Armor Wars is officially making the leap from streaming series to feature film. That implies Marvel has something big cooking for War Machine’s breakout movie. He’ll need a major antagonist, but who could it be? The possibilities are massive.
THINGS JUST GOT INTERESTING
Given that Marvel’s Disney+ slate has been hit or miss with audiences, it’s no wonder that fans are much more intrigued by an Armor Wars movie rather than a streaming series. It elevates the project and gives a sense that War Machine could be a more pivotal character in The Multiverse Saga than originally thought.
It’s also a longtime coming for Don Cheadle, who deserves a shot at his own MCU franchise given his immense talent and screen presence. No doubt, we’ll see Riri Williams as Ironheart, but an Armor Wars movie stands to give the reins of the Iron Man film franchise to War Machine. All he needs is an intriguing villain, and we’re off to the races.
PUNISHER WAR MACHINE
FIRST APPEARANCE: THE PUNISHER #218
By far, this is the fan-favorite choice for an Armor Wars antagonist. Although it was a brief stint, the Punisher sported the War Machine armor in the comics, and it was hugely popular. No doubt, seeing an Iron Man armor with a hand-painted skull would drive box office ticket sales.
Since Armor Wars first made its way onto the public radar years ago, there have been rumors of Jon Bernthal’s involvement. Some sites claimed he was spotted on set, which isn’t possible since it hasn’t begun filming. Once Charlie Cox returned to the MCU as Daredevil, the gossip intensified, and Bernthal has said he’d be up for reprising the role if asked.
Here we have the odds-on favorite to be Armor Wars’ main villain. Where the Punisher would be more of an antagonist rather than a villain, indeed, Red Hulk would be an outright bad guy as he was in his comic book origins. Who could play Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross in the MCU? Actor William Hurt, who had been in the part since 2008’s Incredible Hulk, passed away in March. The rumor is that Marvel wants Harrison Ford to take up the role.
Whether or not Ford is tapped to play Thunderbolt, this is the perfect character to clash with Rhodey. For one, the two are established rivals dating back to Rhodey refusing Senator Ross’ orders to arrest Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow in Avengers: Infinity War. Going back to Iron Man 2’s senate hearings, Uncle Sam has been itching to get his fingers on Tony Stark’s suits. With Tony out of the way, Ross would see this as an opportune time to seize the Hall of Armor, by force if necessary.
With Ross and Rhodey clashing over the Iron Man suits, Thunderbolt would need a power upgrade to take on War Machine. Lucky for him, Samuel Sterns, aka The Leader, is returning to the MCU via Captain America: New World Order. The two worked together to create Abomination, and Sterns could turn Ross into Red Hulk.
FIRST APPEARANCE: NEW AVENGERS #49
Fans may want the Punisher, and Thunderbolt Ross/Red Hulk may make the most sense in MCU continuity, but the best villain for Armor Wars would be the Iron Patriot.
In the comics, the former Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, spearheaded the Thunderbolts. He then manipulated his way to becoming the head of S.H.I.E.L.D./H.A.M.M.E.R. post-Secret Invasion. Using his newfound political power, Osborn took residence in Avengers Tower and seized Stark’s armors for himself, thus becoming Iron Patriot. He then outfitted his former Thunderbolts villains with Avengers gear and kicked off Dark Reign. What better point to introduce the Dark Avengers to the MCU than Armor Wars?
Back in July, Marvel Studios dominated San Diego Comic-Con with a slew of major announcements. What was noticeably missing was anything about Armor Wars. At the time, Kevin Feige had said it would be a Disney+ series, but it was completely left out of both SDCC and last month’s Disney D23 Expo. In light of the recent Armor Wars movie announcement, the lack of news at the conventions makes more sense.
We finally have what could be the beginning of an entirely new Iron Man franchise starring War Machine, news that would have been overshadowed at SDCC. Paradoxically, an Armor Wars movie announcement would have overshadowed D23’s featured attractions, The Marvels, Thunderbolts, and Werewolf By Night. No wonder Feige was tight-lipped on the subject before now.