The comic world is having a little bit of a modern day renaissance at the moment with Marvel’s All New All Different and Civil War II initiatives upending the world they have laid out and establishing new common grounds going forward, DC are also undergoing a literal Rebirth and have branded it as such. The latest news that Tony Stark is getting ready to hand over the keys to his suit is still somewhat a shock despite all this change and it could certainly have an affect on the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward.
We all know from the back catalogue of Avengers and Iron Man feature films that Robert Downey Jr is a damn good Tony Stark. At times it’s spookily too good. It is as if he was born to play the role, much like Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool. So replacing him going forward when he carries a lot of the films for me is a little troubling and at first I thought a tad far fetched, but bare with me on this for a moment. Marvel in recent years have been on a tear to be super inclusive and have been adding minorities, woman and homosexuals into prominent roles within their printed pages. Thor is now Jane Foster, Wolverine is now Laura Kinney, Spiderman’s protégé Spiderman is Miles Morales who has African-American and Puerto Rican parents, Medusa of the Inhumans is becoming a prominent character in Civil War II, Captain Marvel is now Carol Danvers, A-Force is now operating as an exclusively female superteam and Mystique is openly bi-sexual, need I go on?
I am all for being inclusive and I think Marvel should continue on the road they have started to venture down and widen their net. I don’t mind that previously male roles and heroes within the Marvel universe are being handed over to woman but I also think it is important for more original female heroes to be created rather than just retooling already existing names. Riri Williams is a big step in that direction despite the fact she is taking over from Iron Man. I hardly think she’ll keep the Iron MAN name. She is a fifteen year old MIT student who has just expelled herself by reverse engineering her own Iron Man armour in her Hall’s of Residence and scarring the life out of the faculty. She has already appeared within the comics but as the dust settles on the Civil War II story arc later this year, it appears she will be much more important to the future of the Iron Man series than first thought. She will soon be coming to Stark’s attention and it is reported he will waste no time naming her his successor. Riri could be the torch bearer for the modern diversity push by Marvel just as Iron Man was the poster child for the hero line up since the beginning of All New All Different. Riri is a young, African-American lady so she’s covering more than the basis needed for a modern inclusive age.
So, how is this going to affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe? In the short term, it won’t. To make my point clearer just take MCU Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth. He has been in the role since 2011. Jane Foster took over from Thor in the comics in 2015 and in that same year we got Chris Hemsworth Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and he is currently filming Thor: Ragnarok which is not due for release until next year. So, despite the fact that the comic landscape is changing, there isn’t an immediate sign that the roster cinematically will match up, at least not yet. It has to be said that the current collection of actors cannot play their iconic characters forever and a roadmap of future progression for the Marvel Universe is never a bad thing to have. For example, Robert Downey Jr has already signed a contract extension to star in the next Avengers film and Spider-Man: Homecoming but no deal has been made as regards to Iron Man 4. The actor did say “I feel like I could do one more” but currently no plans are in the works (that we know of). That would mean by 2019 we would have no more Robert Downey Jr films left for Marvel unless something changes contractually. Having a young black lady running the show as some variation of Iron Man would be pretty cool if you ask me, especially if casting got it right. I would choose Amandla Stenberg for the role based on the little I have so far seen of Riri in the comics. The actress is best known for playing Rue in The Hunger Games.
How would you feel about Riri taking over Tony’s mantle and have you had chance to see her in the comics yet (first appearance was in Invincible Iron Man #9)? Also, which actress would you cast in the role? Tweet your thought and feelings @CelebrityCutout.