Fans were surprised to learn that Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams was joining the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before her own Ironheart series. But, it appeared that Marvel Studios wasn't satisfied with giving Riri a minor role, and rumors soon indicated that one of her inventions would cause the conflict between Atlantis and Wakanda.
Another question that fans began asking was whether Riri would also debut with her full suit of armor that came in the comics. It was reported that "she's suiting up," but since then, there have been no other clues about this being the case, even from various set photos captured during production.
However, new merchandise for Wakanda Forever seems to confirm that Riri's Ironheart persona and armor will be at least referenced in the Black Panther sequel.
Riri Williams Armoring Up as Ironheart
New promotional art for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has been released focusing on Riri Williams and her Ironheart persona. One piece of mech highlights the distinct shape of Ironheart's arc reactor, which differs from the design from the comics.
Another piece of promotional art features many more logos and icons. Some show off potential connections to Wakanda itself, such as the symbol of the Black Panther having an Iron Man color scheme. The imagery also shows a pair of goggles, likely a reference to Riri's appearance in "Invincible Iron Man," when she wore similar goggles.
Another logo reads, "Mark 61 Armor," which suggests that Riri's Ironheart armor or an early iteration will debut in Wakanda Forever.
The Heart of Riri Williams
Of course, looking at the arc reactor in the merchandise, it's obviously meant to resemble a heart, but this shape has never been used in the comics.
Riri Williams' first armor closely resembled Iron Man's red and gold armor, and its reactor was shaped like a hexagon. Afterward, Riri created a new armor for herself to more closely match her persona, with the reactor being shaped like an abstract heart. This new reactor isn't like anything from the comics, but it does look familiar.
Over two years ago, Sony Santa Monica Art Director Raf Grassetti illustrated his own design for Ironheart with an arc reactor in the shape of a heart. Although the one included with the merchandise is a tad more top-heavy, it's still the same shape.
Now, this isn't to suggest that Grassetti's design was ripped off in any way (it's a simple eight-sided shape), but just that the artists at Marvel Studios had the same idea of making the heart shape more literal for Ironheart. It also suggests that Riri will skip over her attempts to mimic Tony Stark's design as she did in the comics.
Fans will find out for sure when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever debuts in theaters on November 11.