Why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Was the Perfect Time to Introduce Ironheart

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Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, is introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Image: Marvel Studios

Not only does Black Panther: Wakanda Forever bring back dozens of characters from the first film, and not only does it introduce an entire new world thanks to Namor and the Talokan, the film also introduces the star of one of Marvel’s next Disney+ shows : Ironheart.

Dominique Thorne plays the character, real name Riri Williams . On the surface, adding yet another new character into an already super-packed movie might seem excessive. However, speaking to io9 recently , Black Panther: Wakanda Forever producer Nate Moore explained why this film was the perfect place to introduce the brand new hero and that the idea to give Williams her own show only came after this movie—not the other way around.

“I think it was important to introduce her here because, a couple of things,” Moore said. “She’s a character, thematically, who has experienced loss in her path with her stepfather passing away. We love the idea of of her as a African American woman in America, sort of encountering Wakanda. She has a different point of view than Killmonger but there’s a similar notion of seeing something that maybe had been lost. And we love the idea of a woman who is potentially as smart as Shuri, but has such a different experience with that intelligence. And I think that made her kind of undeniable as part of the fabric of the movie.”

Without spoiling it, Williams does become an undeniable part of the film, acting as a crucial link between Wakanda and the Talokan, and then also having an arc taking her from college genius to burgeoning superhero, as you see in the trailers with her flying around in a pseudo Iron Man suit.

It wasn’t until Williams began weaving into the DNA of Wakanda Forever, though, that Marvel realized there might be more to it. “We didn’t know she was going to have a show when we were writing this movie,” Moore said. “It was, ‘Man, this is such a compelling character. I bet there’s more stories to tell.’”

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Plus, once Ironheart hits Disney+, it should be clear that everything that what happens in Wakanda Forever will inform what’s going ahead. “Her adventure in this movie, and coming out on the other end of it with her experiences, really motivates her to become more of a hero because of what she’s seen,” Moore said. “But she’s going to find out in the show, not to spoil anything, that that’s easier to do in Wakanda with Wakanda behind you then it is as a now 20, 21-year-old student who goes back to MIT.”

Meet Riri Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever when it hits theaters November 11. Ironheart does not have a release date but late 2023 or early 2024 seems likely.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel , Star Wars , and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV , and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water .