Marvel Confirms What We All Suspected About MCU Tony Stark's Connection to Ironheart

Marvel just confirmed what many expected about Ironheart’s connection to Tony Stark in the MCU.
Riri Williams (aka Ironheart) was first introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, where her genius intellect quickly crossed paths with both Wakanda and Talokan.
The character is known in the comics for building her own Iron Man suits, taking inspiration from Tony Stark. However, in the MCU, Dominique Thorne’s newly introduced character never spent a moment of on-screen time with Robert Downey Jr.’s Avenger.
[ How Robert Downey Jr. Encouraged Ironheart Star Dominique Thorne (Exclusive) ]
Marvel Confirms Ironheart"s Connection to Iron ManIn the new Marvel Studios" Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - The Art of the Movie book, Visual Development Concept Illustrator Josh Nizzi confirmed what audiences already suspected about Riri William’s (aka, Ironheart) connection to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark.
Nizzi noted that "Riri is obviously aware of his work," and the designs of her suit show "a level of influence:"
"Riri is obviously aware of his work… She"s got an RT, which is Stark-like technology, but it"s her own version. So the design shows that there"s a level of influence, but she"s doing things her own way."
The designer continued, noting how he "tried to put a lot of [her personality]" into the suit:
"We talked a lot about her personality and her qualities, so I tried to put a lot of that stuff into the suit… She was described as kind of a young, sassy gamer tech nerd, but really concerned about safety, and incorporating hip-hop culture somewhat. She is also studying robotics, so l used some of the current-day robotic stuff, like the joystick. And, because of her interest in classic cars, there are some roll cage elements in the harness and the racing buckle that"s around her."
Her initial suit included items that suggested Riri "uses what"s around her" while "echo[ing] her emphasis on safety:"
"So I was pulling parts from cars and robotics, while the guard over her head is from a pull-down bar on a roller coaster—this shows that she uses what"s around her, but also echoes her emphasis on safety. One of the things I was very happy with on this one was the heat shields on her legs—that crinkly material on her calves.! think it looks cool but has that kind of homemade feel. Very functional."
The concept art book also had a handful of unique designs for Ironheart"s suit that never made it into the movie.
At one point, her suit could have sported a red and silver color scheme (though it"s unclear if this would have been her Mark I or Mark II).
MarvelThen there is a pink, extremely comic book-accurate one with a sleek frame and the iconic heart on her forehead.
MarvelAnother choice for her primary color in the big finale was orange, instead of the bright red seen in the final film.
MarvelWhile the movie eventually chose a cherry red, the design of the suit itself was still in flux, as seen in this much thinner version of her Mark II—which includes two glowing hearts.
MarvelAnother line-up of three alternate looks leads right into the design that most resembles the final product, as seen on the right-most suit.
MarvelThe Important Influence Tony Stark Had on Riri WilliamsAt the end of the day, Riri Williams does not need to have known Tony Stark personally—after all, she did not in the original comics either.
It is neat enough the MCU is such an expansive continuity that over more than a decade of storytelling, audiences can see this new hero come into the spotlight thanks to the incredible impact Tony Stark, and his Iron Man persona, made on the world as a whole.
Many, however, would still love to see Riri get some version of the Tony Stark AI that she has in the comics. Perhaps Armor Wars could be the project to introduce that concept into the MCU.
As for those awesome-looking suits in the concept art, while many of them did not make it into the final version of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it could give a decent idea of what fans can expect to see in Ironheart. The pink one, in particular, looks like a pretty accurate take on the character’s most iconic costume.
Sadly, audiences may not see Ironheart on Disney+ until 2025, as the project is also posed to receive reshoots at some point this year.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now streaming on Disney+.


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