A deleted scene in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever strongly paralleled a pivotal moment in the first Iron Man film, where Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) builds a suit to free himself from captivity. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered on November 11, 2022, and saw the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) official debut of Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams (a.k.a. Ironheart). In the comics, Riri becomes something akin to Iron Man’s protégé, so it isn’t surprising that there are parallels between the characters. As seen in the film, Riri is a young super-genius who creates an iron suit to rival that of Iron Man. However, the film originally almost made their similarities even more noticeable.
In an interview with The Direct, Letitia Wright and Thorne opened up about some of the deleted scenes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The actresses revealed that in the initial cuts of the film, scenes where the pair are being held captive in the Talokan cave were expanded to include more relationship-building between Shuri (Wright) and Riri. The characters end up using their brilliance to invent some kind of device to free themselves, under the guise of helping the Talokan. This strongly parallels Iron Man when Stark, under the guise of building a missile for a terrorist group, instead builds his Iron Man suit and uses it to escape captivity. Check out Thorne’s statement below:
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever‘s final cut managed to set up Riri as Stark’s successor without having to exactly parallel Iron Man. She is first introduced as a 19-year-old genius M.I.T. student who built vibranium-detecting technology. However, this puts her on the radar of Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and Wakanda. While trying to escape the Talokan, Riri reveals that she is already working on building an Iron Man-like suit out of scraps. The technology is functional but not perfect. However, she soon gets access to Wakandan resources and her suit gets a serious upgrade to put it on par with Iron Man’s suit. Of course, it’s so powerful that Shuri keeps it in Wakanda when Riri returns home. Still, the film explains how Riri builds her suit, which is the first step towards her becoming Stark’s successor, Ironheart.
Riri might actually be retrieving her suit from Wakanda quite hastily. She is next set to appear in the MCU in her own Disney+ original series, Ironheart. While Ironheart does not yet have an official release date, it will debut sometime this year. Details about the plot have been kept tightly under wraps, but Thorne is confirmed to be returning as the titular character. Additionally, Anthony Ramos will star as Parker Robbins (a.k.a. The Hood) in the villain’s live-action debut. The series is expected to pick up where Black Panther: Wakanda Forever left off and explore how Riri officially becomes Ironheart after her first taste of heroism.
After Ironheart, Thorne is believed to be starring in Armor Wars alongside Don Cheadle’s War Machine. The project was initially conceived as a TV series, but will now be a feature-length film. If the film follows the comic book storyline, it will explore Stark technology falling into the wrong hands and War Machine’s efforts to rectify the situation. Aside from Ironheart and Armor Wars, it is unclear where else Riri may appear in the MCU. However, there have been rumors of a potential Young Avengers project that she would fit in perfectly. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever laid a strong foundation for Riri to become Stark’s successor and play a vital role in the future of the MCU.
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Source: The Direct