Rhodey, also known as War Machine, has not appeared in his supersuit since Avengers: Endgame, sparking speculation and theories. One theory suggests that Rhodey may be hesitant to wear the War Machine armor due to the lack of someone capable of fixing it after Tony Stark’s death. The introduction of Riri Williams/Ironheart in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever could potentially revitalize War Machine’s heroics and allow for the continuation of Tony Stark’s legacy alongside Rhodey.

One genius MCU theory explains why one character in the franchise has not been seen in their supersuit since Avengers: Endgame. The final film of the Infinity Saga is undoubtedly the biggest in Marvel Studios’ run, from the nearly $2.8 billion box office haul to the amount of characters in Avengers: Endgame‘s final battle. Of those heroes who fought in the Battle of Earth, there are several who have since returned for projects in Phases 4 and 5 and will continue to do so in the upcoming list of Marvel movies.

Given that Deadpool 3 is the only Marvel movie releasing in 2024, it is unlikely that many characters from Avengers: Endgame will appear. That said, multiple upcoming MCU projects are expected to include one certain character from the final Infinity Saga film who has also appeared multiple times in the franchise since 2019. In each of those appearances, however, the character in question has not yet been shown to wear their super suit with one genius theory explaining why this may be.


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Rhodey Hasn’t Suited Up As War Machine Since Endgame

The character in question is James “Rhodey” Rhodes. Since Avengers: Endgame, Rhodey has appeared in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Secret Invasion yet was not shown to don the War Machine armor in either of those projects. His brief appearance in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier did not call for a War Machine appearance, though the story of Secret Invasion certainly did. While Secret Invasion confirmed that Rhodey has been replaced by a Skrull for an unspecified amount of time, Skrull powers could have meant the suit was used.

Skrulls inherit the memory and thus the skills of whoever they are impersonating, meaning Skrull Rhodey could still have used the War Machine suit. The story of Secret Invasion could have utilized this with Skrull Rhodey using the suit to intimidate Nick Fury into backing down. That said, neither Secret Invasion nor The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed Rhodes suiting up as War Machine, meaning the character has not done so since Avengers: Endgame​​​​​​.

Rhodey’s next official MCU appearance is yet to be confirmed by Marvel Studios.

Rhodey May Be Afraid Of Damaging The War Machine Armor

When concerning the real Rhodey and the lack of War Machine armor in the MCU since Endgame, the reason he has not suited up could be his unwillingness to damage the armor. More so than any other Avengers, Rhodes arguably has a ticking clock on how long he can operate the armor due to Tony Stark’s death. Without Stark, no other MCU character has the brains or wealth to fix the War Machine armor should it be damaged in any way.

This could mean that Rhodey only dons the War Machine armor in times of desperate need so as to not risk damaging it prematurely and effectively ending his tenure as a superhero.

This could explain the real reason why Rhodey has been hesitant to suit up as War Machine: the armor has an expiry date of sorts. Previous Iron Man movies in the MCU have made it clear that the suits eventually degrade over time and need continuous upgrades, something that only Stark knew how to implement. This could mean that Rhodey only dons the War Machine armor in times of desperate need so as to not risk damaging it prematurely and effectively ending his tenure as a superhero.

How An Upcoming MCU Hero Can Revitalize War Machine’s Heroics

Despite this seemingly ticking clock on War Machine’s time as a hero, one upcoming MCU character can fix this. That character is Riri Williams/Ironheart who was introduced in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Riri was shown to be the only other person in the world capable of recreating Stark Tech in the MCU, meaning it would make sense for her and Rhodey to meet up with one another. If, or more aptly when, the two characters meet, Riri could take on the responsibility of maintaining Rhodey’s War Machine suit.

The upcoming MCU story of Armor Wars could allow for this. While little is known about the film, it is expected to be released after the Disney+ Ironheart show. With the latter dealing with Riri Williams’ origins after Black Panther 2, Armor Wars could see her team up with Rhodey to ensure the legacy of Tony Stark falls to the right person. In doing so, a strong relationship between the two could be formed in that they and they alone are responsible for continuing Stark’s Iron Man legacy.

This compelling story would allow Rhodey to suit up once more. War Machine is one of the more powerful heroes in the MCU in terms of brute strength as shown by his heroics in Infinity War and Endgame. As such, getting him back into the field is incredibly vital with the war against Kang the Conqueror brewing on the horizon. If this theory turns out to be true, the perfect way to ensure Rhodey suits up as War Machine for the first time since Avengers: Endgame is by pitting him with another genius inventor after Tony’s death: Riri Williams/Ironheart.

Key Release Dates

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Avengers: Secret Wars

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