Spoiler Warning: There will be some discussion of Civil War II in this post, however nothing is explicitly been given away.
Marvel is not shy about making bold moves when it comes to its iconic- and innumerably Caucasian- mantles, having shaken things up a few times over the last few years with characters like Miles Morales and Sam Wilson. Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man, will be the latest hero to step out of his iconic garb and pass the torch on to 15-year-old Riri Williams, according to Time Magazine.
Following the events of Civil War II, Tony Stark, one of comics most recognizable figures, will retire the hero life and the iconic suit, according to writer Michael Brian Bendis. Stepping up to replace him will be Riri Williams, a scientific and mechanical genius, not dissimilar to the goatee’d playboy. Stark takes a vivid interest in the college freshman after he discovers that she secretly constructed her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room.
In the interview with Time, Bendis discussed how he came up with the idea for Williams a couple of years ago while working in Chicago. Bendis says the core of the idea comes from wanting to make the world a better place and not combating tragic violence with more violence. Bendis says Williams is not a typical vigilante, but instead wants to use her acumen in science to develop ways to protect, empower and better the lives of those living in the dangerous pockets of society.
One of the biggest issues Bendis and his creative team have faced so far with the newest iteration of Iron Man is fan reaction. Bendis said there has been some racist push back with making Iron Man a black woman. This is nothing new to Bendis though, as he claims the same resistance was there with the creation of Miles Morales. Bendis said to Times that it is important to be able to tell different stories from different perspectives, with the creation and implementation of Williams character feeling entirely organic.
“We never had a meeting saying, “We need to create this character,” Bendis said. “It’s inspired by the world around me and not seeing that represented enough in popular culture.”
Bendis said that one of the biggest regrets of his career so far has not been doing more to create characters and tell stories that reflect the diverse readership of comics and the world we live. Bendis hopes other creators will be inspired by the work they are doing with characters like Miles Morales and Riri Williams and that they too will be “inspired by the world around [them]” and do something to see “that represented [more] in popular culture.”