Ever since the introduction of Riri Williams, aka “Ironheart”, in Invincible Iron Man Vol 7 #7 it seemed inevitable that she would replace Tony Stark as Iron Man. In fact that happened after the events of Civil War II when Tony experienced personal losses and financial hardships when War Machine was killed and Stark Enterprises went bankrupt.
By this point Riri had already established herself as having a genius level intellect and even surpassing Stark in some respects. Particularly in the skilled areas of inventing and engineering. Williams, having received a full scholarship from MIT, by age of 15 was already reverse engineering her own crude iron man suit made from parts she “acquired” on campus.
So when word got out that there was another Iron “Man” flying around, he went to meet who would be his eventual replacement for the first time. And when he realized that buying out the young idealist was not an option, he instead offered to be her mentor and help her be one of Earths’ many heroes, should she choose that path.
With Stark’s assistance and encouragement, Ironheart was ready for the bigtime and showed the world a brand new attitude and a slick new look to go along with it. So, if Kevin Feige plans on moving forward with Phases 4, 5 and 6 in the MCU this switch will have to be acknowledged on-screen at some point.
We’ve discussed previously whether or not Tony should be replaced at all in the MCU with Williams. You can read that HERE.
But what lucky actress could play Riri Williams on-screen? Here are 5 possibilities to consider…
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a British born stage and film actress, she was born on April 21, 1983.
She rose in the TV ranks when she landed the role of Tish Jones on the popular sci-fi show Doctor Who before turning her attention to the U.S. Her first big supporting role was opposite Tom Hanks in the comedy Larry Crowne and also appearing in television shows such as Undercovers and Touch.
Her roles in Belle in 2013 and Beyond the Lights in 2014 would earn her critical acclaim both which led directly to the role of Kelly in the hit cult series Black Mirror. This part from season 3 of the anthology series brought her much acclaim.
Most recently she landed a starring role in the upcoming film God Particle, which is the next film in the Cloverfield universe of movies, and is starring in Ava DuVernay’s hotly anticipated A Wrinkle in Time alongside Chris Pine which just premiered the first trailer at Disney’s D23 Expo.
Mbatha has the chops and credentials but at age 34 however she’s too old for the much younger Riri. Still, if Feige decides to go older, I can’t imagine anyone better.
Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel
At age 28, Nathalie Joanne Emmanuel (born 2 March 1989 in Essex, England) has already made quite a name for herself in film and television.
Emmanuel began her acting career on the London stage and in 2006 she began her television career and started a four year run as Sasha Valentine in a daytime show called Hollyoaks.
Her debut film appearance would happen in 2012 with the film Twenty8k, but it wasn’t until 2015 when she would gain notoriety on the big screen by landing a role of computer hacker Ramsey in the last two Fast and the Furious movies. She would also land a part in the 2015 Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials playing the role of Harriet.
She has just finished production on the big budget sci-fi film The Titan starring Sam Worthington and the final film in the Maze Runner trilogy, called Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
Most people however know Emmanuel as the character Missandei in the HBO hit The Game of Thrones, where she has been a series regular since Season 5.
She’s closer to the right age for Riri and has instant recognisability, which may or not be a good thing.
Amandla Stenberg was born on October 23, 1998. Aside from being an accomplished singer she is likely best known for her portrayal of Rue in The Hunger Games film series opposite Jennifer Lawrence.
At the young age of four, Stenberg started doing modeling shoots and commercial work. Her fist feature film appearance was in the movie Columbiana starring Zoe Saldana and would later lend her voice to the role of Bia in the 2014 animated film Rio 2.
She would have recurring roles in TV shows such as Sleepy Hollow and Mr. Robinson and is the co-author, with Stranger Comics’ Sebastian Jones, of the comic book Niobe: She is Life.
Most recently she’s starred in Everything, Everything and Where Hands Touch and she’s currently filming the sci-fi superhero teen movie The Darkest Minds, based on the JA novel with the same name.
At age 18 and currently starring in a teen superhero film herself, I can’t imagine anyone better to play the part of Riri Williams.
American actress Teyonah Parris was born on September 22, 1987. She is likely best known for her breakthrough role in the 2014 independent film Dear White People and star of the Spike Lee 2015 drama, Chi-Raq.
Parris was raised in South Carolina and would later attend and then graduate from the Juilliard School. Her television debut would be in 2010 when she landed a guest starring role on drama, The Good Wife. But it was her role as Dawn Chambers on his series Mad Men that garnered her the most attention as she would be at the time the first African character on the AMC retro series.
Most recently Parris played the lead role in the period drama film Buffalo Soldier Girl. This film follows a woman who had to disguise herself as a man so she could enlist and fight during the African Post Civil War.
At age 29, Parris like previous mentions, is a tad old but does have 12 films under her belt and brings the relative unknown face to the table. Something which could benefit the character up on the screen.
Yara (Keri) Shahidi
Yara (Keri) Shahidi was born in Minnesota on February 10, 2000 and began her career at age 6. She appeared in TV and newspaper/magazine ads for major companies along with her mother and younger brother.
For her part in 2009’s Imagine That starring Eddie Murphy, Shahidi would receive a Young Artist Award nomination from the Young Artist Associate for the best performance in a feature film category.
She would land the role of Zoey Johnson in the hit ABC show Black-ish in 2014. For that part she would win the NAACP Image Award in the “Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy” category.
Her character became so popular that in 2017 ABC announced a spin-off series for her called College-ish which is set to premiere in 2018.
The youngest of the group at age 17, Keri is the perfect age to play the comic book iteration of Riri Williams. She doesn’t have the film experience the others do but has plenty of production value with her time on Black-ish.
So that’s it, pretty good list right? This is all of course speculation as not one person involved in the decision making at Marvel has indicated this is likely to happen. But if Riri Williams gets a large fan base in the comics, there’s no telling what might occur.
What do you think? Did I miss anybody who you think would be perfect as Ironheart? Let me know in the comment section!
Till next time…