Marvel fans, get ready for Iron Man’s replacement: Ironheart

By Francesca Johnson

Updated May 31, 2023 at 01:34 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

A new Marvel team has assembled around a project we’ve all been waiting for… The next Iron Man. It has been announced that a new series will air on Disney Plus featuring the latest hero in the cannon for fans to fawn over.

For those of us immune to superhero fatigue, there’s one hero that captured our attention (and our hearts) for the past decade—Iron Man, played by actor playboy Robert Downey Jr. His exit as Marvel’s figurehead left a large void for fans after Avengers: Endgame, cue your misty eyes thinking of Tom Holland’s tearful goodbye speech as Peter Parker. But now, the question of who will be the next Iron Man has been answered, and she has big shoes to fill.

The Hollywood Reporter, covering the story this week, detailed that Marvel’s newest project Ironheart has found its hit team. If Beale Street Could Talk star Dominique Thorne will officially take Tony Stark’s place as the titular protagonist Riri Williams, “a brilliant teenage inventor who builds her own version of the Iron Man suit in an MIT dorm.” A hero origin story, an exciting new suit fit and a coming-of-age angle? We honestly can’t wait.

Directors Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes have been hired for the monumental job. For me, as a black Marvel nerd, nothing is more exciting than seeing two black female directors, with a black lead-actress, spearheading a blockbuster-level series for one of the largest media properties on the planet. Bailey is known for the co-creation of the web series Brown Girls and also had a hand in directing and producing one episode of Netflix’s Dear White People. Barnes has also been at the helm of multiple hit show episodes, including FX’s Atlanta and Blindspotting.

Bailey will head episodes one through three, while Barnes will take the latter half.

If this already impressive line up isn’t enough to convince you to impatiently await the upcoming series, it’s also be revealed that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler will be involved in the project as executive producer alongside obvious big wigs Kevin Feige, Louise D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum and Zoie Nagelhout. Coogler’s rapidly expanding production banner Proximity Media is also joining the crew—the company works across various media genres, “from film and television to soundtracks and podcasts,” as stated by The Hollywood Reporter and has produced huge movies like Judas and the Black Messiah and Space Jam: A New Legacy.

But wait, it only gets better as Anthony Ramos and Lyric Ross will also appear in the series. Snowpiercer fans, here’s a fun fact for you, Chinaka Hodge, who served as head writer for the dystopian thriller show, will also be in the mix.

According to the publication, the female character debuted in the 2016 comic Invincible Iron Man No. 7. Created by the dream team duo writers Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato, “she even takes over for Tony Stark as Iron Man,” the outlet continued. The announcement has been met with glee from the internet, including circles on Reddit threads such as r/marvelchampions.

We know it seems like there currently is a new line of superheroes being introduced almost every month, with loads to keep track of even outside of Marvel’s core studio. As some have probably guessed already, I’m talking about the dud that is Morbius, which has already dropped 73 per cent on its second box office weekend. We personally like to think that the movie’s flop factor is to be blamed entirely on Jared Leto’s, well, Jared Leto-ness along with his ridiculous method acting.

With the absence of Downey Jr’s Tony Stark being felt throughout the Marvel fandom, many fans have speculated who from the comics will take up the red and gold suit to head the universe’s new cast of heroes. Much like the elation Falcon and The Winter Soldier received after its release in early 2021 for featuring the Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) donning the suit and iconic shield of our OG Captain America, another heroic symbol is about to be reborn—the iron suit.

Thorne will, however, make her debut appearance on our screens as Riri in the highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, slated for release on 11 November 2022.

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