Movie Reviews

Ironheart Needs To Answer 1 Major Iron Man Question

Riri Williams has already made her way to the MCU, but her solo adventure in Ironheart has an important Iron Man question to answer. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marked the first appearance of Dominique Thorne in the MCU as Riri Williams, a young MIT student and genius inventor who has developed her own suit of armor, akin to those worn by Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, and James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine. Thorne will make her next MCU appearance in her own Disney+ series, Ironheart, which will pit the armored hero against the Hood (Anthony Ramos), and potentially the much-anticipated Mephisto, rumored to be played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) tracked Williams down in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after vibranium-tracking technology she developed alerted the US government to Namor’s underwater city of Talokan. Seeking refuge in Wakanda, Williams aided in the final battle between the Wakandans and the Talokanil, creating a suit of armor that rivals those of the MCU’s Iron Man. Williams will next be seen in 2023’s Ironheart on Disney+, a series that needs to uncover some of the mystery surrounding Marvel Studios’ exciting new hero, particularly what her relationship with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) might have been before his sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.

Related: Ironheart & Armor Wars Can Properly Introduce Doctor Doom To The MCU

One of the more surprising reveals in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was that Riri Williams had managed to get her hands on Stark technology, which she used to develop her first MCU Ironheart suit. Aside from Shuri delivering a throwaway line, Wakanda Forever failed to explain how Williams acquired Stark technology, though it can be assumed that it wouldn’t be easy for any normal person to get their hands on the coveted technology, so this is one mystery that Ironheart needs to solve. Williams has obviously had this equipment for a while since she seems well-versed in using her suit of armor, demonstrated in her first introduction to the Talokanil.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever showed several similarities between Tony Stark and Riri Williams, and not only in their respective developments of remarkable suits of armor. Williams designing her new Ironheart suit in Wakanda mirrored Stark building his first Iron Man armor while in captivity in Iron Man, particularly during a scene that featured her hammering metal, just as Stark had done in Marvel Studios’ first project. Williams is being teased as Iron Man’s legacy hero in the MCU, and the fact that she is already in possession of Stark technology means that she is one step closer to following in Stark’s heroic footsteps.

It’s possible that Tony Stark could have known Riri Williams before his death in Avengers: Endgame, which would be the smoothest way to explain how she got her hands on Stark technology. Williams is a student at MIT, which was Stark’s alma mater and an institution that he had an active role in during the years leading up to his death. This is proven when he founds the September Foundation in Captain America: Civil War. Stark always had his eyes peeled for new and emerging heroes and perhaps saw a lot of potential in Riri Williams prior to Wakanda Forever, potentially gifting her with technology to develop her Ironheart designs.

Throughout his time as Iron Man, Tony Stark was shown to repeatedly take young proteges under his wing. This started simply enough during Iron Man 3, which saw him team up with Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins), who curiously made a brief cameo during Stark’s funeral in Avengers: Endgame. Stark’s most recognizable mentee, however, is Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, portrayed by Tom Holland in the MCU. Stark discovers Parker and gives him the technology he needs to become a fully-fledged superhero, including new Spider-Man costumes and access to equipment like the EDITH glasses. It’s not hard to imagine that Stark also found Williams and helped her to realize her superhero dreams.

Related: How An Ironheart & Ms. Marvel Teamup Could Be An MCU First

Marvel Studios’ upcoming Armor Wars movie could also shine a light on Williams’ acquisition of Stark technology in the MCU, as the planned film will see Rhodey tracking down missing Stark tech and making sure it stays out of the wrong hands. This storyline suggests that, somehow, Stark technology has been disseminated across the planet in the wake of the Avenger’s sacrifice, potentially even into the hands of Riri Williams. Armor Wars will be coming to the MCU after Ironheart, so the MCU’s new armored hero could fight alongside the established War Machine, both using Stark technology to continue the legacy of their fallen friend.

In the MCU’s Phase 4, several new heroes have been introduced to continue the legacies of the original Avengers, including the likes of Yelena Belova as Black Widow (Florence Pugh), Kate Bishop as Hawkeye (Hailee Steinfeld), and Sam Wilson as the new Captain America (Anthony Mackie). The legacy of Tony Stark has been kept a mystery, however, as while Williams has been introduced as Ironheart, there are also rumors of Iron Lad’s MCU debut and the formation of the Young Avengers. By establishing a relationship between Williams and Stark in Ironheart, Williams will become an incredibly important MCU character by carrying the iconic hero’s legacy on her back.

More: Riri Williams Is Like MCU Spider-Man – But Avoids His Iron Man Problem

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