The new Avengers: Infinity War artbook – titled Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War – The Art of the Movie – offers a lot of intriguing suggestions for how the year’s biggest film could’ve turned out differently, and among these insights is the revelation that James “Rhodey” Rhodes was initially planned to play a bigger part in the Russo Brothers’ latest flick.
Though Don Cheadle’s role was largely relegated to the status of one more soldier in the fight against Thanos, concept illustrator Phil Saunders explains in the recently released book how the character was originally planned to get his own dramatic costume change.
“Originally, Rhodey was going to have two different armors in this movie. And then this ultimately got narrowed down to one armor, so the best elements in both armors were combined into one. We really wanted to give him a much more advanced look than what he had had in the previous movie to keep up a little bit with the leap from the Mark 47 to Mark 50 for Iron Man. So I went with a much more sophisticated stealth geometry and breakup of the form language. I also gave him a far more extensive package of weaponry than he had ever previously had.”
While plenty of fans would no doubt have loved to see more Rhodey in the film, it’s not hard to see why the writers felt the need to trim down his scenes. In a two-and-a-half-hour movie that’s already packed enough with characters and plot, less War Machine screen time was arguably a worthwhile sacrifice for keeping the drama focused on Thanos and the main Avengers.
For what it’s worth, Rhodey was among the lucky survivors of the Mad Titan’s purging of the universe, so you can expect to see a fair amount more of the guy in next year’s Avengers 4. And while practically nothing is confirmed about the character’s role in the story, Cheadle himself has already had plenty of fun trolling his fans with fake hints of what’s to come.
We’ll find out what’s in store for Tony Stark’s old friend when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019. But in the meantime, this Avengers: Infinity War artbook certainly has alternate costume imagery to spare.