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Wakanda Forever's Ironheart Tech Proves Marvel Is Finally Moving On From Tony Stark

The following article contains spoilers for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is pretty much the architect behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first movie to launch this massive franchise was "Iron Man" in 2008, which saw the playboy billionaire philanthropist suit up and learn to take responsibility for the technology he introduced to the world. Many other heroes have been introduced since that time, but Tony Stark's influence still looms large. This is seen in how the character still regularly gets name-dropped in a variety of Marvel projects, even though he died in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame."

This can be seen in the latest Marvel property to hit theaters — "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." A year after King T'Challa's (Chadwick Boseman) death, the nation of Wakanda still reels from his loss. Around this time, those in charge are tasked with tracking down a scientist who built a device that can track vibranium even deep within the ocean. The scientist turns out to be Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who will go on to become the hero Ironheart. 

As suggested by the name, Riri Williams takes a good deal of inspiration from Iron Man. And she doesn't have a billion-dollar company to design whatever suits she wants. She makes them herself in a garage. But it is a little strange she doesn't at least mention her clear idol in the movie. 

Iron Man gets a little shoutout

Riri Williams may not mention Tony Stark by name, but Iron Man does receive a bit of a shoutout from a random passerby. When the feds close in on Riri's garage, where she houses all of her tech, you can hear one of the agents mention how she's flying around in what looks like an Iron Man suit. 

On the surface, it may seem odd that "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" would miss an opportunity to give a more prominent shoutout to the godfather of the MCU. As Riri shows Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira) around her facility, it's hard not to draw comparisons with Tony Stark's workstation. But she doesn't say anything.

There may be a reason behind this. After all, no one refers to Riri in her armor as "Ironheart," so that connection is still missing for the time being. Fortunately, it's not like there aren't more opportunities down the line to include some Iron Man references.

Ironheart is still slated to get her own Disney+ series

Riri Williams helps Wakanda fight Talokan in the epic climax, but it's clear her adventures aren't over yet. By the film's end, she's heading back to MIT, albeit without her sweet new armor she built using Wakandan technology. She'll apparently have to start from scratch, but that shouldn't be too big of a problem for something as intelligent as her. 

Fans will be able to see what's next for Riri Williams in her own Disney+ series, "Ironheart." While there's still much we don't know about the show as of this writing, we do know Riri will go up against a magical foe in the form of The Hood, played by Anthony Ramos (via ComicBook.com). It'll be interesting to see how the tech-savvy Ironheart does against someone whose preferred method of fighting involves magic, but it should make for a one-of-a-kind series. 

With multiple episodes making up her own series, there should be plenty of opportunities for Iron Man references to make their way to "Ironheart." Undoubtedly, Riri will mention Tony Stark at least once for serving as inspiration for her to design her own set of armor. And even if she doesn't say anything, it would make sense for her enemies or even just passersby to draw a comparison.