Ironheart’s Introduction in Black Panther 2 Explained by Dominique Thorne

Editors Note: This article contains mild spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever finally hit theaters this week and the long-awaited sequel did not disappoint. On top of passing the torch of the Black Panther to a worthy successor, the film introduces both a new adversary to the MCU and a new ally. In the film, we meet the beloved comic book character Riri Williams aka Ironheart. The film serves as a perfect introduction to the young hero who is also on the path to take up the mantle of another fallen Avenger: Tony Stark. Collider’s own Perry Nemiroff recently sat down with the actress behind the Iron-suit, Dominique Thorneto discuss her MCU debut as well as her upcoming Disney+ series, Ironheart.

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During their conversation, Nemiroff took a moment to ask Thorne about our introduction to Riri and how meeting her here shapes the character that we’ll see in the Ironheart series. Thorne explained that “one of the beautiful things about Riri” is that the way we meet her in the MCU is very aligned with how we are introduced to her in the comics. We find this character living her life rather than in some spectacle of an origin story.

Thorne explained:

“I think that one of the beautiful things about Riri is that when we meet her both in the comics and on-screen we’re meeting someone in the middle of their day-to-day. We’re sort of getting to peek in at someone’s life in the middle of it. We haven’t really gotten the origin story that we might expect when we hear that a new hero is being introduced. But rather it feels more like a day in the life of this 19-year-old college student who also happened to do something crazy in her spare time and now she kind of has to deal with it.”

Ironheart’s Introduction in Black Panther 2 Explained by Dominique Thorne
Image via Marvel Studios

RELATED: Here’s How ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Sets Up the MCU ‘Ironheart’ Series

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, we learn that Riri has, in her spare time, built a machine that can detect vibranium — and that it’s been co-opted by the US government. Before this moment Riri was just a college student being quietly brilliant and building incredible inventions simply because she wanted to. As Thorne put it in her conversation with Collider, why now? The events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also serve as an awakening for Riri as she realizes her own potential. Thorne continued, saying:

“And so I think that when we get to dive into her world in Ironheart, we’re also getting the opportunity to explore who Riri is when the stakes are not quite as exaggerated, but also to see what adventures she might get into when or if she does have to sort of reflect on or contend with the ambitions of hers that got her into that situation in the first place. You know, I don’t think it’s until this moment in Wakanda Forever that we think about why now? Why on this day are we seeing Riri? Well, on this day, she realizes the potential that her brilliance has.”

Who Is in Marvel’s Ironheart Series?

After her thrilling introduction in Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverfans are eager to see more of Riri Williams when Ironheart finally hits our screens. The series was nearing the end of filming at the beginning of the month, however, it isn’t expected to air on Disney+ until Fall 2023. In addition to Thorne starring as the titular character, the cast of Ironheart features, Lyric Ross (Wendell & Wild), Anthony Ramos (In the Heights), Manny Montana (Good Girls), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Non-binary actor Zoe Terakesand drag superstar Shea Coulee. Reportedly, Borate‘s Sacha Baron Cohen and voice actress Cree Summer have also joined the cast. Stay tuned to Collider for future updates on the series.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently showing in theatres. Check out our interview with Wakanda Forever Star Danai Gurira down below and be sure to look out for Nemiroff’s full conversation with Thorne.

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