During Disney’s Q2 2020 investor call, reports published online that several upcoming MCU additions will be introduced via Disney Plus. Out of the numerous names listed in reports, one of the most interesting was Ironheart. A relatively new character in comics, Ironheart was introduced to readers in 2016 by Brian Michael Bendis. The character of Riri Williams was a super-genius from Chicago before going to M.I.T. while a young teenager. When she was 15, she studies and creates her own version of the Iron Man armor. From there she becomes a superhero under the name of Ironheart after Tony Stark entered a coma during the Civil War II storyline. In this installment of Marvel Annotated, we’ll explore Ironheart’s potential introduction into the MCU!
How The MCU Can Introduce Ironheart
In the first half of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark gave a presentation and lecture to students at M.I.T. During this presentation, the B.A.R.F. technology was showcased, and Stark promised to fund an invention by every student. Audiences likely thought they’d never reference this moment again, but it was revisited during Spider-Man: Far From Home when Quentin Beck was revealed as the true architect for the B.A.R.F. technology. This scene provides a perfect foundation for the character of Riri Williams as it’s chronologically in 2016 but the current timeline sits at 2024. This provides an 8 year window for a character like Riri Williams to grow up in a timeline absent of The Avengers as we knew them. She’ll also be a character uniquely shaped by living in a world adjusted to public superheroes and extraterrestrial threats, unlike characters such as Spider-Man who was a kid during the events of Iron Man 2. With this unique perspective, I think it makes sense she’d be inspired by the death of Iron Man and heroics of the Avengers to become a superhero too.
Another opportunity is for the MCU to merge aspects of Riri Williams with another character such as Lila Rhodes, the super-genius niece of James Rhodes aka War Machine. Introduced before Riri Williams, Lila was gifted in mechanical engineering and computer science along with receiving personal training from Tony Stark on programming. Merging these two characters would be an ideal choice as War Machine would be the only character able to properly pass on armor technology or the legacy of Iron Man outside of Pepper Potts.
Likely, Riri Williams would be a member of the upcoming Young Avengers project from Marvel Studios. She likely wouldn’t be viewed as the next Iron Man due to that unofficially being the role Peter Parker has within the MCU. However, Riri can show how others such as Ms. Marvel are inspired by the Avengers. Creating an amalgamation of Champions and Young Avengers, her armor will hopefully see a progression like it did during the comics to reflect her confidence as a superhero outside of Iron Man’s shadow.
Riri Williams will be an interesting character for the MCU due to her lack of deep character history. This provides Marvel Studios a lot of flexibility with both her backstory, supporting cast, and antagonists. It’s also signaling the push towards diversity with superheroes such as Ms. Marvel, Wiccan, Ms. America, and Kate Bishop, representing LGBT, Muslim, Latinx, and women communities. With Riri Williams, it’ll highlight another character since Ivan Vanko who recreated arc reactor technology to become Whiplash.
A backdoor introduction for the character could be Spider-Man 3, as Peter Parker will still be in high school so potentially the character can be introduced there as a student graduating early to attend M.I.T. On the other hand, it may be best to showcase the character without any prior ties, especially if Marvel Studious decides to not combine aspects of Lila Rhodes.