- 1.12 The Avengers
- 1.13 Captain America: Civil War
- 1.14 Avengers: Endgame
- 2 Character traits
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Appearances/Actors
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Gallery
- 8.1 Captain America: First Vengeance
- 8.2 Captain America: The First Avenger
- 8.3 Agent Carter
- 8.4 Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter
- 8.5 Ant-Man Prelude
- 8.6 Iron Man 2: Public Identity
- 8.7 Iron Man
- 8.8 Iron Man 2
- 8.9 The Avengers
- 8.10 Ant-Man
- 8.11 Captain America: Civil War
Howard's father sold fruit and his mother sewed shirtwaists for livings. They live on the lower east side in New York. Growing up, Howard become an industrial genius, inventor and businessman, attending multiple international conferences, such as the one where he met Dr. Abraham Erskine.
Howard began a demonstration which would showcase Vibranium, a metal discovered by Stark Industries researchers in Africa. Later, Howard met with Colonel Phillips, soon after they was attacked by HYDRA assassins. Howard agreed to join Col. Phillip's newly created Strategic Scientific Reserve. Later, he welcomed Abraham Erskine as he too was recruited into the S.S.R.
- "I focus on work, which right now is about making sure you and your men don't get killed."
- ―Howard Stark to Steve Rogers[src]
During the second World War, Howard was the top weapons specialist for the Strategic Scientific Reserve. At the World Exposition of Tomorrow, he proudly showed off multiple world-changing inventions including a flying car and a prototype android. Secretly, Howard was working with the S.S.R. in order to help win World War II. Howard was present during the process that Steve Rogers under went in order become America's first super soldier after receiving the Super Soldier Serum from Dr. Abraham Erskine. When Steve was going on a solo mission to save his friend Bucky and the POWs that were captured at a HYDRA base, Howard personally flew him behind enemy lines, and afterwards he was responsible for construction and formation of the circular shield made from Vibranium. Stark also made Steve an upgraded military suit to use as Captain America. After the disappearance of Rogers, Stark located the Tesseract in the ocean.
Howard is on trial for apparently selling weapons to US enemies. He asks Peggy Carter to help him clear his name. He explains that a month ago someone broke into his vault where he kept his "bad babies," the inventions too dangerous to sell. Howard offers the services of his butler, Edwin Jarvis to help her on missions.
Howard smuggles himself back into the US through a smuggler named Otto Mink. Peggy and Jarvis are transporting Howard to one of his safehouses, Peggy has Jarvis pull over, spotting SSR agents watching the perimeter; the SSR is now more determined to catch Howard, believing him responsible for Ray Krzeminski's death. They than want to the Griffith, Peggy's boarding house. Peggy sneaks Howard in through the basement and up the dumb waiter.
Up on Peggy's floor, Peggy is relieved Howard isn't inside. Peggy finds him canoodling in one of her neighbor's rooms. Back in her room, Howard is planning to leave for Rio in three days. He wants to know which of his inventions the SSR has so he can determine which are still on the black market. He gives Peggy a camera pen to take in to work. Peggy and Stark develop her pen film in her room. Howard tells her all of his inventions are at SSR, but he needs her to steal one back. All of his inventions can cause large scale destruction but none are active, except one, "the Blitzkrieg button". A single push of a button on a small orb will shutdown the entire electrical grid for years. He gives her a mock-up to swap out. Peggy sneaks into the SSR and swaps out the Blitzkrieg button from the lab. But her curiosity gets the better of her. She flips the switch. The lights stay on and the orb pops open, revealing a vial of Steve Rogers' blood. She takes the Blitzkrieg button back to her apartment, Peggy is furious with Howard for lying to her. When she leaves, Jarvis sits next to Howard at shoe shine stand and blames him for taking Peggy for granted, saying the whole thing stinks. An old man asks to borrow Stark's sports section.
Jarvis finds Peggy at a newsstand and tries again to apologize. Peggy is still angry at Howard for using her to get Steve's blood.
