Ironheart star Zoe Terakes on making history as first trans actor in Marvel Cinematic Universe

Zoe Terakes – the first out trans actor to be cast in a key role in a Marvel Cinematic Universe project – has shared what it means to be part of the franchise ahead of their appearance in upcoming series Ironheart.

In an interview with Collider, Terakes said the representation of trans people on screen is moving in the right direction, especially with the inclusion of a trans character in Ironheart.

“I think as trans people, growing up I didn’t get to see myself anywhere, so I didn’t really know that I existed. And especially not in a superhero show or movie.

“And so I think I just feel deeply grateful and moved that little trans kids and trans teens have something to look at and to know they exist and to know that they can have superpowers, and that that’s where we belong.

“We don’t just belong in trauma stories on the fringes dying in things, you know? We belong there with the big guys. So yeah, it meant a lot to me.”

It was announced back in August 2022 that Zoe Terakes would join the cast of Ironheart, but as is typical with Marvel projects little further information on their character has been revealed; their reference to “superpowers”, however, could give us a slight hint.

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The MCU is not currently known for its outstanding diversity, though recent projects have made some strides; Eternals introduced the universe’s first openly gay superhero (Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos) and Spiderman: Far From Home (2019) saw Zach Barack play a minor role as the first openly transgender actor in a Marvel project.

Ironheart will follow inventor Riri WIlliams (Dominique Thorne) over six episodes after the fallout of her first MCU appearance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Ironheart
Dominique Thorne will portray Riri Williams in Ironheart, alongside Zoe Terakes. (Marvel)

In various comic book arcs, Williams becomes the successor to Tony Stark (Iron Man), due to her penchant for super-powered, red and gold, health-and-safety-nightmares of suits of armour.

Again, little plot details have been released, but it’s shaping up to be one of the most diverse MCU projects yet, with RuPaul’s Drag Race triple alum Shea Coulée is also set to star.

Some fans have speculated Coulée will be playing super-powered drag queen, Shade/ Darkveil.

Ironheart is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ in late 2023.

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