Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever action figures give us a good look at Namor, a new outfit for Shuri, and an Ironheart design that more closely recalls Iron Man.
For a movie that comes out in just a few months, we still don’t know that much about Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The teaser trailer only included a few quick glimpses at returning characters such as Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Okoye (Danai Gurira), and new additions Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) and Namor the Sub-Mariner (Tenoch Huerta). The most detailed information about the movie’s heroes has come from merchandising leaks. While the trailer for Wakanda Forever and early looks at the Ironheart TV series show Williams making armor out of simple iron, it seems as if the character will get a significant upgrade. New images from the upcoming toy line for the film show off the likely final version of Williams’ armor, which looks to be an incredibly sleek and futuristic take on the Iron Man costume.
Riri Williams looks to continue the legacy built by Tony Stark throughout the Infinity Saga, which was already teased in the first trailer for Black Panther 2, as she develops her tech. She’ll progress towards building the most advanced piece of weaponry since Tony’s original Iron Man suit, and it will all start with her first interactions with the Wakandans in this Phase 4 outing. The film will serve as her launchpad before being featured in her own Disney+ series. Ironheart’s role in Wakanda Forever is still being kept under wraps, but signs indicate that she will have a significant role in the sequel.
Images shared by Twitter user @computron show a set sold at Target that includes Shuri, Namor, and Williams in her Ironheart armor. Unlike the Lego set that featured Shuri in a Black Panther-style costume, she wears a purple jumpsuit here. Although no weaponry can be seen on the clothing, it appears to be better suited for action than working in her lab.
For Ironheart, while it’s unclear if this is her Mark II or Mark III armor, this new suit includes some impressive upgrades, featuring a fully-evolved helmet and a bulked-up chest piece. While the previously seen suit resembled the War Machine armor of James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), the suit seen on the action figure has more of a Tony Stark look. Largely red with black highlights, the armor sports what appears to be a glowing EKG line in the middle of its heart-shaped chest emblem. More importantly, this armor is far sleeker than previously shown designs, suggesting that it is the costume’s final form.
It’s also been speculated that the Wakandans will actually build this version of the Ironheart suit for Riri, which would make sense considering how advanced it looks from a visual perspective. This is the same country that already built the Winter Soldier a new arm in Avengers: Infinity War, and based on Shuri’s interaction with Riri in the trailer, their relationship should grow stronger throughout the movie.
In the model first shown in 2017’s Invincible Iron Man #4 (written by Bendis and drawn by Stefano Caselli), the red armor seems to have pulse repulsors on the inside of its hands. But the black highlights, helmet design, and chest insignia more closely resemble the armor that Ironheart debuted the following year in Champions #22 (written by Jim Zub and drawn by Caselli).
Compelling as the toys certainly are, they don’t give away much information about the story of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Nothing here seems to corroborate speculation that Shuri will be the next Black Panther, nor does it suggest anything about Namor’s motivations for attacking Wakanda. However, given the trailer images of Williams working in a lab, we can assume that the armor shown on the action figure will not appear until late in the movie, with more than a little Wakandan technology integrated into it.
More importantly, the armor further cements Ironheart’s position as the new Iron Man of the MCU. Even if she doesn’t join the proper Avengers (she would be a better fit on the Young Avengers with Hawkeye‘s Kate Bishop and Black Widow‘s Yelena Belova), Ironheart will be the current supergenius of the Marvel Universe, constantly upgrading her armor and creating new technological breakthroughs.
Dominique Thorn’s Riri Williams will first appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before appearing in her own series, Ironheart. Joining Thorne are Anthony Ramos (In the Heights), Manny Montana (Good Girls), Lyric Ross (This is Us), and Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story).
We’ll know more when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever comes to theaters on November 11, 2022.