By now, it’s common knowledge that Robert Downey Jr. is pretty much done with his turn as the Invincible Iron Man. RDJ’s pitch-perfect Tony Stark made him a fan favorite and a household name for a new generation of fans, but nothing lasts forever. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark is no longer an active participant in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe.
His departure leaves a major hole in the MCU. Who will fill his armored shoes and take up the Iron Mantle? Many fans expect Don Cheadle’s James “Rhodey” Rhodes, the superhero War Machine, to fill in as the Armored Avenger in future films.
However, another armored superhero will soon be joining the MCU: the genius prodigy Riri Williams, known in the comics as Ironheart.
Who Is Ironheart?
Ironheart was first introduced in the 2016 Iron Man comics run as a potential successor to Tony. She was able to use her genius-level intellect and Stark-era designs to create a suit of powered armor for herself, eventually being brought under Tony’s wing as part of his ongoing desire to leave behind a worthwhile legacy.
When Tony is indefinitely indisposed during the events of the second superhero Civil War, Ironheart becomes the full-time Armored Avenger, stepping in to help save the world while Tony is out of commission. She quickly proved herself to be a fan-favorite character, and she brings a fascinating new layer to the Iron Man mythos.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
While fans didn’t expect to meet the new superhero until her Disney+ series was released, MCU head honcho Kevin Feige mentioned in a recent interview that we’ll be seeing Riri sooner than we thought. “We’re shooting ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ right now, and the character of Riri Williams, you will meet in ‘Black Panther 2’ first,” Feige states in an interview with Comicbook.com. “She started shooting, I think, this week before her ‘Ironheart’ series.”
Dominique Thompson will portray the character in both Wakanda Forever and in the self-titled TV series. While the series doesn’t have a release date, Wakanda Forever is expected to hit theaters on July 8, 2022. Details about the follow-up to 2018’s Black Panther have been scarce, and many fans are curious about how the film’s story will unfold in light of the tragic passing of star Chadwick Boseman in 2020.
Upcoming Disney+ Shows
Ironheart isn’t the only new show coming to Disney+, either. After the resounding success of the first three live-action Marvel shows on the streaming service, Disney plans to unleash a barrage of new programming. These shows will include the Iron Man-adjacent Armor Wars, which is expected to include Ironheart and War Machine.
Other upcoming series include a second season for Loki, an origin story for the new Hawkeye, Kate Bishop, a series focused on Ms. Marvel, a legal drama about She-Hulk, Moon Knight’s MCU debut, the Skrull-centric Secret Invasion, and an upcoming, as-yet-untitled, Wakanda-themed series. All of this is in addition to a planned Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special.
In short, there is a lot of content for the MCU on the way.