Can We Hope for Robert Downey Jr Cameo in IronHeart?
Riri Williams' appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever gave fans a reinvigorated excitement for her upcoming Disney+ series, Ironheart.
After the revelation of her homemade Iron Man-like suit and her experience using similar technology from the Wakandans, fans have begun to wonder if Tony Stark will make an appearance in the new show.
Robert Downey Jr. hasn't played Stark since his devastating death in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, though his presence has been felt since – most notably in Spider-Man: Far From Home. 2021's Black Widow was rumored to have Stark in a flashback sequence, though this role was eventually taken by Williams Hurt's Secretary Ross.
Ryan Coogler, who directed Dominique Thorne as Williams in Wakanda Forever, said that there will be a connection between Williams and Stark. It won't be as direct as it was in the comics, with Coogler calling it "complicated."
Thus far, the only connection they have is their alma mater, MIT. But there are a few ways a return could be in the works for Iron Man.
The September Grant
In 2016's Captain America: Civil War, Stark awarded MIT students the September Foundation Grant, funding all of their current projects. One theory states that Williams was a recipient of that award, leading to her creation of the vibranium-tracking device that put her at odds with Namor in Wakanda Forever.
If that's the case, she may be at odds with the deceased philanthropist. She was inadvertently thrown into a war because he funded her work.
Many of the MCU villains came about because of their hatred for Tony Stark. In this case, it may be creating a hero. She'd be driven by her anger for Stark toward the new lineup of Avengers, complete with flashbacks of Stark awarding her the grant as she laments the damage she indirectly caused.
On the other hand, Stark may appear as a new ally for Williams.
Stark has previously dabbled in AI, once creating a murderous robot while trying to put a suit of armor around the world. He may have continued his work in AI, eventually creating a version of himself that can continue his search for "peace in our time."
The AI Stark would see her heroism after she fought alongside the Black Panther and the inventive work she'd done, deciding to take her under his wing.
The Multiverse Saga has been full of torch-passing – Sam Wilson took the Captain America shield, Kate Bishop was trained by Clint Barton, She-Hulk worked with Bruce Banner. Riri Williams may be the next iteration of Iron Man, joining the official ranks of the Avengers by their next team-up in Kang Dynasty.
Could it Happen?
While fans may be clamoring for an appearance, it probably won't happen. RDJ has officially retired from the time-consuming role, now choosing to take on easier gigs and spending more time with his family.
Even if he decided to pop back in for a cameo, an RDJ appearance demands a huge salary. If it were a high-budget film looking for a box office boost, it might make sense. But for a straight-to-streaming series? It won't be worth it.
While fans will keep clamoring for his reappearance, Robert Downey Jr.'s door as Iron Man is likely shut for good. Stark's presence will instead live on through the legacy he left for future heroes like Riri Williams.