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Disney+'s Ironheart Series - What We Know So Far

With Disney's 2020 Investor Day came plenty of amazing announcements, some expected and some completely surprising. When it came to Kevin Feige's turn to share Marvel Studios' future slate, one particular upcoming Marvel TV series, scheduled to join the slate of other shows on Disney+, was truly unexpected: Ironheart.

After giving everyone a first look at the upcoming Marvel animated series What If...?, featuring a series of alternative takes on well-known Marvel storylines, Feige shocked fans by announcing that Marvel would be producing an Ironheart series centered on Riri Williams from the Marvel comics, a certified super genius who reverse-engineers Iron Man's suit in order to build her own Iron Man armor. Williams was only introduced to the world of Marvel Comics in 2016, with a cameo in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 #7. Created by Brian Michael Bendis, with a character design by Mike Deodato, Williams went on to star in Invincible Iron Man Vol. 3, using the moniker Ironheart.

The Ironheart TV series was announced alongside Armor Wars — starring Don Cheadle as Colonel Jim "Rhodey" Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine — and Secret Invasion — the series starring Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn — featuring the famous crossover event of the same name from the comics.

When will Ironheart come out?

As with Armor Wars and Secret Invasion, there is currently no release date for Ironheart. As of now, the most recently announced Marvel TV series slated for Disney+ that have some sort of release date are Hawkeye and Ms. Marvel, both of which are currently in production and said to be coming in late 2021.

The earliest we can expect Ironheart might be sometime in late 2022. But, given that She-Hulk and Moon Knight are not only also in development but also at further stages of development than Ironheart and slated to arrive before the Williams-centered series, it's very unlikely. Neither She-Hulk nor Moon Knight currently have release dates beyond claims that they will premiere in 2022, but there's no official word. According to an exclusive story about the full expanse of upcoming Marvel projects (via The Hollywood Reporter), both She-Hulk and Moon Knight are apparently beginning production sometime in March 2021.

With all this in mind, it's much more likely the Ironheart series will premiere on Disney+ at some point in 2023 or later.

Who will star in Ironheart?

Another surprise announcement from the Marvel presentation, Feige revealed that they have already cast the actress who will play Williams. The Ironheart series is set to star newcomer Dominique Thorne. Though she hasn't appeared in many projects, she burst onto the scene with her first feature film role in the critically-acclaimed If Beale Street Could Talk, the follow-up movie from Barry Jenkins, Academy Award-winning writer and director of Moonlight.

Ahead of Ironheart, Thorne will also appear in next year's Judas and the Black Messiah, directed by Shaka King and starring Academy Award nominee Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Thorne plays a character named Judy Harmon, who is a member of Hampton's security team. 

Aside from Thorne, there are no other cast members announced yet. Given that the release of the Ironheart series is likely a couple years away, it's possible that this early casting signifies that Williams might make an appearance in a Marvel movie or show in advance of the show's release.

What will Ironheart be about?

Only 15 years old, Williams is a genius engineer who gets a scholarship to study at MIT. After her stepfather dies tragically, Williams retreats into herself and commits to the project of reverse-engineering and rebuilding her own Iron Man armor. When caught by MIT, she flies off in her new creation, dropping out of college with the goal of being a superhero.

Tony Stark gets word of her adventures and visits Williams, endorsing her as a superhero, and soon enough she fights alongside him in Civil War II. When the event ends with Stark in a coma, Williams takes on his responsibilities and adopts the superhero name Ironheart. She later becomes a member of a team of teenage superheroes called The Champions, also featuring Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Silk, among others.

Considering that Stark is already gone, it's unknown how exactly the MCU will introduce Williams, but her origin story about growing up in Chicago, her family loss, and ending up at MIT at a young age as a genius engineer, will likely be mentioned in Ironheart in some form; of course, Marvel's been known to take bits from here and there when adapting a character. Keep an eye out for more news on the Ironheart series for Disney+ in 2021.