Ironheart star Alden Ehrenreich has offered some vague and carefully-worded information regarding his character in the upcoming Marvel Studios streaming series. During an interview with Uproxx, Ehrenreich was asked who he is playing in Ironheart. “I can’t say,” he replied, affirming that “[i]t’s a secret.” When asked if he was excited about the Marvel project, the Cocaine Bear star added, “It’s a great character and there’s a fun element to it that I can’t talk about. It was a really, really fun role.” Finally, Ehrenreich was asked if his character was someone Marvel fans already know. “I can’t quite say that, but kind of,” he said.
While both Marvel and the man himself are keeping tight-lipped regarding Ehrenreich’s role in Ironheart, the actor has long been rumored to be playing Ezekiel “Zeke” Stane, the son of Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. Played by Jeff Bridges, Obadiah Stane was the main antagonist of Iron Man, the film that kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008. While this is mere speculation for the time being, Ehrenreich playing the son of an established MCU villain could explain what the actor meant when he said that fans “kind of” know his character. Zeke Stane appearing in Ironheart would also be fitting, seeing as how Dominique Thorne’s Riri Williams/Ironheart is the heir apparent to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark/Iron Man.
Created by Matt Fraction and Barry Kitson, Zeke Stane first appeared in The Order #8, which was published by Marvel Comics in February 2008 a mere three months before Marvel Studios’ Iron Man released in theaters. Zeke has yet to make his MCU debut but he very nearly did in Marvel Studios’ 2012 film The Avengers. One version of the script involved Zeke serving as a major antagonist alongside Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, though the idea was ultimately dropped. Zeke Stane later appeared in the official video game tie-in for the 2013 film Iron Man 3. However, the game is largely considered non-canon to the main MCU.
The aforementioned Thorne made her own MCU debut as Riri Williams/Ironheart in the 2022 film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Thorne will reprise her role as the lead in Marvel Studios’ Ironheart, a six-episode Disney+ original series. Ironheart was initially announced during The Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day in December 2020. At San Diego Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige revealed that the series would premiere in fall 2023 as part of Phase Five of the MCU. That said, a recent report indicates that Ironheart is likely to be delayed to 2024.
At any rate, in addition to Thorne and Ehrenreich, Ironheart is slated to star Anthony Ramos as the series’ main villain, Parker Robbins/The Hood. Moreover, Community alum Jim Rash reprises his role as the dean of MIT from Captain America: Civil War. Additional cast members include Lyric Ross, Harper Anthony, Manny Montana, Shea Couleé, Zoe Terakes, Regan Aliyah, Shakira Barrera, Rashida “Sheedz” Olayiwola, Sonia Denis, Paul Calderón and Cree Summer.
Ehrenreich in particular began his acting career with a one-off appearance on Supernatural in 2005, going on to receive widespread praise for his starring role in the 2016 film Hail, Caesar!. Audiences can next see him in the dark comedy action film Cocaine Bear, which hits theaters later this week. However, Ehrenreich is perhaps best known for his role as a young Han Solo in the 2018 film Solo: A Star Wars Story. The actor previously commented on what it was like to jump from one major franchise (i.e. Star Wars) to another (i.e. the MCU). “[I]t was fun, it was nice to go back and do a big one like that,” he said.