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Why Marvel’s ‘Armor Wars’ Will Now Be a Movie

Don Cheadle as War Machine

Since 2020, we’ve known that an Armor Wars project was in development at Marvel. The project was first announced in December of 2020 and was initially conceived as a Disney Plus original series. It was announced alongside the Disney Plus MCU shows Secret Invasion and Ironheart. Secret Invasion is slated for release in early 2023 and will follow Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) as he confronts an alien Skrull infiltration on Earth.

Meanwhile, Ironheart is expected in the fall of 2023 and will follow Dominque Thorne’s Riri Williams (a.k.a. Ironheart) as she creates a suit that can rival that of Iron Man. Since its inception, the Armor Wars project was meant to follow War Machine (Don Cheadle) in a post-Avengers: Endgame world where Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey, Jr.) technology falls into the wrong hands. Armor Wars has been described as a direct continuation of Secret Invasion, as well. It is likely that the Skrull’s ability to shapeshift compromises the security of Stark’s technology. However, numerous MCU projects have been building up to the project so far.

After all, Cheadle has been portraying James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Stark’s most trusted friend and confidant, for over a decade now. Following Stark’s death, Rhodey’s role is bound to change significantly. This is especially true as the world faces a Skrull invasion and a young genius, Ironheart, seeks to carry on Stark’s legacy with her suit of armor. But after its announcement in December of 2020, updates on Armor Wars were scarce, despite its crew promising that the show was still in development. In the fall of 2022, though, news came that Armor Wars switched from being developed as an upcoming TV series to being developed as a feature film.

Why is Armor Wars being developed as a film?

Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (Marvel Studios)

Armor Wars is being developed as a film because it has become too big of a project to contain in a TV series. This came as a surprise. As late as September 10, 2022, Cheadle spoke at the 2022 D23 Expo to confirm that the series was set to begin filming soon and would consist of 6 episodes. So why the change of plans?

The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report the change in development for Armor Wars on September 29, 2022. Few details were given about the switch. The report simply indicated that the studio wanted to frame Armor Wars in the best manner possible and that a feature-length film proved the way to go. Besides the difference in format and time-span, most details about the project seem to remain the same. Cheadle is still slated to lead the film as War Machine while Yassir Lester, who was tapped to write the series, will remain as head writer.

Another element that has been impacted by the shift from series to film is the release date. While Armor Wars was initially expected to debut in 2023, it will now likely not premiere until 2024 or 2025. Mostly, what this indicates is that Armor Wars simply plays out better as a film than a limited series. This could be an indication of advanced visuals, intense action sequences, or just a grander vision overall for the show. The gist of Armor Wars remains the same—the only difference is that this newest version of the project is better suited to the big screen.

(featured image: Disney)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.