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Ironheart: Will Marvel Studios Go "Batgirl" Route? We Have Concerns

It's been a LONG time since Marvel Studios first announced the Dominique Thorne-starring Ironheart. Here's why that's making us nervous...

In November 2022, Marvel Studios' Ryan Coogler-directed Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiered -going on to receive critical acclaim, huge box office success, and five Academy Awards nominations (including Angela Bassett's nomination for Best Supporting Actress). The film would also introduce us to Dominique Thorne's Riri Williams – a character we knew to keep an eye on after Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige offered the heads-up back in December 2020 that Thorne's Riri would be getting their own Disney+ series, Ironheart. So how is it that a series that was reported to have wrapped filming the same month that "Wakanda Forever" was released and was expected to ride the momentum created by the film now become a series that isn't looking to hit our screens until 2025? Should we be concerned that Disney-owned Marvel Studios could end up going the same route that Warner Bros.Discovery went with the Leslie Grace-starring Batgirl?

IRONHEART/BATGIRL (Image: Marvel Studios/Warner Bros. Discovery)

How Did We Get Here? There's no way to address how we've gotten here with everything without putting two obvious reasons on the table right up front. On top of the impact that the global COVID pandemic had on productions around the world, there was also a once-in-a-lifetime major labor movement when both SAG-AFTRA & WGA were forced to go on strike – at the same time. Realistically, it would be naive to think that the streaming series wouldn't also face some delays as a result.

That said? A large part of this has to do with The Walt Disney Company – and a number of other companies – having to deal with the fallout from rushing into streaming that resulted in a lot of really bad long-term decision-making by a whole lot of folks. That resulted in Disney CEO Bob Iger ordering a major slowdown & re-evaluation of programming that they're green-lighting and scheduling. Along with cuts to content to get the company back on the right financial track, "The Mouse" asked Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and other studios to re-evaluate their release schedules – meaning it wanted originals stretched out further down the calendar. So the series went from being set for 2023 to being "confirmed" for 2024 in May 2023 – only to be MIA when Marvel Studios' 2024 Disney+ lineup was updated four months later (Echo, X-Men '97, Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, and Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man).

Should We Be Afraid of a "Batgirl" Repeat? By now, we're pretty sure you know the story of how Warner Bros. Discovery made the decision to not just cancel work on Batgirl as it headed into post-production but also to use it as a tax write-off in an effort to recoup the money WBD spent on it. Unfortunately for everyone involved in the film, that meant Batgirl could never see the light of day. Could Disney see itself in the same position as Warner Bros. Discovery when it comes to Ironheart? What has currently already been filmed will be nearly three years old by the time the series hits our screens (assuming 2025 is the year for it) – and that's not including what additional work still needs to be done. Another factor to add to the mix? If it's true that the series will not be set up to coincide with the Don Cheadle-starring Armor Wars film, would that require additional filming? Never put it past Marvel Studios to decide to stick with Thorne's Riri Williams but build something different around her.

But until we know for sure? Stay tuned…

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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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