Marvel's Armor Wars: What To Know About The Upcoming Movie

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

Although it’s been with us for over a decade now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe only seems to be gaining more momentum as time goes on. The franchise continues to dominate the box office, and there are plenty of big-screen MCU productions on the way. One of the many feature films that's currently in development is Armor Wars. The Iron Man spinoff, which was originally conceived as a Disney+ TV show, will see Marvel veteran Don Cheadle return to take the lead as James Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine, and the flick could have lasting ramifications on the cinematic universe as a whole. With this, there are a few things you should know about the upcoming movie. 

Armor Wars was initially announced as a TV series in December of 2020, alongside a cavalcade of other MCU projects. It was in September 2022 that the project was announced to have been retooled as a motion picture. As you would expect, details on the project have mostly been kept under wraps. Luckily for us, there are a few things we do know about it, whether they come from official announcements or unexpected comments made by the lead actor. And from what we can infer so far, this could be an exciting and complex series. So, without further ado, let’s discuss what you need to know about the upcoming movie:

Don Cheadle in Marvel's Secret Invasion

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Armor Wars Is Set After The Events Of Secret Invasion

Some may still find it somewhat difficult to keep up with the sprawling MCU timeline, but Marvel Studios does provide context where necessary. At Disney’s 2022 D23 Expo, it was confirmed that Armor Wars takes place after the events of Secret Invasion, which we also know a few things about. One of those things is that Don Cheadle’s Rhodey is also set to be a supporting player in that series. So one can assume that the Samuel L. Jackson-led show will leave Cheadle’s Rhodes in a prime position for his movie, and I’m curious as to how things will ultimately play out.

Marvel Comics' Armor Wars panel

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Armor Wars Is Inspired By The Classic Marvel Comics Storyline

Marvel Studios hasn’t really done direct adaptations of classic storylines, as the company typically takes elements from different comics to create a fresh story. The same seems to be true for Armor Wars. The story was originally a seven-issue arc written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton and published from late 1987 to early 1988. In the tech-centric tale, Tony Stark discovers that his Iron Man technology has fallen into the hands of heroes and villains alike, which leads to disastrous results. It’s been confirmed that the big-screen adaptation will have a somewhat similar premise, only Tony  obviously won’t be the lead. But, that doesn’t mean the deceased hero still won’t play a role, though.

Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

The Legacy Of Tony Stark Will Factor Into Armor Wars

Details on Armor Wars are scarce at this point, but Don Cheadle did provide a few interesting tidbits in an interview. Something he mentioned is that the legacy and absence of Tony Stark will play into the story. With Stark having sacrificed himself at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, he won’t be around to stop his tech from falling into the wrong hands. That responsibility will, of course, fall on his best friend and fellow Avenger, James Rhodes. It’s safe to assume that Tony’s death is still weighing on Rhodey and, much like Sam Wilson in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Rhodes will likely do what he can to honor and continue his late friend’s work. But, while Tony Stark’s extensive (and heavily flawed) legacy will likely loom large, one must also consider what we may learn about Rhodey.

Don Cheadle on Iron Man 3 poster

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Fans Will Learn More About Don Cheadle’s War Machine In Armor Wars

It’s been a long wait, and it’s exciting that James Rhodes is finally getting his time in the spotlight. Rhodey has come through in the clutch on multiple occasions, but it cannot be denied that he’s mostly been a supporting character. Thankfully, Don Cheadle has confirmed that Armor Wars will definitely explore “a lot” about Rhodey. The stoic Air Force colonel is a bit of a mystery, so the show should, hopefully, be able to shine a light on his past. Cheadle also teases that the show can explore his War Machine tech, which has evolved with each of Rhodes’ appearances. Needless to say, the chances of the Avenger getting a new and improved suit of armor are high. It’s going to be interesting to see how the actor carries the MCU production, but if you’ve seen any Don Cheadle movies or TV shows, then you know the Oscar-nominated actor can certainly hold his own.

War Machine in Captain America: Civil War

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Marvel Studios Has Not Confirmed A Release Date For Armor Wars

While Marvel Studios has plenty of content lined up over the next few years, not all of the announced projects have come with release dates and, unfortunately, Armor Wars is one of those productions. At the very least, it was announced at 2022’s D23 that it will commence production sometime in 2023. Though since it's now a film, it's hard to say whether things are still on track. If things do stay on track though, it could possibly soar into theaters in 2024, which would place the project somewhere in MCU Phase 5 or 6. While this will likely be hard for those waiting to see Marvel Studios’ take on the classic story, there’s still comfort in knowing that the film is making progress. Hopefully, we’ll get a concrete release window  sooner rather than later.

There are plenty of other questions surrounding Armor Wars as well. For instance, we still don’t know who the antagonist(s) will be or if the show will definitely feature other veteran MCU characters. As is the case with anything Marvel-related, however, we’ll surely find out when the time is right. In the meantime, definitely be sure to check out James Rhodes’ past appearances in MCU fare with a Disney+ subscription, and also keep up to date with other upcoming Marvel movies.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.