Don Cheadle's Upcoming Marvel Movie Suffers Big Setback After Rhodey Retcon

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Don Cheadle War Machine Marvel Studios

Don Cheadle's War Machine will soon lead his own MCU movie with Armor Wars, but Rhodey's Secret Invasion retcon has caused a setback. 

Cheadle now has nine MCU credits so far as Iron Man's best friend James Rhodes, aka War Machine, with his latest coming in Disney+'s Secret Invasion as he left his advanced suit behind in favor of a more political role.

Secret Invasion set up a surprising new path for Don Cheadle's hero in the MCU as it revealed he had been replaced by a Skrull, seemingly since his critical injury during the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War.

The Disney+ event set the course for Cheadle's first MCU solo outing Armor Wars, which was once set to be a series but will now instead be a theatrical feature.

Secret Invasion Creates a Big Problem for Armor Wars

Rhodey, Secret Invasion

Generally speaking, Rhodey having been a Skrull through the events of Infinity War and Endgame has not been received well by fans, with many believing the retcon hurt both movies and particularly War Machine's role in them after the fact.

Now, going into his first solo outing with Armor Wars, Marvel Studios has suffered a setback as it will now have to get audiences reinvested in Rhodey's return after his latest appearance has left a rather bad taste in most fans' mouths.

To a lesser extent, the studio had a similar problem with Loki as the show featured a version of the God of Mischief from 2012 who had not experienced the development audiences had seen him live through, as is now the case with Rhodey who has seemingly been in stasis for nine in-universe years.

But in many ways, that wasn't as much of a bitter pill for fans to swallow as Loki is a more popular character, and the switch in focus to an earlier, alternate version of him didn't actually hurt or impact past MCU projects as Rhodey's reveal now has.

Armor Wars' Many Other Problems

Iron Man Robert Downey Jr War Machine
Marvel Studios

Armor Wars made the switch from a Disney+ series to a theatrical movie last September, with original scribe Yassir Lester set to stick around as its writer. Then again, Marvel Studios did appear to switch up its script strategy with many writer replacements ahead of the strike, so anything could happen.

The project was once reportedly set to start filming toward the end of the year, but the ongoing writers' and actors' strikes, which have shown no signs of ending anytime soon, have likely since rendered that impossible.

War Machine's solo movie also still has plenty of work to do with regard to hiring, as it appears Armor Wars has still yet to find a director or cast anyone outside of Don Cheadle, at least as far as has been publically reported.

When Will Armor Wars Finally Release?

Armor Wars, Don Cheadle
Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios has its next untitled movies set to release in 2026 on February 13, July 14, and November 6, which will be joined by Avengers: The Kang Dynasty on May 1. As Armor Wars has been in development for a while and has had an official announcement, it will likely take one of those dates.

Exactly which one it may fall into is truly anyone's guess, and likely won't even be decided internally for some time until Marvel Studios is able to gauge its progress in relation to the two movies set to take the other vacant date - which many have theorized will be Eternals 2 and Shang-Chi 2.

Armor Wars was reportedly set to begin filming toward the end of the year, but the strikes undoubtedly will have created and sizable delay. So, production probably won't be getting underway now until a good few months into next year, depending on how long the strikes continue.

Armor Wars will seemingly revolve around Rhodey coming back to a changed work where his best friend, Tony Stark, is dead, and his technology has fallen into the wrong hands. Perhaps it will even give more clarity on Rhodey's Skrull replacement and find a way to make it sit better with fans.

Armor Wars has yet to set an official release date.

- In This Article: Armor Wars
Release Date
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.