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The Marvel Cinematic Universe has FINALLY confirmed via the Secret Invasion that the perfect replacement for Iron Man is James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the upcoming Armor Wars.
After all, Rhodey has been a major part of the entire MCU since 2008, when he rescued the late Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie from the captivity of the Ten Rings, becoming one of the firsts to find out about his superhero alter ego.
The MCU has actually set in motion more than one narrative for the perfect Iron Man replacement, with Ironheart making a debut in the MCU and Spider Man stepping in as a protege, giving Rhodey his very own Marvel project. However, there could only be one true heir ready to step into the shoes of the legendary Iron Man.
Glancing Back At Tony Stark’s Tragedy:
At the end of Endgame, Tony Stark sacrifices himself tragically to defeat the all-powerful Thanos and his companions, leaving many fans confused about who will take his place in the whole MCU.
Only the technologically-advanced Wakanda can be compared to Stark in terms of supplying superheroes with very advanced armor and weapons, including, most memorably, Riri Williams and Sam Wilson.
At the end of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, it did seem like Riri Williams as Ironheart is definitely intended to step into the shoes of Stark. However, due to a controversial yet vital revelation in Phase 5, the real replacement of Stark in the Marvel Universe has become very obvious.
Rhodey’s Skrull Reveal Makes Him More Like Iron Man:
Quote controversially, Secret Invasion revealed that Rhodey was actually replaced by a Skrull before any events of the Phase 5 series took place and after his spinal injury during Captain America: Civil War.
The exact time when Rhodey was actually abducted and then replaced is still unclear, but Secret Invasion makes it transparent that he was kidnapped while being hospitalized briefly after the fight sequence at the airport in Civil War.
This means that the War Machine we saw in Endgame and Infinity War was a Skrull imposter. Unfortunately, this means that the real Rhodey wasn’t there when Stark passed away. It doesn’t matter for how long Rhodey was replaced – the truth is his exceptionally powerful War Machine suits did fall into very wrong hands, and that too for quite some time.
Moreover, Rhodey’s captivity was definitely traumatic, even for a superhero and an Air Force officer. This did mirror Stark’s captivity in 2008 when he was made to see how Stark weapons were being used against the American soldiers.
After escaping captivity, Stark goes on to shut the weapons division of his company and even destroys all the weapons made by Stark Industries that had fallen into the evil hands of Ten Rings.
In Armor Wars, Rhodey will deal with multiple debilitating physical injuries just like Stark did in the past. At the same time, he will also have to deal with the Skrull captivity trauma while preventing advanced weapons from falling into evil hands, just like Stark did in the past (again!).
The parallels do not end here. Just like Stark got rid of his shrapnel-induced heart injury with the help of the Arc Reactor, Rhodey’s spinal injury makes it obvious that he can only walk when he is wearing his War Machine suit. Plus, Rhodey will also have to redeem his public image like Stark since his doppelganger almost instigated the next World War.
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