Don Cheadle Addresses When He'll Retire from the MCU

By Russ Milheim Updated:
War Machine, Don CHeadle

One of the longest-running MCU characters at this point is none other than Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes, aka War Machine. He first came on the scene in Iron Man 2 (though his character was played by someone else in the first film) and was most recently seen in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

While he didn’t play too big a role in that series, it doesn’t seem that the character will be slowing down anytime soon. For one, it was recently revealed he’ll have a major role to play in the upcoming Secret Invasion show starring Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury.

Then D23 came around and revealed to the world that the events of Secret Invasion would spiral directly into Armor Wars and what is set to happen in that story. The series has been discussed often over the last few years, but it looks to finally be getting off the ground, with Rhodey getting to be in the spotlight.

Given all of this, and how the actor recently revealed that he’s done with his Marvel Studios contract, does the actor plan on slowing down anytime soon?

When Might Don Cheadle Hang Up the Armor?

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In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment with Don Cheadle at D23, the actor was asked if he has ever thought about when he might leave his War Machine armor behind.

The actor noted how he "just kinda take[s] it as it lies" and that his upcoming stints in both Secret Invasion and Armor Wars sounded "interesting and... fun," so he had no problem coming aboard for them:

"I just kinda take it as it lies, you know what I mean? This is something that was pitched to me, was something they wanted to do, and it was interesting and sounded fun. An opportunity to actually do more with this character. So yeah, I'm in. You know, at this point... we know there's going to be more opportunities to do it, nobody's [twisting] anybody's arm. It's like, does this sound like something that would be fun? Is this something where we could really do something that is exciting and is interesting? Cause if not, we don't need to show up."

In a separate interview at D23 with Variety, Cheadle confirmed he's "done with [his] contract years in the MCU," which means that any forthcoming appearances are entirely his choice: 

“I’m done with my contracted years in the MCU, so now, it’s just like, if something sounds fun and I’m presented with it, then yeah, let’s go.”

So where exactly will audiences find Don Cheadle at the beginning of his own show, Armor Wars?  Well, unsurprisingly, the actor mentioned to Extra that "[he] can't really talk about [it], but promised it would "be very surprising:"

“At a very different place and in a way that is something that I can’t really talk about, but it’s going to be very surprising to a lot of people. And the great thing is there’s just going to be so much opportunity to learn a lot about him, and for him to learn about himself, and for us to really, hopefully, be able to get behind what makes him tick.”

Don't Count James Rhodey Out Just Yet

Fans are likely thrilled to hear Don Cheadle’s mentality on everything. Despite being done with his multi-film contract, he seems more than ready to keep with the role for a long time coming—provided the character has interesting things to do.

So what does the future hold for Cheadle’s hero? For one, it’s still relatively unclear what he’ll be going through over the course of both Secret Invasion and Armor Wars—after all, he might end up being a Skrull in the former, for all audiences know.

All of that said, it would be hard to see Rhodey not be a part of either of the upcoming Avengers films. In fact, it would also feel a little off if he isn’t in San Wilson’s first solo movie, Captain America: New World Order.

Another spot he could easily show up is in Ironheart. Given his history with Tony Stark, a mentorship role between Rhodey and Riri Williams could be a fantastic direction to go.

For now, fans will have to wait and see what Marvel ends up doing with him.

Secret Invasion is set to hit Disney+ in Spring 2023.

- In This Article: Armor Wars
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- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.