Move over Iron Man! Well, just for a little bit, because Marvel Comics and Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis announced the upcoming series Civil War II. In the new episode, 15-year-old Riri Williams from Chicago will replace the character of Tony Starks, and she’s not your typical teenager. Williams is a science genius that studies at M.I.T. and she made her debut in the comics earlier this year. After building her own Iron Man suit at home, Starks takes notice and the rest is history.
Bendis spoke exclusively to TIME.com about the creation of Riri Williams. Several years ago, Bendis flew out to the Windy City to work on a TV show. During his time in the Chicago, he met a young woman who was surrounded by the city’s chaos and violence. The writer marveled at the young lady’s strength to overcome the city’s pitfalls on her journey to success. The only thing she was missing was a cape.
“One of the things that stuck with me when I was working in Chicago a couple of years ago on a TV show that didn’t end up airing was the amount of chaos and violence,” Bendis said to TIME.com. “And 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.”
There will always be controversy when introducing a new character to a long-standing series. Many times, die-hard fans have an issue with introducing anything new, while others appreciate diversity. These reactions come in the wake of social injustices taking place in society and it serves as the backdrop for discussions we should have to address these issues.
“Some of the comments online, I don’t think people even realize how racist they sound,” Bendis said to TIME.com. “I’m not saying if you criticize you’re a racist, but if someone writes, ‘Why do we need Riri Williams we already have Miles?’ that’s a weird thing to say. They’re individuals just like Captain America and Cyclops are individuals.”
While Tony Starks isn’t gone, he will get low for a while, and don’t think Marvel gave up the story to Civil War II just because Iron Man won’t be around. So, if you want to know more about Stark’s absence stay tuned.
Photo Credit: Marvel