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First Report: Anji White and Matthew Elam Added to ‘Ironheart’ Cast

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Ironheart fans have had a week full of news, and we have exciting casting updates to share about the Dominique Thorne-helmed series. The Cosmic Circus can report that Anji White and Matthew James Elam have joined Ironheart as series regulars. In addition, it appears Anji White is playing someone very close to Riri herself, her mom Ronnie! 

Anji White as Ronnie & Matthew James Elam has an undisclosed role

The resumes are from a site called Breakdown Express, a resume-hosting service for actors and others in the entertainment business. Actors and their teams use the site to submit to castings. Big shout out and thank you to our friend @ScarletWitchUpd on Twitter for the heads up about these additions to the Ironheart cast!

Anji White Ironheart
Anji White resume screenshot from Breakdown Express.

Interestingly, Anji White has Chicago roots, much like fellow Ironheart actor Harper Anthony. She’s an accomplished actress on stage and screen, winning awards for her work in theater shows like For Colored Girls and Sunset Baby. Reviews called her a “powerhouse actress.”  White has also been in major shows like Fargo, where she played Dibrell Smutny, as well as Chicago Med4400, and The Chi.  

Matthew James Elam Ironheart
Matthew James Elam resume screenshot from Breakdown Express.

Matthew James Elam is from Los Angeles and is also accomplished on stage and screen. There’s also a connection to actress Anji White. Both actors were series regulars in Season 4 of Fargo. Elam played Lemuel Cannon. The actor also recently was in the Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark. 

[Sources: Anji White on Breakdown Express / Matthew James Elam on Breakdown Express]

Ronnie is most likely Riri’s mother Ronnie Williams

In the comics, Ronnie Williams is Riri’s mom. She first appeared in Invincible Iron Man (2015) #12. Ronnie has lost two husbands and, at first, has reservations about Riri becoming a superhero. Ultimately, she becomes a huge supporter and has faith in her daughter. 

Our introduction to Ronnie Williams in the comics is a moment of tension between mother and daughter. In Chicago, Riri has returned from MIT after the university was “not a good fit.” Naturally, Riri’s mother is looking for an explanation, wondering why the heralded school isn’t good enough for her “genius” daughter.

Ronnie Williams Ironheart
Ronnie Williams, Riri’s mom in the comics. (Marvel Comics)

There’s also the little matter of theft of materials to build her suit and that Riri may or may not be in trouble with the law for it. Ultimately, Ronnie must come to terms with her daughter’s technological advances and it’s Tony Stark that helps her do so with a bit of a nudge.

Ronnie was also almost mentioned with some interesting circumstances in the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.  The Direct noted some changes from what actually was on screen versus what was in the movie’s script when Deadline made the movie’s script available online as part of a For Your Consideration package. That script, penned by Ryan Coogler and Joe Cole reveals that the Wakandans were keeping watch over Riri’s mom in Chicago and that Ronnie was none the wiser to her daughter’s superhero activities. 

Ronnie Williams makes comic appearances in:

    • Invincible Iron Man (2015) #12
    • Invincible Iron Man (2017) #1-2, 5-6, 10, 595-596
    • Ironheart (2019) #2-7, 11-12
    • 2020 Ironheart (2020) #2
    • Champions (2020) #2, 5

Ironheart in the comics and the MCU so far

If you’ve watched the newest Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, then Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams is not a stranger to you. The supergenius is integral to the plot of that movie and gets a ton of screen time. 

[Please note: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever spoilers are ahead.] 

Black Panther Wakanda Forever Riri Ironheart
Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel/Disney)

In the movie, we get our official MCU introduction to Riri Williams as an MIT student who is a brilliant inventor beyond the bounds of her teachers. The Chicago native is also an entrepreneur with a homework-for-pay side hustle. Riri ends up on a collision course with Namor (Tenoch Huerta), the US Government, and Wakanda when she builds a vibranium detection machine. In the film, she has a lot of great moments with Letitia Wright’s Shuri, and it’s hard not to have high hopes for Thorne’s series. 

Before Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Ironheart showed up relatively recently on the pages of comic books. She debuted in 2016 in Invincible Iron Man #7 by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. Riri Williams, a young MIT student, shot into superherodom when she reverse-engineered and improved the Iron Man Mark 41 suit.

Williams is grounded, with her fantastic brain as her superpower. She uses her extraordinary intelligence for good in the world, making items that help her accomplish those goals, much like her namesake, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. The character quickly became popular, with Robert Downey Jr. himself, at one point calling for her addition to the MCU. 

Riri Williams aka Ironheart (Marvel Comics)

Are you excited about the Ironheart series?

Anji White and Matthew James Elam join Dominique Thorne, Anthony RamosLyric RossManny Montana, and Alden Ehrenreich in the Marvel/Disney+ series exploring the MCU’s magic and technology corner. 

The creative team behind Ironheart is also impressive. Chinaka Hodge is Ironheart’s “head writer” (aka showrunner.) Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes are reportedly directing three episodes each of the series. Ryan Coogler is also involved with the show through his production company, Proximity Media.

However, fans of Riri Williams will have to wait a little longer to watch this show, as Marvel’s next series to air is the spy-thriller Secret Invasion, due in June of 2023. Ironheart is expected to debut on Disney+ in 2024 with six episodes. 

Are you excited about Ironheart? What do you think of the news about the new cast members? Please share your thoughts with us on Discord or join the conversation on Twitter @MyCosmicCircus.

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Ayla Ruby

I am a writer and interviewer based somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant. I love all things nerdy - but Star Trek and Spiderman have special places in my heart. Find me at @TulinWrites on Twitter. And visit my other website for more reviews and interviews:

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