What roles Tony Stark and Rhodey might play in Captain Marvel (if any)


It’s still hypothetical, but after the Captain Marvel directors mentioned Tony Stark in an interview about Carol Danvers, we’re suspicious that Tony Stark and James Rhodes might have small cameos in the film.

The amount of Captain Marvel-related rumors is continuously growing. While some of the rumors about the production might be misdirections to keep us from predicting any major or minor plot points, that won’t stop us from developing new theories with each rumor and cast interview.

After all, fan theories are part of the fun of comic books and superhero movies. Apart from the rumors about Carol’s ability to time travel, the fact that Goose might be a Flerken (like Chewie in the comics), and our own Skrull-related theories, an interview with the film’s directors has us speculating whether Tony Stark and James Rhodes will have cameos in Captain Marvel.

During a Fandango interview with Captain Marvel directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, they subtly mentioned Tony Stark. While the director could have just used this to help illustrate the current timeline of events in the MCU, we know that this is Marvel Studios, and something else could be going on here.

When asked about how Captain Marvel fits in the timeline, Boden and Fleck said:

"Anna Boden: All we can say is this is a ’90s film, a ’90s period film. Where Sam Jackson is a younger version of Nick Fury.Ryan Fleck: And Tony Stark hasn’t figured out how to become Iron Man yet, so …Anna Boden: That’s all we can say."

Could their comments just be a simple reference to the character who started the MCU as we know it? Potentially. Regardless, we’re going to delve into some possible scenarios to help keep our anticipation at bay while we wait for Captain Marvel to finally hit theaters on March 8.

As we know, Tony and Rhodey both met because they’re MIT alumni. During the Iron Man trilogy, Tony referenced a Spring break trip the two shared, and since they both wear MIT graduation rings, we can infer that at least at some point in their academic careers, they crossed paths at the university.

Since Carol’s film predominately takes place in the 1990s, we can also assume that Tony has already graduated, seeing as he earned his undergrad in ’87 when he was 15. Though Tony hasn’t become Iron Man yet, you still the same technologist brainiac. He doesn’t have a degree in psychology to help Carol with her impending post-manipulation coping mechanism (thanks to the Kree’s mind control).

However, a vague reference about Tony could mean some technology he’s invented at that point could help Carol in some context. Whether it helps Carol fight Thanos in Avengers: Endgame or it helps her recover her memories, it’s uncertain.

Even if some of her pre-Iron Man tech could help Carol or the Kree in some context, that doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll actually meet Tony in her titular film, especially since the movie is about her. Although she probably won’t meet him on-screen until at least Avengers: Endgame, we could possibly see flashbacks of her and Rhodey.

Both Carol and James were in the U.S. Air Force. While we’re unsure when and how the MCU timeline will construct the trio’s first official on-screen meeting, it’s very possible that Carol and Rhodey’s on-screen counterparts met in the Air Force. Seeing a familiar face, like Rhodey, while she and Nick Fury retrace her steps on Earth could help Carol regain some of her memories.

Though seeing Maria Rambeau again will likely ignite some old memories the Kree tried to suppress, that doesn’t mean we can’t see a younger Rhodey on an Air Force based in a flashback or real-time events. Apart from regaining her memories, Carol, Tony, and Rhodey are all canonically friends (and Rhodey and Carol also dated in the comics).

From Carol’s various comic appearances, we know that she, Tony, and Rhodey all have unique individual relationships with one another. All three are super-pals. Being a recovering alcoholic, Tony helping Carol with her own alcohol addiction is one of the more noteworthy moments from the trio’s supportive shenanigans. However, they all take turns helping each other, whether that’s with advice, emotional support, or trying to talk sense into one another on or off the battlefield.

While her film won’t be able to get to the multitudes of their friendships and how they all deeply impact one another, Rhodey and Tony are both important and supportive people in Carol’s lives. Without them in her heroic uprising (to some extent), it’s arguable that her identity as a hero and as a civilian wouldn’t be the same.

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Just like we wouldn’t be the same people without our support group, we hope that Tony Stark and James Rhodes have important roles in Carol’s upcoming film (or at least her in her continued narrative in the MCU).