When Tony Stark was captured by Killian in Iron Man 3 (2013), Killian quoted the following as something that his grandfather used to say:

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

But why did Killian mention this? Is it somehow significant to the events in the movie? Or was this just a quote thrown randomly?

1 Answer 1


That saying means, essentially, that it's just as productive to learn from someone else's mistake as it is to be the pioneer. Tony Stark is the pioneer, but Killian took Maya Hansen's Extremis virus and took that to the next level.

It was just a way for Killian to say that he and Stark are peers, whereas Stark seems to think just about everyone else is beneath him.

  • In this case, I think Stark was right
    – Vishwa
    May 22, 2019 at 6:20

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