MCU Phase 4 may be on its way to introducing Iron Man’s dark replacement. This phase is bigger than previous phases because it covers TV shows as well as movies. This means more ground is covered and more characters, concepts, and worlds are introduced like in the multiverse. The MCU has a long list of upcoming TV shows, and through them, it could shape the future of this linked universe by bringing characters who could establish new teams, though not inevitably heroic ones.
“Ironheart,” starring Dominique Thorne as MIT student and certified super-genius Riri Williams, is a new MCU television series that will premiere in the fall of 2017.” Using materials she snatched from the university, Riri creates an Iron Man-style suit of armor, which she then uses to escape campus security. Two inmates escape from a penitentiary, and Riri’s armor is damaged by their attempt to break out. As a result of her actions, Tony Stark meets her and decides to support the decision she has made, thus giving her the name Ironheart.
The filming of Ironheart is scheduled to begin in June 2022, and Marvel is currently putting together the cast and crew. Rumors about the film have already begun to circulate. Zeke Stane, the villain of Ironheart, has long been speculated to have a connection to the original Iron Man film, which would make him the perfect replacement for the late Iron Man. But who is Zeke Stane and how does he conform to the Marvel Universe?
In the MCU, Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane is played by Jeff Bridges’ son, Ezekiel “Zeke” Stane. All of Zeke’s actions were in retaliation for the death of his father. It was revealed that Zeke was the mastermind behind villains like Black Dahlia and Maul, as well as S.H.A.D.O.W. Androids’ M.A.N., who set out to destroy Stark’s high-profile California Initiative team. The Order since he was nine years old and had been building bioweaponry since then. He was raised by Obadiah, who punished him whenever he failed and instilled a hatred for Stark in him, to become a better scientist.
One of Zeke’s most notable improvements to his own biology was a cybernetic hypothalamus he built using Stark technology he purchased on the black market. As a result of these and other upgrades, Zeke’s body is much more capable of self-healing and is able to use its excess energy to power repulsor bolts at the tips of his fingers.
Stand, on the other hand, is compelled to eat 10 times as many calories as the average person because his metabolism is 10 times higher than the average human’s, and he must wear a displacement suit to do so. The arrogant and self-centered Zeke, like his father, sees everyone else as beneath him. Reed Richards, despite Zeke’s brilliance, considers him to be more of an imitator than an innovator because all of his inventions are based on Stark tech repurposed, and this is seen as a major flaw by Richards.
In Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, Obadiah Stane was a villain and thus the first villain in the MCU. Howard Stark’s business partner, Obadiah worked alongside him and Ivan Vanko on a variety of projects, including the development of the Arc Reactor. Obadiah took over as interim CEO of Stark Industries after Howard’s death until Tony Stark was old enough to take over the CEO position. Obadiah planned the kidnapping and murder of Tony years later, which contributed to the latter constructing the Iron Man armor and becoming the hero everyone knows today. For a long time, Obadiah has been absent from the MCU after being defeated and electrocuted to death.
When Kate Bishop is testing her archery skills at college and she is seen shooting at Stane Tower, keen-eyed Hawkeye viewers notice an interesting Easter egg. In Hawkeye, a reference to Iron Man’s villain, after all these years, seemed out of place to MCU fans, who are speculating that Marvel is preparing for the arrival of Zeke Stane, who could now be in charge of Stane Tower and all that comes with it.
Anthony Ramos has been rumored to be a part of the cast of Ironheart, which has been in pre-production and casting. An unspecified villainous role has been rumored to have been assigned to Ramos in the upcoming Ironheart film. Fans have speculated that Ramos will portray Zeke Stane, the son of Tony Stark’s first supervillain enemy, which would mirror Iron Man’s beginnings. If Ironheart’s villain is Zeke, it would pay off Hawkeye’s subtle setup by introducing a new bad guy to the MCU who is connected to previous phases and, most importantly, to the character who started this connected universe. Zeke could also become Iron Man’s dark replacement in Phase 4.
Zeke Stane can’t go after Tony Stark because of his sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. but he can redirect his rage toward someone who is trying to replace him and recreate his technology, like Riri Williams. It’s interesting to note that, like his father and Tony Stark before him, Zeke is also making use of Stark’s technology, albeit in a more sinister manner. With Valentina Allegra de Fontaine seemingly recruiting a dark version of the Avengers, Zeke could easily become the team’s dark Iron Man. Apart from Ironheart, Armor Wars is the most likely candidate for Zeke to appear in a film or television series. The film follows Rhodey as he faces one of Tony’s greatest fears: his technology getting into the wrong hands, which might conveniently be Zeke considering his past in the comic books.
As a result of his acquisition of Stark technology via the black market and other unorthodox channels, Zeke may join forces with Sharon Carter, alias the Power Broker, and appear in the upcoming fourth Captain America film. Additionally, some speculate that he may play a villain in the upcoming Young Avengers film, which has been hotly rumored for months. Zeke Stane could make another appearance in season 2 of Hawkeye, mainly because Kate destroyed Stane Tower in the first episode and he will surely want her to pay for what she did. With so much potential, Zeke Stane could become one of only a handful of MCU villains to live beyond their initial appearance and develop into a larger and more complex character.