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5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man

There aren't any plans to bring Riri Williams to the big screen YET, but if they did...

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
Marvel Comics | Getty Images

Tony Stark is passing the Iron Man baton to a new young hero, and she's taking the iconic Marvel staple in a whole new direction. Riri Williams is a Marvel character who was admitted to MIT at 15 and built her own Iron suit in her dorm room without any help from Mr. Stark. There's been speculation she'd be replacing James Rhodes as War Machine after he recently died in the recent Marvel continuity, but it appears she's going to be our primary Iron hero in the comics.

Marvel's Brian Michael Bendis says Stark will meet Riri when "he goes to find this young woman who is flying around the middle of America in an armor that’s not completely made to try to find out what her deal is." He also revealed that Tony's decision to step down from the Iron Mantle, so to speak, is prompted by the events of the ongoing Civil War II cross-over story.

And because we live in an awful world, Bendis is already trying to head-off the racist and sexist comments that will inevitably follow this news.

"Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound. I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, 'Why do we need Riri Williams we already have [new Spider-Man] Miles [Morales]?' that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals. All I can do is state my case for the character, and maybe they’ll realize over time that that’s not the most progressive thinking.

"But increasingly we see less and less of that. Once Miles hit, and [new Miss Marvel] Kamala Khan hit and female Thor hit—there was a part of an audience crawling through the desert looking for an oasis when it came to representation, and now that it’s here, you’ll go online and be greeted with this wave of love."

The potential backlash to which Bendis is probably more sensitive has to do with Marvel's overwhelmingly white male roster of creators. The label has been making efforts to diversify its stable of writers, most notably bringing Ta-Nahisi Coates onboard to write the new run for Black Panther. But it's currently unclear whether Riri will ever be written by a black woman.

No matter where you come down on the controversy, it's hard not to wonder what this new Iron hero might look like on the big screen, and with that in mind, here are a few young actors we think would be up to the task.

1. Amandla Stenberg

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
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Where You've Seen Her: She played Rue in The Hunger Games.

2. Aja Naomi King

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
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Where You've Seen Her: Playing Michaela Pratt in How to Get Away with Murder. She'll also be in the upcoming Birth of a Nation.

3. Kiersey Clemons

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
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Where You've Seen Her Before: DopeTransparent, and Neighbors 2.

4. Ruth Negga

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
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Where You've Seen Her Before: She's currently one of the leads on AMC's Preacher, and she already has a Marvel connection through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

5. Lupita Nyong'o

5 Up-and-Comers Who Could Play the New Black Female Iron Man
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Where You've Seen Her Before: 12 Years a Slave won her an Oscar, making her the most established name on this list, but we'd still love to see Lupita solidify her movie career by playing a franchise staple.

View Ruth Negga Pictures »
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