Harrison Ford is joining the cast of Armor Wars as President Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross.
Harrison Ford will return as President Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the upcoming Armor Wars from Marvel Studios. According to our trusted and proven sources, the Indiana Jones actor will join Don Cheadle in the film, which was originally announced as a Disney+ series but upgraded to feature film last September. Interestingly, this may make Armor Wars the first Marvel Cinematic Universe film to prominently feature two actors whose roles were the result of recasting.
The late William Hurt originally portrayed Thunderbolt Ross in the MCU from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk until his death in 2022, making Black Widow his final performance in the role. Subsequently, Harrison Ford was announced as taking over the role in October 2022. Meanwhile, Don Cheadle took over the role of James Rhodes aka War Machine after Terrence Howard first portrayed the character in 2008’s Iron Man. While recasting is not uncommon in the MCU, these are likely the two most prominent roles to date.
It is also uncertain how much we will see Harrison Ford as Thunderbolt Ross in Armor Wars. As we recently reported, it seems that at some point between Avengers: Endgame (in which he was the United States Secretary of State) and Thunderbolts, Ross was elected President, so that will likely be the capacity we see him in. While James Rhodes may be a member of the Avengers, he appears to still be an active-duty Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, which would put him under the command of Ross, so there will likely be some order-giving there.
Of course, when the William Hurt version of Thunderbolt Ross ordered Rhodes to arrest a number of his fellow Avengers, he flat-out refused, indicating that he would likely be court-martialed. Given that Rhodes has since shown up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and appeared to have been a guest of honor in a U.S. ceremony, it is likely that he was given some leniency because of the whole Thanos thing. It will be interesting to see if there is any bad blood when the Harrison Ford version of Ross interacts with War Machine next.
However, there will almost certainly be another global emergency that precludes any reprisal by Harrison Ford and besides, the Secretary of State does not have legal standing to give orders to military personnel. Armor Wars (which is being adapted from a 1987 Iron Man story arc written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton) will involve Stark Industries technology falling into the wrong hands and James Rhodes having to retrieve it before there is a whole bunch of evil Iron Men flying around.
Harrison Ford is new to the MCU, but he is coming in fast with a number of appearances in the next several years. Thunderbolt Ross has already been confirmed to be appearing in Thunderbolts (no relation), which will bring a number of Marvel’s ambiguous anti-heroic characters together as a team, and Captain America: New World Order, in which Anthony Mackie will take center stage as the new Cap for the first time. We’re going to be getting a lot of Harrison Ford in the next few years, but that’s fine with us.