Who is Ironheart, the Iron Man Successor Appearing in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Who is Ironheart, the Iron Man Successor Appearing in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Ironheart #1, drawn by Jen Bartel. Image: Marvel

With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on the way to tie phase four of the MCU off, we got our first glimpse at Riri Williams in the upcoming movie’s first trailer. Riri Williams, mind you, will become Ironheart, a new hero in the MCU.

Who is Ironheart? What is she doing in Wakanda? Will she go on to join the Avengers, and when will she get her own flick?

All that and more in this explainer piece.

Who is Ironheart?

If Peter Parker (Spider-Man) was to Miles Morales (also Spider-Man) an inspiration and the hero to aspire to be, then Iron Man is to Ironheart the same thing.

Created in 2016, Ironheart is a brilliant teen genius from Chicago, portrayed in the comics as a 15-year-old tech prodigy. In her original law, she draws heavy inspiration from Tony Stark (Iron Man) and has all the same powers, including energy blasting, flight and enhanced strength.

So much inspiration, in fact, that she designed and built a suit of armour similar to Stark’s, reverse-engineering his Mark-41 design and building a new suit with components from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (which she was attending at the time). She’s even aided by an AI copy of Tony Stark.

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Image: Marvel

In her comics, she’s seen a lot of battle and has worked alongside Pepper Potts, AKA “Rescue” (we got to see Pepper in her Rescue armour in the Endgame portals scene, but we’re unsure if we’ll see her again), Black Widow and S.H.I.E.L.D. She has even joined the Avengers, but also joined the champions, alongside Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel and Hulk.

Her major adversary in the comics would have to be either the criminal cyborg, Lucia von Bardas, or a hydra-controlled version of Captain America.

A misconception about Ironheart is that she’s openly bisexual, however in the comics, while she is kissed by another female hero (Viv Vision), she didn’t reciprocate those feelings, wanting to stay friends. No objections from me though, go ahead and make her bi in the upcoming Disney+ adaption (as rumoured).

Now, that’s the comics version, but what about the MCU version which we’re about to meet in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? 

Well…

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An… Iron heart… You say? Image: Marvel

Ironheart in the MCU

At the time of writing, we don’t actually know a whole lot about Ironheart’s on-screen characterisation: only that it’ll be a tad different from the comics version. For example, Ironheart’s origin story in the comics doesn’t involve Wakanda, whereas she’s being introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (seemingly as a leading character).

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Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, Ironheart. Image: Marvel

Additionally, it might be a bit difficult for Stark to act as a mentor figure for Ironheart, AI or not, after the events of Endgame. There’s definitely going to be some sweeping changes made to the character if she’s to enter the MCU.

Although we haven’t been given a glimpse of the on-screen Ironheart suit of armour just yet, it has been revealed… Through a funko pop.

It’s less colourful than her suit from the comics, But it’s still quite an interesting outfit.

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Ironheart Mk1, as she may appear in Wakanda Forever. Image: Pop Vinyl

We’re expecting Ironheart’s story to be heavily influenced by Wakanda and the story of Black Panther, but again, we’ll have to wait and see.

When will Ironheart be on Disney+?

We can expect Ironheart to stream on Disney+ in Spring, 2023, but she’ll first appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which heads to theatres on November 10.

Image: Marvel Studios
Image: Marvel

While you’re here, make sure you check out our list on every major sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, horror and adventure flick hitting cinemas in 2022