Avengers: Endgame gave Iron Man one last go of it. However, it seems like Marvel will be reviving the name of Iron Man in the not-too-distant future over on Disney+. A new report indicates that Disney is developing an Ironheart series for the Disney+ streaming service, joining the Falcon and Winter Soldier, She-Hulk, Hawkeye, and Ms. Marvel series — all of which feature the next generations of heroes picking up the mantle from those left behind.
However, a vocal minority of people on the internet argued that Riri Williams should never be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for a myriad of reasons. They claim that Morgan Stark, Tony’s daughter introduced in Endgame, should pick up the mantle. While Morgan may seem like the logical choice to take on her dad’s mantle, Riri is the only one who can fill his metal shoes.
While there is a deleted scene featuring an older Morgan Stark, the young girl, as of the end of Avengers: Endgame, is at most four years old. Even assuming it takes two or three years for Ironheart to arrive on Disney+, that still leaves Morgan at the age of seven or eight. There is simply no way an eight-year-old girl can effectively pilot the Iron Man suit or have one designed to fit her still-growing body. On the other hand, a fifteen-year-old girl can actually fit into a suit, be alert enough to react to stimuli, and have the know-how to actually fight.
There’s been no indication that Morgan is particularly tech-savvy at all. Sure, she’s Tony’s daughter, but she’s also Pepper Potts’s daughter. Both are geniuses, though Potts is more a business genius than a tech genius. Unlike Tony, who grew up with Howard Stark’s influence, Morgan grew up with love from her father and very little knowledge of her father’s legacy as a tech genius — only as a hero who gave his life for the Earth. There’s little reason to believe a young girl who had to let her father go would really want to be a hero after that. It’s possible that not only is Morgan Stark incapable of creating an Iron Man suit, but probably would have deep-seated trauma associated with it since it’s what her father wore when he died.
One argument given as to why Morgan would be better suited for the Iron Man suit than Riri is that Morgan has access to her father’s tech. Riri is just some girl, while Morgan is the heir to the Stark fortune, and thus the only one who can build an Iron Man suit. The technology may be just too advanced for Riri to build. After all, the greatest scientists in Stark Industries, who would later go on to build Mysterio’s weaponry, couldn’t figure out arc reactor technology. But, then again, neither would Riri. Technology always builds upon what came before. By the time The Avengers came out, Stark’s system of clean energy using the Arc Reactor had become mainstream enough to power all of New York City. Multiple people in Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were able to construct Iron Man suit replicas on their own using scraps. All of this advancing tech impacts society.
There is no reason that Riri wouldn’t be able to recreate antiquated technology that even at the time was being copied by genius mechanics. People often forget that Riri Williams built her suit at MIT while on scholarship as a fifteen-year-old, before later refining and updating her crude model. She isn’t just some random kid, she’s a prodigy on-par with Stark. Riri Williams building an Iron Man suit is comparable to a kid in the early 2000s building a laptop. Sure, it wouldn’t be easy and fifteen years ago it would’ve been impossible, but times change and technology advances.
At the core of it, some people just don’t want Riri Williams. While some have very fair reasons for not liking her as a character, a large deal of backlash she’s faced is centered around the fact that she is a girl and black. A lot of characters, like Miles Morales or Kamala Khan, received racist backlash initially before growing in popularity, but for some reason, the same can’t be said for Riri.
For whatever reason, Riri’s creation as the new Iron Man that was essentially replacing Tony (for about a year) stirred the pot for fans holding onto sexist and racist inclinations. Many critics capitalized on this widespread hatred of Riri and other characters like her to create their personal brand of angry comic critics online, which ultimately amounted to shouting about how awful Riri was as a character.
Riri’s character, especially after becoming Ironheart, has become far more nuanced over the years as new writers crafted her character. Still, the backlash continues. It’s unclear if people hate her because they don’t believe a teenage girl can build an Iron Man suit or because they hate that a fifteen-year-old black girl proudly called herself Iron Man, before later on figuring out her own identity as a hero after realizing what being a hero was really like. Regardless, Riri’s story is a coming of age story that simply can’t work if she were born into the Stark dynasty.
Whatever the case is in the MCU, Morgan Stark inheriting the suit would indicate that being a hero is dynastic, a mantle passed down. While a nice notion for a legacy character like Morgan, this action would be counter to the message of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that everyone can be a hero.
KEEP READING: Marvel’s Ironheart Is Even Smarter Than Tony Stark
While some people want Morgan Stark to take on the role of Ironheart in the MCU, it's clear that it needs to be Riri Williams.