An inspiring young hero just joined the cast of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. According to Variety, Dominique Thorne will appear in the sequel as Riri Williams AKA Ironheart. The backstory for this Marvel heroine and the current cast of the second Black Panther (pictured above) film makes this announcement incredibly exciting.
In the comics, Riri Williams is a young Black girl who is declared to be a super genius before she’s officially a teenager. After tragically losing her stepfather to gun violence, she decides to build something that protects people. Since teenaged Riri is going to college at M.I.T. at the time, she grabs the tech she needs from the campus to construct an imperfect suit of powered armor. She eventually gets on Iron Man’s radar after she confronts escaped inmates; instead of suing Riri for copying his suit design, Tony Stark decides to support her instead.
Since Tony is currently deceased in the MCU, Riri’s origins will have to play out a little bit differently. Luckily, there’s another tech genius in Wakanda who could easily step into the role Iron Man played: Shuri is a brilliant inventor who’s designed specialized tech for Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, and of course, the Black Panther. She could easily help Riri perfect a combat suit that could take down villains in the MCU. Seeing the two heroines work together would also be a great way to set up the upcoming Ironheart series centered around Riri. And as Sam Wilson proved with his new Wakandan-made Captain America suit, a hero can get a lot done when they have tech that originated in the highly advanced country.
Whether Riri puts on a suit of armor in the next Black Panther film or not, she will be a great addition to the MCU. Not only is she a fantastic role model for young girls, but she’s a powerful heroine who will be a huge asset in the years to come. We’ll see how far Riri will soar in her first MCU appearance when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premieres in July 2022.