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Who Will Replace Robert Downey Jr As Iron Man

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Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man will be replaced in two different ways by Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Director Ryan Coogler returns to Marvel Studios after the critical and commercial juggernaut that is Black Panther from 2018. This time, however, it is no secret that the stakes are higher to deliver another satisfying MCU blockbuster, especially since the sequel is being dedicated to the beloved late T'Challa actor, Chadwick Boseman. But aside from that tall order, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is also shaping up to offer two successors to Tony Stark. 

Marvel Studios wrapped up the Infinity Saga via Avengers: Endgame, and to further highlight the fact that it was the end of an era for the franchise, the movie also functioned as Iron Man's swan song. The MCU's inaugural hero kicked off the franchise in 2008 with Jon Favreau's Iron Man and proceeded to be the face of the universe for the next decade. In a 180-degree character turn, Tony died sacrificing his life to defeat Thanos (Josh Brolin). Like his fellow original Avengers, Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Iron Man will ultimately have a successor in the universe, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sets up two of them. 

Related: Phase 4 Shows The Avengers Learned Nothing From Thanos & Infinity War

Aside from being the co-leader of the Avengers, Tony Stark is also known as the team's brains. Time and again, he proved his smarts with his innovative creations – not to mention cracking the specifics of time travel in Avengers: Endgame. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Shuri (Letitia Wright) can follow in his footsteps as the MCU's most prominent genius; in fact, she could even be better than him as she has been previously dubbed as the smartest character in the MCU on the heels of her introduction in the original Black Panther film. Meanwhile, Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne), who is a more direct replacement of Iron Man, at least based in the comics, could do the same in the MCU. Like Tony, she creates her own Iron Man armor, leading her to assume the superhero persona of Ironheart. Riri will headline her own Disney+ show, but before that, she will be first introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. 

who will replace robert downey jr as iron man

What's interesting is that both characters never got the chance to interact with Tony before he passed away in Avengers: Endgame. Although Shuri was already an established player in the MCU before Thanos' invasion in Avengers: Infinity War, she stayed in Wakanda working to remove the Mind Stone from Vision (Paul Bettany). Meanwhile, Iron Man went to Titan in the hopes of defeating the Mad Titan there and sparing Earth of any kind of destruction. Prior to this, Wakanda was still in isolation, so there was no chance of them meeting. Meanwhile, Riri hasn't debuted yet, so there was really no opportunity for her to share the screen with Tony. That being said, Marvel Studios can come up with a workaround to this by inserting Williams in previous MCU films the same way they did with Tom Holland's Peter Parker in Iron Man 2 and Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio in Captain America: Civil War.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever set images have hinted that Shuri will have interactions with Riri, although the extent of Ironheart's role in the sequel is still tightly under wraps. But aside from setting up two possible replacements for Iron Man, seeing young, capable Black women would have a much bigger impact in the MCU moving forward. This is especially true as Marvel Studios pushes for a more diverse franchise. 

More: Doctor Strange Shouldn’t Be The MCU’s Anchor (Like Iron Man Was)


Key Release Dates
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

Marvel Universe 838 Timeline & Every Difference To The MCU


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