Riri Williams making her Ironheart suit in Wakanda Forever

I Wish the MCU’s Riri Williams Could Have Met Tony Stark

While he was a mentor to others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the connections from the comics that now cannot happen in the MCU (thanks to the events of Avengers: Endgame) is that of Riri Williams and Tony Stark. After the introduction of Riri/Ironheart (played by Dominique Thorne) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, I found myself counting the days until the Ironheart series was set to hit Disney+—even more so than I was already, as a huge fan of Riri from the comics.

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But one thing that did weigh on me in seeing Riri’s suit and knowing about her A.I. is the knowledge that we’d not get to see Riri Williams interact with Tony Stark. Much like how Kate Bishop was inspired by Clint Barton, Riri reverse engineers her own “Iron Man” suit after being inspired by Tony in the comics, and the genius goes to the same school that Tony Stark did and gets to meet and work with him.

Unless they are secretly preparing to bring in Tony Stark without our knowledge, it does make me a little sad that the dynamic we got with Clint and Kate in Hawkeye (that also exists in the comics for Riri/Tony) won’t get to come to fruition in the MCU because of Tony’s death in the fight against Thanos. That mentorship sort of fell to Peter Parker in the MCU, which I also love, but it should have been Riri who got the resources and time with Tony, but the timing just didn’t work out.

It does mean it will be Riri’s story and that’s a good thing

One of the more “frustrating” sides of this coin is that people online do call this new wave of characters inspired by the Avengers the “female equivalents,” and that’s honestly rude—mainly because characters like Riri Williams and Kate Bishop and the next generation of heroes are, in a lot of ways, better versions, given their dedication to helping the world versus falling into the positions of superheroes like characters like Tony did.

So not having Tony Stark in Riri’s show is also a good thing, because she doesn’t have to constantly be compared to Tony or brought down by his presence. It will be interesting to see how much of Riri’s love for Iron Man comes into play in Ironheart, but I liked the small nods we got in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, like the agent screaming, “She’s got an Iron Man suit,” or the nod to how Tony wore tank tops while making his own Iron Man suit.

It would have been nice to have some of the more iconic frames from Riri’s comics make it into the MCU, mainly in that Tony is her A.I. system. We could have the return of Robert Downey Jr. in that way, only because it wouldn’t mean much more work on his plate, but that is something we’ll have to wait and see, seeing as we didn’t get to see Riri’s A.I. in Wakanda Forever.

And here’s the thing: Maybe they did meet, as she is a student at M.I.T. (where Tony went and would visit), and we didn’t get to see a lot of what happened when Tony met the students, so we still might have a chance at the two having met. And wouldn’t that be nice?

Until we get to have Ironheart, though, I will be rewatching all of Riri’s scenes and just gushing over how good Thorne is as Riri Williams!

(featured image: Marvel Entertainment)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.