Howard walk in the SSR office after theater massacre. Agent Thompson was about to arrests him. However Howard brought files on the Battle of Finau and explains that the gas was supposed to be "Midnight Oil" to keep soldiers awake for days at a time but it failed and caused psychosis intead. His lab was raided on the order of General McGuinness and used on the Russians at Finau. He also explains that it causes asphyxiation, which explains the laryngotomies on Leet Brannis and his cohort. The files also reveal that Dr. Ivchenko is really Johann Fenhoff, a psychiatrist with a specialty in hypnosis. Peggy suggests that Ivchenko specific target is Howard. Howard volunteers himself as bait.
Peggy suggests to Howard that he's taking an unnecessary risk, but he feels responsible for everything that has happened. As he's getting his own design of body armor from the SSR lab, he also take the orb with Steve's blood. At city hall, Thompson declares that all charges against Stark have been dropped. Thompson bites back his bile as Stark feeds him lines calling him a hero. Peggy scans the crowd for Dottie but sees nothing until the shots start coming. Jarvis hustles Stark into the waiting police car, but it speeds off without Jarvis. The driver is the policeman who is under Ivchenko's hypnosis. In a car with Howard, Dottie reminds him that they spent a weekend together but Howard don't remember her name.
At a air hangar Dottie beats on Howard as he fails to remember her name. Fenhoff describes the ravages of Midnight Oil on his comrades, saying revenge has been his singular focus. Howard asks that they leave innocent people out of it, but Fenhoff says he plans to make him suffer. He begins hypnotizing Howard, taking him back to the time that holds his greatest shame. Howard is on an icy tundra, with a pilot telling him he thinks they found The Valkyrie. He then sees Peggy holding Captain America's shield, asking him to bring Steve home. But really he will be flying one of his planes over Times Square and expose people that to celebrating VE Day to Midnight Oil. Peggy and the SSR agents pull up just as Howard is taking off into the night. Peggy goes to the radio room to try to talk him down. Because Thompson and Sousa can't fly, Jarvis volunteers to fly the plane that might have to shoot him down if Peggy fails. He knows Howard would want to be stopped.
Peggy is able to get through to Howard in time. Back at the hangar, Peggy tells Howard and Jarvis that Dottie got away. He than finally remembers her name was Ida. Howard give one of Stark's mansions, to Peggy and Angie since they could no longer stay at the Griffith. He than negotiate the return of his inventions from the SSR with plans to destroy them all. He doesn't believe any government can be trusted with them.
to be added
Stark invited Peggy Carter to join him as one of the charter members of S.H.I.E.L.D. Another charter member was Timothy Dugan, with whom Stark seemed to develop a friendship, as the former visited the latter's estate. During one of these visits, Stark explained the bikini style of swimsuit to an enamoured Dugan.
While creating S.H.I.E.L.D. along with Peggy Carter and Chester Phillips, Stark started a program involving "repented" Nazi scientists, used as a think tank for the newborn intelligence. Among them was Arnim Zola, who used his cover to recreate HYDRA as a parasitic organization inside S.H.I.E.L.D., without Stark realizing it.
In 1963, a group of radicals in the Soviet-controlled East Berlin discovered a piece of an old HYDRA technology; the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D. decided to send an agent to Berlin and stop them from reverse-engineering it. Howard Stark confronted Pym about giving S.H.I.E.L.D. his Ant-Man Suit. However, Pym was unwilling to give his suit to anyone else, so Agent Peggy Carter had to convince him to go to Berlin personally. After Pym liberated the prisoner in the process. Stark thanked Pym and told him that was his last mission but Pym refused realizing there were more problems in the world. Still only trusting himself to wear the Ant-Man suit, Pym decided to continue to do field missions.
In 1989, Howard, Peggy Carter and Mitchell Carson were having a meeting in the Triskelion, when Hank Pym confronted him about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempts to replicate the Pym Particles. Peggy was shocked at the discovery; Howard attempted to justify the decision due to the applications of the particle and Carson noted the military benefits. Hank vowed to take the secret of the Pym Particles to his grave.
