After first taking over the role of War Machine in Iron Man 2, Don Cheadle remains a key player for Marvel Studios as the Infinity Saga moves into the Multiverse Saga. Now, he's set to make his second Phase 4 appearance in next year's Secret Invasion, which is confirmed to be the first new Disney+ series in the MCU's Phase 5 slate.
This show will feature Cheadle in his most prominent role since 2019's Avengers: Endgame after only being utilized in a cameo appearance during 2021's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, although that one did earn him an Emmy nomination. There isn't even much known about his upcoming role in Secret Invasion, as it wasn't confirmed until he showed up in exclusive footage shown to fans at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
Being one of the MCU's longest-standing veterans, James Rhodes should be well-equipped to team up with Nick Fury, Talos, Maria Hill, and others against the Skrull Invasion that threatens to dismantle Earth. Now, ahead of that show's debut, Cheadle has finally broken his silence about his eighth appearance as War Machine.
Don Cheadle Teases Secret Invasion Role
Twitter user @MarvelFlix shared part of a Multiverse Saga sizzle reel from Marvel Studios that debuted at the D23 Fan Expo. Part of that included interviews for Disney+'s Secret Invasion, which featured Don Cheadle speaking about his involvement in the series for the first time.
Cheadle explained how this show tackles the Skrulls' plot for world domination, confirming that he'll be back to play Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine.
“We are dealing with a Skrull plot to take over the Earth to dominate the planet.”
As part of that same video, Maria Hill star Cobie Smulders told fans that "this is Nick Fury's world" as Fury and Hill reunite for the first time since Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Shortly after Marvel's panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Smulders spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the Skrulls' return, which will likely be their first time on Earth since the 1990s:
“The Skrulls are here. They’re here, baby, and they want to stay. We got introduced to them in Captain Marvel, which was in the ’90s. And they’ve been sort of percolating into our planet and they’ve been taking human form, so we haven’t really known the magnitude of their presence. But we’re learning that in the series.”
She also chatted with ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis on the Phase Zero Podcast about the footage that played at Comic-Con, with the Skrulls having built their numbers since first appearing in Captain Marvel:
Davis: “Tell me where Maria Hill is at in that [footage], because it just looks like a really claustrophobic, don’t-trust-anybody, kind of vibe.”
Smulders: “Yeah, it is that. 100%. I mean when we think about the world that they’re in, the Skrulls have been around since we saw them in Captain Marvel. They’ve been building in numbers. And are they good? Are they bad? We’re gonna find out in the show. But there’s certainly a lot of them and so it sort of turns into this, ‘Can I trust you? Can I not trust you?’ And it’s really cool. It’s certainly fraught with a lot of tension."
Don Cheadle Set for Secret Invasion Role
Although it's still not clear how big Don Cheadle's role will be in Secret Invasion, it's big enough that he's involved with promotional material ahead of the series' 2023 release. And hearing Cheadle discuss his work for the first time only serves to build more hype for what's described as the MCU's first crossover event in the Disney+ sphere.
Marvel's panel at Comic-Con confirmed Cheadle's return in the footage for Secret Invasion as he spoke with Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury about his security detail, although not many more details were revealed. He seems to be playing a fairly big role in the legal proceedings that Fury, Hill, and Tales are investigating, and of course, there's a chance that a Skrull is using his likeness to get deeper inside Earth's political mainframe.
While Cheadle is also set to lead his own series in Armor Wars, fans are looking forward to seeing him make his biggest appearance yet in the Multiverse Saga after only two scenes of live-action screen time in Phase 4. Having the big guns involved will only give Fury's side more firepower, although fans will also get to see Rhodes take on a less violent and sneakier role as he has to face the shapeshifting Skrulls for the first time.
Secret Invasion will debut on Disney+ in Spring 2021.