A behind-the-scenes interview with Robert Downey Jr. for Avengers: Infinity War seems to hint that Tony Stark and Shuri will finally meet in next year’s Avengers 4. If true, then next year’s blockbuster will see Marvel’s greatest geniuses team up at last.
They may be fictional characters, but in the eyes of MCU fans Tony Stark and Shuri have developed something of a rivalry. It all began in June last year, when Black Panther director Ryan Coogler said that the teenage Wakandan Princess was a genius “on par with Tony Stark.” In January 2018, producer Nate Moore confirmed this when he explicitly described Shuri as “the smartest person in the world, smarter than Tony Stark.” Even the Russo brothers have weighed in, saying they view her as the smartest person in the MCU to date. To say fans of Tony Stark were annoyed would be something of an understatement, and debate over this has raged on social media ever since.
One Twitter user with the username SpideySensesYou has spotted a subtle hint that the two geniuses will cross paths during Avengers 4. The behind-the-scenes reel for Avengers: Infinity War includes an interview with Robert Downey Jr. that was clearly conducted during production of Avengers 4 since Downey has the distinctive blonde hair and gray beard. Significantly, though, he’s on the set of the Wakandan Design Lab.
It’s important to note that the original tweet overstates matters a little; all this actually confirms is that Shuri’s lab will appear in Avengers 4, and that the set was still ready when Downey was shooting scenes for the film. It’s hardly uncommon for a studio to use a free set in order to shoot a behind-the-scenes interview since it’s better than a bland background.
At the same time, though, it would make sense for Wakanda to play an important role in Avengers 4. In-universe, the fictional African nation is the most scientifically advanced country on the planet, and it has good diplomatic relations with the surviving Avengers. Wakanda could easily become a base of operations for the Avengers, as they head out into a world plunged into chaos and attempt to put it right. Meanwhile, this is definitely the kind of place Tony Stark will head to when he finally gets back on Earth. He’ll most likely check in on Pepper, and then launch straight into action. That could easily mean viewers are finally treated to scenes in which Tony Stark and Shuri work side-by-side.
Ironically, given the scale of the crisis facing the universe, it’s likely the two won’t be rivals at all. They’ll be too busy trying to work out how to undo or avert the “snap” to care about which one is smarter.