These Clues From Marvel Comics Could Reveal Tony Stark & Pepper Potts’s Family Future

by Danielle Burgos

Long-time Marvel comics readers must have a love-hate relationship with the booming popularity of MCU movies. On the one hand, beloved characters make the leap to the big screen, and more people know who and what you're talking about. On the other hand, the films often differ wildly from established comic lore, and what's in the movies becomes general canon. The relationship between Pepper Potts and Tony Stark is a perfect example. While it seemed in Infinity War like the two of them had been on the brink of making a major life change, Tony and Pepper don't have kids in the comics.

At least, that's the short answer. But let's get into the weeds. For starters, in the comics, Pepper and Tony didn't even get together until quite recently. Pepper first appeared in Iron Man's life in 1963, in the Marvel comic Tales Of Suspense #45. While she had a crush on Tony, she ended up falling in love with and marrying Tony's bodyguard Happy Hogan — they eloped in 1967's Tales Of Suspense #91.

After multiple attacks on both their lives from Iron Man enemies, Happy and Pepper moved away to start a family; they couldn't conceive, so they adopted. Theirs was a rocky relationship, divorcing and remarrying, with Pepper and Tony having a fling between. When she and Happy got back together, Pepper became pregnant, but lost the baby due to stress after Tony gave her a remote that could shut Iron Man down, and sole responsibility to use it.

Happy was badly injured during the events of the comic arc Civil War, ending up in a vegetative state. Pepper asked Tony to take Happy off of life support, and only after that did she and Tony begin a full-on romantic relationship, despite years of the same professional teasing seen in the MCU movies. Since then, she and Tony haven't had any children in the comics, though Invincible Iron Man #500 gives an interesting peek into the near-future.

The comic presents an alternate future where Iron Man enemy Mandarin took over Earth. In a vision, Pepper saw Tony and their son, Howard Stark III, sacrifice themselves to stop Mandarin's reign, while her granddaughter Ginny continued their fight as Madame Mask. At the end of the comic it's revealed via Howard's tombstone he was 41 years old, meaning if he were going to be born, it would be in 2012, the year following the comic's publication date.

While Pepper and Tony don't have any official, canon children in the comics, that hasn't stopped rampant fan speculation that a baby Stark plays a big role in Avengers: Endgame. And there's no reason it should — clearly the comics and movies, while intertwined, are two different beasts. And as Comic Book Resources reports, Gwyneth Paltrow may have let a major spoiler slip in a print interview for Official Avengers: Infinity War magazine. "Pepper and Tony have had a real long journey together. She obviously starts as his dutiful assistant, and then the relationship evolves, and now this decade later they're married, and they have a child," Paltrow said.

There's a lot to unpack in that sentence — implying that Avengers: Endgame includes a time jump of over a decade, that Pepper and Tony are married and have a kid? Fans have been on this for a while now — Reddit user ak2sup posits that a seemingly throwaway mention Tony made in Infinity War of a dream where they had a kid named Morgan is actually a causal loop, an echo of a time ripple from an alternate universe where Doctor Strange never interrupted Tony and Pepper's dinner.

Other fans noted that Ty Simpkins, who played wunder-urchin Harley Keener in Iron Man 3, was reprising his role in Endgame — perhaps a non-biological continuation of the Stark legacy?

All questions will ultimately be answered when Endgame hits theaters, but for now, speculation on Potts/Stark progeny will continue to keep fans wondering.