New Iron Man is a 15-year-old black woman, says Marvel

Riri Williams, the new Iron Man
Introducing Marvel's Riri Williams, Tony Stark/Iron Man's replacement. Marvel

Just when you thought Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) was irreplaceable, Marvel has revealed there’s going to be a new Iron Man — or maybe that should be Iron Woman.

The comic book giant’s next Iron Man is going to be a brand-new character named Riri Williams, reports Time.

Riri Williams

The 15-year-old character will make her appearance at the end of the comic-book event series Civil War II, when Stark steps out of his Iron Man suit for the last time. Iron Man writer and creator Brian Bendis says that Williams is a “science genius who enrolls in MIT.”

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“One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show was the amount of chaos and violence,” said Bendis about the inspiration behind Williams’s character. “And this story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life — just random street violence — and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for a while, until I had the right character and the right place.”

Twitter exploded after the announcement, with thrilled comic-book and superhero fans alike praising Marvel for their decision.

There were some, however, who felt that it was a gimmicky move without any real substance. Many insisted that it was still racist and sexist to have a black woman introduced after a white man, and to still call Williams “Iron Man.”

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Bendis did not reveal the fate of Stark, nor the reason why he takes off the Iron Man suit in Civil War II. It’s also unclear if Williams will make an appearance in any of the upcoming Marvel movies.