Marvel Cinematic Universe

Howard Stark

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Howard Stark
Real Name Howard Anthony Walter Stark
Species Human
Citizenship American
Gender Male
Age 74
Date of Birth August 15, 1917[1]
Date of Death December 17, 1991
Title(s) CEO of Stark Industries
Scientist of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Affiliation Strategic Scientific Reserve
Stark Industries
Movie Iron Man
Iron Man 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
The Avengers (mentioned)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (mentioned & photograph)
Ant-Man (unreleased)
One-Shot Agent Carter
TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (mentioned)
Agent Carter
Game Iron Man (mentioned)
Captain America: Super Soldier
Comic Captain America: First Vengeance
Captain America: The First Avenger Adaptation
Iron Man: I Am Iron Man! (mentioned)
Iron Man 2: Public Identity
Ant-Man Prelude
Portrayed by Dominic Cooper
John Slattery
Gerard Sanders
Voiced by Liam O'Brien
Status Deceased
"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 Stark was an inventor, engineer, businessman and founder of Stark Industries. During World War II he worked on various government projects, including the Manhattan Project and Project Rebirth. Stark also helped the Strategic Scientific Reserve fight against HYDRA. He constructed the second shield of Captain America, and after the war he discovered the Tesseract.

A year after the end of the war, Howard was framed for distributing weapons to enemies of the United States. He put his friend Peggy Carter in charge of the effort of finding proof of his innocence. Eventually his name was cleared.

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 was also one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. Eventually, Howard would push Tony away, but did care for his son and had high hopes that Tony would change the world.


Early LifeEdit

"I grew up on the lower east side. My father sold fruit. My mother sewed shirtwaists for a factory. Let me tell you, you don't get to climb the American ladder without picking up some bad habits on the way."
―Howard Stark to Peggy Carter[src]

Howard Stark was born on Wednesday, August 15, 1917 in Richford, New York[1] to a father who sold fruit and a mother who sewed shirtwaists for livings. Growing up, he learned that there were limits based on one's economical status or gender, so he became good at lying to get what he needed.[2]

He become an industrial genius, inventor, and businessman, attending multiple international conferences, such as the one where he met Doctor Abraham Erskine in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 1934.[3]

World War IIEdit

Stretegic Scientific ReserveEdit

Stark Phillips expo

Howard Stark and Colonel Chester Phillips.

"My father helped defeat Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project."
Tony Stark[src]

In 1939, Howard Stark launched Stark Industries. A year later, at Ciro's, Los Angeles, California, Howard began a demonstration which would showcase Vibranium, a metal discovered by Stark Industries researchers in Africa.

Later, Howard met with Colonel Chester Phillips after being attacked by HYDRA assassins. He agreed to join Phillip's newly created Strategic Scientific Reserve.[4]

He participated in the rescue operation where the SSR agent Peggy Carter saved Dr. Abraham Erskine from the castle of Johann Schmidt, the head of Hitler's special weapons division HYDRA.[5]

Under Stark's guidance, his company began producing planes for the American war effort following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His innovations later earned him a spot working on the Manhattan Project.[6]


Howard Stark demonstrates his flying car prototype

In 1943, Howard Stark was at the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition, demonstrating new technology that could allow cars to hover; however, the technology was not yet perfected and the car crashed to the ground. Secretly, Stark was working with the Allies in order to help in World War II, performing multiple experiments for them and working as their weapons specialist.[7]

Project RebirthEdit


Howard meeting Steve Rogers at Project Rebirth

Stark was instrumental in "Project Rebirth", the project of the SSR that Steve Rogers undergoes in order to become the U.S. Army's first super soldier. Stark built a machine that used up half of the power in Brooklyn to douse Rogers with Vita Radiation after receiving the Super Soldier Serum from Dr. Abraham Erskine. The process successfully transformed scrawny Steve Rogers into the muscular Captain America. However immediately after the experiment, Erskine was assassinated. Rogers managed to catch the assassin, who killed himself before he could be arrested. Rogers did capture the HYDRA submarine that the assassin tried to escape in and Stark was tasked with understanding its technology, which he said was years ahead of the Allies technology. [7]

With the death of Erskine, the formula of the Super Soldier Serum was lost as well. Blood samples of Steve Rogers were taken to try to recreate the serum; from the twelve taken, one was given to Howard Stark.[2]


Stark flies Captain America to a HYDRA facility

Steve Rogers was then used as propaganda and traveled to help spread encouragement and hope. Shortly before one of his performances in Italy, many soldiers were captured by the enemy. Peggy Carter convinced Stark to fly Rogers to the HYDRA factory in Austria. Stark asked Carter if she wanted to join him after the mission for a late night fondue date; Rogers thought they were already in a relationship. Rogers leapt out of the plane and he completed his mission, helping all the soldiers escape.

