Find out what Marvel just revealed for phase four and the Iron Man franchise for the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the flip…
Like Peter Parker getting a facelift with its third actor to play Spidey, Iron Man will be following suit so to speak. There is no confirmation if Robert Downey Jr. will sign on after playing Stark/Iron Man for 11 years (and we are talking after Avengers: Infinity War hits screens in 2019).
Moreover, Marvel may try to continue the Iron Man legacy in Phase Four and beyond. Now they may have just the character to fill that role, assuming they travel down that creative direction.
It’s official, Marvel announced on Thursday to Time that following the events in Civil War II, Riri Williams, a 15-year-old girl, will become the new Iron Man in the comics. It hasn’t been divulged yet why Tony decides to hang up the armor following the event series, but Riri, a scientific genius enrolled at MIT, will build her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room. She was introduced in the latest issue of Iron Man, but she won’t suit up as the new Iron Man (Woman or Girl?) until later this year. While creator Brian Michael Bendis didn’t divulge too much else about her, he did say that her brain is “maybe a little better” than Tony’s, allowing her armor to be more unique. Riri is the third person to hold the Iron Man title in the main continuity, following Tony and James Rhodes, better known as War Machine. She is also the latest individual to take an established Marvel hero identity and make it their own in recent years, like Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falcon, becoming Captain America and Jane Foster becoming the new Thor.
As it stands now, Robert Downey Jr isn’t leaving the MCU anytime soon. He’s reprising Tony Stark over the next couple years for Spider-Man: Homecoming and both Avengers: Infinity War movies. However, his plans after Phase Three haven’t been announced, and after 11 years of playing the character by 2019, Downey may decide he’s had enough. Maybe he’ll play Tony Stark as a civilian a few more times, but he won’t suit up as Iron Man. That means someone else can fill those shoes. James “Rhodey” Rhodes would be the logical inheritor, but following his paralysis in Captain America: Civil War, that seems unlikely. There may be a way for him to jump back into action during Avengers: Infinity War, but it’s hard to imagine him becoming the new, permanent Iron Man, especially if Don Cheadle wants to depart the MCU after Phase Three ends. That gives a great opportunity for Riri to be introduced in Phase Four.
Remember, the MCU has progressed at relatively the same pace as the real world, so when Avengers: Infinity War has concluded, Earth will have had public superheroes for over a decade. Riri, like Peter Parker, has grown up with these heroes, and with her high intelligence, she could build her own armor to emulate Tony Stark, one of her heroes. Phase Four is going to feel tremendously different from the previous three phases, so passing the torsh to someone younger is a way to establish legacy and help with providing a “fresh start” for younger fans.
What are you thoughts on the franchise going with a 15-year-old?