Howard Stark discussed arc reactor technology with Anton Vanko. Although Anton was worried, Howard was resolute of everything working out perfectly.
Later, he had Anton Vanko arrested and deported back to Russia, Obadiah Stane talked to Howard and told him that perhaps he should take Anton's treason as a some sort of sign.
Years later, while checking some papers, Howard was accidentally hit by Tony's remote controlled car. He gets angry at Tony, thinking Tony was just wasting his time.
Even more years later, he went to talk to Tony and told him that he ploughed through school for a reason. Tony simply replied that he can't conquer the world while he works on his tan. Edwin Jarvis then entered and told Howard that Maria was waiting for him in the car. Howard then leaves. Sometime later, Howard died.
Sometime later, Howard and Obadiah Stane were responsible for the development of many weapons for the U.S. military. Together they participated in the Manhattan Project, the United States operation which developed the atomic bombs which ended the Second World War. Along with government associates, Howard has become a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Howard created the Stark Expo, a world wide technology fair where the world's new technology would be presented to show a bright future for mankind.
He met a woman called Maria with whom he had a son, Tony. Howard never showed his son any love. However, deep down, he cared about his son. Howard and Maria were seemingly killed in a car accident on December 17, 1991 when Tony was 20. In reality, they had become a true menace for Zola's new HYDRA. In response, an allegedly-Soviet assassin, The Winter Soldier (really Howard's old WWII ally, Bucky Barnes) was hired to kill both him and his wife.
Stark, who had co-created the arc reactor technology with Anton Vanko, left Tony a message telling him that he had lacked the technology to create a new element at the time, so he embedded the atomic structure of the new element in the disguised form of the blueprint of the Stark Expo layout and assumed that future technology would be able to synthesize the material. Howard also called Tony his greatest creation. After examining the Expo model, Tony discovered the new element, noting that his father was still taking him to school even after being dead for over two decades. The new element was the key to a safer and more powerful arc reactor, which Tony needed to power the electromagnet protecting his heart without poisoning his blood, as the previous arc reactor had been. Creating a miniature accelerator in his basement lab, Tony was able to synthesize the new element, upgrade the design of the arc reactor to clean his blood, and construct a new, more powerful armor using the new reactor.
Howard Stark's file was among the ones Rogers studied after his awakening in the present day.
Howard's past association with Captain America was brought up when Tony noted that his father talked about Cap a great deal, although Tony initially expressed doubt towards Rogers' abilities until he saw the super soldier in action.
The Winter Soldier murdered Howard and Maria Stark on December 16, 1991, although it was made to look like an accident as seemingly no one suspected anyone involved in their deaths. He punched Howard repeatedly in the face and then strangled Maria to death.
After traveling back in time to 1970 at Camp Lehigh to steal both the Tesseract and more Pym Particles, Tony Stark inadvertently ran into Howard and was shocked to see his father. Tony quickly covered by claiming his name was Howard Potts and Howard escorted his son out of the building, none the wiser to his identity. The two men discussed fatherhood, Maria currently being pregnant with Tony. After learning that Tony had a daughter, Howard commented he hoped he had a girl and admitted to his own failures. With a new perspective on his father, Tony told Howard that for most of his life he always thought badly of Howard, but now he only remembered the good times. To Howard's shock, Tony hugged him before departing with Steve Rogers. Watching them leave, Howard questioned Edwin Jarvis if Tony seemed familiar, but Jarvis brushed the familiarity off.
Howard was a brilliant scientist and inventor, with a genius-level I.Q., but often puts his work above everything, family included, thus; gaining his son's disrespect. As a young man, he was similar to what Tony would have become; extremely brilliant and intelligent, but also a daredevil.
Although Howard displays himself as something of a womanizer in public, it's implied that this was an act when he tells Steve that he doesn't bother with women, but rather focuses on his work ("the moment you think you know what's going on in a woman's head is the moment your goose is well and truly cooked. Me, i focus on work, which right now is about making sure you and your men don't get killed").
