Marvel's Ironheart Star Missed Out on Major Black Panther Role

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Black Panther, Dominique Thorne, Ironheart, Shuri

Marvel Studios is only a few weeks away from the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will bring a number of key new heroes and villains into the MCU upon its release. This includes Dominique Thorne in her Marvel debut as Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, making her first appearance before leading the way in her own solo Disney+ show in late 2023.

Thorne's journey into the MCU is a unique one, as she revealed that she didn't even have to audition for the part of Riri Williams before joining the Marvel Studios family in Black Panther 2. This showed just how much faith Marvel had in Thorne to bring such an important new hero to life, especially one that's already set for a key role throughout the Multiverse Saga.


While Thorne got her MCU role without an audition, there are plenty of other interesting audition stories from Marvel's history, including actors who auditioned for other roles than the ones they ended up playing. As it turns out, this is exactly what happened with the newcomer playing Ironheart before she joined the MCU's extensive ranks.

Ironheart Star Went for Other MCU Role First

In an excerpt from the latest edition of Empire Magazine, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Dominique Thorne revealed that she auditioned for another MCU role before signing on to play Ironheart.

Shuri Black Panther Dominque Thorne Ironheart

As part of her quotes, the article noted that Thorne actually auditioned to play Black Panther's Shuri in 2016, a role that ended up going to Letitia Wright.

But while she took on a different role, she expressed how Black Panther 2 is the perfect gateway for Riri Williams to make her entrance thanks to Wakanda "being a haven for Black brilliance:"

“There couldn’t be a safer runway for Riri to come into her genius and her superherodom than in the world of Wakanda, which is known as being a haven for Black brilliance. 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.”

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige also took a moment to discuss Ironheart's introduction, calling her a representation of everybody watching the movie and going on the journey with her:

"What’s fun about Riri in this film is that she’s us. She’s an American coming into this world, and she represents the point of view of an outsider in a very interesting way.”

Shuri? No. Ironheart? Yes.

Even though Dominique Thorne first auditioned for the MCU more than five years ago, she finally has the opportunity to play one of the franchise's most exciting new characters as the Iron Man legacy continues to build.

Shuri would have actually been Thorne's first role in any movie or show in her entire career, with less than a handful of entries on her resume even to this day. She's even a little bit younger than Letitia Wright, who continues to thrive as Shuri in the MCU, although they both now get the chance to add their names to the Marvel legacy with roles in Black Panther 2.

But considering how unique Thorne's path into the MCU already was, it's no surprise that this partnership has been a long time coming as she finally finds her place in a post-Infinity Saga story.

Now, she'll play a pivotal role in Black Panther 2, with Riri's technology actually serving as the kickstarter for the upcoming battle between the Wakandans and Namor the Sub-Mariner. This is also only the start for Thorne, with her solo series only being another stepping stone in her journey as a new hero in the MCU.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will debut in theaters on November 11.

- In This Article: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Release Date
November 11, 2022
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.