'Iron Man 4' plot news: Marvel Comics confirms pivotal story arc for Tony Stark; Robert Downey Jr. to have final gig?

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A huge development for Marvel’s Iron Man has recently been confirmed. Tony Stark will eventually pass the baton to a 15-year-old African American genius named Riri Williams. And while the story arc is now just being implemented strictly in the comic books, there is a chance that this will eventually translate to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), specifically in the supposed “Iron Man 4.”

Last week, seasoned Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis exclusively talked to TIME magazine about the forthcoming generational transition.

He says that Tony is “already aware that there’s some student at M.I.T. that’s reverse-engineered one of his old armors all by herself in her dorm room.”

Although this is not the first time that Stark has loaned the suit, as there was a time Rhodey took on the Iron Man persona, the conventional bending in terms of a successor has resulted to fans lauding Marvel.

Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios are independent entities, but the MCU has always tried stay true to the themes found in the source materials but adding a fresh take on the story. Interestingly, Bendis spilled that the writers are planning a huge Tony Stark arc.

“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. That’s stressful for a character who is wired the way Tony is wired and has dependency issues the way Tony does,” he shared.

Robert Downey Jr.’s (RDJ) portrayal of the character is also suffering from stressors, albeit a different set from the ones Bendis talked about. Back in “Captain America: Civil War,” his relationship with Pepper Potts was insinuated to be in limbo, Don Cheadle’s Rhodey has been gravely injured, and he is far removed from the rest of the Avengers.

Given the premise, it can be assumed that there is a parallel between the stories and if that is so, it is possible that RDJ can relegate the iron suit to someone new. On top of that, a scene in “Civil War” also brought Tony back to M.I.T., same institution where Riri is supposedly studying. This can be easily tied in for future narratives revealing that Tony had crossed paths with the big screen iteration of Riri in “Civil War.”

The only caveat in this theory is the timeline where the story arc will fit in. MCU’s current lineup is full and the only empty slots are scheduled for 2020. Should one of these slots turn out to be for an “Iron Man 4,” it might be a good way to end a superhero chapter and introduce a brand new one along the way.