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Ironheart: Thorne Discusses "Wakanda Forever" Setting Up Series & More

With Marvel Studios' Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hitting the big screen pretty much everywhere beginning today, viewers are about to be introduced to Dominique Thorne's super genius, Riri Williams. Why's that important? Because Riri will be moving on to her own Disney+ streaming series Ironheart before we know it, and from what we've seen so far? It's looking to be one helluva ride. Speaking with Variety in support of the film, Thorne discusses what it was like putting on the 52.5-pound Ironheart suit for the first time and what viewers can learn about Riri from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ahead of the spinoff streaming series.

Image: Disney+ Screencap

Putting On the Ironheart Armor for the First Time: "Ah, man, it was pretty cool, I'm not going to lie. It was pretty otherworldly to feel the weight of it. That was the quickest entry point into Riri Williams because, of course, I know that she's an engineer, she's a mechanic, I know she is a gearhead. She's into building things with their hands — very much from scratch — to form what's in her mind. Unlike some of the other suits that may be added in later with visual effects, the Mark I was all practical. To get to feel the weight of that on my body and just understand how it moves — you almost want to say it's clunky, but when you have it on, you realize, 'Oh, this is actually such a smart build, like all my joints are free so I have so much movement. But also, this is heavy as hell. And it flies? Whoa!' The doors open wide into Riri's mind and how she thinks; what she saw was possible and then actualized.

"Wakanda Forever" Offers Viewers an Introduction to Riri Williams… But There's More to Learn: "The film does such a good job of showcasing one sliver, one side of who she is. We get a little taste of the colors that exist within her — we see her as a hustler; we see her as a little bit of a bully; we see her fearful; we see her in all these different lights. But primarily, she is in a world of confusion. This is her outside of her element, in the very opposite of her comfort zone, so the Riri that we see, it's a bit of fight or flight [mode]. That's such a great place for the audience to be because by the time that they get to "Ironheart," they are in for the chance to sink into who she is truly, without the war of the worlds [between the kingdoms of Wakanda and Talokan] in the background. We get to see who she is day-to-day but also get a bit more of an understanding of the genius that got her into this situation in the first place.

Joining Thorne & Anthony Ramos (The Heights) in Ironheart are Lyric Ross (This Is Us), Manny Montana (Good Girls), Zoe Terakes (Nine Perfect Strangers), Regan Aliyah (XO, Kitty), and Shakira Barrera (Sprung, GLOW), along with Alden Ehrenreich (Solo), who's reportedly been cast in a key role. RuPaul's Drag Race winner Shea Couleé has also joined the cast in an undisclosed role, along with Cree Summer (What We Do in the Shadows). Reports are that Sacha Baron Cohen may be joining the cast (and the larger MCU) in the role of Mephisto. Sam Bailey (Dear White People) and Angela Barnes (Mythic Quest, Atlanta) have been tapped to direct the streaming series.

Created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato and debuting in 2016's Invincible Iron Man No. #7, Riri Williams (Thorne) is a teenage genius who made a major first impression by building her own version of Tony Stark's Iron Man suit- and would eventually go on to lead her own comic book series.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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