There's a lot of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a facet of the series which makes it both great and problematic at the same time. Whilst there's lots of very interesting comic book characters flying around on screen we don't actually get a lot of time given over to developing each and every one in their own right. There's no way to make that work within a cinematic model, no fault of the filmmakers but just the nature of the medium.
That's why we have the Avengers, the titular heroes who get plenty of screen time both in their solo films and ensemble movies (some still more than others though). As [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Ant-Man introduced yet more characters to the Avengers universe things started to get a bit crowded, but there's one character whose been around since the very beginning of the MCU that we're about to see a lot more of in the upcoming [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409).
We speak of course of Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes, one of Tony Stark / Iron Man's (Robert Downey Jr.) few close comrades. First appearing in 2008's Iron Man - the success of which kicked off the MCU - Rhodey was first portrayed by Terrence Howard, but Don Cheadle took over the role in Iron Man 2 and has carried it ever since.
When the first trailer for Civil War landed things weren't looking very good for poor old Rhodey. Now fully realised as a member of the Avengers under the name War Machine (rather than the Iron Patriot, which was what his suit was referred to in Iron Man 3) Rhodey will be joining the battle alongside Iron Man as they go after Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) and his freedom brigade, hot on the heels of the Winter Soldier / Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
The trailer showed us a beaten down War Machine, lying in Iron Man's arms (how very romantic) as Tony looked up in anger. This has led to some speculation that Rhodey could be the one to bite it in Civil War, but giving that away in the trailer seems like an unlikely way to go.
SuperHeroHype caught up with the man himself Don Cheadle at January's Sundance Film Festival at which he was premiering his directorial debut Miles Ahead, a well received Miles Davis biopic in which Cheadle also stars. They asked him a little about his role in Civil War and whether or not he'll be carrying the role onto Avengers: Infinity War.
Not giving much away he did hint that we're going to be seeing more of War Machine this time around than we have before, as he describes his role in Civil War as "pivotal":
"I never know what it’s going to be and they keep their cards very close to their breast with Marvel. I never know where the character’s going to go, but he’s become more and more and in the next one, you’ll see that what happens to Rhodey is a little bit more intense and pivotal to what happens in the rest of the stories."
The key there is the last line, "Rhodey is a little bit more intense and pivotal to what happens in the rest of the stories." This could mean one of two things. Either that he becomes fully realised as a member of the Avengers carrying over into [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027) or... you could read this as meaning that he will be killed off to act as a motivator for Tony, affecting his actions from here on out.
There's been gossip about the possibility of someone major dying in Civil War acting as a stand in for Goliath / Bill Foster, whose death was a major event in the comic books. But again it's worth noting that as the MCU is on a different continuity from the comics there's no reason that they absolutely have to write this into the upcoming film.
Either way we welcome more screen time and hopefully more development for Don Cheadle's Rhodey when Captain America: Civil War rolls around, just keep your fingers crossed that this won't be his last outing...