The director of Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion admitted how he’s worried about receiving death threats after many claim the big twist with Don Cheadle’s War Machine ruined Tony Stark’s death.
By the end of the recent Disney+ series, it was revealed that Colonel James Rhodes had been a Skrull for quite some time. In fact, it was seemingly confirmed that the swap happened sometime after the character’s injury in Captain America: Civil War.
This meant audiences haven’t been with the real War Machine since 2016. While that’s a whopping seven years in real-world time, it’s even longer in-universe.
Even worse: Tony Stark didn’t die with his best friend at his side, but a Skrull infiltrator instead.
Death Threats Over Secret Invasion's Big Twists
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Secret Invasion director Ali Selim admitted that he thinks he might get some intense pushback from fans after the big twist that War Machine has been a Skrull since (possibly) Captain America: Civil War.
Selim shared that he’s “worried” he’ll end up getting “death threats” over the whole thing:
“I’m worried that I will get death threats because of that, and also because I’m the guy who took out Maria Hill. So I’m actually going into hiding now.”
Speaking about Don Cheadle’s role in the creative process regarding his character’s big Skrull twist, the director called the actor “a great collaborator” while assuring fans that he thinks the length that Rhodey has been a Skrull is “still open to interpretation:”
“[Don Cheadle’s] a great collaborator. He was a detailed, logical guy who would not say, ‘How long have I been … ?’ But he would say, ‘Let me tell you why I could’ve been, and let me tell you why I couldn’t have been,’ which is an interesting way to get at his character. So I would say this to anybody, but go back and visit all of the Rhodey scenes in the MCU and see how you unpack it now that you have a slightly different perspective on Rhodey or Skrull. But I don’t know that there’s a definitive answer. I think it’s still open to interpretation.“
An Uncomfortable Tony Stark-Parallel Retcon
It’s easy to understand how fans feel the Rhodey/Raava swap undermines Tony Stark’s emotional sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame—particularly his relationship with War Machine.
There were a lot of emotional threads in that sequence, and one of them was Rhodey being there. Being that it may now have been just a random Skrull named, the moment is that much less impactful.
Needless to say, the big War Machine twist is not sitting well with audiences—nor is the show. The project is Marvel’s fourth rotten television series on Rotten Tomatoes, and many have shared their thoughts on how the series let them down throughout its run.
It seems the entire finale is striking the wrong chord with fans, having missed the mark on several points—a wasted villain, a hypocritical and ethically questionable Nick Fury, and a lackluster boring VFX fight.
Though, it's worth noting that nobody should be sending death threats to anyone. Not only is it completely uncalled for, but those who act that way are simply pathetic.
The silver lining to it all? At the very least, Don Cheadle’s Avenger (If he can even be considered a former member at this point) will have quite an interesting starting point for Armor Wars.
Secret Invasion is now streaming on Disney+.