The MCU is now tasked to introduce new Avengers to its ever-expanding universe, one of the upcoming additions being perhaps the most intelligent superhero on the team. Disney+’s Ironheart series will star Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, a teenage genius who designs her own high-tech suit inspired by Iron Man — and then receives support from the man himself, Tony Stark, in her quest to become a hero.
While her suit and name may take pages from a fallen hero’s handbook, Riri is a product of her own creation, a powerful marvel whose technical skills and emotional intellegence are poised to make her one of the most compelling characters in the MCU so far. While it will still be some time before Riri makes her official MCU debut, there’s a lot to learn about her character (and, thankfully, a series of Marvel shows and movies to enjoy too). Here’s everything you need to know about Ironheart and the upcoming Disney+ series, which, interestingly enough, won’t be the first time you’ll see it in action.
Ironheart Release Date
Marvel hasn’t announced a release date for Ironheart yet. However, given the fact that Feige confirmed Riri Williams will be making her first appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the series is expected to premiere in the second half of 2022 (at the earliest) or sometime in 2023.
Ironheart in The Marvel Comics
Ironheart Riri Williams is one of the newest members of the Marvel canon, making her first appearance five years ago in 2016’s Invincible Iron Man. Here, young Riri’s extreme wit sets her apart her from the hum-drum world around her. “As we fill her mind,” a psychologist told Riri’s parents, “it’s up to you … to fill her heart and soul. You have to show her the beauty of this world. Remind her to experience life.” Riri spends most of her time building machines and tinkering with technology herself, but she has one friend named Natalie. Tragically, both Natalie and Riri’s stepfather were killed in the crossfire.
Eventually, the young engineer’s high-tech hobby caught the attention of Tony Stark, who supported her efforts with technology and guides her through his AI essence (since he was in a coma at the time). It was Tony who helped Riri become Ironheart, a symbolic nod to her missing loved one and the armored suit—both literal and emotional—that she wears to cope.
Ironheart Cast: Who’s In It?
Ironheart is still in its early stages, and only one cast member has been announced so far: Thorne as Riri Williams, aka Ironheart. Thorne, whose previous film credits include If Beale Street Could Talk and Judas and the Black Messiah, was personally cast for the role, which came to her via a surprise phone call. She opened up about his experience to Empire in March, saying, “I was waiting for them to say, like, ‘Oh, we’ll send you the sides,’ or, ‘Hand over your tape to us.’ But it doesn’t exist.” She continued, “It was like, ‘Do you want to do this?’ It was probably the most unique experience I’ve ever had because there were no auditions at all.”
Plot details on Ironheart haven’t been released yet, but the series has the potential to tie into the large MCU. Not only is Riri connected to the high-tech world of Wakanda (more on that later), but her character is also working with Blade — yes, the vampire hunter himself — in the latest comics. If that connection carries over to the Disney+ series, it could set the stage for the upcoming Blade film.
Since the character Ironheart draws inspiration (and some very advanced technology) from Iron Man, there’s reason to wonder if the series will explore Tony Stark’s legacy in depth. Riri even partnered with Pepper Potts at one point in the comics, so there’s definitely a chance we can see the family in Ironheart.
How Ironheart Connects To Black Panther
In an August interview with Comic Book, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that Thorne first appeared in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever before starring in her own series. Riri and Shuri have worked together in previous comics — as Marvel editor Alanna Smith puts it, the characters “are the two biggest brains in the Marvel Universe, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get along right away.” Plus, given Wakanda’s renewed commitment to explore end of Black Panther, it makes sense that the nation would seek out the top talents around the world.
Inverse reports that the sequel will be filmed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. On August 26, Twitter user CreamOrScream posted behind-the-scenes photos of Thorne, Danai Gurira (Okoye), and Letitia Wright (Shuri) on campus. In the comics, Riri joined MIT at the age of 11, this school is also Tony Stark’s almamater
While the Ironheart trailer may be far away, the Black Panther sequel will serve as an introduction to Riri’s character before she makes her Disney+ debut. So, there will be a lot of theories even before the official first look drops.