RDJ Gave Ironheart Actor the Only Working Advice to Survive in the MCU
Tony Stark has been at the centre of the MCU since it began with Iron Man's origins, right up to his sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame.
Robert Downey Jr, who played him, was easily one of the most popular actors in the entire MCU. But now Tony is dead. More importantly, given that death in comic book universes is often nothing more than a temporary inconvenience, Robert has had enough of playing him – so we'll have no more Iron Man.
But the MCU is not about to let his legacy fade away, and another comic book tradition, the introduction of successor characters, will help prevent that.
Tony's best friend, Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, will take up the banner in the upcoming Armor Wars. And another successor to Iron Man is the MCU's latest armoured genius, Riri Williams, aka Ironheart.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduced Riri Williams to the MCU as a brilliant 19-year-old MIT student who impressed everyone with her engineering skills.
However, any character who tries to fill the void left by Iron Man is in great danger. The fate of Riri Williams' character in the comics illustrated this – she was too aggressively promoted as a successor character, a new and better version of Iron Man, and this earned her utter loathing from large sections of the fanbase.
Now the MCU has given Riri another chance. And Robert Downey Jr. gave Dominque Thorne, who plays her, some good advice on how to go about it:
"I wasn't able to speak with RDJ before we got into filming or anything, but right toward the conclusion of the film, I actually had the chance to speak with him through FaceTime. A cast mate over on Ironheart had actually done a show with him and connected us, and he had some beautiful words to say about how much he believes that Riri Williams is and should always be her own person, her own thing. That this legacy is headed in the right direction and all the beautiful encouraging things that you hope to hear from the Iron Man himself." (via ScreenRant)
The fans seem to agree with this assessment.
"She should be her own thing and it seems like the MCU will embrace that. If she's an Iron Man replacement then she will fail, but as her own thing she could be great," as one Redditor put it.
If seen as a replacement for Iron Man, Ironheart is going to fail. The key to success is establishing herself as a distinct character. As to whether she managed to do so, the Internet consensus is yet to be reached – watch Wakanda Forever and decide!