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With The Avengers: Infinity War gearing up to hit theaters next year, many fans have begun to theorize about who will live and who will die. The arrival of Thanos promises some significant changes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and many have come to the consensus that at least one Avenger will perish by the end of the film. That said, it looks like Don Cheadle's James Rhodes will be safe during the third Avengers movie, as Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts, recently revealed that she worked alongside him on the set of Avengers 4. Paltrow said:
I went to Atlanta to do Avengers 4, so I'm in and out for that, and it's weird to go back and forth. We're growing fast, and balls are dropping all the time. But honestly, I was on set and thought, 'You sit here for two hours sipping tea, Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle are making me laugh hysterically -- why the hell did I give this up?'
If someone is on the set of Avengers 4, then it likely means that their character appears in the movie. If their character appears in the film, then it probably means that they don't die when Thanos rolls into town during The Avengers: Infinity War. With Gwyneth Paltrow working alongside Cheadle on the set of the fourth Avengers, it serves as our best confirmation that War Machine will (at least) make it through Thanos' first battle with Earth's mightiest heroes.
From a fan perspective, it's not hard to believe that Marvel Studios would decide to let War Machine live to fight another day by the time the credits roll on The Avengers: Infinity War. Although no core members of The Avengers roster died during the events of Captain America: Civil War, James Rhodes arguably suffered the most physical trauma when a spine injury left him paralyzed from the waist down. Many fans expected him to be one of the characters to potentially die during the battle between Team Cap and Team Iron Man over the Sokovia Accords, but his injury seems to have moved him away from the top of the pecking order.
Of course, if we want to put on our tin foil hats and deconstruct Gwyneth Paltrow's comments to THR, there are certain ways that Don Cheadle could still appear in Avengers 4 if Rhodey goes down in a blaze of glory in Infinity War. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has seldom shied away from flashback sequences, so the scene in question could potentially show Tony Stark during happier times. Moreover, Tony Stark has had hallucinations and nightmares in previous films, thus making it entirely possible for Rhodey to manifest in his imagination. Anything can happen when the Infinity Stones comes into play, so fans will just have to wait patiently for Infinity War to debut.
The Avengers: Infinity War will blast its way into theaters next year on May 4, 2018. If War Machine does indeed survive the next Avengers ensemble, then Don Cheadle will return in the fourth Avengers movie, which will debut the following year on May 3, 2019.