Black Panther introduced a major new corner of the MCU to viewers, opening up many possibilities for how the secretive African nation of Wakanda – with its incredible tech and abundance of vibranium – could be utilized in the future of the franchise. But what if we’ve actually known a native of Wakanda for a long time already? What if War Machine is actually one of Black Panther’s spies?
That’s the theory put forward by Reddit user @TannerNewcomb. The bulk of the evidence for this twist rests on one of James “Rhodey” Rhodes’ most memorable scenes in Avengers: Infinity War. When he first travels to Wakanda and encounters King T’Challa, he seems very blasé about the whole thing. The fan admits their theory is a bit sketchy, but here’s what they came up with:
Maybe James Rhodes is Wakandan. I think that would be a really cool twist that doesn’t really change much. Imagine T’Chaka sending Rhodey to not only infiltrate the U.S. military but also, Tony Stark, one of the few people capable of catching up with Wakanda technologically. This would explain why Rhodey doesn’t seemed shocked by T’Challa revealing himself in CW and why he isn’t amazed by Wakanda. This is also why he puts up with all of Tony’s shit for so long and always involves himself in situations like Sokovia and the Mandarin. It’s an idea I literally just came up with so please let me know what you think….
As said by other users in the comments section, the argument that Rhodey’s acceptance of the Sokovia and Mandarin situations support the fact that he’s Wakandan is a little weak, as that attitude is surely to do with his long history in the US military. Plus, Rhodey putting up with Tony’s ego is just called being a good friend.
Then again, Black Panther did introduce the idea that T’Challa’s father, T’Chaka, sent out some of his most trusted spies to the US and the rest of the globe to ensure the safety of his kingdom. For instance, his own brother N’Jobu was undercover in Oakland. Given this, you can see how placing a spy in the ranks of the US Air Force would be of use to Wakanda. Plus, there’s even a similarity to Rhodey’s superhero name and Wakanda’s secret service, the War Dogs.
Maybe in Avengers 4, Rhodey will pull back his lip and reveal that distinctive purple glimmer to his gums that marks out a citizen of Wakanda. Until then, though, we’ll file this as an intriguing, if slightly shaky, MCU fan theory.