Tony Stark. Billionaire genius. Armored Avenger. The character that launched the MCU and helped make it what it is today. Clearly, a lot can be said about Robert Downey Jr.'s most famous role. His Iron Man appeared in nine movies total and was the one to end the Mad Titan Thanos once and for all at the cost of his own life in the most recent Avengers film.
Tony's legacy can be felt throughout the MCU, through heroes who try to live up to his name, like Peter Parker aka, Spider-Man. And soon, Marvel Studios' 30th film, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will introduce audiences to Riri Williams, a young woman who develops an Iron Man-style suit of her own and becomes Ironheart.
Riri can be glimpsed a few times in the Wakanda Forever trailer, working on her armor and bonding with fellow tech genius Shuri. And there's one shot of the character, played by Dominique Thorne, which will send some fans back all the way to 2008.
Riri Williams' Iron Man Homage
In the new trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, released at San Diego Comic-Con, Riri Williams can be seen pounding out a piece of metal with a mallet as she constructs her Ironheart suit.
This particular shot seems to be directly referencing a sequence in the very first MCU film, Iron Man, in which Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark does the same thing as he builds the Mark I Iron Man suit to escape his captors. Check out an image comparing the two scenes below:
Ironheart As Tony Stark's Successor
The similarity between these two shots was absolutely intentional. It's meant to draw a parallel between the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first armored superhero and its next.
As mentioned above, for a while there, it was thought that Peter Parker would be the one to fully embody Tony's legacy. After all, he's intelligent and pure-hearted and even had a Spider-Man suit made with Stark Industries technology, the "Iron Spider." But during the events of 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home, Parker realized that he was better off just doing what he does best as the friendly neighborhood hero and not attempting to become the next Iron Man.
But Riri shows serious potential as the one who will pick up the pieces that Stark left behind when he died. In the comics, she's a super genius, something that will more than carry over to live-action. In Black Panther 2. It's even been shown, through merchandise, that she'll suit up in a prototype Ironheart armor.
And of course, Riri has her own show coming to Disney+ in 2023 that will pick up from the events of Wakanda Forever. However, not much is known about the series' story beyond that.