Marvel’s Armor Wars: All We Know

Last year, Marvel announced they would be making a Disney+ Armor Wars series starring Don Cheadle. Here's all we know so far about the project.

By Ross Bonaime | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Don Cheadle Armor Wars War Machine Marvel

During the Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day 2020, Marvel announced a large slate of new projects coming to Disney+, many with little more to go by than a name and actor attached. One such project was Marvel’s Armor Wars, which would see the return of Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine. With little information given beyond that, let’s take a look at what we do know about Armor Wars so far.

What Are The Armor Wars?

Armor Wars Marvel Iron Man War Machine

Marvel’s “Armor Wars” was originally a seven-issue Iron Man story arc that ran from December 1987 to June 1988. The series was written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, with art by Mark D. Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith. In this series, Tony Stark discovers that his Iron Man technology designs have been sold to his rival Justin Hammer. With his enemies now able to utilize his technology, Stark seeks out all those who seem to be using his designs.

While Tony Stark is the main character of this original storyline, he’s accompanied on his search by Rhodes / War Machine. But considering that Tony Stark is currently out of the picture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it doesn’t seem likely that Marvel would use this original story for their Disney+ version of Marvel’s Armor Wars.

Iron Man War Machine Marvel

However, there was also a new Armor Wars mini-series that came out of 2015’s Secret Wars storyline. This newer series does focus more on Jim Rhodes, but it seems extremely unlikely that this version of the story would be directly copied into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tony Stark is still alive in this story, but in addition to that, Marvel would have to introduce and change a lot to this world to make this exact story happen. For example, the 2015 Armor Wars includes Stark’s brother Arno, the futuristic world of Technopolis, a villain named Titanium Man, and the Thor Corps, just to name a few things that haven’t been introduced in this universe yet.

Also, this take on the Armor Wars includes a lot more death. Tony Stark kills War Machine, Spider-Man dies, and Kingpin – who again, hasn’t even been introduced in this universe yet – also dies. But also considering this story has an evil Tony Stark, and makes Rhodes’ niece Lila a member of Thor Corps, it seems like there’s a ton the Marvel Cinematic Universe would have to do to make this story a reality in Marvel’s Armor Wars.

What Will The Series Be About?

At this point, all we know is the quick description of the show from Investor Day, in which Marvel stated the show explores Tony Stark’s worst fear coming true: What happens when his tech falls in the wrong hands? Because of this, it does seem like the earlier Armor Wars series could be updated to star Rhodes pretty easily. With Tony Stark now dead in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his technology could get out to the public, causing Rhodes to protect the legacy of his friend.

But maybe the upcoming Marvel’s Armor Wars series will simply use the title and try to tell a different story. It’s not as though Stark’s technology hasn’t gone into the wrong hands before, as Obadiah Stane create his own Iron Monger suit in the very first Iron Man, while Aldrich Killian stole his Extremis technology in Iron Man 3. We’ve even seen the introduction of Justin Hammer before in Iron Man 2, so maybe we’ll see the return of Sam Rockwell in that role? 

Who Is Making Marvel’s Armor Wars?

Marvel Kevin Feige Armor Wars

It’s not entirely clear yet who is behind Marvel’s Armor Wars series on Disney+, but we do know that a solo War Machine project has been in the works for some time. Back in 2011, Don Cheadle said that a War Machine film was in development and that Joe Robert Cole was hired to write the film. It’s unclear if Cole is involved in this new version of the project, but considering he co-wrote Black Panther, it’s possible that he’s still interested in working within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Cheadle was still talking about the unreleased War Machine film, saying that he wasn’t sure what that movie would have been, but that the idea was kicked around for a bit. Cheadle did, however, say about the film, “There was definitely going to be a lot of tension between his job as a military man and his allegiances to the code that we swore an oath to uphold, versus the changing world.” Considering Cheadle was discussing this tension back just a few years ago, it seems like this could be a central part of not only Cole’s script, but Marvel’s Armor Wars series going forward.

When Is Marvel’s Armor Wars Coming Out?

Don Cheadle Marvel Armor Wars War Machine

Considering Marvel was staying pretty quiet about details for Marvel’s Armor Wars, it looks as though we might have to wait a long time for this series. While most of the shows that Marvel announced at their Investor Day are already in pre-production, Armor Wars is currently only slated as in development, with no announced team behind the project. Considering Marvel already has projects in development that aren’t scheduled until late 2022, it seems likely that Armor Wars won’t appear on Disney+ until 2023, or late 2022 at the earliest.

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