Through Ironheart and Armor Wars, Marvel has plenty of opportunities to introduce new armored characters into the MCU during Phase 4. Given what the two shows are, it feels inevitable that Marvel will use them to bring in established heroes and villains from Marvel Comics. Some could be allies to the main characters, while others could serve as key antagonists.
The Iron Man trilogy added a small number of key characters from Tony Stark’s corner of the Marvel Universe. The Infinity Saga introduced audiences to Iron Monger, War Machine, and Rescue (Pepper Potts’ superhero alter ego), who all wear variations of Iron Man’s armor. Quite a few major Marvel Comics characters known for wearing armored suits were never adapted to the big screen and missed out on being a part of Tony Stark’s story. That being said, there’s still a place for them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel confirmed that two Disney+ shows, Ironheart and Armor Wars, are in development as a part of the studio’s Phase 4 plans. Both shows are tied to the legacy of Iron Man, who gave his life to stop Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. Armor Wars will presumably involve War Machine dealing with villains who steal Stark’s tech, and Ironheart will center on a new character who invents a powerful suit of armor of her own. The events depicted in these two shows could deliver all sorts of new characters and stories to the MCU. Here’s every armored hero and villain who could join the MCU in Phase 4.
The title character in Ironheart will be brought to life by Dominique Thorne. Riri Williams, a heroine who was created as recently as 2015, was only 15 when used her genius intellect to build a suit similar to Iron Man’s. Calling herself “Ironheart”, Riri Williams took over Iron Man’s solo comic at a time when the character was in a coma, and began using her new suit to be a superhero. She was also a member of a team of teenage heroes called the Champions. The MCU may not use the Champions, but its take on Riri Williams would certainly be a candidate for its Young Avengers team, which does feel like something Marvel is building toward in Phase 4.
In the late 1970s, Iron Man tangled with Dreadknight, a villain who rode a mutated horse and wielded a suit of armor designed to make him look like a medieval knight. Similar to the Nathan Garrett incarnation of the Black Knight in the 1960s, Dreadknight carries a mechanical lance that fires high-powered energy blasts. He’d be an odd character for sure if he were to be used in Armor Wars or Ironheart, but it’s important that Marvel does more than just create Iron Man clones in the shows. An armored villain who uses a sword or a lance would be something unique Marvel could play with in the MCU.
Jack Taggart (Ashley Hamilton) was a minor character who died of the Extremis virus in Iron Man 3. In Marvel Comics, Taggart was the civilian identity of Firepower, the final villain Iron Man had to face in the “Armor Wars” comic event. Firepower, one of many characters who ended up with Stark’s armor designs, wore a suit so powerful that he was able to outmatch even Iron Man himself. Even though Taggart is dead in the MCU, Firepower could still work as an antagonist in the MCU adaptation of “Armor Wars” if they create a new character to don the suit.
Originally introduced as a foe of Daredevil, Stilt-Man is often regarded as one of Marvel’s “joke” villains, for obvious reasons. The main feature of his armor being his extendable legs has made him a character that fans – and other heroes – poke fun at. In “Armor Wars”, Stilt-Man was notably one of several villains who benefited from the theft of Iron Man’s armor designs. If Marvel can find a way to make him work in live-action, he and his trademark armor could appear in Phase 4 as a minor antagonist for War Machine or Ironheart to fight.
Titanium Man was a Soviet military officer who became Russia’s answer to Iron Man during the Cold War. Determined not to be outdone by the American superhero, the Russian government sent Titanium Man in order to prove that their hero was better in the 1960s. Though Titanium Man surpassed Iron Man in strength, he still wasn’t able to claim victory. The two characters have had quite a few clashes since their original fight, with Iron Man typically coming out on top. It’s possible that he could be utilized in Armor Wars as a Russian operative who buys some of Iron Man’s stolen tech.
There are ten different versions of Crimson Dynamo in the comics, with the common denominator being that they’re all Russians who wear bulky, red suits of armor. Several are foes of Iron Man, while others are national heroes chosen to protect Russia. Regardless of their purpose, most are scientists or people associated with the government. The first iteration of the villain, Anton Vanko, was blended with Whiplash and brought to the MCU by Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. It could be that Phase 4 may bring in a true Crimson Dynamo through one of the other characters who have used the mantle in the comics.
Walter Newell is a scientist who created a winged suit of armor designed specifically for underwater combat. As Stingray, Newell acted as a supporting character in Namor the Sub-Mariner’s comic and as a reserve member of the Avengers in the 1990s. During the “Armor Wars” event, Stingray was falsely accused of stealing Tony Stark’s technology, and subsequently attacked by Iron Man. Stingray’s defeat was a turning point in the Armor Wars, as it garnered the attention of characters like Nick Fury, who began to see Iron Man’s action as highly dangerous. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Stingray’s role in the comic is carried over to the MCU version with him being a target of War Machine. He could later be reused as an Avenger or an ally to the main heroes in other Disney+ shows.
Not all of the MCU’s new armored characters would have to debut in Armor Wars or Ironheart; one in particular could work in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (depending on what Marvel’s plans for it are). With Kang the Conqueror and possibly the Young Avengers on the horizon, Iron Lad is a character with a potential to make an appearance in the movie. In Marvel Comics, Iron Lad is a teenage version of Kang who tries to defy his destiny by becoming a superhero in the same vein as Iron Man.