As the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever draws near, actor Dominique Thorne reflects on how she nearly played a different character in the MCU. Keeping a sentimental touch with the real-life loss of the Oscar-nominated actor, the much-anticipated sequel to the 2018 film will see Wakanda tested after the demise of Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett), Shuri (Letitia Wright), and Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) will be left to defend Wakanda from Tenoch Huerta’s Namor and his invading soldiers.
The role of Riri Williams, played by Dominique Thorne, is one of the new ones set to appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Known as Ironheart in the comics, she is widely seen as a potential successor to Iron Man (Tony Stark). This is because she, too, designed and constructed a suit of armor capable of competing with Stark’s. However, while fans are counting down the days until she finally joins the MCU, the actor just revealed how her entry into the franchise nearly went another way.
Dominique Thorne/Ironheart said in the latest issue of Empire (through The Direct) that she was almost cast as a different Marvel Cinematic Universe character before getting selected as the Ironheart. Thorne recollected initially trying out for the role of Shuri in the original film. However, her sequel can be a more interesting path into the franchise. Have a look at what Thorne said:
There couldn’t be a safer runway for Riri to come into her genius and superherodom than in the world of Wakanda, which is known as a haven for Black brilliance. So it’s us getting to know her as she’s getting to know this side of herself and how she can potentially impact the world.
Fans of both the actor and franchise will find the concept that Thorne originally tried out for the role of Shuri in the first Black Panther to be fascinating. Although Letitia Wright’s performance as Boseman’s sister in the 2018 MCU blockbuster was widely praised at first, rumors of her anti-vaxx beliefs from the set of the sequel have sparked controversy and raised questions about her continued engagement in the role. In addition, it would be fascinating to see how the film explains the passing of the mantle, with Boseman having passed in 2020 and different sources already teasing Shuri to be the next Black Panther in the film.
While she may not have landed the role she initially eyed, Thorne’s Ironheart will be an important figure in the MCU going forward from her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever introduction. Given the character’s status as an Iron Man successor in the comics and Robert Downey Jr.’s retirement from the role after Avengers: Endgame, the door is wide open for other Iron-suit-based heroes to take the spotlight in the MCU’s future, alongside Don Cheadle’s War Machine for the Armor Wars movie. Only time will show what the franchise holds for Thorne’s Ironheart when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits theaters on November 11.
Thorne may not have gotten the part she wanted. Still, Ironheart, who she debuted as in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will play a significant role in the MCU moving forward. With Robert Downey Jr.’s departure as Iron Man following Avengers: Endgame, the stage is set for other heroes wearing Iron suits to step into the spotlight in the MCU, including Don Cheadle’s War Machine in the upcoming Armor Wars film. The fate of Thorne’s Ironheart is uncertain until November 11, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is released in theatres.