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How is Ironheart Related To Iron Man? Ironheart's Identity, Abilities, History Explained

Riri Williams builds her own Iron Man suit
Credit: Marvel Comics

Ironheart has already hit the big screen in 2022. Sometime in the future, she will hit streaming in her own debut series on Disney Plus, and yet we know little to nothing about her. How is she related to Iron Man, anyway?

Indeed, she made her cinematic debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and as revealed by MCU mastermind Kevin Feige during the 2022 San Diego Comic-Con, Ironheart (as played by Dominique Thorne) will also feature in her own TV show, Ironheart.

As of writing, her own titular series' small-screen debut has yet to claim its release date, so let's talk about her character origins, identity, and other abilities, for now.

Who is Ironheart really? How is she connected to the dearly departed but still our favorite genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist in all of Marvel? Let’s answer those questions and more!

READ MORE: Are JARVIS and FRIDAY the Same? Iron Man's Artificial Assistants Explained

Is Ironheart Tony Stark's Daughter?

Young Riri Williams shows Tony Stark her handiwork
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Credit: Marvel Comics

No, Ironheart is not Tony Stark’s daughter. But we get you, curious fans, and we do understand where the question is coming from.

In the MCU movies, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts did have a daughter, and her name is Morgan Stark. She was born a year after Thanos wiped out half of the universe’s living beings.

By the time the events of Avengers: Endgame happened, Morgan was still just four years old.

In the comics, however, Morgan Stark is an entirely different character. For one, Morgan is a grownup. He’s the male cousin of Tony Stark and he’s far from being heroic.

In fact, he once cooked up a nefarious scheme that involved making everybody think Tony was insane. Fortunately, Iron Man prevailed (with the help of a timely alien attack).

Who is Ironheart and What is Her Character's Origins?

Riri Williams is busy with school work
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Credit: Marvel Comics

So if Ironheart is not Tony Stark’s daughter, who is she? Her real name is Riri Williams. She’s a super-intelligent 15-year-old engineering student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

One day, she builds her own version of Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. She did this by reverse-engineering the Mark-41 armor and then fashioning a new one using materials she stole from her school’s robotics department.

But instead of just using it for ultra-realistic cosplay purposes, she proceeds to do a test flight of her armor and ends up stopping a couple of criminals who recently broke out from the New Mexico State Penitentiary.

Ironheart Iron Man first meeting
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Credit: Marvel Comics

Naturally, her extra-curricular activities attracted the attention of Tony himself. He meets her and gives her his all-out support to become a superhero.

Following the events of the Civil War II series, Stark is left comatose. Riri then rises to the occasion as Ironheart, assuming the Iron Man mantle.

ALSO READ: Can Blue Beetle Beat Iron Man?

What are Ironheart’s Abilities?

Ironheart's suit abilities
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Credit: Marvel Comics

Just like Tony Stark, Ironheart does not have superpowers. What she does have is a superintelligence that would give some of the smartest minds in the world a run for their money.

With technology provided by Tony Stark, she was able to further develop her own armor. Plus, she gets advice from an AI version of Tony.

The Ironheart armor protects Riri Williams from gunfire
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Credit: Marvel Comics

Using her suit, she possesses super strength and the ability to fly. Her Ironheart armor is also capable of firing repulsor blasts, lasers, and rockets.

It’s worth mentioning that Riri is always improving the tech behind her Ironheart suit. In the comics, she’s constantly adding new features to her armor. Thus, it is sometimes tricky to evaluate its full capabilities.

Is Ironheart in the MCU Yet?

Ironheart MCU TV Show
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Credit: Marvel Comics

Yes, she is in the MCU! In fact, she has appeared in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and is next set to appear in her own Disney+ series.

Played by Dominique Thorne, Ironheart was a welcoming presence in the sequel, especially alongside three certified bad-ass women from 2018’s Black Panther: Shuri (played by Letitia Wright), Okoye (The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira), and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).

Although Riri had an understandably short screen time, her assistance in Wakanda will not soon be forgotten, especially given that her status practically makes her one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's youngest superheroes!

RELATED: Is Loki Canonically Gay in the MCU?

Is Ironheart Gay?

Ironheart gets a kiss from Viv Vision
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Credit: Marvel Comics

In the comics, she identifies herself as straight. Interestingly, she was once kissed by teen superhero Viv Vision (Vision’s lesbian daughter). Riri, however, didn’t reciprocate Viv’s feelings.

In the MCU, we don’t know yet if Ironheart will be gay or not. Still, it’s worth noting that next year’s Ironheart series has already cast two non-binary actors: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’s Shea Coulee and Wentworth’s Zoe Terakes.

Are they going to play queer characters in the upcoming Disney+ show? I guess we’ll find out once it airs on Disney Plus!

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