Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is shaping up to be one of the most crucial installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4. Not only will the film pay tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman and pass his superhero mantle to a to-be-determined successor, but it also represents the debuts of two major MCU players.
Those two rookies are Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams and Tenoch Huerta's Namor. While the Sub-Mariner's future is conducive to his reception following Black Panther 2, Riri's next outing is already set in stone. Marvel Studios is actively developing Ironheart, a Disney+ streaming series that will spotlight the heir to Tony Stark.
Ironheart's role in Wakanda Forever looked to be inspired by her relationship with Letitia Wright's Shuri, a dynamic that is played with significantly in Marvel Comics. Set photos from Black Panther 2's summer shoot in Boston, the city where Riri attends college, indicated the young hero would not just be showing up for a conversation.
If recent rumblings are to be believed, that Massachusetts-based action could be the catalyst for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's colossal conflict.
Ironheart's Namor-Centered Role in Black Panther 2
Don't mess with Atlantis.
As reported by Murphy's Multiverse, Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams is rumored to be the spark that lights Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's fire. The future Ironheart is said to be responsible for an "invention" that leads Wakanda "into conflict with a hidden civilization led by Namor."
Wakanda Pursues Atlantis
While Ironheart's placement in Wakanda Forever seemed solely for the purpose of introducing the young hero, this rumor indicates she is critical to the sequel's narrative.
In the comics, Namor is often portrayed as the aggressor. Some iterations have the Sub-Mariner operating as a fully-fledged villain. With that anti-hero vibe already established on the page, it seemed natural for Namor's MCU introduction to be as an adversary.
That said, this rumor indicates that Wakanda is pursuing conflict "with a hidden civilization," not the other way around. With the home country of T'Challa largely being a neutral force within the MCU, what possible invention could provoke them to wage war?
What is Ironheart's Invention?
On the page, Riri's most iconic invention is her Ironheart suit, an original version of Tony Stark's iconic armor that she reverse-engineered from scratch. Marvel Studios will likely double down on her tinkerer mindset, as this war-instigating invention is said to be just "one" of many.
The MCU has seen no shortage of reverse engineers. Michael Keaton's Adrian Toomes armed an entire organization with modified Chitauri technology, while Jake Gyllenhaal's Quentin Beck altered Tony Stark's EDITH glasses to operate his drones.
Similar to how Beck's faulty drone revealed his illusions to Peter Parker and MJ, Williams could adapt an established gadget that consequently reveals something she is not supposed to see. Considering how protective Wakanda is of its exclusive resource, Riri's invention could be something that detects locations of vibranium. If Wakanda is running low and vibranium deposits are detected on the ocean floor, the neutral nation could find itself knocking on Namor's door.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arrives in theaters on November 11.