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The Ironheart Mark 1 Suit's Weight Wasn't A Problem For Wakanda Forever's Dominique Thorne

With Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) gone and Marvel starting to premiere lesser-known characters from the comics, it was only a matter of time before Riri Williams, aka Ironheart (Dominique Thorne), was introduced into the MCU. Sure enough, at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Kevin Feige announced during the Marvel Studios panel that an "Ironheart" series will be released in fall 2023 on Disney+ (via Marvel). However, the character debuted in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

In an interview with Collider, Thorne explained that she liked that Riri didn't get a traditional origin story, much like in the comics, and said there was a good reason why the character was introduced in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" instead of in her own series. "When we get to dive into her world in 'Ironheart,' we're also getting the opportunity to explore who Riri is when the stakes are not quite as exaggerated, but also to see what adventures she might get into when or if she does have to sort of reflect on or contend with the ambitions of hers that got her into that situation in the first place."

Those "ambitions of hers" include making her own suit and flying around in it. And to make her initial appearance in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" even more realistic, Thorne was given a practical suit instead of a CGI one, and she handled it surprisingly well.

The Ironheart suit weighs exactly half of Dominique Thorne

In an interview with Variety, Dominique Thorne explained that the Ironheart suit was not created in post-production with CGI, but was actually a practical costume that she had to wear. Apparently, the filmmakers waited until the end of filming to inform her of how much the suit weighed, and it turned out to be 52.5 pounds, which is exactly half of Thorne's body weight.

Despite the heavy suit, Thorne had a fairly easy time controlling it. "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, like all my joints are free so I have so much movement. But also, this is heavy as hell. And it flies? Whoa!'" Thorne explained that it took her about two weeks to get used to moving around in the suit, but it certainly gave her a workout.

But have the Iron Man suits always been practical instead of CGI like Riri's Ironheart suit in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"? Understandably, Tony's nanotech suit in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame" isn't real, but the original Iron Man suit from the first movie actually is.

Robert Downey Jr. couldn't see out of the Iron Man suit

In an interview on "My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman," Robert Downey Jr. explained that the Mark 1 suit in "Iron Man" was practical, and extremely difficult to work with. "They wanted to spend as little as they could on CG replacement, so I remember this helmet went on, and there'd be a shot, and I'd be in this whole suit, and they'd say, 'All right, Robert, it's like you landed on the roof, so when we say "action," just go like that, like you just landed, and then start moving forward,'" Downey explained. "So I put this helmet on, and it slammed closed, and I couldn't see anything, and then these LED lights went on and it was like '[The] Manchurian Candidate.' I was absolutely blinded."

By the time "Iron Man 2" came along, Downey wore just a single piece of the suit at a time based on what was featured most prominently in the shot, and the rest was filled in later with CGI, with production moving further away from practical effects and toward CGI as the suit became more advanced (via Insider). But apparently, for Ironheart's debut in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," the filmmakers wanted to return to that practical suit.