Fans of the “Iron Man” franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general wants to see an “Iron Man 4”. However, although Robert Downey, Jr. expressed interest for the project before, he may not hold the suit anymore.
That’s because Marvel’s new Iron Man is not a man at all. Time Magazine was first to report that Tony Stark’s Iron Man successor is a 15-year-old black woman genius. She is Riri Williams, and she’s described as follows:
“Riri is a science genius who enrolls in MIT at the age of 15. She comes to the attention of Tony when she builds her own Iron Man suit in her dorm.”
The Stark Industries founder is known for having a soft spot for people with potential. For Tony to trust this kid in taking on the Iron Man mantle speaks strongly of her capabilities.
The Iron Man 4 potential
With the Iron Man story taking on a fresh path with Riri Williams, the possibilities of an “Iron Man 4” film becomes all the more interesting.
Firstly, the two-part “Avengers: Infinity Wars” promises an epic conclusion to Phase Three of the MCU. This means that anything can happen to our beloved heroes. Secondly, Marvel could use “Infinity Wars” or events of it to pave the way for Phase Four.
In line with this, something could happen to Tony Stark/Iron Man in the process which pushes him to give up the mantle for good and pass it to Riri.
In some ways, Tony’s way of finding Riri could be reminiscent of how he found Tom Holland’s Peter Parker in “Captain America: Civil War”. The only thing different is that he’ll be recruiting someone to replace him instead of someone joining his team.
As for potential story lines, the inspiration for the character offers good groundwork for the tone of “Iron Man 4”. She’s been born out of writer Brian Michael Bendis’ awareness of the world today, and how a modern superhero looks like.
For now, “Iron Man 4” seems a distant reality, if not wishful thinking. However, if it indeed happens, Riri Williams would be an interesting way to open a new phase of the MCU.
Many would still prefer Robert Downey Jr. to return for “Iron Man 4”, but superheroes also retire at some point.