Don Cheadle Talks Possible ‘War Machine’ Movie Plot

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War Machine Iron Man 2 Armor Design Don Cheadle Talks Possible War Machine Movie Plot

The question of whether or not Iron Man 3 can effectively keep the Marvel Studios success streak following in the Hulk-sized footsteps of The Avengers appears to be answered. Tony Stark’s third solo adventure has already broken records overseas and has earned mostly strong notices from critics thus far.

With Phase 2 officially in full swing, it looks like the possibilities are endless for Marvel. The company is already looking to expand its scope into the cosmic realm with Guardians of the Galaxy and has its eye on Ant-Man and Doctor Strange as Phase 3 entries. However, the better-than-expected box office return for Iron Man 3 raises the question: what about that long-rumored War Machine spinoff film?

As it happens, Cheadle himself recently appeared on the Empire Podcast and the possibility of taking his Iron Man character into his own film came up. Here’s what he had to say:

“When we have talked about the [War Machine] spin-off, what the departure point might be for War Machine… [we’ve discussed that] it might be when he goes rogue, so to speak, and takes a mission that he believes he is morally responsible for but is against policy and does it anyway. What happens when he’s out there and he’s been dishonorably discharged but he still has the suit, or Tony makes him another suit? …

“And now he’s out there on his own too, but even worse than Tony, because now he’s a fugitive. Because if we wanted to do it, I think the best way to do it would be go darker, to take it and make it even more visceral. Sort of close to the first Iron Man, how it began. Really visceral and really realistic.”

iron man war machine battle Don Cheadle Talks Possible War Machine Movie Plot

James Rhodes/War Machine has always been the by-the-book foil to Tony Stark’s brasher attitude towards achieving justice. So the idea of putting that character in a position where his values are compromised (and which effectively puts him on the run from the governmental system he’s sworn to uphold) sounds like it would be a smart way to dig deeper into War Machine.

Simply sending the character out on just another mission wouldn’t warrant a spinoff, but his struggle to determine what’s right and the need to establish a new moral code would nicely mirror Tony Stark’s journey in the first Iron Man film and perhaps set Cheadle up as the eventual heir to the Iron Man title itself.

Since the beginning of Marvel Studios’ efforts, Iron Man has been its flagship character and its most successful at the box office. As it currently stands, though, the future of that character remains up in the air. At this point, it’s still unclear if either Robert Downey Jr. or Gwyneth Paltrow (the male and female leads of the franchise) will stick around beyond Iron Man 3, while rumors abound that War Machine will re-appear in The Avengers 2 (or even earlier in Phase 2).

Iron Man 2 Still War Machine Mark V 570x320 Don Cheadle Talks Possible War Machine Movie Plot

Add to this the fact that writer/director Joss Whedon said fans should expect “awful” things in The Avengers 2, and it’s becoming quite possible (if still unlikely) that Tony Stark, in fact, may be on his way out of the films. At the very least, it looks like Marvel is positioning War Machine as the new Iron Man down the line, as he was in the comics. After all, Marvel’s slate of films will have to rotate its heroes in and out over time if the studio is ever going to get to other fan-favorite characters (such as Black Panther, for example).

Are you still hoping for a War Machine spinoff film, or should the character remain strictly a supporting player in future Marvel entries? Let us know in the comments.


Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014, The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on November 6, 2015, and Doctor Strange sometime after that.

Source: Empire Podcast (via Comic Book Movie)

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @crookedtable
TAGS: Iron man 3
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  1. I guess I would still watch but my excitement lever would not be anywhere near where it is now in anticipation of Iron Man 3 Thursday night at the IMAX here in Raleigh..

    • I meant excitement level, not lever.. I always forget to proof-read…

      • That’s an amazing typo. Lol

      • At least you didn’t type “excrement level”.

  2. well they said they renamed war machine iron patriot cause war machine is not good for the government. i dont think it will happen, also i cant see rhody getting the mantle iron man and a movie of his own because even though he is a good character hes not a good main character, especially compared to RDJ as tony stark.

