‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ star names Riri Williams’ most important quality

Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams in 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
Image via Marvel Studios

Warning: Minor spoilers for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to follow.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever may have stolen the show on multiple fronts in both 2022 and the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Phase Four, but that truth is at its most palpable when the cast’s performances become part of the conversation. Letitia Wright (Shuri) and Tenoch Huerta (Namor) tangoed ferociously on both choreographic and dramatic levels while navigating complex humanity on their own. Danai Gurira’s Okoye had her development cracked wide open over the events of the film, and Angela Bassett’s captivating turn as Ramonda has sparked some Oscars questions.

Indeed, the collective triumph of this ensemble is impossible to overstate. As most of these characters look forward to the road ahead, one actress has been especially vocal about the life brought to her character. Dominique Thorne made her MCU debut in Wakanda Forever as Riri Williams; the spunky super-genius whose charisma was plastered over each and every one of her scenes. She also single-handedly got us all excited for Ironheart, the upcoming Disney Plus series starring the character.

Thorne previously spoke about how director Ryan Coogler played a significant role in bringing Riri to life. In an interview with Screen Rant, Thorne divulged how an overwhelming majority of the hyper-intelligent hero’s character had nothing to do with her being a genius or a superhero. Rather, it had to do with her being a young Black girl from the South Side of Chicago, and how that chiefly informs her relationship to the world and others.

“Honestly, the primary thing was that she didn’t have to look like a traditional genius or a traditional hero. She was first and foremost a young Black girl. That’s it. That’s also everything. Then I think it becomes a much more interesting ride to then see how this young Black girl, who is also from Chicago and from the South Side, engages with the mysticism of Talokan. Then it becomes more interesting to see what it’s like for someone to confront and enter into those spaces, knowing that is her experience. That’s the thing that tethers her through everything.”

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is currently playing in theaters.