Marvel Producer Nate Moore Explains Why Don Cheadle's Armor Wars Changed From A Disney+ Show To A Movie

Avengers: Endgame poster design of Don Cheadle's War Machine
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

James “Rhodey” Rhodes has been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since it launched in 2008 with Iron Man, and while Terrence Howard originated the role, it’s belonged to Don Cheadle since 2010’s Iron Man 2, which saw the character taking on the War Machine mantle. After more than a decade of being one of the MCU’s most important supporting characters, the time has finally come for him to take center stage, as he’ll be leading Armor Wars. However, instead of moving forward as a Disney+ show like originally planned, it was announced in late September that Armor Wars is being turned into a movie, and Marvel producer Nate Moore recently explained why this change happened.

Nate Moore, who’s been making the press rounds to promote Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, stopped by The Town with Matthew Belloni podcast, and the eponymous host inquired about the Armor Wars shift, asking how that decision came about and what the “guideposts” are for figuring out if a Marvel project should be a movie rather than a show accessible exclusively to Disney+ subscribers. Moore answered:

I mean, in that case, there were some great ideas that were coming out for that show, but that, to be quite honest, felt too big for that show… Kind of conceptually, and from… You know, our Disney+ shows are awesome, and we love them, but the budgets are not the same as the features, that’s no secret. And when you’re talking about a show that wants to be about seeing all the cool armors and, you know, Don Cheadle interacting with all these armors and sort of the legacy of Tony Stark, that became kind of cost prohibitive to do as a show. And we realized as a feature, not only can we get into some of the beautiful imagery that is from publishing, and there’s certainly an Armor Wars run, but also there’s ways then to leverage the ideas of that movie and affect other movies down the line.

At the time it was revealed that Armor Wars would be a movie instead of a Disney+ show, the reason for this was simply attributed to the powers-that-be at Marvel Studios feeling going the feature route was the better course of action. Now we know from Nate Moore that the budget was the main issue, because although Marvel pours plenty of money into its Disney+ shows, they’re not on the same level as what’s shown in theaters.  For something like Armor Wars, it became clear that the small screen wouldn’t cut it with the first project to put War Machine front and center, particularly when we’ll be seeing various armored suits in action beyond just the one James Rhodes is wearing.

That would also explain why Ironheart, which is spinning out of the events of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, will still be a Disney+ show, because Dominque Thorne’s Riri Williams will likely be the only one wearing an armored suit. But aside from the shift from streaming to theatrical, it sounds like not much has changed about Armor Wars. In addition to Don Cheadle obviously still being attached to star, Yassir Lester is still on writing duties. Inspired by the same-named comic book arc, Armor Wars will follow Rhodey having to grapple with the technology developed by the late Tony Stark, his best friend, falling into the wrong hands. No release date for Armor Wars has been set, but it will take place after what goes down in Disney+’s Secret Invasion.

Given how Marvel’s Phase 5 is already packed on both fronts, it stands to reason that Armor Wars won’t be released until sometime during Phase 6, but once a concrete date is announced, we’ll let you know. Until then, head to Disney+ to watch the Marvel movies in order, or look through our guide detailing the other upcoming Marvel movies.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.