    • i feel ya… i like how cheadle says theyd start with rhody going rogue but that would totally contradict his personality in the comics…. which ive come to despise(contradictions)

      • I could see the Iron Patriot being dispatched and his reaction being similar to that in IM3, questioning the people he works for and going back to the old War Machine armour.

        He’d be on the run, the US government would give the Iron Patriot armour to someone else to bring Rhodes back for treason, leading to an epic conclusion and then Fury/Hill appear at the end to offer Rhodes sanctuary amongst SHIELD, who work outside of any governmental jurisdiction and therefore can give Rhodes the immunity he needs as long as he works with them.

        This can then be his entry card into the Avengers team.

        Well, looks like I just wrote their War Machine movie for them. Victory for Screen Rant?

        • That’s boss

        • hahahaha… and after i said what i said.

          i would be happy with what you said.

      • His personality is to do the right thing, and if he feels so strongly that the right thing must be done, maybe he does something to try and save Tony,and loses his military job for it, and then Tony can die anyway thus leaving War Machine jobless and screwed.

  3. Sounds awesome! I woul pay to see something like that. War machine is part of why I liked iron man 2 so much. I love don cheadle he’s a great actor who really seems to enjoy this role. Thought he was a much better Rhodes then Terrance Howard. I’m just not a fan of that guys.

  4. It’s gonna be sad to see RDJ go. But he’s getting old and did suffer a nasty injury during filming. I hope to at least see him in Avengers 2, even if Whedon kills him off. I would like to see a War Machine film done. The way Chedle describes his vision would actually work.

    • How old is Cheadle? He & RDJ seem pretty close in age; I’d enjoy an Iron Patriot/War Machine spinoff as much as the next guy, but not sure how much “studio sense” (oxymoron, I know) it makes if Cheadle is going to age out of the part a year or two after RDJ.

      • Actually cheadle is about 7 years younger then RDJ I belive. Anyone correct me but I’m pretty sure he’s a few years younger.

      • You’re right they’re both 48 atm.

      • You’re right, Cheadle is one year older than Downey.
        So maybe counting on him for the futur of Iron man is not that smart (age wise)

        • I guess they could write the part for an older person willing to play. Iron man/war machine fight from inside a “high tech prosthesis.” If you’ve got a fan fave actor willing to continue, it creates some fertile story ground. An aging hero inside the iron suit surrounded by the young whipper snappers.

  5. It would just be Iron Man 4. There really is no point in doing a movie about a sidekick who does everything his partner does.

  6. Something tells me a War Machine spin-off would really only excite Marvel diehards. I can’t exactly see a load of casual viewers flocking to theaters to see it.

    • Or Marvel executives. I mean, the only reason the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon is stil alive is because they think it’s a much better approach than “The Spectactular Spider-Man”…

      Which we all know is bologna

    • Your are correct, hopefully there are enough marvel die hards(myself included) to make this spin-off a reality. I was probably one of the very few who purchased/read the entire Iron Man 2.0 series which was about Rhodey/war machine being given a new updated suit with even more upgrades than Starks best armor

  7. I’d say it’s quite unlikely RDJ steps off the Marvel cinematic universe. I’m from Spain and i’ve already seen Iron Man 3 and “SPOILER” (sort off)at the end of the credits they show a “Tony Stark will return” sign that one might read also as “we’re gonna give this guy so much money that he will do Avengers 2 and Iron Man 4 for sure”.

    The movie is excellent by the way. And i wouldn’t like a War Machine spinoff, Don Cheadle is a good sidekick but can’t hold a movie by himself.

    • Seriously? A James Bond reference in an Iron Man movie? xD

    • RDJ has already said he would be perfectly happy spending the rest of his career making Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes movies. I don’t know where everyone on this board gets the idea that RDJ will not be returning.

      • simple his deal with marvel ends with Iron Man 3, plus recently RDJ had gotten some doubts if whatever or not return

        • So what if is current contract expires after IM3? All contracts have an end date. On what planet would RDJ turn down the next contract, which is guaranteed to be worth gobs and gobs of money? Especially since, as I mentioned, RDJ loves being Tony Stark.

