Looks like we may be seeing Riri Williams — aka Ironheart, Tony Stark’s successor— in the MCU sooner than we thought. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed to ComicBook.com that actress Dominique Thorne, hired to play Williams in the upcoming Ironheart series for Disney+, has been cast in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. With the film’s definitive 2022 release, this means that fans will meet the next in line for the Iron Man throne within the next year.
Feige confirmed the news in an interview promoting Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, discussing Black Panther’s current shooting schedule in Atlanta: “We’re shooting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, right now, and the character of Riri Williams, you will meet in Black Panther 2 first. She started shooting, I think, this week before her Ironheart series.”
Thorne’s role as Riri Williams was announced in December 2020, when it was revealed that the young genius would be receiving her own Disney+ series. Thorne joins a host of other young actors joining the superhero mega-series, including Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, the next Hawkeye, Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, Carol Danvers’ successor as Ms. Marvel, and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk.
Riri Williams was first introduced in 2016’s Invincible Iron Man #9, as a fifteen-year-old tech genius who builds her own suit of armor. In the comics, Riri is given Tony Stark’s blessing to become the world’s newest armored hero after using her armor to stop two escaped prison inmates, but presumably, given Robert Downey Jr.’s exit from the MCU after Avengers: Endgame, Stark will not feature as heavily — or at all — in her story on film. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently in production in Atlanta, directed by Ryan Coogler. Thorne joins returning cast members Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya, among others, though how big a role she will play in the film has yet to be determined.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere in theaters on July 8, 2022. Ironheart has not yet been given a Disney+ release date.