Now MARVEL goes ‘woke’: RuPaul’s Drag Race star Shea Couleé joins the cast of Ironheart series – after DC’s Batgirl was canned following agenda-pushing by producers
- The drag star is set to appear in the upcoming Disney+ series, though her role is currently unknown
- Ironheart follows Riri Williams (who will be played by Dominique Thorne) as a genius inventor who devises an armour suit
- Days earlier, Marvel’s rival DC announced they were shelving their $90 million Batgirl movie after it was deemed ‘awful’ in test screenings
- Critics pointed to the film’s ‘woke’ lead character as a reason for its failings
The Marvel cinematic universe appears to be heading in a ‘woke‘ new direction, as it was confirmed on Thursday that RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Shea Couleé is joining the cast of its new Ironheart series.
Following the news that DC will not be releasing their $90m Batgirl movie after pushing of a politically-correct agenda by producers, Shea’s casting was confirmed on Thursday, though her role is currently unknown.
Comic book fans have expressed outrage that Batgirl will not be released on HBO Max as planned after it was deemed ‘awful’ in test screenings, with movie critics pointing to the film’s ‘woke’ lead character as a reason for its failings.
New role: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars’ Shea Couleé is joining the cast of Marvel’s new Ironheart series
Shea starred on the seventh season of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, and is set to appear in Ironheart as a series regular when it debuts on Disney+.
Sharing the news on Instagram, she posted: ‘I’m trying to find the words to express the deep excitement I feel over this project. Acting was my first love long before Drag.
‘So it only seems fitting to end my Drag Race journey and begin my acting career in the biggest way I could imagine.
Drama! It comes after rival company DC canned their $90m Batgirl movie after pushing of a politically-correct agenda by producers
Exciting! Shea shared the news of her casting with her followers on Instagram
‘Stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been like stepping into OZ. Ironheart is top to bottom going to be an absolutely STUNNING experience for the viewers, and I’m so humbled everyday that I get to work on set with some of the best and most dedicated artists in the industry.
‘Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout my journey, and I look forward to sharing the exciting new chapter with you all.’
Based on the comic book character of the same name, Ironheart follows Riri Williams (who will be played by Dominique Thorne) as a genius inventor who devises an armour suit.
How much? Batgirl was canned, despite already wrapping production at an eye-watering cost of $90million (£75million) (pictured filming in Glasgow in January)
Dominique will make her debut as the character in the upcoming Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever ahead of the series’ release.
Other previously announced cast members include Anthony Ramos, Manny Montana, Lyric Ross and Alden Ehrenreich.
While Shea’s role is yet to be announced, the Queen already has a connection to the comic book universe, as in December 2018, the Iceman series introduced a drag queen character called Darkveil/Darnell Wade, who was reportedly inspired by multiple Drag Race stars, including Shea.
This casting has come just days after it was revealed that rival comic book company DC’s upcoming Batgirl has been canned, despite already wrapping production at an eye-watering cost of $90million (£75million).
The decision to axe the film — which was slated to be released on HBO Max later this year — came after a series of test screenings were panned by audiences, and studio execs thought it would hurt the future of the brand as they seek to streamline the DC Extended Universe.
It’s done! The decision to axe Batgirl came after test screenings were panned by audiences, though critics have pointed to the film’s ‘woke’ character as a reason for its failure
The film’s untimely demise has inevitably prompted critics to point to the movie’s ‘woke’ character as a reason for its failure.
Batgirl’s screenplay was by Christina Hodson, the British writer of ultra-feminist film Birds Of Prey, accused by one critic of ‘hating on men — all men… [and] dull to the point of numbing’.
Batgirl also featured a transgender character, Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s flatmate, played by the trans actor Ivory Aquino. The impression, critics say, is of a film putting its ‘progressive’ values ahead of all other concerns.
El Arbi and Fallah, who also directed Bad Boys For Life and Disney+’s Ms Marvel, wrote in a statement on Instagram: ‘We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can’t believe it.
‘As directors, it is critical that our work be shown to audiences, and while the film was far from finished, we wish that fans all over the world would have had the opportunity to see and embrace the final film themselves. Maybe one day they will insha’Allah (if God wills).’
The directors continued: ‘Our amazing cast and crew did a tremendous job and worked so hard to bring Batgirl to life. We are forever grateful to have been part of that team.
‘It was a dream to work with such fantastic actors like Michael Keaton, JK Simmons, Brendan Fraser, Jacob Scipio, Corey Johnson, Rebecca Front, and especially the great Leslie Grace, who portrayed Batgirl with so much passion, dedications and humanity.
Breaking her silence: Batgirl’s star Leslie Grace took to Instagram after the film was shelved to say she was proud of her hard work on the film
‘In any case as huge fans of Batman since we were little kids, it was a privilege and an honor to have been a part of the DCEU even if it was for a brief moment. Batgirl For Life.’
Batgirl was first given the greenlight in 2021 as part of a company-wide effort to create feature films specifically for HBO Max.
It would have featured Grace in the titular role as she battled Brendan Fraser’s Firefly who turned to a life of crime after he is fired from his job, loses his health insurance and could no longer care for his sick wife.
Warner Bros spokesperson said on Tuesday: ‘The decision to not release Batgirl reflects our leadership’s strategic shift as it relates to the DC universe and HBO Max.
‘Leslie Grace is an incredibly talented actor and this decision is not a reflection of her performance. We are incredibly grateful to the filmmakers of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt and their respective casts and we hope to collaborate with everyone again in the near future.’
Filmmakers were told the decision came down to a ‘purchase accounting’ maneuver available to Warner Discovery because the company changed hands earlier this year.
Meet Leslie Grace: The Latina actress who would have played the DC Universe’s Batgirl
Leslie Grace Martinez was born to Dominican parents on January 7, 1995 in the Bronx and grew up in Davie, Florida.
While in middle school, she recorded and released an independent Christian music album in partnership with CD Baby, but her mainstream debut came with her cover of the 1961 Shirelles hit Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.
By 2013, her self-titled album reached number four on the Billboard Latin Albums Chart and number three on the Billboard Tropical Albums chart.
Grace has been nominated for Best Contemporary Tropical Album, Female Tropical Artist at the 14th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, as well as Female Tropical Artist of the Year and Tropical Album of the Year at the 26th Premio Lo Nuestro.
In 2014 she also obtained nominations in the Billboard Awards in the categories of New Artist of the Year and Hot Latin Songs, Artist of the Year, Female.
Her acting debut began with the 2021 film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award winning musical In the Heights.