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Marvel’s Armor Wars now envisioned as an Iron Man-level movie

Don Cheadle was set to star in the Disney Plus show, but now it’s a film

Don Cheadle’s Rhodey stands suited up as War Machine in front of a damaged Tony Stark in his Iron Man armor in Iron Man 2 Image: Marvel Studios
Matt Patches is an executive editor at Polygon. He has over 15 years of experience reporting on movies and TV, and reviewing pop culture.

Marvel Studios’ previously announced Disney Plus series Armor Wars has officially grown too big for its metallic britches: Marvel confirmed Thursday that the project has been upgraded to a “theatrical release,” or what the viewers might call a movie. Armor Wars Mark II currently does not have a release date on Disney and Marvel’s extremely packed theatrical calendar.

Armor Wars stars Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine, and adapts a Marvel Comics plotline that finds Tony Stark’s armor tech falling into various wrong hands. The switch from series to feature is a win for Cheadle, who has diligently played a supporting role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe across various films and series, and will now get the spotlight on Marvel’s biggest stage.

The Marvel announcement, which curiously cites an earlier report from The Hollywood Reporter despite being the source of the news, notes that during development on the Disney Plus series, the creative team decided that the story for Armor Wars made more sense projected on the big screen over two to three hours than cut into six bits and dropped weekly on Disney Plus. Yassir Lester, who serves as both an actor and writer on Cheadle’s comedy series Black Monday, was serving as head writer on the series version of Armor Wars, and will reportedly write the feature as well.

Though this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and D23 saw a deluge of updates for the Marvel universe, the aftermath has seen its fair share of shake-ups and surprises. Earlier this week, Ryan Reynolds announced that Hugh Jackman would join Deadpool 3, and that the film will arrive in September 2024. In the same breath, Blade director Bassam Tariq abruptly stepped away from the film, just weeks before cameras were set to roll on the Mahershala Ali-led project. Now, despite two years of development on Armor Wars, the planned Disney Plus series will become a movie. As Marvel president Kevin Feige and his expansive creative team attempts to chart the next 10 years of the mega-franchise, it’s clear that for all the forward thinking, the business of it all could change the MCU’s path at a moment’s notice.