Terrence Howard played Rhodey in Iron Man, but after demanding a massive pay increase for the sequel, Marvel Studios cast Don Cheadle for Iron Man 2. He then got the chance to suit up as War Machine, and after later donning Iron Patriot’s armour, he joined Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Now, Cheadle has reflected on being offered the role and revealed that it was a decision he had to make extremely quickly as Marvel Studios scrambled to find an actor for the sequel.
“I was actually at my kid’s birthday party—a laser tag party—and I got a call from my agent, and they said, ‘Hey, so I want to connect you to these Marvel guys. They want to talk to you, but they want to offer you the part.’ I don’t think it was [Kevin] Feige. I don’t know who was on the phone. But they said, ‘Hey, this is the role. We want you to do this. It’s a six-picture deal.’ I was like, ‘What?! Oh, uh, okay…’ And I’m trying to do the math. I’m like, ‘That’s 11 or 12 years. I’m not sure.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, we need to know, because if you’re not saying yes, then we’re gonna move on to the next person. So you’ve got an hour.’
“An hour to decide 12 years, and a role and parts that I don’t even know, in movies that are coming down that I have no idea what they’ll be. I said, ‘I’m at my kid’s laser tag party right now.’ They said, ‘Oh! Oh, take two hours.’ So generous! So I go back inside, and I’m ducking behind things, playing laser tag, and talking to my wife. I’m like, ‘Should I take a flier on this? Is this something I should do?’ And she said, ‘Well, yeah, I guess so. All things being equal, this is that kind of thing. You’ve never done anything like this before. Big special effects, tent pole, four-quadrant movie. Do you want to do something like this?’ I said, ‘I kind of do.’ She said, ‘Well, then take a flier. Let’s do it. Try it.'”
That’s a very funny story, and shows that Marvel Studios clearly had a list of actors they wanted for Iron Man 2 they would have turned to had Cheadle turned them down. However, by far the biggest takeaway here is the fact that the actor signed a six-picture deal…which must have reached its end after last year’s Avengers: Endgame!
After all, he appeared in Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. It’s possible that he’s signed some sort of extension, of course, but Marvel Studios may have decided that War Machine’s story came to an end the same time as Pepper Potts’ did once Tony Stark sacrificed himself.
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