Could War Machine Have Been Part of The Avengers Instead of Iron Man?

The Avengers films showed us the story that the producers and writers wanted to tell about this team of superheroes. We saw how Tony Stark developed Iron Man and the journey he went through to put an end to Thanos‘ reign of terror. We also saw the roles the other Avenger heroes played throughout all the films leading up to the Endgame.

One lingering question many fans have pertains to why the War Machine wasn’t one of the main Avengers when he had the most potential as a superhero. Instead, his friend, Iron Man saw more glory and screen time than he did.

Is it really possible the War Machine could have been an Avenger instead of Iron Man?

Could the War Machine have been part of The Avengers instead of Iron Man?

Don Cheadle on the red carpet
Don Cheadle | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

James Rhodes, the War Machine, had a few advantages over Tony Stark and showed more possibilities to be a part of The Avengers team. First, he was an exceptional pilot in the military, which made maneuvering the skies in his armored suit much easier than Tony who found it awkward to fly. Second, they trained him for combat in the Air Force, while Tony used his intelligence for building weapons.

Last, he showed more loyalty to the government and his country while Tony was rebellious and liked to go off on his own. Even the Black Widow felt that Tony Stark wasn’t a good fit for their team and Nick Fury claimed, as Tony’s line in the first Avengers movie goes, he “didn’t play well with others.”

But, with the MCU, the producers and writers had something different in mind. Iron Man was to have a key role in the Endgame movie as well as the future beyond it.

Iron Man’s role in The Avengers movies

Tony Stark wasn’t exactly a leader, but his arrogant personality made him think he should be the one to call all the shots. In the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, the team raided a Hydra base, where Tony found Loki’s scepter. It’s also where Scarlet Witch triggers a vision in him where all The Avengers lost, in a future battle. Cap, barely alive, told him that he, Tony, could’ve done more to save them.

This led to the birth of Ultron because Tony mistakenly felt it would ensure that his vision would never come true. When it came time for The Avengers: Endgame, Tony’s role was imminent. His self-sacrifice and survival, in the first Avengers movie, when he took the nuclear warhead into space despite the risk to his life, came to a head, here, in the final moments.

The gauntlet he designed within his own suit was the perfect weapon to take down Thanos once and for all. The famous line that kicked off Tony Stark’s superhero status was also the last words spoken before his death, “I am Iron Man”.

How Iron Man shaped the future of the MCU

The ending battle against Thanos and his army brought many of The Avengers together to fight alongside each other. Superheroes, like Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, Black Panther, and Spiderman to name a few, weren’t part of the original team, but thanks to Nick Fury and Tony Stark, slowly integrated themselves into the Avenger Initiative. More movies and Disney+ series will come our way.

Iron Man, despite a rocky beginning, became the heart of the team and a mentor to other up-and-coming heroes. How could we ever forget the way he mentored the young Peter Parker as he grew into his superhero role as Spiderman? His sacrificial death won’t go forgotten as the remaining team prepares to gear up and protect the future at all costs.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe would certainly have been different with the War Machine filling Iron Man’s role instead of Tony Stark. But, the writers developed The Avengers storyline to bounce off of Tony’s arrogant personality.

He had the most growth to experience in the movies than James Rhodes, so the ultimate ending wouldn’t have worked as well without Iron Man coming full circle to make that final sacrifice, without hesitation, for his team, and for our planet.