Howard steve-0

Howard giving Steve Rogers his shield

After the mission Stark was stationed at a secret SSR base and met with Steve Rogers again, who gave him a piece of HYDRA tech which Rogers claimed was the most power explosive known to man; Stark was doubtful but took the device for testing anyway. He explained to Rogers what he meant by the earlier fondue reference and they had a brief talk about women. Stark then showed Rogers a collection of new shields he had designed for him, as Rogers had grown attached to the one he had taken on the mission. Rogers choose a prototype Vibranium shield; while trying it on for size, Peggy Carter fired four gunshots at him to test its strength. Rogers then told Stark that he had his own ideas for his costume.

Howard energy

Stark experiments with HYDRA technology

After Steve Rogers' successful mission to the HYDRA factory, Stark was given a piece of HYDRA tech that had been captured by Steve Rogers and seemingly was powered by the Tesseract. Howard Stark and his team of scientists were tasked with testing the power source, trying to learn its potential and its origin; however when the device was touched, it exploded, shattering the glass and throwing Stark backwards. Stunned by the amount of force, Stark could only jokingly say "write that down". [7]

Losing Captain AmericaEdit

"HYDRA's secret weapon."
"Howard Stark fished that out of the ocean when he was looking for you. He thought what we think, the Tesseract could be the key to unlimited sustainable energy. That's something the world sorely needs.
Steve Rogers and Nick Fury[src]

Searching for Captain America's body

In May 1945, Captain America crashed the Valkyrie in the ocean with the Tesseract. Stark refused to abandon his friend, and charted multiple expeditions out the ocean to search for him. Though they failed in their search, they did discover the Tesseract, laying on the floor of the ocean after falling out of the Valkyrie during the crash. He attempted to figure out how the Tesseract worked, but had less than helpful results.[7]

Later, in 1945, Peggy Carter led a team including Dum Dum Dugan and Jim Morita to the HYDRA Research Facility Number 4, where Werner Reinhardt and his soldiers were arrested. The objects confiscated there, including the Obelisk, were sent to Stark to be studied. While there, Carter felt that an organization would be needed during peace time to safe guard people against dangerous technology and to monitor people like Howard Stark.[8]

After the disappearance of Captain America, Howard Stark joined the Manhattan Project and helped the Allied scientists build the first atomic bomb. The new weapon was used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced the Japanese militarist government to surrender, effectively ending World War II.[9]

Post-War LifeEdit


"Did you knowingly sell military grade technology to enemies of the United States?"
"Not knowingly."
"Did you do it unknowingly?"
"Well, by definition, that would be impossible to answer.
―Senator Webster and Howard Stark[src]
Howard Stark BW

Stark at Congressional hearings attempting to prove he's not a traitor

In January, 1946, Stark attempted to buy Roxxon Oil Corporation from Hugh Jones; the friendship and deal ended when Stark had an affair with Jones' wife.[10]

Later that year, when some of his inventions, including a document with the formula of the explosive Molecular Nitramene, were stolen. He had discovered that someone had cut a hole into the vault in his mansion when he returned from a pleasurable trip to Monaco. Congressional hearings led by Senator Webster were held to determine if Stark was a traitor when some inventions were found overseas in enemy hands.


Howard meeting with Peggy Carter before going into hiding

He decided to travel overseas to avoid being arrested and to recover his property. Howard Stark met with Peggy Carter and commissioned Carter to recover the document before it was sold on the black market. He left his butler Edwin Jarvis to assist his friend on her mission. However, his absence of the hearings caused him to be labelled a fugitive, which put him on the opposite side of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.[11]

Stark returned from overseas and was rescued from subordinates of Otto Mink by Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis. Hiding from the law, Stark went to the Griffith Hotel, much to Carter's dismay because she had to hide his presence from Miriam Fry, which Stark did not make easy with his flings with Lorraine and other tenants.


