With Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which arrives in theaters November 11, Thorne will make her debut as super genius and Tony Stark prodigy Riri Williams aka Ironheart before headlining her own Marvel series titled Ironheart for Disney+ in 2023. For the Hollywood newcomer and self-proclaimed Marvel geek, it’s a surreal moment that she’s still processing. “I don’t think that’s a conversation I will ever forget,” she says of speaking to producer Nate Moore about the plan for the character.
Riri is a young girl from the south side of Chicago with a superpowered mind who attends the prestigious MIT and, with those resources, creates an incredible Iron Man–like suit. Thorne is from Brooklyn, New York, graduated from Ivy League institution Cornell University (she was the first of her family to go to college), and used what she learned at school to build herself a successful acting career. The parallels between the young women are almost too good to be true. Naturally, Thorne immediately connected with Riri’s day-to-day life, which was her first entry point to the character.
“To be given the gift of such a well-written script and a well-written character arc, it only helps to ground the perspective or whatever assumptions I may have about who this girl is and how she interacts with the world. And getting to hear Ryan Coogler’s perception on how she interacts with the world as my foundation and as my building blocks for her is something that I think has made all of the difference,” she says. “[Black Panther: Wakanda Forever] is Riri’s birthplace, and there was just a wealth of things to learn from and to try out, and the goal was to fine-tune those things as we transition into the series where the world truly is focused on Riri.”