How Robert Downey Jr. Encouraged Ironheart Star Dominique Thorne (Exclusive)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Dominique Thorne, Ironheart, Robert Downey Jr., Marvel Studios logo

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever newcomer Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, spoke on how Robert Downey Jr. helped encourage her while working on her upcoming Disney+ series.

The odd thing, however, is seemingly a complete lack of a connection between Riri and her namesake, Iron Man. Despite that, Williams was still able to get a chance to talk to Downey Jr. himself before wrapping up Ironheart. His advice?

As Thorne previously recalled, the former Avenger made it clear that "Riri Williams is and should always be her own person.”

But what else did the iconic actor say to her?

Robert Downey Jr.'s Words of Advice for Ironheart Actress

Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., Ironheart
The Direct

While speaking exclusively to The Direct’s Russ Milheim as part of Puff’s campaign at Children’s Healthcare Atlanta, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ironheart actress Dominique Thorne talked about getting advice from the one and only Robert Downey Jr.

On top of being told that Riri should be her own character always, Thorne confirmed that “he did” share more advice—and that the moment “was such a whirlwind one:”

“He did. You know, it was actually a really great conversation. And I think the timing of it especially was what was probably the most significant. This was right at the tail-end of filming. So obviously, I’m sure, as you can imagine, it was such a whirlwind one.”

Riri Williams, Dominique Thorne, Black Panther 2
Marvel Studios

According to the actress, the first thing Downey said was that “he didn’t have any advice for [her]:”

“So, he and I didn’t really have much chance to connect prior to, but maybe that worked out pretty well, because, actually, the first thing he said in our conversation, or toward the end of the conversation, was that he didn’t have any advice for me. And he felt like I was actually pretty okay and that I’d be all right.”

Robert Downey Jr., Tony Stark, Captain America: Civil War
Marvel Studios

Though, Thorne admitted that the second half of what the Iron Man actor had to say she’d “have to keep near and dear to [her] heart:”

“And he shared a lot about… making sure that Riri is her own person, and all of the things that I can obviously attribute to her existence, and what it means, and what it represents, and what it can offer… Really just in the vein of being authentic to that, and true to that, and nurturing that. And then, I think, the second half, I have to keep near and dear to my heart. He definitely gave me a piece… some, some words of encouragement for… as I continue to navigate all that this life could be, which I appreciate. But yeah, it was, it was a good conversation for sure.”

Could Iron Man Show Up in Disney+'s Ironheart?

Despite Tony Stark and Riri Williams both making advanced suits of armor and having similar names, the two don't still have no connection to each other—but might that be a focus in the future?

That question leads directly to another: might Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man make any appearance in Ironheart's series?

Probably not physically—with him being dead and all. It's also hard to imagine any forced flashbacks, either. However, there is one way he might show up: as an AI.

In the comics, Riri William's suit uses an AI based on Tony Stark. This could lead to audiences seeing more of Iron Man in a unique way.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now streaming on Disney+, while Ironheart is set to hit the service this fall. 

- In This Article: Ironheart
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Alden Ehrenreich
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.