New Photos Tease Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man Legacy In Disney+’s Ironheart

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Iron Man, Ironheart, Tony Stark

Avengers: Endgame achieved a lot for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but nothing quite stands up to the impact that Tony Stark’s sacrifice has had. The loss of Robert Downey Jr.’s Avenger has weighed heavy on the world, as seen in both Spider-Man: Far From Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The exploration of the character’s legacy will once again come under the spotlight when Dominique Thorne’s Ironheart is properly introduced. Otherwise known as Riri Williams, the young MIT student will first be seen in this year’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and then in her own Disney+ series next year.

But how will she relate to Iron Man himself? After all, her namesake is clearly reminiscent of the hero, as is the armor she will wear. Fans have already gotten a glimpse at what she’ll be wearing at some point in Black Panther 2, and recently, new set photos have revealed her look in Ironheart.

However, if one takes a closer look at those set photos, it might become clearer as to how she’ll honor Tony Stark’s legacy.

Ironheart Plays on Tony Stark's Legacy

New set photos from Ironheart have revealed the first look at Riri Williams' new superhero suit of armor, revealing potential hints at how the show may call back to Robert Downey Jr.’s legacy as Tony Stark.

Many fans theorizing that the suit could actually be cobbled together from various parts of old Iron Man and/or War Machine suits:

Some similarities include the faceplate’s similarity to the classic Iron Man one, the general bulkiness being reminiscent of the original Mark I, faded red, white, and blue posters that may be from the Iron Patriot, and the War Machine-sized weaponry:

The angle of having Riri collecting bits and pieces over the years would play really well for the MCU, and be a great way of introducing a legacy character like her, who had no interaction with Stark otherwise.

On top of this, Lizzie Hill from The Cosmic Circus also brought up an interesting point about the suit, revealing that the suit seen on set is dubbed the ‘Legacy’ armor, further tying it back to Robert Downey Jr.'s founding Avenger.

On the graphic page, Riri Williams is found picking up the pieces following the death of Marvel Comics' Tony Stark, mirroring the situation the MCU's incarnation finds herself in following the events of Avengers: Endgame (and a handful of projects in between).

Riri Williams Tony Stark
Marvel Comics

Riri eventually encounters an AI hologram version of Tony Stark, which draws another interesting parallel to the MCU. Iron Man was last seen giving a video message to his loved ones via hologram at the tailend of Avengers: Endgame. 

Could this technology be built upon to achieve a fully AI version of the hero, ushering in the way for Robert Downey Jr. to return? Alternatively, Riri could stumble upon a prototype version of the AI in the confines of the parts she uses for her suit, allowing her to be mentored by one of the MCU's greatest minds.

Tony Stark Hologram, Riri Williams
Marvel Comics

Ironheart’s Addition to Iron Man’s Legacy

With how active Tony Stark was around the world during his time as a superhero, he’s certainly left a footprint. And by footprint, it’s more like a lot of leftover waste.

Tony's suits were constantly damaged and destroyed through the course of battle.. Iron Man 3 saw dozens and dozens of armors get lost to the wind, Africa is probably still home to some Hulkbuster bits and bobs, and the destruction of Avengers HQ in Endgame probably blew up a few prototypes armors as well.

This kind of behavior could also be a great starting off point for Armor Wars. If Riri Williams, a young MIT student, is getting all of these pieces of former Stark tech, she can’t be the only one doing so. There are likely more than a few bad apples using the technology for the wrong reason.

Fans will have to wait until Ironheart hits Disney+ in the fall of 2023. As for Armor Wars, well, hopefully, that one’s still happening in the first place.

- In This Article: Ironheart
Release Date
Alden Ehrenreich
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.