Of all the Marvel Studios projects that have been announced as part of the Multiverse Saga, almost none have flown under the radar more than Don Cheadle’s Armor Wars. Although Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige first announced this Disney+ show during Disney Investor Day in late 2020, minimal updates have come regarding the project over the past two years.
Cheadle’s James Rhodes is set to be the leading character in his first MCU project, facing the ramifications of Tony Stark’s technology falling into the wrong hands. But while almost all of its other Disney+ counterparts have come with more concrete information, the only major news concerning Armor Wars noted that it was still happening, as Cheadle revealed that the show would begin production in 2023 during Marvel's D23 presentation.
But now, after a great deal of radio silence regarding Cheadle's first starring effort in the MCU, a new report shared that Armor Wars actually got a major upgrade ahead of its production schedule.
Major Change to Marvel Studios' Armor Wars
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Marvel Studios has changed its plans for the development of Don Cheadle's Armor Wars.
Instead of releasing on Disney+ as a streaming series, Armor Wars is now being developed as a feature film that'll release in theaters, although its release date hasn't been confirmed yet. This will be Cheadle's first time headlining an MCU movie.
The outlet's sources noted that the studio was committed to "getting the story told the right way," thus realizing that a theatrical feature was better suited for the project, and informed production members on Thursday about the new plan.
Yassir Lester, who Marvel Studios hired in Summer 2020 to pen Armor Wars' script, reportedly remains as the writer for the movie.
THR also noted that this isn't the first time Marvel has changed a project in this manner. Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye was originally planned out as a movie before being developed as a six-episode Disney+ series.
Armor Wars still doesn't have a release date, although it will likely be planned out for sometime during Phase 6 or later.
Why Did Armor Wars Become an MCU Movie?
Even though Marvel has switched plans on other projects before, this is the first time that a Disney+ show has become a full-length feature film within the MCU. This is an exciting prospect from all angles, giving Don Cheadle lead billing in an MCU movie for the first time since he debuted in 2010's Iron Man 2 and showing the faith that Marvel has in the story.
Although the MCU's Disney+ shows are developed with budgets comparable to the movies, these series have to spread their allotted money out over six episodes instead of one long entry. This means that the budget has to cover nearly six hours of story, more than double the time that most MCU movies utilize outside of the 3-hour Avengers: Endgame.
This will also allow for Tony Stark's legacy to continue the right way on the big screen, with that budget allowing for numerous new Iron Man suits to shine in a new round of action just as they did with Robert Downey Jr's movies. Combine that with Marvel seemingly being impressed with the story being developed, and it appears that Cheadle will get his chance to bring a high-quality new entry to the big screen.
The big question, as has been the case since the former Disney+ show was announced, is when the movie will premiere in theaters.
With Deadpool 3 taking the September 6, 2024 slot in recent days, Armor Wars could be in line for either of the open 2025 slots in February or July, which would put it before or after one of the next two Avengers movies. But for now, fans continue to wait for more concrete information while Cheadle, Lester, and the team continue their work on the MCU's next big film.
Don Cheadle's next MCU appearance as War Machine will come in Secret Invasion, which premieres on Disney+ in Spring 2023.