How Riri Williams' Part In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Will Lead Into The Disney+ Ironheart Series

Riri Williams has a bright future ahead of her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First introduced to the comics in 2016 and played by Dominique Thorne, the young hero is ready to make a big splash with her MCU debut, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and next year she’ll continue to make waves with her upcoming Disney+ series, Ironheart. There’s a lot of excitement for what the character is bringing to the expansive franchise, and Marvel producer Nate Moore recently explained how her first two stories in the canon are connected.

The new character is one of many great elements in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which has been earning rave reviews prior to its release, and I felt compelled to ask about her when I interviewed Nate Moore late last month during the Los Angeles press day for the blockbuster. I specifically asked about how Riri Williams’ development in the film sets up what we’ll see in Ironheart and the coordination between the two productions, and the filmmaker explained that the whole process was very organic:

That show is an outgrowth of how much we liked her in this movie, and even on the page. So when we talked with Dominique [Thorne] initially, obviously the character had been written to the script, and she was the one and only person we talked about for the role, and when she said yes and we were down the road with the script, we also started talking to Ryan [Coogler] about what the show could be.

It really has to be one hell of a confidence boost for an actor when their character hasn’t even made their big screen debut yet and there are already discussions about having them be the lead of her own series.

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Riri Williams is introduced as a brilliant student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who accidentally finds herself in serious trouble. She develops a device that is able to detect Vibranium, and by doing so she is instantly deemed a serious threat by King Namor (Tenoch Huerta) – the monarch of a secret, Vibranium-rich underwater nation called Talocan. Hoping to potentially forge an alliance with Wakanda, Namor calls on Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) to kidnap Riri and deliver her for execution, but the heroes try to find an alternative solution that doesn’t involve the assassination of a young genius.

Very little is officially known about the Ironheart series at this point, but the bigger picture will become much clearer soon thanks to the release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Not only does the new movie introduce Riri Williams to audiences, but Nate Moore describes Ironheart as being a “direct sequel” to the blockbuster:

Riri is carrying the experiences she had in this movie back home to MIT and there are some interesting repercussions to her adventures that will set her on a fun course.

Starring Dominque Thorne, Anthony Ramos, Lyric Ross, Alden Ehrenreich, and more, Ironheart is scheduled to arrive on Disney+ in 2023, and audiences everywhere will be able to check out Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters this Friday. You can learn about all of the MCU projects that are in the works via our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides, and if you’re looking for more Marvel-related reading, our Marvel Movies In Order feature breaks down the franchise’s complicated timeline, and our ranking of the Marvel blockbusters puts them in order from worst to best.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.