Who is Ironheart in Black Panther 2? Riri Williams in Wakanda Forever explained

Riri Williams is Ironheart in Black Panther Wakanda ForeverDisney/Marvel

Riri Williams – otherwise known as Ironheart – plays a prominent role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – so, here’s what you need to know about the genius teen-turned-high flying superhero in Black Panther 2.

Riri Williams is a new character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a super-smart team who is forced on the run with a pair of Wakandans early in Black Panther 2.

But Wakanda Forever isn’t the first time Marvel fans will have seen the character, with Riri debuting several years ago in the comics, and more recently appearing in animated shows.

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So the following is everything we know about Riri Williams in the comics, in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and in her forthcoming Disney+ series Ironheart.

Who is Ironheart in the comics?

Riri Williams was created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato in 2016, making her debut in the pages of Invincible Iron Man #7.

Riri grew up in Chicago where it quickly became clear she was something of a genius. But her life was turned upside down when Riri’s stepdad and best friend Natalie were killed in a drive-by shooting.

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In response, Riri decided she wanted to be a hero like Iron Man, so she set about creating her own mech suit. When she got into MIT Riri had access to the materials required, and turned her fantasy into a reality. Tony Stark got wind of the new iron suit, and took her under his metallic wing. Then when Iron Man was briefly out of commission, Riri became a full-blown superhero, code-name Ironheart.

Soon Riri was flying solo, joining teen team The Champions, and creating an AI of her own, named Natalie, and formed from the memories of her departed best friend.

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Riri Williams / Ironheart in Black Panther 2, explained

Riri Williams is a super-smart teenager in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, whose incredible inventions get her into trouble. Riri starts the movie a student at MIT, but soon receives a visit from Wakandans Shuri and Okoye, who believe her life is in danger.

That’s because one of her inventions is a machine that poses a threat to the film’s villain Namor, which forces Riri on the run. Mercifully, another of her inventions is an Iron Man-style mech suit, so she’s initially able to evade Namor’s army, as well as the American authorities that are on her tail.

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Riri then teams up with Shri and Okoye, though we won’t say anything else about her adventure until Friday, when Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hits screens. So check back to this article then for a full account of Riri’s heroic exploits.

Who plays Riri Williams in Black Panther 2?

Dominique Thorne plays Riri Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Thorne made her debut in Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed drama If Beale Street Could Talk, and followed that up with Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah.

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Black Panther is her first superhero project, but it won’t be her last, with Thorne set to play Riri Williams in Avengers: Secret Wars in 2026.

Before then, she’s getting her own solo series, playing Riri in forthcoming Disney+ streaming series Ironheart. The show will is rumored to be set in Riri’s home state of Chicago, and will explore the reprecussions from her Wakandan adventure.

More Black Panther: Wakanda Forever…