Although the MCU is moving away from some of its original stars, there are still a few long-standing veterans heading towards appearances in the newly-named Multiverse Saga. This includes Don Cheadle's Colonel James Rhodes, who will have at least 10 MCU appearances under his belt by the time Phase 6 comes to a close.
Along with his own solo Armor Wars series, Cheadle will join the cast of Marvel Studios' Secret Invasion, which will now be the first Disney+ show of Phase 5 in Spring 2023. He'll join Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn's Talos as the former Captain Marvel co-stars reunite on Earth to deal with the impending Skrull infiltration across the globe.
Cheadle's inclusion in Secret Invasion was first teased in late February when set photos revealed a newspaper featuring Rhodey on the front page with a man presumed to be the new US president. Now, thanks to the show's presentation at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, fans have their first teases of what to expect from one of the MCU's original Phase 1 heroes.
Don Cheadle Returns in Secret Invasion
During Marvel Studios' Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022, fans got a look at the first footage from Secret Invasion, which comes to Disney+ in Spring 2023.
Games Radar described how Cheadle's James Rhodes donned his Air Force dress uniform, but that it wasn't clear how exactly his role "fits into this story:"
"Don Cheadle’s Rhodey is also seen wearing a decorated suit, though it’s unclear how he fits into this story."
Deadline shared more details on the action featuring Rhodey, who is seen sitting with Nick Fury as they are "surrounded by men in black suits." Fury is also heard asking Rhodey "How much do you know about your security detail?”
James Rhodes Back to Tackle Skrull Attack
Don Cheadle first made his mark on the MCU more than a dozen years ago by taking over the role of James Rhodes in 2010's Iron Man 2, going on to make an impact in every phase of the MCU to date. Having last been seen in a cameo role from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Cheadle's role will only grow in importance as he once again works with Nick Fury.
From the leaked image of Rhodey on the front page of the paper, he seemed to be in London protecting the US president during some kind of "emergency summit" with the world's top leaders. This will more than likely come into play after the world learns about the Skrulls that have invaded Earth, although Rhodey's role in the rest of the proceedings is largely a mystery.
Thus far, there are no signs pointing to him suiting up in his War Machine armor yet, although there's certainly a chance that that happens as long as his role in the show is big enough. There is also no indication of how many episodes he will be in, and with a star-studded cast that also features Cobie Smulders and Emilia Clarke, Cheadle's time on screen will be yet another major piece to watch out for.
With the series still at least eight months away, Rhodey will be as important as anybody to pay attention to as more information reveals itself.
Secret Invasion is set to kick off Phase 5 on Disney+ in Spring 2023.