Marvel Says New Iron Man Will Be a Black Woman

Robert Downey Jr. stars in Iron Man, 2008. PlayZade Rosenthal/Marvel Enterprises/ Newscom
WATCH MARVEL 101: Iron Man: Tony Stark Built a Suit of Armor

At the end of the new series "Civil War II," a new Iron Man will come forth and it's a black woman named Riri Williams.

Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis spoke to Time magazine about the big change and his choice to have Tony Stark take off the suit he's worn for over 50 years.

Williams, an MIT science genius, actually builds her own suit in her dorm.

Bendis said he's had the idea for years, stemming from a show that never aired.

"This story of this brilliant, young woman whose life was marred by tragedy that could have easily ended her life—just random street violence—and went off to college was very inspiring to me. I thought that was the most modern version of a superhero or superheroine story I had ever heard. And I sat with it for awhile until I had the right character and the right place," he told the magazine.

Bendis also commented on the new characters shaping a more inclusive Marvel universe, like a female Thor and Asian-American Hulk. This new hero fits right in.

"Thankfully because of my involvement in the creation of Miles Morales [Spider-Man] and Jessica Jones and some other characters, it’s getting the benefit of the doubt from even the most surly fans. There are fans who say, 'Show us the new stuff,' and then there are fans who say, 'Don’t do anything different from when I was a kid,'" he added.

PHOTO: New Invincible Iron Man cover shows Riri Williams, who will take over for Tony Stark. Marvel
New "Invincible Iron Man" cover shows Riri Williams, who will take over for Tony Stark.

There still are some fans who disagree with Marvel's progressive nature, but Bendis said, "increasingly we see less and less of that. Once Miles hit, and 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."

"Now, when you have a young woman come up to you at a signing and say how happy she is to be represented in his universe, you know you’re moving in the right direction," he continued.

And for why Stark is taking off his suit?

"We’re in the middle of a very big Tony Stark storyline—actually three storylines converging. His best friend died, his company is collapsing and he’s finding out who his biological parents were all at the same time," he said. "Tony is also a master at not paying attention to the thing that’s most important and distracting himself with Avengers stuff. How that all shakes out such that Tony is no longer in the armor? You’ll have to wait to find out for the end of Civil War II."

Marvel has been shocking fans for the past few years. Wolverine was killed off, Captain America was revealed to be an agent of Hydra and now a new Iron Man.