RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Shea Couleé is the latest actor to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As reported by Deadline, she has been cast in the upcoming Disney+ series Ironheart. According to further confirmation from Entertainment Weekly, Couleé will be a series regular, though there are no hints about the nature of the role or whether it will involve being in or out of drag.
Comics readers have already started speculating that Couleé will be playing a character she inspired. Created by Sina Grace, Shade is a drag queen superhero who also uses the alias Darkveil. “I always toyed with the idea of a drag queen who becomes a reluctant hero,” Grace describes in a 2019 essay for PopSugar.
The character is notably a mutant; due to rights issues, the X-Men were not available to be included in the MCU until Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Fox. The concept of mutants was finally introduced this year, though it remains to be seen how they’ll fit into the current landscape and how the team’s classic line-up will emerge.
Ironheart stars Dominique Thorne (If Beale Street Could Talk) as the titular hero. Also known as Riri Williams, the character is a technologically-gifted young prodigy from Chicago who is inspired by Iron Man to build her own armored suit and is eventually mentored by Tony Stark himself before having to assume his role. She will be introduced later this year in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and can be spotted in the trailer working with Shuri and creating her costume.
Details about how Ironheart will fit into the wider MCU have been kept under wraps so far, including how she winds up in Wakanda. (It seems pretty safe to say that Iron Man won’t be making an appearance.) Other confirmed cast members include Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) and Anthony Ramos (In The Heights), though their roles are also unknown.
Ironheart is anticipated for a Fall 2023 release.