Marvel Reveals Connections Between Iron Man and Ironheart’s Story Arcs

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Fans could only assume that Riri Williams met Tony Stark before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the film that passed Iron Man’s torch and legacy to Ironheart. Both characters didn’t have the chance to share scenes in the film (which takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame), but there was also no mention of Stark’s direct influence over Williams to explain the latter’s knowledge to build her first Mark armor. Thankfully Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – The Art of the Movie book sheds light on this (via The Direct), confirming what audiences suspected – that Riri Williams was aware of and influenced by Tony Stark’s work.

Visual Development Concept Illustrator Josh Nizzi explained how Williams’ version of the Mark armor was based off of the Iron Man suits developed by Tony Stark. “Riri is obviously aware of his work,” he said. “She’s got an RT, which is Stark-like technology, but it’s her own version. So the design shows that there’s a level of influence, but she’s doing things her own way.” Wakanda Forever did succeed in depicting Williams (played by Dominique Thorne) as an ingenious youth who was able to build a Mark armor from scraps, echoing the first Iron Man film where Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark was forced to create Mark I to survive. However, Williams had the advantage of building a Mark armor at a young age and without the technological resources Stark had.

Riri Williams’ Personality Was Infused Into Ironheart
Nizzi also revealed his concept for the Ironheart armor design, which was heavily inspired by Williams’ personality. “We talked a lot about her personality and her qualities, so I tried to put a lot of that stuff into the suit,” he confirmed. “She was described as kind of a young, sassy gamer tech nerd, but really concerned about safety, and incorporating hip-hop culture somewhat. She is also studying robotics, so l used some of the current-day robotic stuff, like the joystick. And, because of her interest in classic cars, there are some roll cage elements in the harness and the racing buckle that’s around her.”

Riri Williams’ Ironheart armor has gone through three iterations in the comics, and while only the first suit was ever featured in Wakanda Forever, the art book did reveal alternate designs of what Ironheart’s debut into the MCU would have looked like. There’s plenty of time to explore and develop these iterations as the character is poised for her solo debut in the MCU, as well as her potential induction to the Young Avengers.

Ironheart currently does not have a confirmed release date.

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