Summary

  • Tony Stark has a knack for giving clever and sometimes biting nicknames to his fellow Avengers, using pop culture references to hit them where it hurts.
  • From calling Trevor Slattery “Ringo” to dubbing Ultron “Junior,” Stark’s nicknames reveal his sarcastic nature and highlight the similarities between himself and these characters.
  • Stark’s nicknames not only provide comic relief but also deepen the dynamic between characters, such as his playful banter with Spider-Man and his unexpected friendship with Nebula.


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There’s a lot that MCU fans will miss about Tony Stark now that he’s gone. MCU audiences will miss his adventures as Iron Man, his friendship with Rhodey, his father-son relationship with Peter Parker, his contentious love-hate rivalry with Steve Rogers – the list is endless. But perhaps most potently, Iron Man fans will miss the nicknames he used to make fun of every other character around him in upcoming MCU installments without the beloved Marvel hero.

Rather than refer to his enemies and fellow Avengers by their actual names, Tony Stark would often cut right to their core with a poignant pop culture reference. Throughout his many appearances in the MCU timeline, Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man has been nothing short of a quip-master. He’s also great with bestowing tongue-in-cheek monikers upon his peers, as some of Tony Stark nicknames have the power to sting the MCU’s heroes and villains alike.

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“Ringo” For Trevor Slattery

Iron Man 3

Stark calls Trevor Slattery, AKA the fake Mandarin, several names throughout the runtime of Iron Man 3. These include “Sir Laurence Olivier” and “Meryl Streep,” which focus on Slattery’s pseudo-profession as an actor, though he’s not in the same league as those two acting legends.

He also calls Slattery “Ringo,” which is a reference to the Beatles member that is traditionally joked about as being the least popular member of the group. Like Starr, Slattery also has a thick Liverpudlian accent, and it goes a long way to making the nickname work as well as the character, especially in his appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

“Junior” For Ultron

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

An almost aggressive arrogance is an unmistakable Tony Stark trait and Ultron could not be more indicative of it. This is even conveyed in a single word: “Junior.” Ultron is spouting intimidating dialogue, speaking of how he’ll make things better, but really, he’s trying to take over the world. Then, from behind him, Stark decreases his thrusters and lands with “Aw, junior. You’re gonna break your old man’s heart.” Ultron is the version of Stark that goes off the rails and referring to him as a son sheds light on their similarities.

“Spider-Boy” For Spider-Man

Captain America: Civil War

Stark’s Avengers nicknames are best when they’re directed towards new members. His dialogue with Peter Parker produces some of the great quotes that prove Iron Man is the best Avenger in the MCU. When audiences are first introduced to Parker and Aunt May, it’s in a relatively small apartment. Then, Stark and Parker go to his even smaller, cluttered bedroom. While Parker is having this familiar stranger poke around his things, a raggedy suit falls down. Stark asks what Parker is calling himself, “Spider-Boy?” Parker timidly replies that he’s a man, not a boy. It’s a great moment and serves for a laugh just as much as it serves to quickly deepen the two characters’ dynamic.

“Ratchet” For Rocket

Avengers: Endgame

Of the Marvel nicknames, Stark’s name for Ratchet in Avengers: Endgame is probably the most humorous for gamers. It’s a play on the titular main character of the Sony Ratchet & Clank series, most of which are as innovative and entertaining as Endgame.

In those games, Ratchet is what’s known as a Lombax: a furry, friendly alien creature with a quick wit. Stark’s comparison between Rocket and Ratchet makes sense, given their shared love of gadgets and weapons. Not to mention the fact that their names are extremely similar, making this nickname a winner.

“Thumbelina” For Ant-Man

Avengers: Endgame

Of the Tony Stark nicknames, “Thumbelina” is probably the best example of cross-promotion. Thumbelina is an animated movie from the ’90s written and directed by former Disney employee and long-time competitor, Don Bluth. When Disney+ became a streaming giant, Thumbelina was added to their library. This bit of rights and distribution history makes Stark’s Ant-Man-directed quip extra layered.

“Triple Imposter” For Black Widow

Iron Man 2

Tony Stark first meets Natasha Romanoff when she’s hired to his team in Iron Man 2. It’s revealed later in the movie that Romanoff is a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and has been working undercover to make sure that Stark is safe and stays in line. Stark was shocked and upset that S.H.I.E.L.D was keeping tabs on him and that he didn’t suspect that Romanoff was an agent at all. It’s not his most clever nickname, which is what makes it funnier when it’s revealed and he’s not even sure what to say, so he goes with calling her a triple imposter.

“Reindeer Games” For Loki

The Avengers

Tony Stark calls LokiReindeer Gamesin the first movie when he first meets him. Although Stark is probably referring to the less-than-stellar movie starring Charlize Theron and Ben Affleck, it’s more about Loki’s appearance. The first time they meet, Loki has his helmet on with the elongated horns that Stark targets as a part of his wardrobe he can poke fun at by comparing him to a reindeer. It also refers to the fact that Loki is bullying people in the streets in Avengers as reindeer games is also an expression.

