Will A Woman Replace Robert Downey Jr. In The MCU Eventually? It Just Became Slightly More Possible

I'm sure you've heard by now that the new Iron Man in the comics will be not only a woman, but a woman of color, so it's time to ask the next logical question — will a woman replace Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel movies? Just so that we're all caught up, it was announced on July 6 that the heir apparent to the Iron Man suit is a young black woman named Riri Williams, but she's only in the comics for the time being. The movie is a huge step toward the further diversification of the Marvel universe, which has been a clear goal for a while, but what does it mean for the film franchise? In the comic, it seems as though Tony Stark will be stepping down almost excitedly, handing over the reins to the 15-year-old MIT prodigy who's already been tinkering with and improving on the suit in her own dorm room. So forgive me for expecting (and delighting at) the prospect of seeing a similar transfer in the movies. Downey Jr. stepping aside for a talented young actress of color, bringing a breath of fresh air to the currently homogenous cast is certainly something to hope for. After all, he can't play Iron Man forever, right?

Unfortunately, while I will continue to dream, I won't get my hopes all that high. I have a strong suspicion that Riri Williams will make her way to the big screen someday, but I don't see her making it into the current Avengers set. Not only is Riri a brand-spanking new character whose arc we can't even guess at for the moment (other than the fact that a portion of it will take place inside the Iron Man suit) but logistically, Downey Jr. isn't going anywhere soon because he's still mid-contract. Unlike some of his franchise castmates, he works movie-to-movie, which gives popular stars like himself more control and flexibility, but he does still have two films in the chamber, one in the Avengers track and one in the Iron Man track.

For Avengers, Downey Jr. is committed to three movies total, which means he's signed on for Infinity War , the first portion of which is due out in 2018, and for Iron Man, he's unofficially confirmed his participation in a yet-to-be-announced fourth movie. So as you can see, RDJ is still on our calendars pretty far out, and doesn't seem to run much risk of replacement any time soon. But the good news is, for those eager to see Riri's film debut, these reboots have been coming out faster and faster of late, so who knows? We could even see Williams get her own spinoff concurrent to the existing Avengers and Iron Man movies, without any replacement being called for at all. OK, it's a long shot, but I can always hope, right?

Images: Disney/Marvel