Don Cheadle Landed His Biggest Role At A Kid’s Birthday Party

When Marvel offered Don Cheadle the role of James Rhodes in the MCU, the actor had just hours to decide if he would accept the offer.

By Douglas Helm | Published

Sometimes an actor has to audition for a role, sometimes they have to negotiate with agents and movie execs in fancy offices, and sometimes they just get offered a multi-million dollar role while they’re at their kid’s laser tag birthday party. The last thing on that list is perhaps a little rare, but that’s exactly what happened to Don Cheadle when he was offered the role of War Machine in the MCU. In an interview with GQ, Cheadle said that he got the call and the people at Marvel Studios said “We’re giving you the offer,” before adding, “if you don’t say yes, we’re going to the next person.”

Not only that, but Don Cheadle said he only had a couple of hours to decide if he wanted to take the six-movie deal they offered him. While that’s undoubtedly a lot of money, it’s still hard to imagine having only two hours to decide if you’re going to take a role that will easily take up years of your time. Of course, Cheadle ended up saying yes and the rest is history.

Don Cheadle was introduced as James Rhodes aka War Machine in Iron Man 2 after Terrence Howard was replaced due to salary conflicts. Cheadle went on to play the role in multiple films, including Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and What If…?. Now Cheadle will really get his chance to shine as War Machine when he leads the upcoming Armor Wars film.

Armor Wars had the interesting path of initially being scheduled as a Disney+ show before Marvel decided to upgrade it to a full-on blockbuster release. Which obviously means a bigger budget and possibly a bigger impact on the MCU as a whole. Other than Don Cheadle leading the movie, details on the project are scant.

Iron Man War Machine Marvel
Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2

Just like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson taking up the mantle of Captain America for his friend Steve Rogers, Armor Wars will see Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes working on protecting the legacy of his friend Tony Stark after his death. Reportedly, the film will see Stark’s tech falling into the wrong hands and Rhodey dealing with the consequences. We’ll just have to wait and see who those “wrong hands” could be, as the villain for the movie has not yet been officially revealed.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait until Armor Wars comes out to see Don Cheadle in the MCU again, as he’ll also be appearing in the Disney+ series Secret Invasion (via The Direct). Secret Invasion will see Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury finally take the lead in his own MCU project as he uncovers a Skrull plot to infiltrate the highest levels of the Marvel universe. Along with Jackson, the series will also star Ben Mendelsohn, Emilia Clarke, Olivia Colman, Cobie Smulders, and Kingsley Ben-Adir.

Secret Invasion is set for a 2023 release date, so that’s when you can count on seeing Don Cheadle as War Machine again. In the meantime, Marvel recently released Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters and The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special on Disney+. You can see the next big MCU blockbuster Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania when it hits theatres on February 17.