52

In the film, when Tony

asks Howard if he has thought of any names for his kid, to which Howard replies that they have though about "Elmonzo".

I do not seem to recall having ever read this anywhere.

My question: Is this a reference to something from the comics, or some sort of out-of-universe Easter egg? Do we have any leads on this?

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    It's probably just chosen as a particularly bad sounding name. (Oh no, lots of Elmonzos will now hate me.) – Fabian Röling May 4 at 19:55
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    @FabianRöling - In a film that costs $200M to make and gets edited for years before seeing the light of day, there are no coincidences or unintentional lines. – Valorum May 4 at 20:08
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    @Valorum but by the same reasoning not everything has to have a double meaning or reference behind it. – The Great Duck May 6 at 4:04
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    I've rolled it back (again). It's considered bad form to invalidate an existing answer with an edit to the question, especially one that's based on the answer – Valorum May 6 at 20:26
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    Just leave the question as it was originally posted, with "Elmonzo". The spelling of the word has little effect on the question but changing it would require a tweak to the accepted answer. – Null May 7 at 14:24
93

He doesn't say "Elmonzo", he says "Almanzo" which would indicate that his wife is likely a fan of the Little House on the Prairie books in which Almanzo Wilder was a major character.

The joke here is (I assume) that in The Long Winter, Almanzo and a character called Cap Garland go on an adventure together.

Two of her young neighbors, Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland, became town heroes when they retrieved a cache of wheat for De Smet’s starving residents during a rare break in the storms.

Almanzo and Cap’s journey is the climax of The Long Winter, the sixth book in the classic autobiographical Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Almanzo: The Origins of an Offbeat Pioneer Name

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    Do you have any reference for this assumption? It's an interesting coincidence, but doesn't even really make sense as a joke (since they didn't pick this name). – mattdm May 6 at 0:11
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    I figured, too, it could be a reference to Almanzo Wilder, when I heard this line. Plus the Wilders were upstate NY farmers, kind of like Tony & Pepper homesteading upstate in the post Thanos 50% apocalypse era lol. I don’t recall Almanzo having a buddy named Cap in The Long Winter, but I read those books a few decades ago. ; ) – Jessica May 6 at 1:39
13

Here's the exchange (as transcribed at a movie quotes site):

Tony Stark: And so, where are you at with names?

Howard Stark: Well, if it’s a boy, my wife likes Almanzo.

Tony Stark: Huh. You might want to let that stew a while, you got time.

It is probably just a joke: the suggested name is close to Tony's real name (which is Anthony), but kind of funny-sounding because it is so uncommon. Tony asks that they think about that for a little bit — to "let something stew" is to allow it some more time to be fully developed. Presumably that's what happens, ending up with his actual name.

The Little House on the Prairie answer is interesting, but is just speculation with no citation. Yes, that's the most widely popular example of this uncommon name, but there's no indication that anything is meant by it other than "odd sounding name that is not too far off from the actual name".

Any deep connection to other characters, setting, or plot does not really make any sense, because they didn't pick that name — if the joke were "name that isn't quite right ➡ name that is right and has a clever connection", that might make sense. But here we have "name that (maybe) has a clever connection ➡ name that is right and has no such connection". That isn't very satisfying. And Tony's reply doesn't relate to Little House either; it makes much more sense if it's just a simple "odd name, not quite right" joke.

Furthermore, there are no other big references to Little House in the MCU. If this were a clever easter egg, it seems like there'd be at least some other reference to it or joke — that's something the MCU clearly does like to do.

So, there may not be deep significance. Sure, as a comment says, there's no accidents in a production of this scale — but it also doesn't mean every bit that matches some interesting coincidence is that coincidence. We surely could come up with even more far-fetched possible references if we wanted to, but there doesn't really seem to be a reason to.

Maybe that's not as exciting as the other answer, but without any references to insight from writers, actors, or directors, Occam's Razor suggests the simplest explanation is probably the best one. And that's "that funny name is almost but not quite right".

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    Undeleted. This may not be the right answer, but it's an answer. If you disagree with it, downvote it, but don't use delete votes as super-downvotes. (In other circumstances, "there is no significance to this throwaway line" would be the correct answer. Certainly that general form of answer can be valid, even if not always correct.) – Rand al'Thor May 6 at 5:01
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Rand al'Thor May 6 at 17:07
  • "it's a funny name" - Citation needed. – Valorum May 6 at 20:22
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    Also, I think your data source is suspect. Note that there is "no data" for any of the other years for Almanzo. – mattdm May 6 at 20:43
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    And the years which would really be of interest are: 1969/1970, when the name was being considered in the fiction, or 2019, when the joke is actually made. – mattdm May 6 at 20:44

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