  8. I like Don Cheadle but the problem with that is you would only get half of the Iron Man audience turn up to see it.

    So for the money why not just make another Iron Man film and get a much bigger return.

  9. I love Don Cheadle version. I would watch the balls out of that! Even see that 3 times in the theater as I will with Iron Man 3 this week! Thursday night. Friday night. And Saturday with my kids!

  10. For anyone who isn’t aware of Don’s acting skills check out the following movies:
    -Devil in the Blue Dress
    -Hotel Rwanda (oscar nomination)
    -Ocean’s 11,12, & 13
    Now can he carry this type of movie? It remains to be seen. This character might be better suited (no pun intended) for the S.H.I.E.L.D. tv series.

    • I’m not sure I’d use the Ocean’s movies as proof of his acting chops – the mediocre British dialect just didn’t work…but certainly his work in House Of Lies.

      • I didn’t think his British dialect was bad at all. He carried it throghout the series. But even with that I’ve listed several others movies to be considered.

  11. I am proposing something that I think could be quite cool if Marvel did it and could possibly provide an alternative to an Iron Man 4 in phase 3, after all we have all been theorising about what will happen with RDJ and when he will/won’t return. It may not be at all surprising if he does return for iron man 4 in phase 3, especially given the box office numbers IM3 looks to be on track to make.

    Anyway my theory is for a sidekick Marvel spinoff that could work quite well within the MCU as the SHIELD movie I think, I could well be wrong. If they were to do this the best way to do it would be for Rhody to choose to ignore orders from the military in the final act of Avengers 2 and thus be discharged from the Air Force. He could then be recruited by shield. With Coulson (fan favourite), Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Furry, Rhody and Hill, this is certainly a well established group of characters to the general audience. Now I have no solid idea for a plot, but the basic premise could be involve AIM or Hydra stealing a SHIELD technology(or something to this effect) and shield wanting to deal with it without Avengers help. Maybe post-avengers 2 cap has gone solo due to a falling out with furry. Again this is all just thoery, but it was quite fun as I thought of it and I thought I would share. Unlikely to happen but a bit of fan fiction I always quite enjoy :)

  12. I hope that doesn’t happen… put him in another Iron Man movie, or a SHIELD movie or an Avengers movie, but not his own movie.

    Or Marvel could start producing 20 minute shorts that play before their movies, starring a lesser known character or characters. They’d somehow tie in with the larger story arc of course. I’d personally love that.

    • Yeah, short films would be amazing!

      • I think so. And since they’re introducing so many characters, it’d really help flesh out the Marvel cinematic universe without having to spend the money creating a whole film.

        Someone get on the phone to Marvel Studios!

        • @ FILTHpig

          I love that idea of a short film. Great idea!

  13. I think it would be cool if they did some one off adventures for supporting characters. They could do the same for Hawkeye and Black Widow to make them not seem so secondary and redundant. This could also shake up the very ordered release of the core movies. Instead of just seeing the same sequels in order every few years they could have others thrown in to mix up the series.

    • I think that idea has been discussed before. It’s an interesting one and I think at the time it was very popular too. The problem is from the studio perspective they’re spending extra money for more story but get no extra return for it. It builds the brand only, which at this point they don’t have enough incentive to spend the kind of cash that the shorts would cost to do.

      Perhaps down the road if the whole MCU begins to suffer in the market they might consider this but for now it doesn’t seem needed. Sorry if I seem to be throwing cold water on things… :(

      • Old timey cartoons used to do this all the time though. Shorts ahead of the movies. Even Pixar (Disney! just like Marvel) has made a point of having shorts ahead of their movies. Which they can then go ahead and sell afterwards. There is tons of money to be made with shorts.

  14. No. No. No…and No. The difference between Iron man and War Machine is not significant enough for a spin off franchise. We’d basically be watching an Iron Man movie starring Don Cheadle. Its unnecessary, and would just come off as an Iron Man rip off.

