Riri Williams’ Ironheart (Dominique Thorne) is one of the supporting characters of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, something Marvel didn’t shy away from during the marketing window that preceded the film’s premiere. Ironheart is Iron Man’s replacement in the MCU, and Marvel showed us the armor suit in various promo clips, including a very detailed look at the helmet.
But Marvel did not spoil the biggest Ironheart surprise in commercials. And fans will certainly appreciate how this story handled the character. Before we can explain, you should know that Wakanda Forever spoilers follow.
Why Riri Williams is so important in Black Panther 2
Without Riri, there’s no conflict in Wakanda Forever. She’s the very young but brilliant scientist who figured out how to make a vibranium detector. This leads to the US government discovering the metal in the Atlantic Ocean and drawing Namor’s (Tenoch Huerta) attention.
The Talokan leader wants Riri dead, something Wakanda can’t allow. This sparks the war between the two parts, with Riri playing a huge role in the final battle.
That’s when we see the second Ironheart suit in Wakanda Forever. The first one is destroyed early in the movie when Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) come to MIT to save Riri.
The first Ironheart suit is primitive, something Riri built on her own. The second one is more advanced, as Riri uses Wakandan tech to create an armor suit that can fly and work underwater. And we see her use it quite skillfully against the Talokan.
The big Ironheart surprise in Wakanda Forever
It’s only at the end of Wakanda Forever that you realize the huge Ironheart surprise that Marvel prepared for the audience. Shuri appreciates Riri’s help, but she’s not about to let her take her Ironheart suit with her back to the US.
That’s an incredible plot detail, one the big plot leak missed. By allowing Riri to leave with that suit, Marvel would have robbed us of an Ironheart origin story actually focused on Riri. Not to mention that it would have repeated the Spider-Man trick.
Tom Holland’s Spidey has been super-powered in the MCU so far because he’s been using Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) advanced suits. That’s one of the Spider-Man issues that No Way Home fixes. Thankfully, Marvel didn’t go down that road with Ironheart.
It will be up to Riri to make a new suit and become the Iron Man replacement we expect her to be. And the TV show should explain why she decided to become a superhero and help the world rather than pursuing a civilian life.
On that note, Wakanda Forever does not mention the Ironheart name. Everyone calls Riri by her given name. So we’ll have to wait for the Disney Plus TV show to see how and why she gets that moniker.
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