While promoting his key role as James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Avengers: Endgame, actor Don Cheadle confirmed that Marvel Studios once considered a War Machine solo film – getting as far as hiring Black Panther co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole to develop a script.
“We kicked it around a bit,” Cheadle told Entertainment Weekly. “There was definitely going to be a lot of tension between his job as a military man and his allegiances to the code that he swore an oath to uphold, versus the changing world. I think they probably would have run afoul of each other a little bit, but I don’t know if he would have been a straight fugitive, or if he would have become decommissioned. But there was definitely going to be some tension between those two worlds.”
Cole himself first discussed the scrapped War Machine film in a February, 2018 interview with Complex, explaining that War Machine was cancelled and replaced by Iron Man 3 early in the development process. Rhodey wound up being a main character in that film, which explored similar themes to those Cheadle put forth.
“They also said they were thinking of doing a War Machine movie. I pitched a concept and won that job to write the script but they decided, based on what Iron Man 3 was going to be, they weren’t going to do War Machine anymore,” Cole said at the time, explaining how he came to work on Black Panther. “But they asked if I’d be interested in joining their writer’s program instead.”
Avengers: Endgame is due out in theaters April 26.