  15. Personally, I don’t think Marvel can do anything wrong at the moment. However I do not think a War Machine solo movie is wise nor will it work.

    People go to see Iron Man movies because of the character of Tony Stark more than they do to see Iron Man IMO. So for a War Machine movie to work, the character outside of the suit, Rhodey, would have to be as charismatic as Tony Stark, and I just can’t see James Rhodes pulling that off.

    • They go to see RDJ, If someone else takes up the role I’d be willing to bet my house that they would never make the kind of money they are making now!!
      RDJ IS Tony Stark and Vise-versa, there are just some characters that cannot be replaced by just any actor! RDJ made this his character and IF marvel chooses to just replace RDJ after he retires or whatever the case may be mark my words they would not be breaking anymore box office records that way!

  16. Honestly, I’d be surprised if, other than IM3 & A2, phase two sees a lessening off in numbers with the less well known tales.

    I can still see GoTG being a relative failure that fails to bring the core audience over.

    Personally I can’t wait to see them all, I just hope Disney keep faith with the project if and when the numbers dip.

  17. Iron Man should die in The Avengers 2… And come back to life in Avengers 3. In the mean time we can get War Machine and Incredible Hulk sequels for Marvel’s Phase 3.

  18. The route they should take is just replace the actors while keeping continuity with the previous movies. RDJ has done an AMAZING job with Tony Stark but the solution isn’t to just retire the character. There’s too much money involved and I’m sure there is SOME actor out there that could take up the mantle a few years down the line. I say let him retire when he wants to from portraying Stark, give it a few years of movies not involving Iron Man and then come back into it with a new actor but continuing his story. There’s plenty more story arcs of Iron Man to be shown on screen.

    • I agree just because RDJ is great doesn’t mean he is irreplaceable. He can be replaced just like anyone else the next guy just needs to bring something new to the character.

  19. Killing Iron Man just so they can replace RDJ would be incredibly stupid, and the worst thing Marvel can do.

    • I was thinking from a thematic standpoint. Iron Man has hogged a lot of the spotlight from other Marvel movies and franchise fatigue effects even the best of series. He almost died in The Avengers so why not “kill” him and let other heroes take the spotlight before coming back with a resurrection that happens 5 times a week in the Comic Universe.

  20. Why not have Rhodey in the SHIELD TV show? At least get an appearance in a two part season ending cliff hanger where he’s in the suit. Have him propel the series arc in a couple of episodes without the suit as well. Just a thought but if they want to shoot for a War Machine movie why not expose the audience to the character more, let them get to know him and evolve the character…

  21. Well Justin Hammer did work on the War Machine suit. He could have the schematics in order to build an exact replica and frame Rhodey for some war crimes.

    Forcing Rhodes on a mission to clear his name.

    Main villian could be Parnell Jacobs.

  22. A War Machine movie can definitely work, I just think you guys don’t like War Machine lol. People will go see the movie thanks to the IM franchise and for godsakes he is not a sidekick, people make it seem he’s IM’s b*tch lol.

    • In a way, he is. Stark could ahut down the suit in a second if he wanted to; just like how he tried with Parker’s Iron-Spider suit but Patker outsmarted him.

  23. War Machine vs Detroit Steel, somewhere between Iron Man 4 & Iron Man 5. Shame Black already commented that RDJ would be in them. That tells me Marvel is planning on keeping the IM franchise w/RDJ going thru Phase 3.

  24. they should follow the arc that took place during dark reign, where rhodey becomes part machine, that was pretty heavy and had some really cool action moments :)

  25. I feel as if we should have an Iron Man 3 spoilers discussion page or something, I really need to get some crap off my chest.

  26. That’d be so cool. I’d love to see Rhodey kicking all kinds of ass, all by his lonesome.

  27. That’d be so cool. I’d love to see Rhodey taking out punks all by his lonesome.

  28. Nuts, thought I cancelled that first comment. Sorry.