Once we’d all gotten over the devastation of watching Tony Stark die after using the Infinity Stones to defeat Thanos and his armies, the question on everybody’s minds was: who will be his successor? Will his kid sidekick Spider-Man take up the mantle of godfather of the MCU? Will long-forgotten funeral attendee Harley Keener use his knowledge of Stark’s tech to become Iron Lad?
If Robert Downey, Jr. gets his way – and he has pretty high authority on the matter, being Stark himself – his successor will be Riri Williams, better known as Ironheart. So, here is Everything You Need To Know About Marvel’s Ironheart.
10 She’s 15 Years Old
Unlike Tony Stark, who was a fully grown adult when he decided to build a high-tech suit of armor to protect the world from bad guys, Riri Williams was just 15 years old when she decided to do the same. Aside from teenaged Peter Parker, most of the superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are adults, so the addition of Riri Williams would give Peter a hero close to his own age to fight alongside. Riri would help the MCU to head into the younger, more diverse crowd that Kevin Feige has promised to represent from Phase 4 of the franchise onwards.
9 She’s A Genius
Like her predecessor Tony Stark, Riri Williams is a bona fide genius. Even though she’s just 15 years old, she was given a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study engineering. At just 15, she got a place at one of the most prestigious private research universities in America. Genius-level intellect would be one of the main criteria for someone taking over Stark’s mantle. The only issue with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the MCU is that he’s not as smart as he is in the comics. Whereas Peter Parker is a genius in the comics, he bashes mysterious alien technology with a hammer in the movies.
8 She Was Raised By Her Mom And Her Aunt
A parent or parental figure dying is an integral part of almost every superhero’s origin story: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Robin, Daredevil, the list goes on. Ironheart is no different. When Riri Williams was a little kid, her father died, and so she was raised by her mother and an aunt on her father’s side, Sharon. Her aunt disagrees with her ambitions to be a superhero. When she returns from her first heroic outing with a damaged suit, her aunt is horrified and begins to worry that something terrible will happen to her. But Riri has the calling to be a hero, so she doesn’t let that stop her.
7 She Created Her Suit Of Armor With Stolen Materials
Riri started working on her suit of armor in the style of Iron Man’s while she was an engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She wasn’t technically allowed to take all the materials that she used to make it, so she broke into campus out of office hours to build it.
When the campus security figured out that she was there and came knocking, Riri managed to escape with the completed suit. Then, she headed to the New Mexico State Penitentiary, where she stopped two prisoners from escaping, damaging her suit in the process, but succeeded in her mission.
6 Tony Stark Endorsed Her Superhero Career
Against all odds, Riri Williams managed to catch the attention of one Tony Stark and earn a personal endorsement from him. When Ironheart completed her first heroic act by stopping two inmates from escaping from the New Mexico State Penitentiary, Stark was impressed and decided to endorse her ambitions to become a superhero. Of course, he won’t be able to do this in the MCU following his death, but there’s a way around this. Pepper Potts, wearing her “Rescue” armor, was also a significant part of Ironheart’s journey. However, Pepper tried to stop Riri from being a superhero instead of encouraging it, which might give the movies more drama and conflict.
5 She Was Initially Controversial For Being Created By A White Man
When Riri Williams first appeared in Marvel Comics storylines back in 2015, she proved to be quite controversial. While a black female superhero was good for representation, fans found her to be an inaccurate portrayal of black teenage girls, which could be attributed to the fact that she was created and written by Brian Michael Bendis, a white man, and there were no black women on the writing team. However, this has since been rectified, as the Ironheart character has been taken over by Eve Ewing, a black female sociologist and writer who has completely redesigned the character with artist Kevin Libranda.
4 She Has Taken On Hydra
In Marvel’s “Secret Empire” storyline, Hydra began to take over America, and Ironheart played a huge role in fighting back against them. When Hydra completely decimated Las Vegas, Ironheart was part of the team sent to search the wreckage for survivors. She led the fight against Blackout when he was under the control of Baron Zemo and his power was boosted by the Darkhold and he surrounded Manhattan with the Darkforce. The MCU has never really dealt with Hydra’s invasion of America head-on since The Winter Soldier, so this would be a great way to expand on it and give fans closure.
3 She Was Once The Queen Of Latveria
Ironheart was once in Latveria, fighting a terrorist who was trying to take over the nation, and when she defeated the terrorist, she declared herself the new Queen of Latveria. After brokering a deal with S.H.I.E.L.D. that turned Latveria into a democracy and led to the country’s first free elections, she relinquished the role of Queen.
Latveria is a fictional country in the Marvel universe. Doctor Doom is one of its diplomats, which grants him diplomatic immunity – an incredibly important part of his character that neither of the past movie versions have included – so this would be a great way to introduce him into the MCU.
2 An A.I. Recreation Of Tony Stark Mentors Her
Tony Stark might be dead in the MCU, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone from those movies forever. In the comics, he created a few A.I. duplicates of himself so that he could be in a few places at once. These duplicates describe themselves as the “essence” of Tony Stark. It’s comparable to the Force ghosts in Star Wars (and has been compared to that by the pop culture-obsessed Stark). If Robert Downey, Jr. is happy to come back as an A.I. version of Stark for an Ironheart movie, then he’ll still be able to mentor her in the MCU.
1 Ironheart Is A Member Of The Champions
No superhero is complete without a team affiliation, and Ironheart’s team affiliation is the Champions, a team that formed in 2016. There are a ton of members, but the best-known ones are Spider-Man, Cyclops from the X-Men, and the Hulk (who changes his name to Brawn when he joins the team). Nova and Ms. Marvel are also in the line-up, and their MCU debuts are supposedly imminent. The Nova Corps were introduced years ago, while Mindy Kaling has met with Marvel about a Ms. Marvel movie. There’s a good chance that the MCU’s future is leading towards the Champions being introduced.