Excitement has been building and comic book diehards are buzzing about the new Marvel Studios series Ironheart. The series is expected to film in Atlanta and Chicago between now and the end of October. Sources tell Ironheart has now begun filming in Atlanta. So when will the production be landing in Chicago for an extended shoot? Here is what we know so far…
SCREEN confirmed that the Marvel team was in Chicago last week for a brief stint. The purpose of the shoot was to film plate shots and exterior establishing shots for the extensive VFX, which makes sense as the character of “Ironheart” and her “non-superhero” persona of “Riri Williams” are based in Chicago.
Which raises the question… is Ironheart going to be mostly filmed in Atlanta, with some occasional exteriors in Chicago, or will there be more extensive filming in the Windy City in the months ahead? The bottom line is Marvel has an established production hub in Atlanta so it’s reasonable to believe that quite a bit of filming will take place in Georgia. That being said, the title character Ironheart lives in Chicago. So for now, the location question between Chicago and Atlanta remains open, and clarification is expected very soon.
Homewood, IL and Chicago Actor Lyric Ross Joins the Cast
SCREEN can definitely confirm 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
As SCREEN reported in May, 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.
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 Spring 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?
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.