Marvel is a tight-lipped company regarding its future projects. It gives a tease of what is to come then goes silent until trailers and promotional material kick into high gear. A report from We Got This Covered claims that Riri Williams, also known as the superhero Ironheart, will make her debut in Black Panther 2. Take this with a grain of salt as we proceed and break this all down.
If Riri Williams were to make her debut in Black Panther 2, it would be quite surprising, but it does make sense to some degree. Marvel has announced characters for one project but then surprised audiences by introducing them in something else. This happened recently with Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country), who is He Who Remains/Kang the Conqueror. He was announced to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania as Kang, then debuted in Loki as He Who Remains. If we were to get the young superhero who takes Tony Starks tech, then it might work out in a way that fits.
Introducing a new Black superhero in Black Panther 2 would be perfectly fitting. The studio embraced African culture with the spectacle of a superhero movie as Ryan Coogler (Creed) got to helm the first film starring Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom).
Riri Williams made her first appearance on the pages of comic books in 2016 with Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #7 by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artists Mike Deodato, Eve Ewing, and Kevin Libranda. She is a teenage engineering student who makes her own Iron Man-like suit. With Tony Stark dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having someone new take the mantel in a new non-billionaire way would be refreshing for the franchise.
The studio has twisted origins, motivations, and arcs of its characters before, so seeing her in Black Panther 2 could be another twist for audiences who know the source material like the back of their hand as the title. Wakanda Forever, indicates it will not spend much time in the United States where Riri is located. If this turns out to be false and we go by the plan that we know, as confirmed by the head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, then we will get the character with her own Disney Plus series. Ironheart will be played by Dominique Thorne (Judas and the Black Messiah) with showrunner Chinaka Hodge (Snowpiercer) at the helm of the series.
We will have to see what happens with Riri Williams here, but in the meantime, we do have some details on Black Panther 2. With Boseman’s death last August, the studio confirmed that it would not recast him or use a CGI version of him. Instead, we will see a focus on the people and culture of Wakanda. Plenty of the cast is set to return, like Letitia Wright (Humans), Lupita Nyong’o (Us), Winston Duke (Us), Martin Freeman (Fargo), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Florence Kasumba (The Lion King), and Angela Bassett (Gunpowder Milkshake).
Black Panther 2 will also feature newcomer Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You). Coogler will be joined with co-writer Joe Robert Cole (American Crime Story), who also co-wrote the first movie. The sequel will be in theaters on July 8, 2022.