Thorne, who will be showcased further in next year's Ironheart Disney+ series, made her Marvel Studios debut in Ryan Coogler's latest super-powered blockbuster, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her young hero is thrust into the fight alongside Letitia Wright's Shuri, Dania Gurira's Okoye, and Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia
The Ironheart actress has shown her gratitude for joining the MCU, calling Wakanda Forever "the greatest introduction a young genius could be granted."
But according to Thorne, the Wakandan epic only showed just a sliver of the MCU's newest armored genius.
Seeing the True Riri Williams
In an interview with Variety, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Dominique Thorne addressed what fans will see out of her character in the film, and what to expect moving forward.
Thorne said that Wakanda Forever is just "one sliver... of who [Riri Williams] is," showcasing "a little taste of the colors that exist within her," but not her full, true self that got held back due to her being "outside of her element":
"The film does such a good job of showcasing one sliver, one side of who she is. We get a little taste of the colors that exist within her — we see her as a hustler; we see her as a little bit of a bully; we see her fearful; we see her in all these different lights. But primarily, she is in a world of confusion. This is her outside of her element, in the very opposite of her comfort zone, so the Riri that we see, it’s a bit of fight or flight [mode]."
But she noted that by the time fans "get to Ironheart [next year], they are in for the chance to sink into who [Williams] is truly:"
"That’s such a great place for the audience to be because by the time that they get to 'Ironheart,' they are in for the chance to sink into who she is truly, without the war of the worlds [between the kingdoms of Wakanda and Talokan] in the background. We get to see who she is day-to-day, but also get a bit more of an understanding of the genius that got her into this situation in the first place."
The young actress also dove into what it is like going from her MCU introduction to leading her own series in Disney+'s Ironheart, remarking that it's "an honor" and "a joy." She revealed that she had "some inkling about what it might be like to shift gears" from the big to the small screen, but "definitely could not have anticipated some of the lessons learned [so far]:"
"It’s such an honor, honestly, and such a joy. I had some inkling about what it might be like to shift gears in that way, but definitely could not have anticipated some of the lessons learned, or the deepening of this perspective that I feel like I now have. Overall, it’s been a beautiful journey."
Thone called Riri a "gift of a character to play," highlighting how much of a "full well-rounded human being, with the full scope of emotions" that the young Marvel hero is:
"She’s such a gift of a character to play and because this was a preexisting character, to have her shaped, and molded, and more-or-less defined by the words and through the eyes of Ryan Coogler, and of Miss Chinaka Hodge [“Ironheart’s” head writer] for this series is truly a blessing, truly a gift. I really do feel like I’m getting the chance to play a full well-rounded human being, with the full scope of emotions and shit going on, and all the things that make us as people interesting."
Getting to see a Different Side of Riri Williams
Some will look at these quotes from Dominque Thorne and question what exactly she means by getting to see who Riri Williams "truly" is. The young hero makes her debut in Wakanda Forever, offering up only just a taste of what is to come for her in the future of the MCU.
Throne brings it up so eloquently. Black Panther 2 is just a "sliver" of who Riri is/is going to be.
Ultimately, the Wakandan sequel is not Riri's story. Sure, she plays a part in it, suiting up in a couple of absolutely stunning suits of armor while she's at it, but at its essence, this is not her movie.
Of course, fans are going to get a better, more well-rounded taste for who the character is in a project all her own. That is almost always the case with these Marvel stories.
As an example, audiences first met Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, but it was not until Black Panther proper that they got a full deep dive into who this hero is, on more than just a surface level.
Riri may be one of the highlights of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but as Dominique Thorne says, things are only just getting started for this super-powered teenage phenom.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is in theaters worldwide now.