Riri Williams will be the next person to wear the Iron Man suit. The news came out in July that Tony Stark would be passing on the Iron Man suit to Riri Williams. Riri is a 15-year-old genius, as well as Marvel’s first young black woman to wear the suit. She will, however be not taking the mantle of Iron Man with her. Instead, she will go by the moniker: Ironheart.
— sci fi elements (@scifielements) August 22, 2016
Riri Williams was first introduced to Marvel readers in Invincible Iron Man #9 back in May. When she creates her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room at MIT and gets kicked out of school. Riri will be getting a proper introduction in the first issue of the next Invincible Iron Man this November.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis spoke about the new name choice, saying the team had dismissed Iron Woman as “old fashioned”. Ironheart, coined by Editor Joe Quesada speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole.
“Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.”
Riri Williams won’t be the first woman or person of color to take on the role of Iron Man. But her character’s introduction is indicative of a Marvel universe that’s aiming to be more diverse and inclusive. And for those that will miss Stark himself, the billionaire’s personality will apparently live on as part of Ironheart. Forming the basis of the new armor’s AI.
— Alex Fitzpatrick (@AlexJamesFitz) July 6, 2016
Having a black woman as Iron Man has not gone over well with some fans, but Bendis said at the time of the announcement that the change is a natural progression.
“I think what’s most important is that the character is created in an organic setting. We never had a meeting saying, ‘we need to create this character.’ It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.”