With filming set to begin shortly on his Armor Wars series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Don Cheadle has shut down rumors his character will be replacing Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Cheadle first joined the MCU playing Tony Stark’s best friend James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Prior to Cheadle’s turn in the role, the character was first played by Terrence Howard in the original Iron Man film. Due to a contract dispute, however, Howard did not return for the sequel, and Cheadle was tapped to replace him.
With 2019’s Avengers: Endgame serving as the final appearance of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, the MCU has found itself having to move forward without one of its most popular characters. The impact of Stark’s death on the world of the MCU is set to be further explored in the upcoming Armor Wars series, which will delve into what happens when Stark technology begins falling into the wrong hands. Cheadle will return to headline the series, which will also see Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Walton Goggins reprise his role as the black-market arms dealer Sonny Burch.
Recently, Cheadle spoke with extratv at Disney’s D23 Expo about his return to the role and whether his character would be positioned to assume Stark’s place in the MCU. While he did not reveal much about what Marvel fans can expect from his character moving forward, Cheadle was quick to shoot down suggestions that Rhodey would be taking over from Tony Stark. Saying “I don’t think that anyone can really step into” Iron Man’s shoes, he also suggested that “Rhodey is his own dude”. Check out his full comments below:
I don’t know. I mean I think that Rhodey is his own dude. I don’t think that anyone can really step into this… Tony Stark, Iron Man shoes. I think he did that as well as anyone could ever do it. But I think we’re going to learn a lot more about what Rhodey does want, and who he is, and what his sort of place, and the firmament of MCU will ultimately be. I honestly don’t know that much more than that you know.
Considering the MCU all began with Downey’s iconic performance of Tony Stark, the franchise currently finds itself needing to re-establish its connective tissue without him. For over 10 years, Stark’s Iron Man had been a powerful central figure in what would become arguably the most successful film franchise ever created. Yet, despite the wealth of characters at their disposal, the MCU has still yet to establish a suitable replacement following his character’s sacrifice in Endgame. While it is natural that some fans may potentially look to Stark’s best friend to fill the gap left by his demise, Cheadle is right by suggesting that no one, not even Rhodey, will ever really fill those shoes.