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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Ironheart Actress Dominique Thorne Almost Played Another MCU Character

The latest trailer for "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has revealed a lot about what fans can expect from the sequel to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's highest-ranked movie of all time (via Rotten Tomatoes). When "Black Panther" was released in 2018, it quickly became a cultural phenomenon, and the late Chadwick Boseman was known around the world for his portrayal of T'Challa. Director Ryan Coogler and the cast have the daunting task of continuing the story, sadly, without Boseman. However, based on what we've seen and what Shuri actor Letitia Wright told Looper, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" is set to be epic and will honor Boseman's legacy.

We now know that Letitia Wright's Shuri will seemingly fill her older brother's place as the new Black Panther — unless for some reason Marvel Studios and Disney are misdirecting us, which is entirely possible. Either way, it appears that there will be tension between Wakanda and Atlantis, and fans have now fully seen Tenoch Huerta's Namor the Submariner. For fans, introducing Namor is incredibly exciting (via Reddit), but the trailers also feature another familiar Marvel character, Ironheart.

Actor Dominique Thorne was confirmed to be playing Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, back in December 2020 (via The Hollywood Reporter). Now we can see her flying in a full armored suit like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). However, you may not have known that Thorne almost played another MCU character before being cast as Riri.

Dominique Thorne almost played Shuri in Black Panther

In a 2021 interview with Empire Magazine, Dominique Thorne explained that she auditioned for the first "Black Panther" for the part of Shuri. Afterward, Thorne said that she didn't have to audition for the role of Riri Williams, which she was incredibly surprised and thrilled about. "I was at home in Delaware and I got a call asking if I would like to play this role ... It was the best phone call I could have ever received," she noted. Thorne continued in a more recent Empire interview that it was the most unique experience she ever had, and even though she didn't get cast as Shuri, she's grateful because of the way Wakanda is a "haven for Black brilliance" (via CBR).

"There couldn't be a safer runway for Riri to come into her genius and her superherodom than in the world of Wakanda, which is known as being a haven for Black brilliance. It's us getting to know her as she's getting to know this side of herself, and how she can potentially impact the world," Thorne explained. Based on the trailer, it appears that Shuri and Riri have a particularly close relationship, which is ironic given their audition experiences.

Of course, other known characters from the first film like Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia will be returning as well. Nyong'o told The Hollywood Reporter in July that she's proud of the movie, and that it's sure to "blow people's minds."

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" hits theaters on November 11th.