Iron Man’s MCU Replacement Can Secretly Remake Tony Stark’s Worst Movie

Tony Stark's Iron Man and Rhodey's War Machine in 2010's Iron Man 2

Marvel Studios’ upcoming Armor Wars is set to continue Iron Man’s story in the MCU, but could also do a better job at telling one of Tony Stark’s storylines from the MCU’s past. Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark became the face of the MCU following his debut in 2008’s Iron Man, with Iron Man becoming one of the most consistent and significant MCU heroes. Over eleven years, Iron Man became a founding member of the original Avengers, a mentor to younger heroes, and the savior of the entire universe, but despite his death, his MCU journey isn’t over just yet.

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige confirmed the development of a War Machine-focused Disney+ series for the MCU at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day. Don Cheadle is expected to reprise his role of James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine, in the MCU’s upcoming Armor Wars, which may be inspired by the 1987 Marvel Comics storyline of the same name. Updates on Armor Wars have been scarce since the project was confirmed to be reworked into a feature film in September 2022, though Armor Wars may have the perfect opportunity to remake Iron Man’s worst MCU storyline.

Armor Wars Is Basically Iron Man 2 Again

Iron Man landing at the Stark Expo in Iron Man 2

2010’s Iron Man 2, which marked Don Cheadle’s debut as the MCU’s Rhodey, taking over from Terrence Howard, borrowed elements of Marvel Comics’ Armor Wars storyline. Iron Man 2 is regarded as the weak link in Tony Stark’s solo trilogy, so it’s possible that Marvel Studios’ Armor Wars movie could rehash the same plot, but finally do it justice. Iron Man 2 focused heavily on others trying to recreate or steal Stark technology, including Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit itself, which forms the basis of Marvel Comics’ Armor Wars, as Stark travels the world trying to recover his stolen tech.

As pointed out by Reddit user justbadthings, many aspects of Iron Man 2 and Marvel Comics’ Armor Wars are the same. Instead of Iron Man showing off for Force, he shows off at the Stark Expo, while Spymaster steals the Iron Man suit designs in Marvel Comics’ storyline, Rhodey takes the suit in Iron Man 2, and Tony Stark even battles Ivan Vanko, the son of Anton Vanko, who was the armored villain Crimson Dynamo in Marvel Comics’ Armor Wars. If the live-action Armor Wars follows the same trajectory, the upcoming movie could become a remake of Iron Man 2.

Armor Wars Can Finally Bring An End To The MCU’s Stark Tech Obsession

Rhodey's War Machine and Tony Stark's Iron Man in the final battle of Iron Man 2

The storyline of others wanting Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology has been used and reused again and again in the MCU’s history, ever since the hero debuted in 2008. Rhodey wanted the suit for the United States military, and got his wish in Iron Man 2, while many villains, including Ivan Vanko’s Whiplash and Justin Hammer, tried to recreate the technology. In Iron Man 3, Aldrich Killian and his Extremis-empowered soldiers stole the Iron Patriot armor, while Ultron even used Stark technology to create his own army in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This storyline deserves to finally be wrapped up.

Marvel Studios’ Armor Wars presents the perfect opportunity for this long-running theme to finally come to an end, allowing Rhodey’s War Machine to embark on new adventures, instead of the same ones that Stark faced as Iron Man. There’s only so many ways the same story can be told, but the prospect of Armor Wars bringing a more comic-accurate adaptation into the MCU, despite Tony Stark’s demise, could be the best way to end it once-and-for-all. Rhodey’s return after his tumultuous Phase 4 and 5 journey is much-anticipated, though it’s still unclear exactly when Armor Wars will release.

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