Ironheart Is Already Falling Into The WandaVision Trap

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With rampant nonsensical fan theories about the MCU’s introduction of Mephisto, the upcoming Ironheart series is gearing up to fall into the same trap as WandaVision. WandaVision was the MCU’s first Disney+ series and it still holds up as one of Marvel Studios’ very best efforts. While it features plenty of familiar comic book action, it’s a wholly unique superhero show. WandaVision is styled as a nostalgic throwback to various eras of sitcom history with a layer of unsettling David Lynchian mystery draped over the whole thing as the cracks in Wanda’s fabricated reality begin to show. Although WandaVision was widely praised by critics, the response to the series wasn’t 100% positive, because many fans set their sights too high. Evan Peters’ inclusion in the role of Quicksilver led to all kinds of fan theories about an X-Men movie crossover. So, when WandaVision didn’t become a springboard into the X-Men reboot and Peters’ supporting role was paid off with a “Bohner” joke, the fans who formulated those theories were bitterly disappointed.a

This is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in the MCU. Fans are upset when Marvel fails to keep a promise it never made. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness offered up a veritable smorgasbord of interdimensional cameos in the Illuminati scene – but, to fans expecting Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool to show up, it was never going to be enough. The more outlandish the fan theories, the more disappointing the end product is perceived to be. Ironheart is gearing up to suffer the same unusual fate as these other Marvel projects, as it’s become the latest target for fan theories about the MCU’s introduction of Mephisto.

Expected to premiere on Disney+ in 2024, the Ironheart series will revolve around Riri Williams, played by Dominique Thorne. First introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Riri is a prodigious MIT student who invented her own flying suit of armor to rival that of Tony Stark. The series will consist of six episodes; the first three will be directed by Sam Bailey and the last three will be directed by Angela Barnes. Anthony Ramos will play the show’s villain, The Hood; Lyric Ross will play Riri’s best friend; and Jim Rash will reprise his role as the Dean of MIT from Captain America: Civil War.

The exact plot of the Ironheart series is being kept under wraps, but it will likely pick up after Riri returns home from Wakanda. Shuri didn’t let her take the vibranium-powered Ironheart armor home, so she’ll have to get to work on a new suit back at her workshop. The series will likely chart an origin story for the character as she perfects her armor, makes a name for herself as a superhero in her own right, and takes on the burden of Iron Man’s legacy (possibly with a grant from Stark Industries like she received in the comics).

When a Marvel project is shrouded in secrecy like the Ironheart series, rumors start flying. One of the most prominent rumors suggests that Sacha Baron Cohen will play Mephisto in the series. When Thorne was asked about these rumors in a interview, she gave a cryptic response typical for a Marvel star carefully choosing their words in front of the press. She said, “There’s a lot for fans to sink their teeth into,” basically denying the Mephisto rumor without denying it. There’s no reason for Mephisto to appear in Ironheart. He’s essentially the Marvel Comics universe’s version of the Devil. It would make sense for him to make his MCU debut as a villain of Doctor Strange or Ghost Rider or the Silver Surfer, but not Ironheart. Riri is more likely to take on leftover Iron Man villains like Justin Hammer, not a Faustian demon.

The speculation about Mephisto appearing in WandaVision eventually became so prevalent that “Mephisto in WandaVision” became a meme-y shorthand for ridiculous fan theories. Not only did Mephisto not appear in WandaVision; according to a Mashable interview with head writer Jac Schaeffer, the character never came up in the writers’ room, and she didn’t even know who he was until the fan theories started rolling in: “There was never any conscious intention on my part to create any Mephisto red herrings, because I didn’t know who Mephisto was until I started doing press.”

The WandaVision Mephisto theories at least made more sense than the Ironheart Mephisto theories, because Mephisto is a common enemy of the Scarlet Witch in the comics. Anyone expecting to see Mephisto in Ironheart is setting themselves up for disappointment. Speculating about upcoming Marvel projects can be a lot of fun, but it can reach a point where fans feel let down when that movie or TV show doesn’t line up with their headcanon.

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