By Lauren Linhard – firstname.lastname@example.org
Iron Man fans are in for a serious plot twist – Billionaire playboy Tony Stark is giving up his superhero role and being replaced by a young, black woman named Riri Williams.
Riri is a young scientist, attending M.I.T at age 15, who has already built her own Iron Man suit. Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis announced the character’s addition in early July, noting that Riri has already made an appearance in the latest issue of Iron Man comics.
She will officially take over the role of “Iron Man” at the end of the comic book event series “Civil War II.”
Bendis said the character was inspired by his time in Chicago, working on a TV show that never aired about a woman who grew up in an environment of chaos and violence, but continued to persevere and improve her life.
“I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard,” Bendis said. “And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place.”
Though the new story arc is currently only featured in the comic books, there is an chance Riri will be taking over for Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) within the Avengers film franchise as well. However, Marvel Comics and Marvel Studio are independent entities, and all movie slot release dates are full until 2020.
Fans aren’t as hesitant to accept this drastic change as anticipated, having seen Bendis’ work with Miles Morales, Jessica Jones and Maria Hill. However, there is a distinct split between fans who are open to an African-American female Iron Man, and ones who think their childhood is being destroyed.
The most important thing, Bendis said, is incorporating the Riri character into the Marvel universe in an organic way that represents how the world is today.
“When you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in this universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction,” Bendis said.