The writers of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame have done about a million press events, Q&A screenings, and lectures discussing the writing process for two of the biggest movies of all time. During these fireside chats Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have revealed what could have been in a number of alternate drafts of the script.
We’ve heard how the Hulk was originally going to smash out of the Hulkbuster armor in Infinity War, how the Scarlet Witch was supposed to survive Thanos’ snap, and how Nova was going to make his first big screen appearance in Endgame. Now it has been disclosed that one of the Avengers was set to be Vice President of the United States in an early draft of Marvel Studios’ finale crossover epic.
In an interview with comicbook.com, Christopher Markus revealed that Don Cheadle’s character, James Rhodes aka War Machine, almost became the VP in an early draft of the script. If things had remained from that primary take, Rhodey would have been elected to public office during the 5-year time jump after Thanos’ snap.
Markus said of the superhero VP idea: “We took it out because it didn’t have any story weight, but I believe that during one draft, in the five-year jump, Rhodey became vice president. Vice President Rhodey.”
At first glance this development does seem a bit jarring, but looking back on previous MCU films, you can see hints of War Machine’s possible political future sprinkled throughout the Marvel movies. We are first introduced to Rhodes in Iron Man (2008) as a decorated Colonel in the United States Air Force, which isn’t too shabby of a background for a vice presidential candidate. He’s then called to testify in government hearings regarding the ownership of the Iron Man armor in Iron Man 2 (2010), prominently placing him in the public eye. Not long after that, Rhodes acquires his own version of the Iron Man armor, dubbed the “War Machine” by the Air Force.
In Iron Man 3 (2013), we meet back up with Colonel Rhodes, who has been rebranded as the “Iron Patriot.” The War Machine armor dons a new look with a very patriotic red, white, and blue paint job. Rhodes actually saves the President of the United States while in this ultra-American guise and helps expose the current Vice President as a traitor.
In Captain America: Civil War, Rhodey sides with his buddy Iron Man in asking superheroes to register with the government per the Sokovia Accords. He even works to enforce the law by arresting Captain America, Falcon, Black Panther, and the Winter Soldier when they battle it out in Germany. Rhodey pays the ultimate price for his choice and is permanently paralyzed below the waist when Vision accidentally shoots him out of the sky.
Finally, Colonel James Rhodes pops up in Avengers: Infinity War (2018) in what feels like a scene teeing up his rise to the Vice Presidency. He is seen working with Secretary of State Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and a group of White House aides trying to figure out what to do about the Thanos situation.
We can totally see a military veteran superhero, who saved the life of a President and sacrificed his ability to walk for law and order, being a hot ticket in a general election. What do you think about the possibility of a superhero in the White House? Is this an idea that could be resurrected somewhere down the road in the MCU?