Don Cheadle Weighs In On (Potentially) Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As Iron Man In The MCU

Don Cheadle and Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 2
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe looks a lot different these days, as key figures like Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America are now out of the picture. Phase Four has been dealing with their absences in the present-day timeline. Of course, Anthony Mackie’s Falcon has taken up Cap's mantle. So it’s only natural that some might wonder would think that Don Cheadle's James Rhodes -- Tony Stark’s right-hand man, could succeed him as the Armored Avenger. With that Cheadle, who's set to return as War Machine in the Armor Wars series, weighed in on potentially replacing his former co-star in the role.

The veteran Marvel star addressed the notion during his interview with Extra. Don Cheadle was addressing his return in the Samuel L. Jackson-led Disney+ series Secret Invasion (which we know a few things about) when talked turned to him possibly becoming Iron Man in the MCU. And based on the Oscar nominee's comments, it doesn't seem like he's totally sold on the idea of his character taking on the Iron Man mantle:

I don’t know. I mean, I think that Rhodey is his own dude. I don’t think that anyone can really step into the Tony Stark Iron Man shoes. I think he did that as well as anyone could ever do it. But I think we’re going to learn a lot more about what Rhodey does want and who he is and what his sort of place in the firmament of the MCU will ultimately be.

Apparently, he's not worried about replacing RDJ or having Rhodey try to fill the void left by Iron Man. If anything, the fan-favorite actor appears to be a level of respect for his on-screen best friend. Clearly, he has a similar kind of reverence for the Tony Stark actor that so many fans have.

But like any MCU star, the 57-year-old actor could be throwing viewers off his trail. Don Cheadle even hinted that he couldn’t reveal everything about his MCU future. And Marvel is definitely known for keeping such developments under wraps, so the notion of the star deflecting with his comments is feasible. Of course, viewers won’t know what’s true or not until Cheadle's series hits the small screen.

Don Cheadle seems more concerned about viewers getting to know Rhodes as more than just Stark’s best friend and second banana. During his time in the MCU, Rhodey has played an important role in certain moments but is usually a supporting player to Tony and the other Avengers. Through his MCU show, viewers will finally get to know James Rhodes as a person and will likely see him carve out his destiny. Cheadle has been harking on this aspect for some time while also teasing other information about Armor Wars. A release date has yet to be announced for the Disney+ production as is the case with other upcoming Marvel shows.

The prospect of Rhodey getting the spotlight is exciting and, regardless of whether he becomes Iron Man, the powers that be at Marvel Studios surely have exciting things planned for him. Ahead of Armor Wars' premiere, grab a Disney+ subscription so that you can see Rhodes in Secret Invasion, which streams sometime in 2023.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).