“Point Break” For Thor

The Avengers

Tony Stark gives the God of Thunder Thor multiple nicknames throughout the MCU but one of the most memorable ones is when Stark called him “Point Break” in the first Avengers movie and kept bringing it up throughout other movies. Why is Thor called Point Break? Stark calls him this to reference Patrick Swayze’s long blonde-haired character Bodhi in the movie of the same name.

“Forehead Of Security” For Happy Hogan

Iron Man 3

Happy Hogan looking serious at someone off-screen in Iron Man

In Iron Man 3 Happy is promoted to Tony Stark’s head of security and Tony is immediately annoyed by how thorough he is. It’s in character, as Tony is usually annoyed with detailed bureaucracy and rules because he wants to do whatever he wants. Happy is overzealous in his new position and views everyone as a threat and Tony quickly gives him this nickname.

“Jolly Green” For Hulk

Avengers: Endgame

In Avengers: Endgame, Bruce Banner has struck a balance between his two personas as he’s able to be Hulk with Banner’s more calm nature and smarts. When Tony returns and sees the changed Bruce he calls him “Jolly Green.” It’s a great new nickname for him referring to the “Jolly Green Giant” as he’s still a Green Giant as Hulk, but he has Bruce’s more jolly demeanor.

“Super Secret Boy Band” For The Avengers

Iron Man

Nick Fury and Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 in the diner

Nick Fury approaches Tony Stark about his idea to create a group of superheroes that work together to face any possible alien threat that S.H.I.E.L.D can’t handle on their own. Tony, at first, thinks it’s a ridiculous idea and tells Fury just that, as he calls the unformed team a super-secret boy band and doesn’t really think that it would work. Of course, he’s proven wrong when The Avengers are formed, but it’s still a hilarious nickname that predates The Avengers name.

“The Wizards” For Dr. Strange And Wong

Avengers: Infinity War

Doctor Strange and Wong Marvel

Dr. Strange and Wong appear out of thin air to help The Avengers fight Thanos, and Tony and Bruce are both surprised to see them and try to understand their superpowers. Tony instead calls them the wizards and they all join in fighting against Thanos. Tony tries to get Bruce to transform into the Hulk, but Bruce isn’t able to and Tony hilariously says that Bruce is “embarrassing [him] in front of the wizards.

“Blue Meanie” For Nebula

Avengers: Endgame

Tony and Nebula are the only two to survive Thanos’ snap among the group comprised of Iron Man, the Guardians, Dr. Strange, and Spider-Man, so the two try to take a ship and try to get back to Earth, only to become trapped within it. They’re stranded for a long time between Infinity War and Endgame when they run out of fuel and are left drifting in space.

The two begin to bond and actually become friends, as Tony teaches Nebula to play paper football games, and she gives him her last rations. Here, Tony gives Nebules the nickname Blue Meanie, from The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine movie, and although it’s a funny nickname, it also reflects the care he’s grown to feel for his unusual space ally.

“Shakespeare In The Park” For Thor

The Avengers

Thor Avengers 2012

Thor flies down to Earth to try to stop his brother Loki before he can wreak havoc on Midgard. Tony and Steve have already caught Loki when a lightning storm begins that brings Thor and the three meet for the first time. Tony immediately hones in on Thor’s appearance, and particularly his cape as he asks, “doth mother know you weareth her drapes?” and calls him Shakespeare in the Park to reflect his antiquated style.

“Mr. Clean” For Drax

Avengers: Infinity War

Drax

Tony meets the Guardians of the Galaxy in Avengers: Infinity War and he swiftly gives them all nicknames based on their appearances. Tony calls Drax Mr. Clean – in reference to the bald cleaning product mascot – and after he says it, the resemblance is something the audience can’t unsee, making it one of the most unusual and entertaining monikers Iron Man gives a character.

“P***ant” For Ant-Man

Avengers: Endgame

Scott in his Ant-Man costume without his helmet in Avengers Endgame

After 2012’s Hulk incidentally screws up the 2012 part of the “time heist” plan, Ant-Man gets mad at Tony while Tony thinks of a backup plan and says, “Thanks for the pep talk, p***ant.” The nickname is one of Iron Man’s cruder ones, but continues a trend of combining heroes real or superhero names with other words to create a punny title for them.

“Manchurian Candidate” For Bucky

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Bucky talks to Steve in Avengers Infinity War

Tony uses the nickname “Manchurian Candidate” for Bucky, Captain America’s childhood best friend who was brainwashed by the government to become a feared assassin named “the Winter Soldier.” He killed Tony’s parents and was sent after Steve before the superhero snapped him out of it.

The nickname was taken from the title of Richard Condon’s 1959 novel The Manchurian Candidate, which was about the U.S. government brainwashing Americans to be killers. There was a 1962 film adaptation of the book that was praised as one of the finest political thrillers in cinema history, and Denzel Washington also starred in a remake in 2004.

