Armor Wars Report Teases a Sneaky X-Men Crossover
Rhodey’s first solo outing could be the MCU’s new nexus point.
With Marvel’s latest series, Secret Invasion, in the rearview, there’s one question on fans’ minds. How long had a Skrull impersonated James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) on the world stage? Theories already abound, and that’s probably just how Marvel wants it. According to series director Ali Selim, fans can either do the detective work themselves, or look for answers in Rhodey’s next appearance in Armor Wars.
Armor Wars has been in the works for some time. Originally slated as a Disney+ series, it’s since been bumped up to a feature-length film, and it’ll follow Rhodey on his first-ever solo MCU outing. It’s still a ways off (it’s slated for a 2025 release), so there hasn’t been much buzz around its story or cast. After Rhodey’s ordeal in Secret Invasion, though, it’s slowly becoming one of the more important projects on Marvel’s slate, and a recent leak could push it even higher on fans’ watchlists.
Until recently, only two names were attached to Armor Wars: Don Cheadle and screenwriter Yassir Lester. But updates on IMDb have seen a few additions to the crew, and none are strangers to the MCU. Beau DeMayo (X-Men ’97, Moon Knight), Zak Penn (The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers), Malcolm Spellman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Captain America: Brave New World), and Brian Tucker (Secret Invasion) have all boarded Armor Wars as script consultants.
Given that all MCU projects share an interconnected universe, it makes sense to see Spellman and Tucker consulting on Armor Wars. Both contributed to Rhodey’s arc in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Secret Invasion. Penn is an interesting addition, but not a surprising one: he’s credited as an early architect of the MCU. He wrote the first script for The Incredible Hulk before star Edward Norton famously took over, and he also worked on The Avengers as a screenwriter. His iteration of the script was later rewritten by Joss Whedon, but he retained a story credit.
Penn might have been tapped for his knowledge of the Hulk, as while Armor Wars is ostensibly Rhodey’s story, there will probably be some overlap with Captain America: Brave New World, which features multiple characters from The Incredible Hulk. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross will also soon be President in the MCU, which will affect Rhodey’s role as a military liaison.
But Penn is also well-known for his work outside the MCU, particularly in Fox’s own Marvel universe. He contributed to X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as Elektra. Jennifer Garner is set to reprise her role as the assassin in Deadpool 3, and Hugh Jackman is also back as Wolverine. Does that mean anything for Armor Wars, or is it just a coincidence?
The same question could be asked for Beau DeMayo’s role as a consultant. DeMayo is an executive producer for X-Men ’97, the long-awaited sequel to X-Men: The Animated Series, but he also wrote the third episode of Moon Knight. Any number of characters from Moon Knight could conceivably appear in Armor Wars. But why bring on two writers with a clear knowledge of the X-Men if you don’t intend to use them?
Given that this leak comes from IMDb, it’s important not to get too excited. There’s no doubt that Marvel writers consult on projects that aren’t their own, but they’re rarely credited on the site. The update could simply be inaccurate. But if it’s correct, it could tell us a lot about Armor Wars, regardless of whether or not the X-Men show up. Until recently, the film seemed poised to deliver a grounded, self-contained story similar to the Captain America films. But with the multiverse in play, Armor Wars could be aiming for something very different.
The film could be the bridge that connects Marvel’s ground-level, military-facing heroes to a world much bigger than their own. It could also help bring the X-Men into the MCU... or maybe Rhodey’s just getting a far bigger adventure than anyone anticipated.