Only four actors have enjoyed a longer tenure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than Don Cheadle, and two of those already have a film or series focused on their character. As such, a film about Don Cheadle's MCU character seems long overdue. Now, 13 years later, Armor Wars is finally happening.
The film will focus on James Rupert "Rhodey" Rhodes, commonly known as War Machine, Tony Stark's best friend, sidekick, and member of the Avengers. Originally intended to be developed as a Disney+ series, Marvel changed the project into a film adaptation of the Armor Wars comics. In a recent interview with GQ, Don revealed what we can expect from his solo film, saying:
Hopefully the favorite one that I'm going to do is Rhodey movie that we're going to shoot. I think I'm every successive film, he's coming more and more out of Tony's shadow and becoming his own person but I still think we haven't really figured out who he is and really dug into that so that's what the movie is for. It was going to be a series, now we're going to do it as a film. Armor Wars. So I'm looking forward to that.
The 58-year-old actor will also star in Samuel L. Jackson's highly anticipated Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, which is set to premiere early this year, and according to Kevin Feige, the series will lead into Armor Wars. This would mean that Secret Invasion will set up the story for Armor Wars, in which James Rhodes must confront one of Tony Stark's greatest fears when Stark's tech falls into the wrong hands.
However, the time it's taken for his character to get his own solo film is not lost on Cheadle, as he stated:
It's been, like, 12 years now, which is bananas that from that moment until now, we've been doing it for so long and it just keeps expanding and growing and these universes keep folding in on each other and different characters are being introduced and relationships [keep] popping up.
Unfortunately, Cheadle couldn't reveal any details about the film since no scripts have been handed to him.
I haven't seen any scripts. I don't know where it's headed, but I'm excited about its potential.
Marvel Studios producer Nate Moore earlier disclosed the reason behind the Armor Wars u-turn from a series into a film, saying:
When you're talking about a show that wants to be about seeing all the cool armors and Don Cheadle interacting with all these armors and, sort of, the legacy of Tony Stark? That became kind of cost prohibitive to do as a show. We realized as a feature, not only can we get into some of the beautiful imagery that is from publishing, and there's certainly an Armor Wars run, but also there [are] ways then to leverage the ideas of that movie and affect other movies down the line.
Although no director has been attached to the project yet, Marvel has brought on American stand-up comedian Yassir Lester as the head writer, and filming will begin in early April this year. Armor Wars isn't listed on the schedule of Phase 6 projects, but the likely timeline for release will fit into the calendar of Phase 6, which is scheduled to end with Avengers: Secret Wars in three years.