Marvel's Armor Wars Became A Movie When It Became 'Too Big' For Streaming

Comic book fans got a surprise in September when reports confirmed that the Don Cheadle-led series "Armor Wars" wouldn't be a Disney+ series after all, but a full-length Marvel movie. In a franchise that's known for having a rock-solid plan years ahead of time, the change to a project that was already in development may have felt like a sign that cracks were appearing in the Marvel Studios machine. But longtime Marvel producer Nate Moore recently visited the podcast "The Town with Matthew Belloni," and revealed that the reason for the format switch-up is actually a good thing: the story just needed a bigger budget (via Games Radar).

"There were some great ideas that were coming out for that show, but that to be quite honest felt too big for that show," Moore shared, before clarifying that he meant "too big" in terms of both budget and concept. "Armor Wars" was first announced in late 2020 alongside the shows "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," "Secret Invasion," "Ironheart," and "I Am Groot," but less than a year later it was already being revamped into a film. Moore says a lot of it came down to the scale of the story writers and producers ended up with.

"You know, our Disney Plus shows are awesome, and we love them, but the budgets are not the same as the features. That's no secret," Moore told Belloni. The seven-issue Armor Wars comic, an arc of "Iron Man" written by Bob Layton and David Michelinie that was published in the late '80s, certainly has a big story. Though it focuses on Tony Stark, who is obviously no longer a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also features heroes like Scott Lang, Nick Fury, Captain America, and James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) himself.

Bigger budget, bigger concepts

While none of the aforementioned characters are confirmed for "Armor Wars" aside from, of course, Rhodey as War Machine, the vision for the story apparently does involve some crossover that could've been hard to manage on a TV show. Moore explained:

"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's ways then to leverage the ideas of that movie and affect other movies down the line."

Does a bigger budget mean bigger guest stars and crossovers? Maybe so. It also apparently means cooler tech. "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," Moore shared. The "Armor Wars" plot in the comics starts off with a hunt for rogue tech, as Stark and Rhodey discover that some of Marvel's supervillains are using Stark Industries technology to further their criminal agendas.

While Moore doesn't spill too many other details about "Armor Wars," I really recommend giving the whole podcast a listen. I'm as much an MCU skeptic as a fan at this point, but the producer's enthusiasm is contagious and he makes a pretty convincing case that no matter how big the studio gets, the people behind the scenes are still first and foremost making stories they're into and love to geek out about. You can listen here while you wait for "Armor Wars," which does not yet have a set release date.