June 20th Start Date Confirmed for Marvel’s ‘Ironheart,’ ‘This Is Us’ Star Joins Cast

Excitement is building and comic book diehards are buzzing about the new Marvel Studios series Ironheart. SCREEN broke the news last week about a possible June shoot start, and those production dates are now beginning to take shape. Ironheart will begin filming on June 20th and is expected to continue through October 21st. And now the question is where.

The Marvel series is expected to film in Atlanta and Chicago, but what fans and film industry professionals are asking is, how much will film in each city? Sources tell SCREEN production offices for Ironheart are opening up in Atlanta and Fayetteville, Georgia, where Marvel Studios already has a well-established production hub. However, sources also tell SCREEN that location scouting and production prep – and perhaps even a VFX stage build – have been taking place in Chicago in recent weeks. So while the Chicago v Atlanta question remains open for now, it is clear the production is indeed destined for both cities, and clarification is expected very soon.

Homewood, IL and Chicago Actor Lyric Ross Joins the Cast

More great news for Chicago artists, as Lyric Ross, one of the key players in NBC’s hit drama This Is Us, has joined the cast of Ironheart. Ross is expected to play the best friend of “Ironheart,” who is better known as “Riri Williams” when she’s not clad in high-tech superhero armor. Judas and the Black Messiah star Dominique Thorne will play Ironheart.

Ross was raised in Homewood, Illinois, just under an hour outside of Chicago. She started acting when she was five years old, appearing in various commercials. Ross then leapt onto the national scene with a guest-starring role in NBC ratings king Chicago Fire. In 2017, she performed in a recurring role as “Deja Pearson” in Season 2 of another beloved NBC series This Is Us, while in the eighth grade at James Hart School in Homewood, and this is where Ross’ career blossomed. Ross’ work on the show earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination, three NAACP Image Award nominations and a SAG Award win in 2019 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.

Here is a clip from Lyric’s award-winning star turn on This Is Us…

As SCREEN shared earlier this month, Hamilton star Anthony Ramos has also been named to the cast, perhaps as the series villain, though those details remain unclear.

Here is a quick interview with Lyric Ross to bring you up to speed…

Chicagoan in the Marvel Studios Director’s Chair

Chicago’s Sam Bailey to direct multiple episodes of Ironheart

As SCREEN reported earlier this month, Chicago native Sam Bailey will be directing multiple episodes of this latest foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Sam Bailey’s star has taken off since her Primetime Emmy nomination for the web series Brown Girls, which she created with poet Fatimah Asghar in her hometown of Chicago. The series starred two young women coming to terms with queer identity, and navigating career and relationships, and went on to be developed with HBO. Since then, Bailey has become a mainstay in the television circuit, directing episodes of the series Alone Together, First Wives Club, East of La Brea, Grown-ish, Loosely Exactly Nicole, and Netflix’s Dear White People, for which she was also a writer and producer.

As for Bailey’s Chicago roots, she was born in the city’s Logan Square neighborhood. Bailey began stage acting as a teenager and received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago, before co-creating the aforementioned Brown Girls.

So Who Is Ironheart?

Comic book aficionados will recall that Riri Williams/Ironheart was first introduced in Marvel Comics in 2016, the creation of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mike Deodato. In the comics, she is a 15-year-old MIT student who reverse engineers Iron Man’s armor in order to create armor of her own. Iron Man, also known as Tony Stark, eventually took notice and gave her his encouragement to pursue the life of a superhero.

Ironheart will star Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams

There is another notable Chicago connection with the Ironheart franchise. One of the writers on the comic book series back in 2018 was Chicagoan Eve Ewing. Click here to enjoy her interview with marvel.com. As to Ewing’s involvement with the television series, SCREEN will have updates as they become available.

To bring you up to speed, here is a quick Ironheart character breakdown from vlogger Blerd Without Fear

Meet Ironheart Head Writer Chinaka Hodge

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige’s Ironheart team will be led by head writer Chinaka Hodge. Hodge is a screenwriter, poet, playwright, and educator. Her past television writing credits include the Apple reboot of Amazing Stories, as well as the TNT series adaptation of Snowpiercer, starring Daveed Diggs. She has published two books of poetry to date, For Girls with Hips: Collected Poems and Writings and Dated Emcees. Her plays include Chasing Mehserle and Mirrors in Every Corner. She is also a founding member of the hip hop collective “The Getback” along with Diggs and others.

What better way to introduce yourself to Chinaka Hodge than to take a listen to her recent TED Talk…

Black Panther‘s Coogler Enters the Fray

SCREEN shared earlier this month that Ryan Coogler of Black Panther fame will be among the executive producers alongside Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Brad Winderbaum, Zinzi Coogler, Sev Ohanian, Zoie Nagelhout, and the aforementioned Hodge. Avengers: Endgame casting director Sarah Finn will be heading up casting, joined by Jason B. Stamey.

Will Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow Appear in Ironheart?

Will Robert Downey Jr cameo in Ironheart?

Marvel Cinematic Universe diehards continue to speculate as to which famed heroes and heroines may soar into the Ironheart series. According to ScreenRant, “There is a strong chance that MCU veterans like War Machine (Don Cheadle), Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) could appear. Many are also hopeful that Robert Downey Jr. will return as an AI version of Tony Stark. Meanwhile, Riri’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever role could mean Shuri (Letitia Wright) and other characters from the sequel could pop up too.”

So far, there have been no official reports that Downey Jr., Cheadle, or Paltrow will be appearing in Ironheart. That being said, there is much more information to come on this highly anticipated series, so until there is confirmation either way, the MCU diehards will continue to buzz.

Check back here at SCREEN for updates as Ironheart forges ahead into production. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

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