The future of the Avengers is in grave peril – not from Thanos this time, but because of the absence of many of the key heroes. Three of the original Avengers have died, and now, Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are pining for some kind of substitute going forward, particularly for Iron Man.
War Machine, AKA Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes, would seem to be the most logical candidate to be the “new Iron Man.” However, some Marvel fans will accept no substitutes and are fine with letting the past die.
Fans have clamored for some kind of new Iron Man
Ever since Tony Stark made the ultimate sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, people onscreen and off have been wondering how to carry on without the man who started off the whole MCU. But there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on how to do it.
Some fans have suggested maybe there could be some kind of Iron Man Jr, like the Ironheart character, a teenage girl who builds a Stark suit. It has also been suggested that the Young Avengers could carry the torch, and the Young Avengers included a character called Iron Lad. Some fans have suggested that Tony’s bereaved daughter Morgan could be a future hero.
Some fans are so attached to Iron Man, they haven’t gotten to the acceptance part of the five stages of grief. They have sometimes suggested bringing Tony back through flashbacks or some kind of Doctor Strange mysticism, never mind the money that Disney would have to hand over to Robert Downey Jr. to do it.
So the path of least resistance would seem to be to put War Machine front and center, if not in an MCU movie, then a Disney+ series.
What happened to War Machine?
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When we last left War Machine, he wasn’t in a great place, personally or heroically. In fact, the character has had a rather fraught history with the MCU since the very beginning.
Terrence Howard played Rhodey in the first Iron Man, and he was ready to go as War Machine, down to him saying “Next time baby” during the first movie. As we all know, that was not to be, with Don Cheadle taking the role from Iron Man 2 forward.
Once Cheadle came on board, however, Marvel seemed not to know what to do with War Machine, He was certainly a capable ally in Iron Man 3, but he paid a steep price for siding with Team Iron Man in Captain: America Civil War. In the Avengers vs. Avengers fight, he was critically wounded by Vision’s friendly fire, and he ended up not playing a major role in the Infinity War/Endgame double bill.
Now, it’s hard to tell where he would fit in the MCU going forward. The only movie where he would obviously fit is the third Spider-Man movie, since Peter Parker was carrying on Tony’s legacy, but many fans think this subplot has been overdone. And there’s no sign of a War Machine series for the small screen either.
Why do some fans think War Machine shouldn’t replace Iron Man?
On Reddit, fans debated the fate of War Machine. A topic had the title, “If there ever gonna be an iron man 4 movie i would really like rhodey to take his place.”
Some fans agreed, with one going so far as to suggest bringing all the Iron Man types together: “I’d want to see a 3 way team up. War Machine, Ironheart and Iron Lad (unlikely that those 2 will exist at the same time, but i can dream!).”
But another fan said, “No way. Rhodey is nothing like tony just like war machine is nothing iron man Iron man uses his intelligence and wits to solve problems and overcome peril. WM just points his guns and missiles and goes Brr Brr.”
And someone responded to that by saying War Machine was poised to replace Tony in the comics before the comics brought Tony back to life, “Anyway. They haven’t laid the groundwork in the MCU for Rhodes to (step up). . Pity.’”