First Look at Don Cheadle’s Marvel Return In Phase 5

By Lauren Rouse Updated:
Don Cheadle Marvel Phase 5

Phase 5 is shaping up to be a massive couple of years for Marvel Studios that will see the appearance of new heroes and the return of some old faces. Don Cheadle’s Colonel James Rhodes is one name that has become a staple in the MCU over the past decade. 

Cheadle took over the role from Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2 and has since gone on to star in six more Marvel projects over the years. Rhodey began his time in the MCU as a close friend of Tony Stark, but eventually earned some armor of his own and became the War Machine.

While many of the existing Avengers wrapped up their time at the end of Phase 3 in Avengers: Endgame, Cheadle’s War Machine is not among them.

Don Cheadle Returns To The MCU

Marvel Studios' D23 presentation brought updates on many upcoming projects, including the first trailer for its new Disney+ series Secret Invasion.

One familiar face audiences will recognize in the new trailer is that of Don Cheadle, who will reprise his role as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in the Disney+ series. 

Don Cheadle Secret Invasion
Marvel Studios

In the trailer, Cheadle can be seen interacting with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury in a restaurant.

The Direct Image
Marvel Studios

During the trailer, Fury asks Rhodes “how much do you know about your security detail?” to which he responds “what do you mean, how much do I know about them?”

The Direct Image
Marvel Studios

Secret Invasion will mark the first time Cheadle has appeared in the MCU since The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

What is Rhodey Doing in Secret Invasion?

The last audiences saw of Cheadle’s Rhodey he was a decorated war hero who attended a tribute ceremony alongside Sam Wilson for their fallen Avenger, Steve Rogers. 

While it’s not entirely clear whether Rhodey has given up his time in the armor, he is clearly still a high-ranking official in the MCU.

Nick Fury’s warning to Rhodes about his security detail seems to foreshadow the idea that those closest to him may have been infiltrated by the shapeshifting Skrulls. The Secret Invasion storyline in the comics sees the Skrulls embed themselves into life on Earth by gradually replacing various heroes and officials. If that's the case here, Colonel Rhodes could be next on their list.

Secret Invasion will be Cheadle's first appearance in Phase 5, but it won't be his last time in the MCU. The actor is also confirmed to star in Armor Wars, which will begin filming next year and take place after the events of Secret Invasion.

Secret Invasion will release on Disney+ in Spring 2023.

- In This Article: Secret Invasion
Release Date
June 21, 2023
- About The Author: Lauren Rouse
Lauren Rouse has been a writer at The Direct since the site launched in 2020. She has a huge passion for everything pop culture and currently writes news articles for the Marvel, Star Wars, DC and video game branches.