In Marvel Comics, Tony Stark aka Iron Man can be considered one of the “pillar” characters tying together the various superhero stories (and later their separate comic book titles) into one shared universe. After all, he was the first leader of the comic-book Avengers team, before Captain America was found.
He’s much the same deal with the MCU, despite Cap being part of the movie-verse Avengers from the start. Let’s trace the way Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) interacted with the larger MCU outside his three Iron Man movies, whether as supporting characters or extra cameos (even commercial appearances).
- The Incredible Hulk (2008) – post-credits cameo talking to Gen. Ross about recruiting for a team
- Marvel One-Shots: “The Consultant” (2011) – taking place between the events of Iron Man 2 (2010) and The Incredible Hulk; cameo as archived footage from the latter film’s post-credits, expanding on the event
- Avengers (2012) – was there at the gathering of heroes for SHIELD’s Avengers Initiative, naturally
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – unwitting creator of the destructive android/program Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War (2016) – supported the Sokovia Accords (superhero registration) against Cap; recruited Peter Parker/Spider-Man to his side and feels guilty about the “child soldier” implications
- Iron Man Experience (2017) – attraction at Tomorrowland in Hong Kong Disneyland
- Spider-Man: Homecoming “NBA Finals commercial” (2017) – cross-promoting both the film and the 2017 NBA Finals; really funny gag pulled by Tony on Peter during his “Finals Party” that he didn’t attend himself
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – the main movie event itself, with Stark trying his darndest to be a mentor figure to Peter so as not to let him make the same mistakes as Tony
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – coming later this month, on the 27th; very eventful, do not miss
If you want to include references, Stark was mentioned by name (or noted on) in Thor (2011), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Ant-Man (2015) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017), as well as the Spider-Man: Homecoming cross-promotion with Audi; he’s everywhere.