Connecting Imaginary Dots: ‘Glow’ Actress Shakira Barrera and ‘Ironheart’

As the calendar rolls over into Summer, production on another round of Marvel Studios projects will shortly be underway. Among those projects is the Disney Plus streaming series Ironheart, which was first announced by Marvel Studios One-Above-All, Kevin Feige, during 2020’s Disney Investor Day presentation. Dominique Thorne will lead the project as Riri Williams, a genius inventor who will make her MCU debut this November in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Aside from Thorne, however, little news about the cast of Ironheart has made its way outside of Marvel Studios despite production set to kick off in June. In the Heights star Anthony Ramos has joined the series in an unannounced role, as have Harper Anthony and Lyric Ross. Rumors have circulated that Ramos might by portraying the villain of the project, Parker Robbins, better known in the comics as the Hood, and it’s known that Marvel Studios was looking to cast the son or daughter of Jeff Bridges‘ Obidiah Stane, the villain of 2008’s Iron Man. But as is almost always the case, Marvel Studios has stayed mum on any official announcements about the cast.

And while fans debate if Ramos is the Hood and wonder who will be cast as “Ezekiel Stane” (while Obidiah had a son in the comics, the studio is open to casting a woman in the comedic role), there is certainty around the creatives behind the project. Marvel Studios brought in Sam Bailey and Angela Barnes to helm the project as co-directors, with Chinaka Hodge, Sev Ohanian, Zoie Nagelhout and Zinzi Coogler working as the team of executive producers. As it turns out, one actress who recently revealed she is prepping for a secret role happens to follow nearly the entire creative team on Instagram.

GLOW and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. actress Shakira Barrera has recently connected with Bailey, Barnes, Hodge, Nagelhout and Ohanian (we were unable to find Zinzi Coogler on IG) and, just 6 days ago, posted the video seen below to her IG story.

In the video, she thanks her fitness coach for helping her prepare for an “amazing role” that the actress can’t share, but promises will be “worth it.” Given the mounting evidence, it’s reasonable to suggest that Barrera could have joined Ironheart in yet another unannounced role. And while it might not be announced, the comics might provide a reasonable suggestion as to whom she might be playing, should we begin by entertaining that Ramos is playing Parker Robbins.

Part of what makes Robbins such a fascinating and despicable villain in the comics is that his descent into villainy and dark magic cost him his family: his wife, Sara, and their daughter, Breanne. Robbins was always a poor husband, cheating on Sara whenever he could, but when he began trifling with magic, Robbins began to see Dormammu in everyone, including his daughter. After finding Parker shaking their daughter, Sara left Parker behind.

Should Ramos be playing Robbins, casting Sara alongside him would go a long way for making fans of the MCU develop the same dislike for this version as they have for the character from the comics. The logistics work out, with Barrera currently prepping for a secret role (and no roles are more secretive than Marvel’s) and she and Ramos are very close in age (he’s 30 and she’s 32).

Should you take this one to the bank? Absolutely not. While it seems pretty safe to conclude that Barrera has been cast in Ironheart, who she’s playing can only be taken as purely speculative, given that it’s based on a connections to a character who is only rumored to appear in the series in the first place. So while her casting might be confirmed sooner rather than later, it might be a year or so before we find out who she’s portraying in the series. As always, we’ll check back in then.

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