Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only gave us an emotional continuation of many of the characters from 2018’s Black Panther, but some new players as well, including Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, AKA Ironheart.
Serving as a sort of spiritual successor to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, Riri is an ingenious engineering student at Iron Man’s Alma Mater, M.I.T. It was there that Riri developed a vibranium metal detector as part of a class project that is co-opted by the CIA, kicking off the inciting incident for Wakanda Forever’s plot.
Not only does Riri have a penchant for metallurgy, but fabrication by way of creating weaponized mech suits and fixing up antique cars, as well, just like Stark. Even though Riri doesn’t have a direct personal connection to Tony in Wakanda Forever, she’s still somewhat taking up his torch by becoming the MCU’s newest iron-clad hero, Ironheart.
Though Riri did not apparently cross paths with Tony since he sacrificed his life to defeat Josh Brolin’s Thanos in the events of Avengers: Endgame, Downey Jr. apparently did touch base with Thorne at one point. As Thorne told Screen Rant,
“I wasn’t able to speak with RDJ before we got into filming [Wakanda Forever] or anything, but right toward the conclusion of the film, I actually had the chance to speak with him through FaceTime. A cast mate over on Ironheart had actually done a show with him and connected us, and he had some beautiful words to say about how much he believes that Riri Williams is and should always be her own person, her own thing. That this legacy is headed in the right direction and all the beautiful encouraging things that you hope to hear from the Iron Man himself.”
Riri’s backstory in the MCU thus far seems to deviate a bit from the comics, where she reverse-engineered an Iron Man suit and later received the blessing of Tony himself to become a superhero. Guess we’ll have to see if Tony will get resurrected by way of A.I., like in the comics, when the Ironheart series eventually hits Disney Plus sometime next year.
Check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at a theater near you.