After being stuck in development hell for over a decade, the rumor mill has finally gleaned its apparent first word regarding Marvel’s planned Armor Wars film, including insight into both its general plot and its Iron Man-related cast of characters.
Originally announced as television series in 2011 before being upgraded to full-blown cinematic outing in late 2022, details regarding Armor Wars have been practically non-existent, with the only real information communicated about the project throughout this entire period being Don Cheadle’s confirmation that he would be returning as Col. James “War Marchine” Rhodes and Marvel’s constant reassurances that it was, in fact, still in development.
Marvel has even been reluctant to outright confirm the project’s base plot, leaving outlets to simply guess that it would follow the late-80s comic book arc of the same name.
Penned by David Michelinie and Bob Layton and featuring art by Mark D. Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith, the original Armor Wars storyline saw Tony Stark make the harrowing discovery that the proprietary technology that makes up his Iron Man armors had leaked into the wild, resulting in numerous villains co-opting his work to wreak havoc upon the world.
Seeing it as a complete failure of his attempt to atone for his war-mongering past, Stark responds to the theft by going on the war path against the Marvel Universe’s many tech-based villains – dragging Rhodey along for the entire destructive ride – all in the hopes of finding out who is behind this dangerous development.
Unfortunately, thanks to the brutal fervor with which he throws himself into his mission, Stark soon finds himself coming into conflict with both his fellow Avengers and the U.S. Government.
Regardless, the Armored Avenger continues to put everything on the line in service of putting an end to the problem – a gamble which eventually pays off when he discovers Justin Hammer to be the man behind the curtain.
However, now that Marvel has re-committed itself to Armor Wars, it seems like the film is finally starting to bear fruit.
This supposed progress report on the upcoming MCU film was first whispered on July 5th, courtesy of The Cosmic Books News’ Alex Perez, who ostensibly gleaned the bevy supposed information from the outlet’s own insider sources.
According to said sources, Armor Wars will, in fact, attempt to adapt the aforementioned Iron Man story for the MCU, with Rhodey standing in for the now-deceased Tony.
The catalyst for these events will reportedly be the Department of Damage Control, a department of the U.S. Government created to secure all superhero-related technology and debris in the wake of their numerous battles – a job they can be seen undertaking in their first on-screen appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
However, in the wake of the events of Avengers: Endgame, the U.S. government has found itself growing more and more concerned with the rise of super-powered individuals – and more specifically their penchant for vigilante justice.
This fear eventually comes to a head thanks to the events of Secret Invasion, as thanks to the Skrulls’ attempt to overtake Earth, the powers that be will finally find the justification to greenlight the ‘Iron Army’, a contingent of armor-clad personnel meant to serve as an organized response to any super-threat.
Of course, lacking the technology and resources to develop the necessary equipment themselves, the government outsources the task to the DODC, ordering them to lock down all of the Tony’s technological creations – including his former military weapons platforms as well as the entirety of his Iron Man armors – for their own use.
Unsurprisingly, these ‘best laid plans’ are soon hijacked by two villains with their own axes to grind against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Julia Lous-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine and Sam Rockwell’s Justin Hammer.
Per The Cosmic Book news’ sources, Hammer will be freed from prison by de Fontaine before being hired to helm the Iron Army project.
Speaking of villains, said sources noted that the ranks of the Iron Army may be filled out by some of Iron Man’s classic comic book foes – though sadly, as of writing, they could not outright confirm which villains are being considered for a promotion to the big leagues.
Further, it was noted that while the idea of having Ultron return during the events of Armor Wars has been considered, a final determination on this plot thread has yet to be made.
On the topic of returning characters, the outlet’s insiders also disclosed that Rhodey will not be fighting this fight on his own, as he will apparently receive support from a number of armored heroes and returning Iron Man series characters.
As of writing, the only such character confirmed to be making appearance is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Riri “Ironheart” Williams, as portrayed by actress Dominique Thorne.
In terms of release dates, The Cosmic Book News claimed that they were able to confirm that Armor Wars will follow Fantastic Four in the MCU’s chronological release schedule.
As the debut of Marvel’s First Family is currently slated for May 2nd, 2025, this means that Armor Wars will slot into the studio’s already-claimed date of July 25th, 2025, with these admittedly subject to change thanks to the currently ongoing WGA Writer’s Strike and the looming SAG-AFTRA Strike.