Marvel's Armor Wars Movie Announcement Is Cool, But I Have A Concern About The War Machine Story

Marvel Studios' Armor Wars logo
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

There are a number of upcoming Marvel movies on the docket and, just recently, another was added to the list. Armor Wars, which was set to be a show over at Disney+, will now be a full-blown motion picture. And don’t worry, Don Cheadle is still returning as Col. James Rhodes, and this will mark the first time that he’s led a Marvel Cinematic Universe production. The recent announcement is exciting but, if I’m being completely honest, I now have one significant concern regarding this War Machine story.

Why Marvel Studios’ Armor Wars News Is Something To Be Hyped About

“Armor Wars” is a beloved story arc – and one that’s ripe for a live-action adaptation. The original 1987-1988 comic book limited series, which was written by Bob Layton and David Michelinie, sees Tony Stark’s worst nightmare come true. The Avenger is forced to contend with various enemies when his Iron Man technology falls into the wrong hands. (Obviously, since the MCU’s Tony died in Avengers: Endgame, the story will be altered accordingly.) It’s a massive story that’s filled with plenty of cool suits of armor. As reported, Marvel believed that this tale would be better adapted as a film, and I agree with that assessment.

Such a massive story practically screams “big-screen adventure” and, with a budget befitting a feature film, the producers won’t be limited when it comes to the spectacular sequences they can showcase. It’s also worth noting that amid Disney’s 2022 D23 Expo, Marvel teased a number of new War Machine suits for Rhodey. So said armor should look stunning with a feature-level budget at play. All in all, the cinematic shift should ensure that the production is a true spectacle that could match any of the Iron Man movies. Yet there’s still one thing I still can’t help but question.

Will Armor Wars Still Be Able To Truly Examine Rhodey As A Character?

One of the things that’s had me excited about Armor Wars from the jump is the prospect of seeing Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes step into the spotlight. With that, Cheadle also promised that the production will reveal “a lot” about Rhodey. However, I’m now left wondering whether that’ll still be the case since the project is being condensed into what will likely be a two-hour+ movie. As previously stated, this is a big story with a lot of moving parts – and likely a sizable amount of characters. So that could have some kind of impact on the amount of time that’s devoted solely to fleshing out Rhodey, who’s mainly served as a supporting character up to this point. 

Thanks to their 6 to 9-episode runs, the Disney+ MCU shows have had more than enough time to sit with characters and add the necessary layers to them. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did a lot when it came to filling out Sam Wilson’s personal life and his general mindset as a person and superhero. Ms. Marvel did a masterful job of presenting the various facets of Kamala Khan and her world, and need we even mention what WandaVision did for the Scarlet Witch? Admittedly, some would argue that a number of these shows might’ve worked better as feature films, but it’s hard to argue that they were able to take their time and give their lead characters’ their due.

Please don’t misunderstand me here. I’m definitely still looking forward to Armor Wars, and the fact that I’ll likely be able to check it out on an IMAX screen is even more exciting. All the while, I will still be hoping that the movie manages to service Don Cheadle’s War Machine, who’s more than deserving of his time in the sun. But given that Marvel Studios surely has affection for the character as well, I’m confident that the producers will do him justice.

Though a release date has yet to be announced for Armor Wars, check out what we do know about it so far. You can also stream Don Cheadle’s past work in the MCU by streaming Marvel TV shows and films with a Disney+ subscription.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.