In Howard's later years, according to Tony Stark; he was a cold and calculating individual, he also respected his good friend, Steve Rogers so much to the point that he had a habit of talking about him non-stop, Howard was also quite sarcastic, a trait he carried with him until his death, he also believed sarcasm was correlated to an individual's intellectual potential, possibly stemming from his own intellect and sarcasm.
Howard loved his son, Tony very much, but he never openly express this to the latter, his relationship with his son became strained to the point that Tony believe his father wanted to be rid of him, so much, that he believed Howard's happiest day was when he sent him off to boarding school, possibly due to Howard always being cold to his son, as the last time Howard saw Tony when he was still alive, the two were cold to each other.
- Genius Level-Intellect: Howard was highly intelligent, as he was one of the most intelligent individuals on the planet. His mind operates in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. He was far ahead of his time during WWII creating weapons that would be called science fiction. Howard was one of the head scientist behind "Project: Rebirth".
- Master Engineer: Howard was an excellent engineer and mechanic. He created Captain America's shield comprised of Vibranium. He built the Arc Reactor which powers the Iron Man armor.
- Master Scientist: Howard was brilliant in several scientific fields, having helped in the creation of Captain America in Project Rebirth, theorized a new element (despite not being able to create it in his lifetime, due to limited technology) helped develop the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project, and created many formidable inventions, most notably molecular Nitramene and Midnight Oil, which were all devastating in the wrong hands.
- Master Businessman: Howard was extremely well respected in the business world, he was able to built up Stark Industries into a multimillion dollar company from virtually nothing.
- Master Pilot: Howard was the best civilian pilot during the war as stated by Peggy Carter.
- Professional Womanizer: Howard was well known for his womanizing skills that were so efficient that they are considered legendary, even some men have fallen victim to his charms. This skill was seen when he quickly seduced the women in Peggy's apartment, the Griffith Hotel.
- Maria Stark - Wife; deceased.
- Tony Stark - Son; deceased.
- Pepper Potts - Daughter-in-law.
- Morgan Stark - Granddaughter.
- Edwin Jarvis - Friend and butler; deceased.
- Abraham Erskine - Ally and colleague; deceased.
- Chester Phillips - Ally and work colleague.
- Peggy Carter - Friend and work colleague; deceased.
- Steve Rogers/Captain America - World War II ally.
- Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier - World War II ally turned unwilling killer.
- Timothy Dugan - Work colleague and friend.
- HYDRA - Enemies.
- Johann Fennhoff - Enemy.
- Dorothy Underwood - Enemy.
- Howling Commandos - Work colleagues.
- Nick Fury - Work colleague.
- Obadiah Stane - Friend and business partner; deceased.
- Anton Vanko - Business partner turned enemy; deceased.
- Hank Pym - Former research and development consultant at S.H.I.E.L.D and ex-friend.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (11 films)
- Iron Man (First appearance) - Gerard Sanders
- Iron Man 2 - John Slattery
- Captain America: The First Avenger - Dominic Cooper
- The Avengers (Mentioned only)
- Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter - Dominic Cooper
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Photos only) - Dominic Cooper
- Avengers: Age of Ultron - (Mentioned only)
- Ant-Man - John Slattery
- Captain America: Civil War - John Slattery
- Spider-Man: Homecoming - (Mentioned only)
- Avengers: Endgame - John Slattery
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (2 TV series)
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Agent Carter - Dominic Cooper
- Season 1
- Season 2
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (3 comics)
Behind the scenes
To be added
- When the film rights to Iron Man belonged to New Line Cinema, early scripts had Iron Man pitted against Howard, who would become War Machine.
- Howard Stark's scenes in Iron Man 2 were inspired by Walt Disney's promotional videos.
- A deleted scene from the Avengers features Steve Rogers looking at Howard's SHIELD file. According to this, his birthday was 8/15/1917, he was 5'10" and 180 lbs.