Howard gives Peggy Carter another mission and gadget

Stark asked Carter to obtain from the New York Bell Company the Blitzkrieg Button, a container holding Steve Rogers' blood. Stark figured that Rogers' blood had extraordinary abilities, including the cure for the common cold; Carter did not give Stark the sample after she obtained it. She punched and berated him for attempting to use something of their friend's for personal gain.[2]

Start of S.H.I.E.L.D.Edit


Howard and Dum Dum Dugan discussing bikinis.

In 1946, Agent John Flynn disciplined Peggy Carter for her insubordination in the 'Zodiac' case until the phone rang. Stark informed Flynn that the mission was more a notch in Carter’s belt than a feather in her cap and told Flynn that Carter was going to run S.H.I.E.L.D. with him, and that Flynn was to inform Carter and ‘let her know you’re honored to bring her the news’. Afterwards, Stark sat by a swimming pool wearing a robe later worn by his son Tony. Dum Dum Dugan sat with him as they discussed bikinis–Dum Dum asked Howard if he invented them and he said no, bikinis were French.[12]

Later YearsEdit

In 1954, 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.[13]

Stark eventually married a woman named Maria.[14]

He continued developing weapons for the United States Armed Forces during the Cold War. He met several American presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.[6]


Howard talks to his son

He also co-developed the Arc Reactor with defected Soviet scientist Anton Vanko. Though the power of the arc reactor was immense, Howard saw it as the stepping stone to create a new, stable element that would render nuclear power obsolete. However, Anton saw the arc reactor as a way to get rich and when Howard found out, he had Vanko deported.[14] Some time after that, he took on Obadiah Stane as a partner.[9]


Howard in his video message to his son

In 1970, Howard and Maria had a son, Anthony "Tony" Stark. Howard rarely showed his son any love. However, deep down, he cared about his son.[14]

Howard was limited by the technology of his time and could not finish the new element, so he embedded the atomic structure of the new element in the 1974 Stark Expo model, and a message to Tony in one of his old home movies, stating that he had high hopes that Tony could figure it out with the current technology and change the world. Howard says that Tony "is and always will be" his greatest creation.[13]

Death and LegacyEdit

"I never got to say goodbye to my father. There's questions I would've asked him. I would've asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels."
―Tony Stark[src]

Howard and Maria killed in a car "accident"

Stark became an obstacle to HYDRA's (who had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.) plans. Howard and Maria Stark were killed in an automobile "accident" secretly arranged by HYDRA on Long Island in 1991.[15] Tony Stark inherited Stark Industries becoming, at age 21, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company.[9]

After watching the 1974 message video and examining the Expo model, Tony discovered the new element, noting that his father was still teaching him even after being dead for almost 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. Creating a miniature Particle 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 create the Mark VI armor.[13]


During his early life, Howard was considered to be quite charismatic and comical. Sometime after his son's birth his personality drastically changed. Howard's relationship with Tony was seemingly a strained one as Tony, for most of his life, saw Howard as a cold, calculating man and even believed Howard wanted to be rid of Tony, so much so, he believed Howard's happiest day was when he sent Tony off to boarding school.

In reality, Howard was a loving husband and father, although it was likely Tony was too young to understand this because Howard had to balance the life of his work and a father. Howard was shown to be very cautious as he left a film message for Tony in the event he died before Tony was old enough to understand the contents of the message. The contents of the film stated Howard left something very important behind for Tony, which ended up saving his life, and stated he actually loved his son more than anything in the world, even saying Tony is, was, and always has been his greatest creation.

According to Tony, Howard had a habit of talking about Captain America non-stop.


  • Master Engineer: Howard Stark has created inventions that make his friends, like Peggy Carter, fear him and wish him monitored.
  • Master Scientist: Stark helped in the creation of Captain America, knew that Tony Stark's New Element could not be created in his lifetime, and had inventions, such as molecular Nitramene, that are devastating in the wrong hands.
  • Master Businessman: Howard Stark started a company that is viewed as the apex among its competitors.
  • Master Pilot: Peggy Carter described Stark as the best civilian pilot he had ever seen, enlisting his help to fly over enemy airspace and transport Captain America to Austria.
  • Multilingual: Stark is fluent in English, Latin, Spanish, French, Japanese and Korean.[1]

Howard Stark's DesignsEdit






Behind the ScenesEdit


2071 the-avengers-prev
The Marvel Cinematic Universe wiki has a collection of images and media related to Howard Stark.
Preceded by:
CEO of Stark Industries
Howard Stark
1939 - 1991
Succeeded by:
Tony Stark

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