If you’ve seen Avengers: Endgame, you know it’s obvious by now. Tony Stark is no longer a part of the MCU after being the one to begin it and carry it on his shoulders for a whopping 11 years. With his unfortunate death in the movie and the subsequent passing of the torch from the Avengers to the next generation of heroes, how will Marvel move forward?
The obvious answer is Spider-Man taking up the central role character in the MCU. Considering Spider-Man is commonly dubbed as the World’s Most Famous Superhero, it’s easy to see why Far From Home is being set up as a coming of age film for Peter Parker. The inclusion of Mysterio’s mind tricks and a world grieving after Tony’s death while desperately looking for his replacement seems like the perfect circumstance for Peter to come into his own, physically and metaphorically. Will the webslinger be enough?
This is where Marvel’s vast network of characters and countless instances of inter-connectedness comes into play. Eleven years of keeping it all in-house has set up Marvel in a position where any number of characters can step up and take a central role in the MCU to replace Robert Downey Jr. While the task is easier said than done considering Tony Stark has a special place in hearts everywhere, it isn’t exactly impossible.
In the comics, Riri Williams, better known as Iron Heart, was the successor to Tony Stark. A teenager with genius intellect managed to reverse-engineer Tony’s technology and made a suit herself to fight crime after a brief disappearance from Tony. When Tony returned and soon heard about what Riri was doing, he paid her a visit and offered to mentor her to help come into her own and fight crime more effectively. The 5 years between Infinity War and Endgame is unmarked territory for Marvel to place stories in. This could be a way to introduce Tony’s mentoring to Riri without having to awkwardly include Tony posthumously. This would be an ideal way to continue the legacy and recently, Kevin Feige and Robert Downey Jr. have expressed interest in seeing the character make her way to the big screen.
Some have even theorized that the cinematic version of Riri Williams might’ve already been introduced in the form of Shuri in the Black Panther movie. Shuri, a genius herself, is the sister of T’Challa and heads the technology development of the already technologically enhanced nation of Wakanda. During Infinity War, the Avengers had taken Vision to Wakanda after being attacked by the Black Order. Shuri had stated methods to improve the inner framework of Vision in ways that even Stark and Banner hadn’t thought of, a surprise to many considering the Science Bros were widely regarded as two of the brightest minds on the planet. While Shuri may seem like the ideal choice to be the MCU’s Iron Heart, it would come at the expense of eliminating Shuri’s character development in favor of Riri’s. While Shuri might not be a character many are familiar with from the comics, she’s far from a generic supporting character. At times, she’s held the mantle of Black Panther and Queen of Wakanda herself.
Morgan Stark would also be another choice that comes to mind, albeit not the first. With a cameo from a young Morgan Stark in Avengers: Endgame and a rumored deleted scene from an older Morgan played by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford, it’s easy to think that keeping the claim within the Stark family would be a logical choice, especially after introducing time travel in Endgame and with the introduction of the multiverse coming up in Far From Home. Morgan would obviously have big shoes to fill in the place of her father but any child born with Tony’s intellect and Pepper’s tenacity should meet the expectations.
While legacy can be both famous and infamous, it’s unfair to only state potential heroes that could continue Tony Stark’s legacy. While it may not be the name everyone wants to hear, Norman Osborn could likely take up the mantle that Tony left vacant. While he may not be the hero everyone is looking for, Norman Osborn is also considered a billionaire philanthropist who’s made his fortune off of tech-based weaponry and other tech-based products. While most know him as the Green Goblin, there have been some iterations of Norman Osborn posing as a hero in the Iron Patriot uniform, ironically the same mantra that Colonel Rhodes carried. In reality, Norman was posing as a hero while secretly being a part of the Dark Avengers and a member of the Thunderbolts, both being rumored as future properties Marvel could introduce down the line. Incorporating Iron Patriot Osborn would also provide a parallel for Peter Parker considering his father figure in the MCU was identical to Osborn’s main defining traits. Could the next Tony Stark be one with questionable intentions? That would provide an interesting take on the idea.
Who would you like to see continue Tony’s legacy? Comment below!