Marvel Studios has put a renewed focus on providing more representation in its projects across theaters and on Disney+. Studio president Kevin Feige has publicly confirmed on numerous occasions that the MCU intends to expand in this area, and the franchise is taking small steps forward in that regard for the Multiverse saga.
Phase 4's final movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will reportedly put Danai Gurira's General Okoye into a same-sex relationship as the Wakandans find their own place in the world. Additionally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gave Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez her long-awaited MCU debut, fully telling her story even though it got the movie banned in some countries around the world.
Rumors have even pointed to Marvel looking to cast its first non-binary character in next year's Ironheart, more representation of previously under-represented groups of people. Now, that news has been made official thanks to news surrounding the latest addition to the cast of this highly-anticipated Disney+ show.
Ironheart Casts MCU's First Non-Binary Actor
Deadline revealed that Shea Couleé will join the cast of Marvel Studios' Ironheart, which is set to release in Fall 2023.
The star's addition to the Disney+ series makes them the first non-binary actor to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe under Marvel Studios.
Couleé was a recent winner on RuPaul's Drag Race, although their role in the series is currently being kept under wraps. They responded to the news on Twitter, sharing how excited they are "to be a part of this amazing project" with Marvel Studios:
"BEYOND excited to be strutting out of the Werkroom right into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Words cannot express how excited I am to be a part of this amazing project! Acting was my first love, and I’m thrilled to be doing it again in such a big way!"
Couleé also took to Instagram to celebrate the announcement, noting how much acting is something they've always wanted to do even before getting into the world of Drag:
"I’m trying to find the words to express the deep excitement I feel over this project. Acting was my first love long before Drag. So it only seems fitting to end my Drag Race journey and begin my acting career in the biggest way I could imagine. Stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been like stepping into OZ. ‘Ironheart’ is top to bottom going to be an absolutely STUNNING experience for the viewers, and I’m so humbled everyday that I get to work on set with some of the best and most dedicated artists in the industry. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey, and I look forward to sharing the exciting new chapter with you all"
Marvel Making Progress with Representation
With only a couple of acting credits to their name thus far, Ironheart will unquestionably be Shea Couleé's breakout project after making a name for themselves on RuPaul's Drag Race. The big question now is what specific role they will play, especially alongside such an impressive cast of co-stars backing up Dominique Thorne's leading heroine.
Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Alden Ehrenreich will take on his first MCU project after working with Lucasfilm, and In The Heights' Anthony Ramos is set to reportedly make the first of numerous Marvel appearances in Ironheart as well. With Couleé now bringing their own talents to the equation, Ironheart should bring that same level of quality in its cast that fans have come to expect from the MCU over the years.
Filming for Ironheart will continue over the next few months before its Fall 2023 release date, which falls directly between The Marvels in July and Blade in November. While there may not be much more information about Couleé's role or any other details about the cast before the end of the year, anticipation is building to see this MCU's newest young heroine fully evolve into a power player.
Ironheart is set to debut on Disney+ in Fall 2023.