Who he is: Howard Anthony Walter Stark
His power: No superpowers, but a scientific genius and inventor. Also? Very smooth with the ladies.
His Story: Howard Stark built his fortune and founded Stark Industries as a savvy businessman and brilliant scientist in the ’30s and ’40s, eventually working with the military on government contracts for weapons during World War II. In Captain America, he’s introduced at the Modern Marvels Of Tomorrow Expo, promising a flying car in the near future. Recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve (the forerunner of S.H.I.E.L.D.), he develops the machinery sued by Dr. Abraham Erskine that transforms Steve Rogers into Captain America. An associate of Peggy Carter’s, Stark flies Captain America into Austria to stage a rescue operation, and soon after outfits the super soldier with his signature vibranium shield. After Captain’s supposed death, Stark spent months searching for the downed plane and body.
He then appears in both seasons of Agent Carter. In season one, Stark is framed for selling weapons technology to the Russians, and secretly recruits Carter to help him clear his name. He spends much of the first season in hiding, but returns during the finals days to help Peggy prove his innocence and recover the stolen tech. In the second season, Stark is living in California, having decided to try his hand at directing a movie—a vanity project if ever there was one, but don’t tell him that. Nonetheless, he is again pulled into Agent Carter’s case, helping her and Edwin Jarvis (among others) to save the world from the deadly scheme of Whitney Frost.
Howard Stark appears in video footage and flashbacks in Iron Man 2, Ant-Man, and Captain America: Civil War, as an older and more settled businessman. Tony Stark discovers footage of his father discussing the Ark Reactor and the elements needed to power it—elements not yet possible at the time, so he bequeathed the plans to his son. n Ant-Man, he appears in a brief sequence in which Dr. Hank Pym quits the Strategic Scientific Reserve (an antecedent to S.H.I.E.L.D.) to prevent it from acquiring his shrinking formula. Lastly, we see him in a flashback from Tony Stark’s memory at the start of Civil War, in the last encounter father and son had before the former’s death at the hands of The Winter Soldier. (A scene we eventually see in video footage, as does Tony Stark—which doesn’t go too well.)
Played by: Gerard Sanders in Iron Man; Dominic Cooper in Captain America and Agent Carter; and John Slattery in Iron Man 2, Ant-Man, and Captain America: Civil War
Currently, Howard Stark is: R.I.P.
Where will we see him next? As ever, only in the odd flashbacks or old footage.