RDJ, in fact, launched Kevin Feige’s MCU with Iron Man (2008) and went on to star in 11 total Marvel Cinematic Universe films — Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019).
Downey, Jr., however, has confirmed his Marvel exit, even going so far as to unfollow various Avengers franchise costars, including Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and even Stark’s protege, Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) on social media.
Although RDJ might have left Marvel in the dust, however, the MCU isn’t done with Tony Stark just yet. New details have emerged about Iron Man spinoff series, Ironheart, which will showcase Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) after she debuts in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).
Per a new online rumor, “the villains of #Ironheart were basically a bunch of tech bros., Stane being one which has been rumored/reported already.”
Since we know Williams is set to be a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when Ironheart debuts, it serves to reason that the Silicon Valley-style “tech bros.” will be her fellow students, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
Perhaps more importantly, though, is the continuing rumor that one of the upcoming Disney+ Original series’ main antagonists will be the son of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges).
Stane, famously, was Stark’s business partner-turned-enemy in the MCU. When RDJ’s billionaire playboy decided to turn over a new leaf and stop producing weapons at Stark Industries, Stane pushed back, eventually having the younger man kidnapped by the Ten Rings organization.
Now, with the reported debut of Stane’s son, the MCU is proving that it isn’t done with Tony Stark — and that the character’s legacy is still playing a huge role in the future of the franchise — despite Downey, Jr.’s departure. As one recent article noted:
With this series likely debuting a decade and a half after Tony Stark first took down Obadiah Stane in 2008’s Iron Man, this rumor teases a narrative that reimagines the MCU’s very first hero vs. villain fight ever put on screen. That said, it comes with the twist that Stane’s child will be far from the only threat Riri Williams has standing in her way.
On December 10, 2020, during Disney’s 2020 Investor Day, Kevin Feige announced that an Ironheart series was in development for Disney+ with Dominique Thorne cast as the title character in the series.
On April 27, 2021, Variety reported that Chinaka Hodge had been tapped to serve as the head writer of the series. That same day, it was reported that the series’ writer’s room would open in May and that the series’ first season would consist of six episodes.
On June 2, 2021, it was reported that the series was scheduled to start production in April 2022.
What do you think about Tony Stark’s legacy continuing to influence the MCU?