“Legolas” For Hawkeye

The Avengers

Hawkeye falling through the air as he fires an arrow from his bow in The Avengers

In The Avengers, as Iron Man flies Hawkeye up to get a better vantage point for his archery in the Battle of New York, he calls him “Legolas.” Legolas, of course, is the elven archer played by Orlando Bloom in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, making it abundantly clear why Tony thought this was a good nickname.

“Build-A-Bear” For Rocket

Baby Groot on Rocket Racoon's shoulder in Guardians of the Galaxy Movie

When Tony first properly meets Rocket in Avengers: Endgame, he’s just come back to Earth from what he thought was his deathbed out in the depth of space. In the middle of an emotional speech about the “suit of armor around the world” that Steve Rogers wouldn’t let him create after Ultron’s rampage a few years earlier, he tells Rocket, “Honestly, until this exact second, I thought you were a Build-A-Bear.” Like Tony, Rocket has been known to pass out insults to other MCU heroes, like “Star-Munch,” but he receives back just as many, like “Trash panda,” or the worst one, “Raccoon.”

“Underoos” For Spider-Man

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Tom Holland as Spider-Man with Cap's shield in Captain America: Civil War

Iron Man always had a very special relationship with Spider-Man. He was the one who recruited him to join the battle in Berlin in Captain America: Civil War, he was the one who mentored him to be his own hero throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming, and in the last couple of Avengers movies, they had to watch each other die. In their first battle together – the one in Berlin that tied Civil War together – Iron Man calls Spider-Man “Underoos.” Underoos, of course, was a brand of onesie in the ‘70s that allowed kids to dress as their favorite superheroes in t-shirt and brief form.

“Capsicle” For Captain America

The Avengers

Frozen Captain America in the MCU

The first Avengers movie set the stage for a number of different partnerships within the Avengers line-up, but the one that came to a head and paid off in Endgame was the pessimism of tech-savvy billionaire Tony Stark versus the optimism of old-timey soldier Steve Rogers. At one point, Tony calls Cap “Capsicle” in reference to the 70 years he spent cryogenically frozen. The “Capsicle” joke works on a few different levels: it works as a play on “popsicle,” it works as a portmanteau of “Captain” and “icicle,” and it works as a play as Captain America’s own adopted nickname “Cap.”

“Rock of Ages” For Loki

The Avengers

Loki sitting in a throne in a promotional image for Thor: The Dark World

Rock of Ages is a hit Broadway musical that takes jabs at the hair metal culture of the ‘80s, so the cast members all have long, flowing, ridiculous hairstyles. That’s why Tony Stark calls Loki “Rock of Ages” in 2012’s The Avengers. The God of Mischief was the worst threat that Earth’s mightiest heroes had faced up to this point – in fact, he was the first-ever threat they faced as a team – and so Tony felt the need to take the air out of his tires. Not only is this an apt nickname, but it’s also characteristic of Tony to make a Broadway reference since he lives in New York City.

“Squidward” For Ebony Maw

Avengers: Endgame

Ebony Maw shushing Thor in Avengers Infinity War

The Tony Stark storyline in Infinity War was one of the most exciting, as it paired him up with an intellectual match and an ideological opposite in Stephen Strange and deepened his father-son relationship with Peter Parker (and they were later joined by the Guardians of the Galaxy).

RELATED: 15 Best Avengers: Infinity War Quotes

Near the beginning of the movie, the three find themselves aboard a Q-Ship with Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’ most trusted minions. Due to his miserable face and giant, dangling nose, Tony gave Maw the nickname “Squidward,” taken from the title character’s curmudgeonly neighbor in the iconic kids’ cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants.

“Flash Gordon” For Peter Quill

Avengers: Infinity War

Peter Quill flying his ship

It’s been interesting to see how Peter Quill clashes with the Avengers in multiple Marvel movies. When he meets Thor, he tries to impersonate his deep voice and regal English accent. When he meets Tony Stark, he tries to best him intellectually and fails every time.

The difference is that Thor has the patience to deal with Quill’s immaturity, whereas Tony does not. When they first meet in Infinity War, Tony calls Quill “Flash Gordon” – in reference to the 1980s sci-fi hero – and Quill tries to counterstrike by saying that he considers “Flash Gordon” to be a compliment, as the 50% of him that is human and stupid is 100% of Tony (although the math doesn’t quite add up).

“Lebowski” For Thor

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers Endgame Thor Stormbreaker Mjolnir Chris Hemsworth

Tony Stark had a few nicknames for Thor in the MCU, with the best-known one being “Point Break,” but the last one before his death was “Lebowski”, in reference to the movie character of the same name. After being given this nickname, the God of Thunder can be seen in Avengers: Endgame with the same sunglasses, cardigans, and day-drinking of Jeff Bridges’ lead character in the Coens’ cult hit The Big Lebowski, though for Thor these aspects of his character are less reflections of a chill attitude and more reflective of him struggling with his grief after Avengers: Infinity War.

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