Marvel upgrades Armor Wars to feature film

Initially planned as a Disney+ series, Armor Wars will be a full feature film starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine.

Armor Wars, originally planned as a multi-episode series on Disney+, has been given a major upgrade to full feature film.

Armor Wars is being redeveloped into a full feature film starring Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine. (Images: Marvel Studios/Disney)

The project was initially set to be part of Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which covers the period of 2023 to 2024. Don Cheadle will be reprising his role as Col. James Rhodes aka War Machine. But now that Armor Wars will be going to redevelopment, it is likely that the date of release will be pushed farther down the line.

Read on for more of what has been revealed for Armor Wars after the jump.

The news came from the Marvel official site. During the development of Armor Wars, Marvel Studios decided to change the plans to a full theatrical feature.

Apparently, the story for Armor Wars could only be told the right way as a movie rather than a multi-part series. Contrary to some rumors that it is being re-tooled for Riri Williams aka Ironheart to take the lead, Don Cheadle will star as Col. James Rhodes and don the War Machine armor once more.

Armor Wars was an epic comic book storyline written by David Michelinie, with art by M.D. Bright and Bob Layton.

Yassir Lester, who was hired as head writer for the Disney Plus show, will be moved up as the film’s screenwriter. This is not the first time a major change of format was made for a Marvel project. Hawkeye was first envisioned as a film, before it was decided to flesh out the plotline as a Disney Plus show.

Armor Wars was an epic comic book storyline that ran in the Iron Man and Avengers books from Marvel Comics. The story centered on Tony Stark (the Invincible Iron Man) and his obsession to reclaim his stolen technology. After the mercenary Spymaster stole schematics of his older Iron Man designs, Stark discovered the technology fell into the hands of friends and foes alike.

This led Iron Man to battle super-villains, as well as S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and the U.S. government. At the time, Stark still had a secret identity, thus publicly claiming that the Iron Man committing these acts had gone rogue.

Don Cheadle's Col. James Rhodes/War Machine remains the star of Armor Wars, contrary to rumors.

Obviously, one major change to the MCU Armor Wars is the absence of Tony Stark as the main protagonist. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man sacrificed himself in Avengers: Endgame to defeat Thanos by using the Infinity Stones. Thus, it falls in the hands of his best friend Rhodey (Don Cheadle) to recover the technology.

This would not be unusual, as Rhodey has taken over from Tony in the comics as well. The War Machine armor was actually first worn by Tony Stark. Written by Len Kaminski and Kevin Hopgood in Iron Man #281, the armor was created to go against The Masters of Silence who were immune to Iron Man’s standard repulsors and unibeam. Stark called the armor the Variable Threat Response Battle Suit Mark XI.

Tony wore the armor until Iron Man #284 wherein he was presumed dead from a techno-organic disease and Rhodey took over both the mantle of Iron Man and as CEO of Stark Enterprises. When Stark was revived, Rhodes was enraged by the deception and left to create his own path, taking the armor with him and calling himself War Machine.

While the plot for the MCU Armor Wars has not been revealed, it is likely that it will take elements from these two storylines. Plus, Don Cheadle has been revealed to be appearing in Secret Invasion alongside Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury. In all likelihood, the events in Secret Invasion and Rhodey’s involvement will be carried over to the Armor Wars feature film.

MCU fans are clamoring for Sam Rockwell to return as Justin Hammer for the Armor Wars feature film.

Fans are also clamoring for Sam Rockwell to return as Justin Hammer. As the corrupt head of Hammer Industries, Justin Hammer was arrested by the end of Iron Man 2 and had a brief but funny bit in the one-shot All Hail the King (which also starred Ben Kingsley’s not-Mandarin, Trevor Slattery). As Justin Hammer was the mastermind responsible for the comic book Armor Wars, Sam Rockwell’s version could be incorporated into the movie.

As of this date, no director has been attached or additional casting confirmed for Armor Wars. In addition, no official target date for the theatrical release has been set.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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