It was such a throwaway line, but nothing in the Marvelverse is done by accident.
As fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies know, the Sony Spider-Man films with Tom Holland have significantly impacted the MCU. Small things that happen in those movies turn out to be big things that happen in the larger cinematic universe. So far, both Tony Stark and Nick Fury have done guest stints in the Spidey films, with the latter revealing he was actually on vacation the whole time, while the former sold some New York property: the Avengers Tower. So, who bought the Avengers Tower, and why is that a big deal now the MCU has reached Phase 4?
Warning: Spoilers for Hawkeye Episodes 1 and 2 follow. When Clint Barton initially rescued Kate Bishop in Hawkeye’s opening two episodes, she went total fangirl on her favorite Avenger. Moreover, in meeting one of the original six heroes that saved New York City in 2012, she thought perhaps this would be her opportunity to see some of the superheroes’ fabled hangouts. After all, if Hawkeye was in NYC, he was probably staying in something Stark-owned, like the Avengers Tower, right? But not so much; Barton explained that Tony sold the tower a couple of years back.
For fans, that’s a prick-up-your-ears moment. Tony Stark did indeed sell the Avengers Tower, back around the time of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and that has not changed. But who did he sell it to?
If this storyline follows the comics, he sold it to one Mr. Gryphon, a businessman and the CEO of Qeng Enterprises. There’s just one small detail: Mr. Gryphon is a variant of Nathaniel Richards, the man known as Kang.
When the first season of Loki ended, the world of the TVA had changed utterly. Kang went from a benevolent version of himself — He Who Remains, who keeps his other variants at bay — to the dictator everyone knows from the comics.
But it wasn’t clear to fans if the release of Kang into the world of the TVA meant he was also suddenly in the central timeline. With no Kang on the horizon back in 2015 when Spider-Man first arrived in the MCU, Stark’s real estate dealings seemed unlikely to involve the Conqueror. But now, everything is different. Kang has been unleashed into the Marvel world, with his next appearance currently slated for 2023 in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; that is, if he doesn’t show up in Loki Season 2 first.
Chances are, Mr. Gryphon won’t be making an appearance in Hawkeye; the Avenger has enough problems with the Tracksuit Mafia as it is. But this reminder that Marvel has been quietly planting seeds for a while is perfectly timed as Phase 4 heads into 2022.
Hawkeye continues with new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.