MCU

Black Panther 2 leak reveals the first-ever look at live-action Ironheart

Played by Dominique Thorne, Ironheart will also get her own standalone Disney+ series.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever plot details have been kept tightly under wraps. Casting rumors, however, have seeped through. While we still don’t know who will be taking up the mantle of Black Panther following the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, new leaks have revealed the first-ever live-action look at the character Ironheart, who wields a set of armor similar to that of Iron Man.

Portrayed by Dominique Thorne, Riri Williams is a brilliant young woman who designs her own power armor from spare parts. Her standalone Disney+ series is slated for a 2023 release, but Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige confirmed back in August 2021 that the character would make her debut in the second Black Panther movie. Further speculation about the character swirled in April when reports stated that Wakanda Forever’s production filmed scenes at MIT in Cambridge. The prestigious tech university is famously the alma mater of super-geniuses Iron Man (Tony Stark), who perished saving the world in Avengers: Endgame, but also Riri Williams.

A leak of supposedly official merchandise for the movie obtained by @TheMCUtimes features Thorne alongside Black Panther’s most famous woman warriors.

Ironheart made her first cameo appearance in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Mike Deodato. That was May 2016. By July’s issue, Ironheart had been promoted to full comic book appearances. Marvel Comics

The Black Panther 2 merchandise does not have a retailer attached (though some fans think it may be an official Disney line sold by Hot Topic), but leaks also include a standalone Ironheart tee in the teenage superhero’s “prototype” costume.

While still studying at MIT, Riri reverse-engineered the suit from Iron Man Armor Model 41, a scrapped version of Iron Man’s final design. The suit, while clunky and crude, had many of the same basic functions as most Iron Man armor designs. Eventually, the armor’s integrity degraded, and Riri upgraded to a model with much of the same capacities as Tony’s suit.

Dominique Thorne is best known for starring in the films If Beale Street Could Talk and Judas and the Black Messiah.Disney

Could Shuri call upon Riri in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to help the Afrofuturistic nation handle a new threat? We still aren’t sure how Ironheart will factor into Black Panther 2, but the cameo appearance and subsequent narrative could directly lead into or directly set up the plot of Ironheart, which is yet another “six-episode event” from the Marvel-Disney machine.

The other potentially official t-shirt posted by @TheMCUtimes seems to support the theory that Ironheart will be helping the badass ladies of Black Panther, including Shuri (Letitia Wright), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), and Okoye (Danai Gurira).

We’ll have to wait until the fall to see if or how Ironheart will fit in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and how her MCU debut will shape her character arc in her forthcoming standalone show.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is slated for theatrical release on November 11, 2022.