One of the biggest roles and starting characters of the MCU universe is the War Machine. The current actor playing the role is Don Cheadle debuting as James Rhodes in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Don Cheadle took over the role of James Rhodes from Terrence Howard, as he was replaced from the role.
Though Cheadle’s contract ended in 2022, he may appear in future MCU projects. He had one of the most iconic debut lines, “Look, it’s me, I’m here, deal with it, let’s move on”. Cheadle appeared as James Rhodes in 6 movies and slowly moved up the ladder in the MCU and later became one of the key characters of the franchise.
Also read: Iron Man 2 Star Don Cheadle Considers Robert Downey Jr, Rest of Marvel Cast His Family Unlike Original War Machine Actor Terrence Howard
Don Cheadle As James Rhodes? Ultimatum For An Hour
The Iron Patriot was introduced into the MCU scenario because of Iron Man and due to his advanced warfare equipment which the government eyed. It also brought Terrence Howard’s James Rhodey which was short-lived as he was replaced from the scene after the first Iron Man movie in 2008, and was replayed by Don Cheadle in the 2010 sequel, Iron Man 2.
In an interview with GQ, Don Cheadle shared light on how he got his role in a span of a couple of hours while he was celebrating his kid’s laser tag birthday party. Upon being asked by GQ, if he ‘Aunt Viv’d’ Terrence Howard’s role, Cheadle firmly stated that he did not do anything and also stated that “they” wouldn’t have reached him if that role was not open for play. The Iron Patriot actor, later shared with GQ, the story of what occurred at that time,
Also read: ‘We’re just getting to know him even after all this time’: Don Cheadle Promises Secret Invasion Will Change War Machine, Prepare Him For Armor Wars
“I was at my kid’s laser tag birthday party and they called me and said, ’This is what’s happening, we’re giving you the offer, if you don’t say yes, we’re going to the next person, this is going to happen very fast. So they said, ‘Why don’t you go ahead and take an hour and decide if you want to do it?’ I said, ‘It was a six-movie deal.’ I was like, ‘In an hour, I have to decide? What are the other movies?’ They’re like, ‘It’s going to be these Avengers. It’s going to be these many Iron Mans. This is what it is, so you kind of have to say yes or no, if you’re in or out.’
Like what’s the trajectory of the character going to be… Well they’re like, ’We can’t… We don’t know any of that, but this is what it is so you’ve got an hour. I said, ‘I’m at my kid’s laser tag birthday party.’ They’re like, ‘Oh, take two hours.’ So we played laser tag for two hours, and I was talking to my wife and we just kind of thought about it and talked to my agent and tried to get as much information as we could, and we just took a flyer and said, ’Okay, we’ll do it.’”
Don Cheadle is currently preparing for his solo series Armour Wars which is rumored to be released around 2024.
Why Was Terrence Howard Replaced?
The previous James Rhodes, Terrence Howard spoke on multiple occasions that RDJ was mainly the reason he was replaced. While making an appearance on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, he said,
“It turns out that the person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”
Also read: “I love what he’s done, but f–k ’em”: Terrence Howard Was Frustrated With Robert Downey Jr. For Not Standing Up Against Marvel After Being Replaced By Don Cheadle in Iron Man 2
Howard went on to add that they had a three-picture deal and they paid him a certain amount of money for the first two movies while only claiming to pay one-eighth of the original contract discussed. Being in a pinch he called up his friend whom he helped get his first job did not call him back for three months. And yes, Terrence Howard is targeting RDJ here. He added,
“And guess who got the millions I was supposed to get? He got the whole franchise, so I’ve actually given him $100 million, which ends up being a $100 million loss for me from me trying to look after somebody, but, you know, to this day I would do the same thing. It’s just my nature.”
The 53-year-old star is planning to retire soon from Hollywood. The Iron Man actor will reunite with his co-stars on The Best Man: The Final Chapters which was released on Peacock in December 2022.