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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown to an absolutely enormous place, with countless characters and superheroes occupying the space for serialized storytelling. But it all began with 2007's Iron Man, and those characters have the longest tenure in the universe; this includes Tony Stark, Happy Hogan, Nick Fury, and James Rhodes (aka War Machine). While Don Cheadle has been acclaimed for his long standing role as the Marvel hero, Empire's Terrence Howard actually played Rhodey for the first Iron Man movie, before being replaced. He was recently asked about returning to the MCU, and he didn't mince words about his feelings towards the shared universe, saying:
You know what's so funny? Even though I love Don Cheadle so much and I love what he's done, I still hear a lot of fans asking, 'Am I going to come back and be War Machine? Am I going to come back and be War Machine?' I think they could have a huge franchise off of it, but fuck em.
Well, that was pretty cut and dry. Terrence Howard has no interest in returning to the MCU was War Machine. Furthermore, he seems to have some mild disdain for the franchise as a whole, if his f-bombs are any indication.
This NSFW response comes from Terrence Howard's recent appearance on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live. When host Andy Cohen welcomed viewer questions, one caller asked about the actor possibly returning to play War Machine in the MCU. His response couldn't have been more clear. Luckily, the shared universe still has a Rhodey to continue on when the character returns with Avengers 4, thanks to actor Don Cheadle.
Terrance Howard's departure from the MCU is one of the shared universe's first scandals, especially since it was so noticeable from even casual audiences. Howard actually spoke out about the firing in a few years ago (also on Watch What Happens Live) alleging Robert Downey Jr.'s demands for a pay raise came from Howard's salary, resulting in his firing.
Narratively, Avengers 4 has the potential to be a big movie for Terrence Howard's former Marvel hero. War Machine is one of the few characters to survive Thanos' finger snap of death in Infinity War, making him all the more valuable as the final heroes attempt to reverse the snap, and defeat Thanos once and for all. It's unclear how long Don Cheadle will remain in the MCU, as many of the shared universe's biggest stars are coming to the end of their contract with the upcoming Avengers flick. But if RDJ decides to leave the mantle of Iron Man behind, Rhodey seems like a great choice to take on the iconic armor.
All will be revealed when Avengers 4 arrives in theaters on May 3rd, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.