Will the MCU really bring back Iron Man? Although Iron Man is dead, Marvel has two more opportunities to showcase the character in the upcoming Disney+ series’. As Spider-Man: Far From Home showed, Tony’s heroic deeds made him more beloved than ever. Stark’s protégé Peter Parker (Tom Holland) also saw Iron Man’s image wherever he went during his European trip. Even if RDJ doesn’t resume as Iron Man on Disney+, both Armor Wars and Ironheart may feature the superhero.
Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes aka War Machine finally gets his due in Armor Wars. Despite Rhodey’s inclusion in the Avengers, War Machine remained primarily a sidekick during his tenure in the MCU. When his Iron Man technology is stolen and spread among their adversaries, Tony Stark’s biggest dread comes true. Following this, Rhodey is thrust into the spotlight in Armor Wars.
Rhodey’s theft of Stark’s War Machine suit in Iron Man 2 and temporary transfer of it to the U.S. Air Force gave Stark’s adversary Justin Hammer access to the latter’s technology. Naturally, this intends to be the basis for the storyline. For now, it appears like the plot of Armor Wars will include all of Iron Man’s friends and family members. The list includes Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and perhaps even Tony’s young daughter Morgan (Lexi Rabe); who may or may not appear.
In the meanwhile, Riri Williams (Dominque Thorne) makes her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the film Ironheart. The 15-year-old African American super-genius first appeared in Marvel Comics as an alternate version of the character in 2016’s Invincible Iron Man Vol 3. Followed by her own comic in 2017 titled Invincible Iron Man: Ironheart Vol 1: Riri Williams.
She was subsequently given an artificial intelligence version of Tony to help her out in her suit. This was done after Stark was knocked unconscious during the events of Civil War II. Riri is indeed building “the most sophisticated suit of armor since Iron Man”. So it would make sense if she was under the mentorship of Pepper Potts and Stark Industries in Ironheart. In doing so, Riri will be directly tied to Iron Man’s heritage in the MCU.
Robert Downey Jr.’s triumphant exit from the MCU would seem to contradict the actor returning to the role of Tony Stark, which would defeat the purpose of his epic farewell, but with Marvel, anything is possible, and if something is potentially in the works with Robert Downey, it is shrouded in secrecy. Regardless, even if RDJ doesn’t show up in person, Tony can still play a role in Ironheart and Armor Wars while still allowing Riri and Rhodey to take center stage as the protagonists of their own storylines.
Like in the Invincible Iron Man comics, a computerized Tony Stark may be included in Riri’s Ironheart suit, allowing her to converse with Stark in the same way that Tony spoke with Jarvis and Friday throughout Iron Man and the Avengers film adaptations (Downey could voice it). Additionally, Tony might emerge in holographic form in the same way as he did in Avengers: Endgame when he delivered his own pre-recorded eulogy at Iron Man’s memorial service. There’s so much footage of RDJ as Tony Stark in the previous films that there’s a good chance he’ll show up in Ironheart or Armor Wars in flashbacks from those storylines.
Of course, Tony is so well-known in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Rhodey and Riri would notice him wherever they went in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Aside from War Machine in Armor Wars and Riri Williams in Ironheart, as Spider-Man wears Stark Tech, it’s plausible that Peter Parker might connect with them in Armor Wars and Ironheart since he is unquestionably part of Iron Man’s “family” and heritage.