"I seem to do quite well for a stretch, and then at the end of the sentence I say the wrong cranberry."
A long time before J.A.R.V.I.S. was an A.I. for Tony Stark, he was actually a trustworthy non-member of the Avengers. Whether he was in Avengers’ Mansion or Avengers’ Tower, Jarvis’ duties extended beyond being a simple manservant for Mr. Stark, but he was always far more than a butler to them. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to about your troubles, and Jarvis was just that man, for new and old members alike.
After the death of Howard and Maria Stark, Jarvis became butler to Tony, and when the Stark home mansion became the base for the Avengers, Jarvis took them all under his wing. He has been an expert in handling all of their finances, as well as the upkeep of Avengers’ Mansion itself – someone has to clean up after all the glass shattered on the floor and various blood splatters every now and again. If you ever need a stain removed from anything, Jarvis would know how to do it.
Before Howard scooped him up, Edwin Jarvis was an R.A.F. pilot, a former boxing champion, and war hero. Although he was born and raised in Brooklyn, Jarvis ran away during WWII to join the Canadian Royal Air Force, fighting as an underage pilot to protect and serve. It is believed that this was where Jarvis developed his accent and honed his mind into that of a true gentleman. Not only that, but he is incredibly resourceful and remains calm under pressure. He is, in effect, the perfect house guest and friend to have around.
Naturally, when you’re helping the Avengers without being a member, you can become a target. Jarvis has been replaced by a Skrull at one point (hasn’t everyone, at least once in their lives?) as well as having been brainwashed by Ultron. Back when Ultron was the original Crimson Cowl, he gave Jarvis money in return for blueprints for the Avengers’ Mansion (for his sick mother) and made the butler believe he was the Crimson Cowl, thus leading to him attacking the Avengers.
As well as being an object of torture (which almost led to him losing an eye) and rivalry (with cleaning duties) within the mansion, Jarvis has also developed romantic interests. Jarvis originally dated Glory Garsen, but has also developed feelings for Aunt May when Peter Parker moved his family into Avengers’ Mansion. At the time, Spider-Man had rejoined Iron Man’s reassembled Avengers.
In the MCU, it was decided that in order to bring Iron Man to the big screen, several changes should occur. This also included Jarvis, who was changed into an A.I., not only to bring the film into the modern day, but to also shake the comparison between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. According to Paul Bettany, he didn’t even know which film he was recording his lines for, merely doing it as a favour for Jon Favreau.
Nevertheless, J.A.R.V.I.S., while paying homage to Edwin Jarvis, is Tony’s A.I., maintaining the security and upkeep of his house. Just A Rather Very Intelligent System has also helped Tony tinker with various mechanical devices, such as repairing and upgrading his cars. He’s able to empathise with situations that Tony has been through, while also offering help and advice – something that Edwin himself would have done.
In developing the character, J.A.R.V.I.S. has been uploaded to the Iron Man suit, which wasn’t a large step considering how much he used to manage in Tony’s home alone. This has allowed Tony to keep up with their relationship and personal preferences, too. Not only this, but J.A.R.V.I.S.’ interface was uploaded into the body Ultron was creating for himself. What my friends and I have collectively called JARVISION (purely because we love both characters a great deal and because we miss J.A.R.V.I.S.) it is great to see how far the A.I. has come. Not only does he now have a body, but he’s turned into one of the greatest Avengers the world has ever seen, both in the comic books and onscreen. While J.A.R.V.I.S. is no longer with us, for Vision is his own being, it is a nice touch that Paul Bettany takes up the role.
So there you have it. Champion boxer, R.A.F. pilot and all-round friend to the Avengers. No one else can lay claim to have seen all of the Avengers since their inception and introduction to Avengers’ Mansion. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Jarvis of our own?