Ironheart will replace Iron Man at MCU, indicating it’s too early for Iron Lad, Stark’s second potential successor, for his film debut.
Ironheart, also known as Riri Williams, is coming to MCU in his own Disney + series, but it’s too early for another potential Iron Man deputy, Iron Lad, to receive the same treatment. Ironheart was announced along with an abundance of other Marvel content during Disney’s Web Day on the occasion of Investor Day on December 10, 2020. Dominique Thorne is set to play the title character, but little more has been revealed about the series. Riri was first introduced with Marvel Comics in 2015, and it is a 15-year-old female genius who makes her own armor modeled after Tony Stark.
While Ironheart will be MCU’s successor to Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) after his death in Avengers: Endgame, she is not the only young character inspired by Iron Man in Marvel Comics. Iron Lad, or Nate Richards, is a 16-year-old version of the villain Kang the Conqueror, who was pulled from his timeline by an adult self. Terrified by Kang’s evil deeds, Nate vowed to change his future and defeat Kang. He gathers the Young Avengers and constructs his Iron Man suit, becoming himself a hero like Iron Lad.
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The MCU seems to be laying the groundwork for its version of Young Avengers, but Nate Richards is particularly absent from the potential lineup, and Riri has seemingly taken his place. His origins seem to be too tied to characters not yet introduced to MCU, making Ironheart better off succeeding Tony Stark.
First and foremost, Iron Lad is a young version of a character that has not yet been established in the MCU. Kang Conqueror will be featured in The Ant and the Wasp Man: Quantumania, but the extent to which it will be presented is unknown. He can still barely be positioned as the “big bad” from Phase 5, and introducing spin-off characters like Iron Lad before he fully worked out Kang himself would be too confusing. In addition, the name Iron Iron, Nathaniel Richards, comes from Reed Richards ’father. Reed Richards and the rest of the Fantastic Four will also get their MCU film in the future, but putting Nate together with the team could make the film feel crowded.
Origin Riri Williams does not rely on other characters in the same way as on Nathan’s. She is a self-created engineering prodigy whom Tony Stark later mentored to become a superhero. While Stark can’t be her mentor at MCU, her background could easily change for the Disney + series. Iron Man’s original death could have inspired her to build armor and attempt to fill the void he left behind. Its relatively simple origins require relatively little exposure compared to Nate’s, making Riri a smarter choice to succeed Iron Man.
While Nate Richard’s story may be too complex to fit the MCU, a completely different version of Iron Lada could take its place. The appearance of Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins) at the Iron Man funeral, although she had only a small role in Iron Man 3 it could have been a clue that the audience had not seen the last of him. Stark has already given him some of his advanced technologies, which he could use to make an armored suit for himself and to take the Iron Lad title. If Keener showed up at Ironheart,, having two competing replacements for Iron Man around could be an interesting action for the show.
Next: Everything we know about Marvel’s Iron Heart
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