The Tony Stark / Steve Rogers Relationship Timeline
The big 'Civil War' showdown has been building for a long time, but they really are friends.The first trailer for Captain America: Civil War dropped Tuesday night, and it's all about the big throwdown between Captain America and Iron Man. The two Avengers are ready to go toe-to-toe, but what lead to this? How did they go from teammates to enemies? Let's take a look back at their relationship to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been setting up this epic hero battle.
When Tony Stark first met Steve Rogers, he didn't know he was walking into a loaded situation. Long before Tony was even born, Steve knew his father, Howard Stark. And while Stark Senior was the one who built Captain America's shield, they weren't close buddies since Steve saw him as a romantic rival for Agent Peggy Carter's affections. When Steve finally asked Howard about him getting "fondue" with Peggy, Howard quipped, "Fondue is just cheese and bread my friend." Steve was never very impressed with the brash inventor, and when he met Tony he must have thought the apple didn't fall far from the tree.
2.) Oneing up the Captain
Captain America and Iron Man first run into each other while taking on Loki in The Avengers. And their entrances say a lot about their differences. Cap appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to shield an elderly man from a blast from Loki's scepter. After the two exchange a few blows, Iron Man shows up, immediately overriding a Quinjet's PA system to blast AC/DC while he puts the hurt on Loki. The two ultimately take the villain into custody together, but they couldn't have approached the situation more differently, creating instant tension that plays out in our next key moment.
3.) "Put On the Suit. Let's Go a Few Rounds"
When the Avengers first assemble, they aren't exactly fast friends. When Steve and Tony take off the suits and meet in the Helicarrier, there's instant tension. Steve tells Tony to stop "pretending to be a hero." Tony tells Steve everything special about him "came out of a bottle." Then the two square off as Steve tells him, "Put on the suit. Let's go a few rounds." Since that moment, the two have always seemed on the brink of a fight even at the best of times.
4.) Working as a team
Shortly after they square off, Cap and Iron Man find themselves working together to fend off an attack on the SHIELD Helicarrier. When a blast rocks the carrier, they run out together to fix a rotor that's been destroyed to keep the carrier in the air. Despite their differences, the scene shows that the two make a powerful team.
5.) "Call it Cap"
When all the Avengers finally make it to New York and begin fighting the invading Chitauri, Captain America emerges as the group's natural leader. But it takes Iron Man to make it happen. As the group watches another wave of Chitauri forces fly in through the portal over New York, Iron Man says, "Call it Cap." That's the moment when Chris Evans first truly embodies the comic book Captain America, doling out orders to Earth's greatest heroes — even to the Hulk. "Hulk: Smash."
6.) Tony Proves Himself to Steve
When it looks like the Avengers won't be able to stop the Chitauri, the secret council behind SHIELD orders a nuclear missile launched into Manhattan. It'll kill millions of people, but stop the Chitauri from conquering the entire world. Those losses aren't acceptable to the Avengers of course, and Iron Man take control of the missile, grabbing hold of it and guiding it through the portal and into the Chitauri mothership. The move drains his suit of power, and it looks like Iron Man made the ultimate "sacrifice move" Cap said he'd never make while they were arguing on the Helicarrier. Tony narrowly survives (thanks, Hulk!), and earns Captain America's deep respect in the process.
7.) Tony's Tech Hacked by Hydra
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cap finds himself fighting to stop SHIELD from launching a fleet of helicarriers programmed to assassinate a long list of "enhanced" individuals as soon as they come online. The tech comes straight from Tony Stark, and it foreshadows Cap's beef with Tony in Age of Ultron — that Tony doesn't think enough about the damage his work can do.
8.) The descension of The Ultron
Tony's big brain gets him and the Avengers — and the rest of the world — in deep trouble when his Ultron AI comes to life, attacks the Avengers, steals Loki's scepter, and schemes to destroy the world. Cap is not pleased with his teammate.
9.) The ascension of The Vision
Captain America loses it when he walks in on Tony and Bruce Banner transferring the JARVIS AI into the vibranium body built by Ultron. To him, it looks like Tony is repeating the exact same mistake that brought Ultron into the world. The whole team breaks into a fight that only ends with the Vision comes to life.
10.) A New Headquarters for Steve's Team
At the end of Age of Ultron, we see the Avengers at their new headquarters. After putting it all together, Tony hands the keys over to Captain America, saying he's going to "tap out" for a little while. The two of them seem like battle-tested friends at this point, and they clearly have respect for each other.
11.) The Sokovia Accords
Clearly something gets between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark after Age of Ultron and before Civil War. That something is glimpsed in the Civil War trailer, and it's a document that reads, "Sokovia Accords: Framework for the Registration and Deployment of Enhanced Individuals." After the events of Age of Ultron, the world's governments aren't content to let the likes of Captain America and Iron Man act on their own whims and decide their own targets. So they've drafted the "Sokovia Accords" to start tracking and controlling the world's "Enhanced Individuals." Tony Stark thinks it's necessary while Steve Rogers clearly thinks it's a terrible idea.
12.) Friends No More?
The highlight of the first Civil War trailer is a three-way battle between Captain America, Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier), and Iron Man. In the clip, Cap expresses his regret that it's come to this before he and Bucky fight Iron Man together.
"Sorry Tony," he says. "You know I wouldn't do this if I had any other choice. But he's my friend."
A clearly hurt Tony says, "So was I."
In the end
Although he has made some questionable decisions, the MCU Tony Stark has undeniably been a superhero. Obviously Baron Zemo is filling the role of main antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, but when the "war" kicks off, Tony will definitely play the role of working against the titular hero, instead of with him. After all, this is Captain America’s movie, and while Tony is one of Marvel’s most popular characters, we can’t be rooting for him when it’s the Star-Spangled Avenger that’s set up as the central protagonist. Let’s just hope he doesn’t come off looking as bad as he did in the comics. We may not necessarily agree with him, but we can at least still respect him… for the most part.