There will soon be 22 movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, none of which are called “War Machine.” A spinoff focusing on Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, played in “Iron Man” by Terrence Howard and in all subsequent films by Don Cheadle, was nearly greenlit about seven years ago, but ultimately scrapped. In the lead-up to this month’s release of “Avengers: Endgame,” Cheadle revealed some salient details about the would-be project.
“There was definitely going to be a lot of tension between his job as a military man and his allegiances to the code that he swore an oath to uphold, versus the changing world,” he said. “I think they probably would have run afoul of each other a little bit, but I don’t know if he would have been a straight fugitive, or if he would have become decommissioned. But there was definitely going to be some tension between those two worlds.”
Like Iron Man, to whom he’s essentially a sidekick, War Machine lacks actual superpowers but uses a powered suit to fire projectiles and fly. He also has a military background, hence his moniker.
Joe Robert Cole, who’s writing the screenplay for an upcoming Black Widow spinoff, explained last year that “Iron Man 3” is the reason “War Machine” never got off the ground. “At that meeting, they also said they were thinking of doing a ‘War Machine’ movie,” Cole said. “I pitched a concept and won that job to write the script but they decided, based on what ‘Iron Man 3’ was going to be, they weren’t going to do ‘War Machine’ anymore.”
War Machine’s role has nevertheless increased throughout the series, and is one of the few characters who survived the climactic “snap” at the end of last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” Cheadle will reprise the role in “Avengers: Endgame.”