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‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Most Exciting New Addition? She Auditioned for the Original First.

Wakanda in Black Panther

On October 28, Marvel held a purple carpet event for the world premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which featured short interviews from the cast and creative heads. Much of the discussion with the returning cast included touching on the themes of the film and the loss of Chadwick Boseman, a.k.a. The Black Panther and king himself. For the newer cast members like Tenoch Huerta, Mitzi Mabel Cadena, Alex Livinalli, Michaela Coel, and Dominique Thorne, the purple carpet hosts asked something along the lines of “What was it like learning you were cast in a Marvel movie?” and we got some insight into how one of them landed a role.

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One of the most interesting questions came from host Kelley L. Carter, who asked Casting Director Sarah Halley Finn, “How did you even start this daunting task?” For context, Halley Finn has over 170 credits to her name and has been the lead casting director since Iron Man back in 2008. It’s not just Marvel and Star Wars credits; she’s cast a number of Oscar darlings and major films in pop culture like Fast and the Furious, Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, and Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

Imagine this. We already have the fiercest, most amazing, talented, deep, rich, intelligent, beautiful women. And now, we have to populate the rest of the film and find people who are going to hold their own opposite Angela Bassett, and Lupita, and Letiticia, and Danai. Michaela Coel makes a lot of sense doesn’t she? […] I’m very excited for the world to meet Dominique Thorne!

via GIPHY

That’s not all Halley Finn had to say about Thorne, though.

Riri on the brain

Riri Williams making her Ironheart suit in Wakanda Forever

Finn went on to reveal that Thorne originally auditioned as Shuri in 2016 for the first Black Panther, but the part ultimately went to Letitia Wright. When they began to cast for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Finn said they all thought about Thorne when casting Riri Williams (Ironheart).

We found our Shuri, but we never forgot Dominique Thorne.

This story from Halley Finn fills in the other half of the story we already knew. In an interview with Empire Magazine in 2021, Thorne revealed that she didn’t go through a formal audition process. Marvel called her and offered her the job. Between other leads like Huerta, Coel, and Cadena, Thorne had the fewest acting credits, with only two outside of the MCU: If Beale Street Could Talk and Judas and the Black Messiah. Two amazing films, by the way! This reveal from Halley Finn shows that it wasn’t really just out of nowhere. They saw something special in Thorne and found that another genius in the Marvel canon was a better fit.

(featured image: Disney)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.

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