The Oscar nominee was cast as the replacement for Terrence Howard’s character Lt. James Rhodes (aka War Machine) in the “Iron Man” sequel. Cheadle went on to appear in seven Marvel movies, plus the Disney+ series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “What If…?.”
Yet, Cheadle is now revealing how he committed to the MCU before “Iron Man 2” in 2010.
“I was at my kid’s laser tag birthday party. They called me and said, ‘This is what’s happening and we’re giving you the offer. If you don’t say yes then we’re going to the next person. This is going to happen very fast,'” Cheadle recalled to GQ. “‘Why don’t you take an hour and decide if you want to do it.'”
The “White Noise” star was not told what films he would be contracted to star in, other than a few “Avengers” movies mapped out.
“‘It’s going to be these ‘Avengers’ and this is what it is, so you have to say yes or no,'” Cheadle added.
He was also not given any details on the War Machine character, with the Marvel representative allegedly saying, “‘We don’t know any of that but this is what it is so you’ve got an hour.'”
Cheadle said, “So we played laser tag for two hours and I was talking to my wife and we thought about it and talked to my agent and tried to get as much information as we could.”
Now, Cheadle is set to lead his own Marvel film, “Armor Wars,” which has long been in the works.
“In every successive film, he’s coming more and more out of Tony’s shadow and becoming his own person,” Cheadle said of starring opposite Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark (aka Iron Man). “But we still haven’t explored who he is and really dug into that yet. That’s what the movie is for.”
The “Ocean’s 11” star previously said in 2019 that a standalone War Machine film was going to feature “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” to the point of War Machine potentially becoming a “fugitive”-like figure.
“Armor Wars” was set to be a Disney+ series, but Marvel announced in September 2022 that the project was being redeveloped as a film written by Yassir Lester. “Blade” director Bassam Tariq exited the feature, and a new director has yet to be announced. Samuel L. Jackson is confirmed to return as Nick Fury in the film.
Actor Cheadle told Variety that “Armor Wars” is kind of like a “thriller” and a totally “different kind of show than you usually see in the MCU, which is great that we can continue to keep changing it up and switching it up. It’s lots of fun.”
As for Cheadle’s future in the MCU, he added, “Now it’s just, if something sounds fun and I’m presented with it, it’s like ‘Yeah, let’s go.'”