MIT: Marvel’s Favorite University

Stan Lee and the other creative directors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have leaned heavily on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for inspiration. Whenever they need a character to be a super genius (or villain), they look no further than the Institute in Cambridge. Here are some of MIT’s most famous (fictional) super alumni: 

Tony Stark (Iron Man): Before leading the Avengers, Tony Stark enrolled at MIT at just 15 years old, where he doubled majored in physics and electrical engineering. (Actually, the movies say he graduated summa cum laude—which is false! No Latin Honors exist on MIT diplomas.) In the MCU, Tony makes frequent references to his alma mater, including to reference MIT professors working with S.H.I.E.L.D and to debut B.A.R.F. He also wears his Brass Rat in the first Iron Man movie.

Any guesses on where Peter Parker will apply to college in the next Spider-Man movie?

James Rhodes (War Machine): Rhodey went to MIT at the same time as Tony, and they became close friends. The first Iron Man movie even suggests they went on spring break together at some point as students. He also wears a Brass Rat in the MCU. 

Erik Killmonger: Black Panther’s cousin and foe managed to get a PhD in cognitive science and an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School of Management at the same time. It only makes sense than someone from Wakanda—where knowledge is prized above everything—would want to get educated at one of the best schools in the world.

Riri Williams (Iron Heart): Although Iron Heart hasn’t made it to the MCU quite yet, she would be the perfect heir to Iron Man. She enrolled in MIT at 11 years old and lived in Simmons Hall. It was during this time that she secretly reverse engineered an old Iron Man suit to make her own armor. With Tony’s exit in the MCU, it would make perfect sense to pass the baton to the next smartest person with a similar suit.

Otto Octavius (Doctor Octopus): Before becoming one of Spider-Man’s top nemeses, Doc Ock was an undergrad studying Nuclear Engineering at MIT. He may have even gotten to use the school’s on-campus nuclear reactor! After graduating, he got a job at the U.S. Atomic Research Center, where he eventually was transformed into a villain by exposure to radiation in an experiment gone wrong.

It’s official: you go to MIT if you want to join or fight the Avengers & you go to if you want to see the campus for yourself. 

P.S. In the DC Comics Universe, Lex Luthor also went to MIT.