Harley Keener is a young man from Tennessee who had crossed paths with Tony Stark when the latter broke into his garage, seeking shelter and food. Keener allied with Stark in his quest to prevent the series of terrorist attacks and uncover the enigmatic Extremis program. Despite being attacked by Eric Savin, Keener proved to be a useful ally, as he had tended to the Mark XLII Armor in Stark's absence and helped track down the Mandarin in Miami.
Over the next years, Keener and Stark kept in touch, becoming closer friends. Eleven years after he met him, Keener attended Stark's funeral after Stark sacrificed his life to defeat Thanos and his forces during the Battle of Earth.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Personality
- 3 Abilities
- 4 Equipment
- 5 Facilities
- 6 Relationships
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Behind the Scenes
- 9 References
Harley Keener was born and raised in Rose Hill, Tennessee. When he was four years old, Harley was abandoned by his father, who left in 2006 and never returned, supposedly with the excuse of going to 7-Eleven to get lottery tickets, leaving him with his mother and younger sister.
Meeting Tony Stark
One night around Christmas, Keener became aware of an intruder in his garage and, armed with a potato gun, accosted the man. The intruder turned out to be Tony Stark, and the unexpected arrival was made even more impressive by the presence of Stark's latest prototype Iron Man armor. While discussing Stark's situation, the boy and inventor quickly developed a rapport as Keener agreed to help him.
After providing supplies, Keener brought Stark to a location that had been the site of an explosion with a rare thermal signature, and then to Mrs. Davis whose son had been the cause of the event. That meeting did not go as planned, with Stark encountering Ellen Brandt and Eric Savin, two Extremis-infused agents also intent on finding the woman. The ensuing fight spilled back outside where Savin encountered Keener and used him as a hostage to ensure Stark's compliance. Keener was able to break free from the situation using a flash grenade that Stark had supplied earlier as a bully-deterrent.
Supervising the Mark XLII
Despite Keener's earlier assistance, Tony Stark had left him by the roadside while he drove away to pursue the mysteries he was chasing. Keener's persistence in communicating with the inventor had a fortunate outcome while the two were in telephone communication. He snapped Stark out of an anxiety attack by pointing out that Stark's nature was to be a mechanic, and therefore he should simply build something. That gave Stark renewed focus and drew him back to Keener's garage to improvise a new series of gadgets with which to give him an edge while his armor was out of commission.
Present from the Mechanic
After Tony Stark left to continue his vendetta, Keener was left to continue his mundane life. Not long after the encounter with the wayward mechanic, Keener came home from school to find his garage packed with new equipment, from computers to robotics, and was overjoyed. On a table was a more personal gift with a placard that read, "Potato Gun Mark II" and regards from "The Mechanic".
Tony Stark's Funeral
In 2023, Keener attended Tony Stark's funeral at the Stark Eco-Compound. During the funeral, Keener thought that after having been in touch with Stark all those years, he had since come to see him as the only father-figure he ever had.
Harley is a young boy who is quite intelligent for his age. Even though his intelligence is not as high as Tony Stark's, Harley is smart enough to build a potato gun that shoots like an actual gun and can come up with suggestions to improve and fix the Mark XLII armor.
Harley is shown to be very talkative as he constantly annoys Tony and nearly causes him to have anxiety attacks. Harley's chatty behavior likely stems from the fact that his father left him at a young age, along with the fact of having no friends. When meeting Tony, Harley immediately grew to see the famous billionaire superhero as a father figure, followed him around, and put himself in danger to protect Tony from Extremis Soldiers. Harley even tried to get Tony to stay with him by giving him the guilt trip and using an adorable manner, although it failed. Despite this, Harley was kept in touch with Tony, helped repair his armor, and gave him advice to use his mechanical skills to fight against A.I.M. and Aldrich Killian.
After the Battle on the Norco, Harley kept in touch with Tony who rewarded him with new equipment, from computers to robotics, in his garage and a new potato gun that said "Potato Gun Mark II". Harley's friendship with Tony would last for many years where a depressed Harley would attend Tony's funeral after the latter sacrificed him during the Battle of Earth to pay his respects to the man he considered as a father-figure.
- Marksman: Despite his young age, Keener is shown to have some skill in marksmanship. He accurately shot a potato at a glass bottle with his Potato Gun during his first encounter with Tony Stark. During the Battle of Rose Hill, Keener accurately threw a snow ball at Eric Savin to prevent him from shooting Stark.
- Potato Gun: Keener used a homemade potato gun that he had made in his garage when he first encountered and confronted Tony Stark, shooting a potato at a glass bottle to prove the accuracy of the gun to Stark. He was later provided an upgraded version of the gun dubbed "Mark II" by Stark.
- Keener Residence: To be added
- Harley Keener is the first child to be a main character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Behind the Scenes
- Harley Keener was created by Shane Black, who pitched the idea of a superhero running into a little kid in heartland America, a decision which Robert Downey, Jr. opened to be "a wise choice and a calculated risk" to the storyline of Iron Man 3.
- At the suggestion of former DMG president Chris Fenton, Harley was at one point considered to be made a Chinese exchange student whose father transferred to the U.S. for business reasons. Fenton wanted the character to act as an homage to then upcoming leader Xi Jinping in the hopes that it will be "the ultimate cultural bridge between the world's only two superpowers". The idea was shot down because it "[felt] like an infomercial for China".
- Ty Simpkins signed on a three-picture deal to play Harley Keener in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Iron Man 3 being the first movie of the deal.
- When Ty Simpkins was called to make a comeback in Avengers: Endgame, he was about to do an audition and was on his way to a baseball practice but when his manager told him that he was being considered to reprise his role, he yelled so much in the car with his mom, whom he didn't initially tell about Harley's cameo as it wasn't a sure thing at that time.
- According to Joe Russo, the decision to include Harley Keener in Avengers: Endgame was because they just felt that he should participate in Iron Man's funeral, though he doesn't know if Harley will return in further installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Emily Brobst was a stunt double for Ty Simpkins in the role of Harley Keener.
- Iron Man 3
- Avengers: Endgame
- Iron Man 3 Star Reveals What Harley Was Thinking In Avengers: Endgame Funeral Scene
- "Iron Man 3" goes back to basics in a quest to save the U.S.
- The Iron Man 3 Kid Could Have Been Chinese, To Flatter Xi Jinping
- Iron Man 3 Exclusive: Ty Simpkins Talks Cut Kiss Scene & 3 Picture Deal
- Joe Russo's Q&A about the plot of Avengers: Endgame in China