With Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon, some changes are bound to be coming to the MCU. Could Black Panther’s Shuri be picking up a new mantle?
Infinity War promises to be the biggest movie Marvel has done to date, which means the stakes are going to be quite high. We’ve previously discussed which Avengers are most likely to die, and you’ll notice that Tony Stark is a prominent candidate.
Tony’s death would, arguably, be a blow to the team and the entire world. I know he’s made some major mistakes in the past, and there are some people who wouldn’t count themselves as a fan, but considering he is the one who kicked off the MCU, his importance can’t be understated.
But how can the Marvel Cinematic Universe exist without Iron Man?
Easy, actually. We need to look no further than the comics. There have been plenty of major changes to the Avengers roster, including Tony Stark’s Iron Man. At the end of the second Civil War, Tony fell into a coma and Riri Williams, a brilliant young girl, became Ironheart to continue his legacy.
After watching Black Panther, there are plenty of Marvel fans who are convinced T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri, could become Ironheart. She certainly has the brains, and after seeing her with those blasters, it’s no wonder that people are questioning if they’re setting her up to become Ironheart.
But should Shuri become the next Iron Man?
My initial reaction was HELL YES. Tony Stark is my favorite MCU character, but I feel like his death is inevitable. As sad as it’ll make me to see him go, I’d love to see a woman take over. It would certainly shake up the MCU, and it would be amazing to see another female character join the main Avengers cast.
In the comics, Riri’s suit is even better than Tony’s, and she brings a different perspective to the table as a young woman of color. She could never possibly replace Tony Stark, but she would bring a new dimension to the superhero known as Iron Man.
But there’s one little problem I keep coming up against. I’d rather see Shuri become the next Iron Man than another male character, but what about introducing Riri Williams and making her the next Iron Man? In a universe so devoid of female characters, and especially female characters of color, I’d hate to see Shuri playing double duty as T’Challa’s sister and Ironheart.
Not every character from the Marvel comics can make it onto the screen (there’s just way too many of them), so it’s likely that at some point some characters will end up playing double duty. If you stuck around for Black Panther’s after credit scenes, you’ll know that Bucky was being called White Wolf by the Wakandan children. In the comics, this is a completely different character named Hunter who crash landed in Wakanda and was taken in by King T’Chaka.
So, yes, it’s definitely possible that Shuri could be taking over for Tony if something ever happens to him. And as much as I would love to see Riri introduced into the MCU, I’d rather have Shuri take over than another rich, white man who won’t offer us anything more than what we’ve already seen.
I just hope that Marvel is becoming more aware of its problem with representation and finds a way to continue introducing diverse characters we can all celebrate.