When Black Panther: Wakanda Forever launches next month, we won’t just meet the MCU’s new Black Panther now that T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is gone. We’ll also get our first look at the Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) replacement. That’s Ironheart (Dominique Thorne), also known as Riri Williams in Marvel comics.
Marvel released a second Wakanda Forever trailer a few weeks ago, marking the start of online ticket sales for the sequel. We got our first look at the functional Ironheart armor in that clip. But those were fast cuts that didn’t give us the chance to zoom in on the suit. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for the premiere to enjoy an official glimpse at Riri’s self-made suit.
Some spoilers will follow below.
Who is Ironheart?
Riri Williams is a gifted engineer who will create her own suit of armor in the MCU, just like Tony Stark did in the first Iron Man. Tony built the armor to save his life. It’s unclear why Williams is building her armor, but we should find out in Wakanda Forever. She’ll probably work closely with the Wakandan people to fight whatever villain comes her way.
We also expect to see Ironheart team up with Shuri (Letitia Wright), who will likely don the Black Panther armor. Shuri is an even more highly skilled engineer than Williams, having had access to Wakanda’s superior tech for years. As the trailers indicate, the two will be good friends.
Beyond Wakanda Forever, we expect Williams to join the Avengers in some capacity. Maybe the Young Avengers, given she’s one of the youngest superheroes to join the MCU. Ironheart will feel right at home in a world that reveres Iron Man.
Why is Riri Williams replacing Tony Stark?
We expect Marvel to bring Tony Stark back to the MCU eventually, even though he died heroically after the final battle in Endgame. He saved the world just as he always wanted, sacrificing himself for the greater good. That’s a legacy Marvel can’t tarnish. Yet the multiverse angle of the current saga gives Marvel various ways to bring Iron Man back.
However, Marvel will probably limit an RDJ return to massive crossovers. In contrast, Ironheart will replace the Iron Man role. Marvel has been doing this with many of its most iconic heroes after the fallout of the Infinity Saga.
Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) is the new Captain America. Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) in the latest Hulk. There’s also a young Hawkeye — Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). And the new Black Widow has been a breakout MCU character — Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova.
We can also add Jane (Natalie Portman) to the list of hero replacements, even though her Mighty Thor might be offline for the moment. We already explained that her death probably isn’t permanent.
Where will we see Ironheart in the MCU?
With that in mind, Ironheart should help the Avengers pull off the same kind of tricks that Iron Man did. But Riri isn’t a billionaire (yet). And we have no idea whether she’s got the same charisma as Tony.
But Ironheart will appear in multiple MCU projects, starting with Wakanda Forever. Her Ironheart TV show should be the origin story for the character about a year from now when it hits Disney Plus.
The superhero will also appear in TV commercials, which is where our best look yet at the Ironheart suit comes from. This is one Ironheart spoiler you’ll struggle to avoid. You might see the Target ad below on TV several times before Wakanda Forever hits theaters.
We see Riri struggling to create her suit just like Tony did in the first Iron Man movie. Well, under less life-threatening conditions. The suit isn’t complete, and it’s much larger and less sophisticated than Tony’s suit from Iron Man.
Still, this is the best look we have gotten so far. We’ll have to wait and see whether Marvel offers other details about this Iron Man replacement in the coming weeks. But you should expect to see the full suit of armor for the first time in Wakanda Forever.
But we do already have an idea of what the suit will look like, thanks to leaked set photos.
We’ll also be getting an Ironheart show on Disney Plus in 2023 with rumors that Sacha Baron Cohen will play the villain Mephisto in the show.
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