War Machine Movie - Don Cheadle

Colonel James Rhodes has been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the beginning. While it was Terrence Howard who played Tony Stark’s military buddy in the original Iron Man, the sequel brought in Don Cheadle as the character and they’ve never looked back. Though he’s now an integral part of The Avengers with his own suit of armor and weapons, there was a time when a War Machine movie would have let him take off on a solo adventure.

While making the publicity rounds for Avengers: Endgame, actor Don Cheadle recently talked about the abandoned plans for a War Machine movie, as well as the evolution of Rhodey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it sounds like the character arc we may have seen in a solo adventure ended up being explored through a supporting role in the the rest of the Marvel movies.

Entertainment Weekly spoke to Don Cheadle about the once-developing War Machine movie, and while it never got far enough to have a full story fleshed out, there was a basic idea of how the movie would handle Rhodes as a character:

“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. 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”

Rhodey was integral in the evolution of Iron Man as a hero, especially when it came to how the military treated both Tony Stark and the creation of his armor. Iron Man 2 saw him betraying Tony Stark in some capacity, choosing to give the military and weapons creator Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell, who really needs to come back at some point) access to an Iron Man prototype suit. Iron Man 3 took it a little further when he became Iron Patriot for a short time. So we ended up being able to see how his character toed the line between being Tony Stark’s friend but also staying true to his dedication to serving his country.

Captain America: Civil War fleshed that out even further when he was on the side of the Avengers who chose to sign the Sokovia Accords, giving the government the right to police and control superheroes in order to avoid collateral damage as much as they could. Rhodes signed the accords and ended up being part of the team to track down those who chose to become fugitives by not signing them and still engaging in heroic activity.

But since then Rhodes has changed, choosing to turn his back on the government when he knows they’re wrong. Cheadle addressed that evolution in the character:

“Well, the world has changed for him. The world has changed for everybody. Once space opened up, and once Thanos came into play, there’s a whole new stratum of rules. As we saw in the last one, the [heroes] are basically thumbing their nose at the ‘authority’ structure that exists and saying, ‘We’re the new authorities and we’re going to do what we think is right, because we’re facing something that no one was prepared for.'”

Now it seems like he’s a little more cautious about who get teams up with and to what end. We’ve all seen how he responds to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) when she arrives and immediately wants to go after Thanos:

Rhodes is clearly thinking for himself now, and he’s not letting his association with any team, whether it’s the military or The Avengers, make choices for him. Cheadle commented on his questioning of someone like Captain Marvel:

“You never know who’s going to turn. He’s saying, ‘We’ve been putting in all this work, and we’ve lost people that are close to us and you don’t even know these people. Yeah, you’re going to come in and tell us how we’re supposed to do this now.’ There’s a fair bit of … I don’t know if suspicion is the word, but he’s definitely circumspect about who this new person is and why should they listen to her.”

What’s in store for Rhodey in the future, especially with the possibility of Iron Man not being around after Avengers: Endgame? We’ll find out when the sequel unfolds on April 26, 2019.

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