Following her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Dominique Thorne explained that her Ironheart suit weighed over 50 pounds — although she didn’t know that until well after they finished filming.
Speaking with Variety at the Oct. 26 premiere of the Black Panther sequel, Thorne, who plays Riri Williams/Ironheart, said that putting on the suit “was the quickest entry point into Riri Williams.” Her character, a teenage MIT genius living in Wakanda, builds an Iron Man-inspired suit and her on-set costume was as close to the real thing as it could be. “Unlike some of the other suits that may be added in later with visual effects, the Mark I was all practical,” she said. “To get to feel the weight of that on my body and just understand how it moves — you almost want to say it’s clunky, but when you have it on, you realize, ‘Oh, this is actually such a smart build’.”
Exclusive Black Panther: Wakanda Forever footage and promos released by Marvel Studios show two versions of the Ironheart suit, suggesting that future projects will see Thorne in Mark I and Mark II designs.
Becoming the MCU’s Ironheart
According to Thorne, it took about two weeks for her to get comfortable with the suit, but she didn’t know the exact weight of her on-set attire until about a month before the film’s release. Coming in at a whopping 52.5 pounds without one piece of the suit, the Ironheart costume weighed exactly half of Thorne’s body weight, which she wore while filming wire stunts. When asked if she built up strength while filming this movie, she answered: “Oh, man, all the way around. Physically, mentally, spiritually.”
Marvel producer Nate Moore offered Thorne the role of Riri Williams in August 2020 for two big projects: the Black Panther sequel and Ironheart, a Disney+ series centered around her character. The spinoff series wrapped filming this month, and Marvel announced at San Diego Comic-Con in July that the show will be coming to Disney+ in Fall 2023.
Few details are known about the show, but it has been confirmed that Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos and This Is Us’ Lyric Ross will star alongside Thorne. Reports also suggest that Sacha Baron Cohen will join the MCU as supervillain Mephisto against Thorne’s Ironheart. Black Panther co-writer and director Ryan Coogler serves as executive producer alongside Chinaka Hodge, head writer for the show, with Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes directing three episodes each for the six-part series.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters.