Last year, Marvel Comics made headlines when they announced that, after the Civil War II comic book arc, Tony Stark will no longer be Iron Man, with that mantle being passed to a talented African-American teenager named Riri Williams. In the comics, Riri was discovered by Tony Stark when she enrolled at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at just 15 years of age, and proceeded to build her own Iron Man suit in her dorm room. Today a new video surfaced from the actual MIT, with the college using their annual "Pi Day" admissions tradition to bring Riri Williams to life in a new video.
Every year, MIT releases a creative video that lets prospective students know the exact time when the school's admissions decisions will be released online on March 14, a.k.a. Pi Day (3.14). This year, since Marvel announced that Riri Williams will take over as the new Iron Man dubbed Ironheart, while enrolled at MIT, the school decided to use this new character in their video. The three-minute video, which was posted to MITBloggers YouTube, follows Riri Williams' day, as she attends class and tries to study, but she's distracted by her own plans to build her very own Iron Man suit, which she does while using the university's state-of-the-art facilities.
The video features a number of locations around the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, including Center for Bits and Atoms, the MIT Wind Tunnel, and instructor Simona Socrate's class. The video was also produced by MIT students, starring another MIT student named Ayomide F. as Riri Williams, along with admissions director Stu Schmill as himself. The video includes the tagline "Not all heroes wear capes, but some carry tubes," referring to MIT's annual tradition of delivering their physical acceptance letters in tubes, with Riri Williams taking a tube from Stu Schmill's desk and flying away with it, presumably delivering it to a new student. Here's what Stu Schmill had to say about this video.
"Marvel uses MIT in their comic, so we figured, given we are MIT, it would be ok. We like to have fun, do things in a creative way, and that's really - it captures the spirit of this place and what students love to do."
The decision to make a young African-American teenager the new Iron Man was praised by the MCU version of Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey Jr., and comes in the wake of a few other unconventional decisions, such as making Jane Foster the new Thor, and the introduction of the African-American teenager Miles Morales in the Spider-Man comics, who was also created by Ironheart creator Brian Michael Bendis. The video is directed by MIT students Chris Peterson SM '13 and Selam G. '18 and produced by Cowboy L. '20 and Loren S. '17. This video comes a year after MIT used a version of the lovable ball droid BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens for their Pi Day video last year.
Shortly after the video was posted, Ironheart creator Brian Michael Bendis excitedly proclaimed that "MIT made their own riri williams movie!!!" and although he didn't know about it, he was quite excited, stating that he's "plotzing," a slang term meaning being over excited about something. Riri Williams made her Marvel Comics debut in Invincible Iron Man Vol 2 #7, which debuted in May, 2016, with her debut as the Ironheart character coming in Invincible Iron Man Vol 3 #3, which debuted in March, 2017. Take a look at this new video from MIT below, featuring a live-action Riri Williams on the MIT campus.